The Delusion of Sovereignty: Would Independence Weaken Québec?
J.L. Granatstein is a professor of history at York University, the
co-author of the Dictionary of Canadian Military History and Empire to
Umpire: Canada and the World to the 1990s, and the author of The Good
This volume, prepared by two well-known Québécois, is a full-frontal
assault on the main positions advanced by the Quebec separatists.
Carefully and calmly, Valaskakis and Fournier take on each of the main
PQ and BQ positions and blow them out of the water. Federalism is rigid?
Not if you examine how the Canadian system has adapted since
Confederation. The national government is too centralized? Nonsense:
Canada’s is the most decentralized federation on earth and much more
so than that of the United States, for example. A sovereign Quebec can
win easy access to the Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA? Fat chance, for
Quebec’s negotiating power will be reduced and major concessions are a
certainty. The French language and culture will be protected better in
an independent Quebec? Not so, the authors say, for as a small nation in
an English-speaking sea, Quebec will lose the Canadian “cushion”
that protects it from the Anglo tide around it. Who will put bilingual
labels on products? What Canadian or U.S. company will make the special
efforts Canada now requires to deal in French with Quebec? Just how will
non-English speakers be able to function in business outside Quebec?
Again and again, the devastating blows land on the weak chin of Parizeau
This is the kind of book that should have been placed in the hands of
Parizeau and Bouchard years ago—if only they had the sense to read it.
Its arguments, clear and succinct, knock gaping holes in the
separatists’ “logical” arguments. After reading it, only the
emotional arguments for independence remain, although those, of course,
are the hardest to counter.