A Toronto-based source with close ties to both Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Tool and Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet tells The Chronicle that the two men are open to the possibility of a coalition government — and would be likely to advance Quebec’s secessionist aspirations.
O’Toole wants to end ‘equalization’ payments — a constitutional provision that requires Provinces with large per-capita GDPs to transfer money to Provinces with low per-capita GDPs — to help alleviate Alberta’s deep economic recession.
Every year billions of dollars are transferred from Alberta to Quebec. But Quebecers — and French Canadians living in francophone communities in New Brunswick –would rather have independence from the Canadian confederation than equalization payments from Alberta.
The political stars might now be aligning to make it happen.
Francois Legault, who would serve as the head of government of an independent nation of Quebec, is quietly agreeable to the prospect because he does not want to upset Justin Trudeau until he becomes less popular on the Island of Montreal.
It’s unclear if Quebec will recognize Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs as its sovereign — or whether Quebec would choose to have a sovereign at all. In one political postulation, the Count of Paris (the hereditary claimant of the French throne) would be recognized as a ceremonial King of Quebec, in something of Bourbon Restoration.
But negotiations over such bold amendments to the Canadian constitution would be unavoidably complicated by indigenous liberation movements, regional tensions between east and west, and northern isolation.
“It would be hard to tell Quebec that it can go its own way without also allowing the Inuit to go their own way with Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories to go its own way,” one political operative contends.
“Would British Columbia want nationhood, too?” he asks. “I don’t see why not.”