Many a Canadian were happy to hear about the resignation of Quebec's separatist Premier Lucien Bouchard on January 11, 2001, for it was him who had brought the "Parti Quebecois" closest to its goal of breaking Quebec out of Canada when he directed the "yes" camp (in favor of separation) in the last referendum on this issue, on October 30, 1995, and almost obtained a majority, with 49.6% of the votes.
Bouchard's strategy to convince Quebecers of the necessity of the separation was to blame the Federal Government for everything that is wrong in Quebec, but Quebecers are not fools, and did not buy it. In his resignation speech, Bouchard lamented over this fact, saying that Quebecers "remained amazingly impassive" to what he called "the offensives of the Federal Government." People no longer buy the lies of politicians.
Recent opinion polls show that about 80% of Quebecers don't want to hear about a third referendum, and they are fed up with all these talks about separation, so Bouchard felt he had no choice but to quit. Maybe he was also, himself, fed up with all of the PQ hardliners who questioned his commitment to separatism. Now these hardliners have a new leader to their taste, Bernard Landry.
Make no mistake: if you think Bouchard was a committed separatist, watch Bernard Landry! As Alberta Premier Ralph Klein said, Landry is "a confirmed and very dedicated separatist, much more so than Mr. Bouchard." Asked about Klein's comment that he is a bigger threat to national unity than Bouchard, new PQ leader Bernard Landry responded bluntly: "I think he's damn right!"
Contrary to his predecessors at the head of the Parti Quebecois, there has never been a period in Mr. Landry's life when he favored national unity. He took part in the foundation of the PQ in 1968 with René Lévesque. But even Lévesque, Bouchard, and Parizeau, all former PQ leaders, were at one time in favor of federalism.
As for Landry, even in his teens, Landry dreamed of becoming the "President of the Republic of Quebec". He said at that time that "an independent Quebec could be nothing but socialist." The mere sight of the Canadian flag brings him out in a rash. Take, for instance, his recent statement about the Canadian flag, that made national headlines last January.
In response to a question about why Quebec was refusing a $18-million federal subsidy for the Quebec City aquarium, Landry said he refused the subsidy because Ottawa wanted the Maple Leaf flown there. (It has been the custom for years in any province for any project financed by the Federal Government, and is totally normal, since, after all, Quebec is still part of Canada.) And Landry angrily added: "We are not for sale. Quebec has no intention of selling itself on the street for some scraps of red rag."
The next day, after having seen that his statement make the headlines of every newspaper across Canada, Landry tried to convince reporters that he did not mean to denigrate the Maple Leaf, but was talking about bullfighting, the "red rag" ("chiffon rouge" in French) being the red cloth used by bullfighters, but nobody bought his explanation. (See cartoon above.)
Quebec Liberal leader Jean Charest said about this incident: "It says a number of things that should concern us all. First of all, that every issue will be used as an excuse (by Landry) to create a climate of confrontation with the rest of the country. It speaks to the fact that Mr. Landry lacks maturity and judgment..."
Landry is less charismatic than Bouchard, but more stubborn. Bouchard realized that Quebecers did not want to hear about another referendum on sovereignty, but Landry will keep insisting. When he became leader on March 3, Landry said he would not be shy pushing the separatist agenda. That's an understatement. Since that date, there is not one week that passed without a statement of Landry or one of his ministers to insult and infuriate the rest of Canada.
Unfortunately, shocking statements like this one are not an exception, but a trademark of Mr. Landry, who has a propensity for temperamental outbursts. In 1999, Landry was forced to apologize for suggesting that older Quebecers tend to be federalist, and that sovereignty was bound to happen one day, since federalists are gradually dying off. Landry just cannot understand why a French-speaking Quebecer would still be attached to Canada. For him, the charitable explanation is that they are not educated enough, and haven't heard enough about sovereignty!
On March 12, Landry said on a radio interview that not only was he convinced that Canada is useless for Quebec, but that it has also been harmful. And then he proposes an independent Quebec to make a partnership with a country that he calls "useless and harmful."
As Jean Chretien and other federalist leaders said, this is a very bad way of preparing the way for a partnership with his neighbours: "Dumping on Canada, and at the same time asking Canadians to make a partnership with him, there is a kind of contradiction."
What Landry proposes for an independant Quebec is a partnership with Canada modeled on the European Union. But as several federal ministers pointed out, what Landry proposes is actually against Quebec's independance, since Quebec would then have less powers than it presently has as a province within Canada. (See article on page 5; "The aim of the Financiers: a one-world government.) In Europe, countries give up their powers to a centralized European Commission in Brussels, that makes binding decisions for all the member countries. And what is most important, they will give up, in January of 2002, their national currencies for a unique currency for all of Europe: the Euro.
As it has been explained often in the "Michael" Journal, no country can claim to be sovereign if it does not issue its own money, debt free and interest free. Meyer Amschel Rotschild, the founder of a banking dynasty, rightly said: "Permit me to issue the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws." Economic union leads inevitably to political union.
What Landry proposes is not really independance, but along the lines of a one-world government. For over 30 years, Landry has been promoting the use of a common currency with the U.SA. Landry says that he envisages a confederation that would include not only Canada and Quebec but all countries of the Americas.
If Landry really wants a partnership with Canada, and create new common structures, why destroy what already exists? Since 1867, Quebec is part of the Canadian Confederation, and it already possesses all the powers it needs to protect its French language and culture.
So many bonds unite Canadians of all descents all over the country. Let us learn to live together! Let us keep Canada united!