Letís settle this

by Margret Kopala

Letter to the editor published by The Globe and Mail, Thursday, February 17, 2000

Jean Francois Liseeís thesis that Quebec sovereignty is only possible following a rejected bid for extra powers from Canada cannot fail to fascinate any Canadian who has thought deeply about our Constitutional quandary. (Former PQ Adviser Urges Quebec Vote On Powers - Feb.9). Of course, if Quebec is to do anything about sovereignty within the foreseeable future, its only option is to hold a referendum on renewed federalism because Quebeckers, according to all the polls, donít want anything to do with sovereignty right now. And, to be sure, if negotiations failed to produce the required goods, a second referendum could follow on independence. But would independence result? Mr.Lisee realistically suggests it might not. Quebeckers might be too fed up to pursue it further.

Hereís a man who understands human psychology but who at the same time doesnít penetrate deeply enough. What, for instance, would happen if those negotiations succeeded in producing a federalism with which all are happy? The beauty of the Clarity Act is that it really does remove the knife from the throat. Everyone would have to enter into negotiations in good faith because Quebeckers and Canadian alike would tolerate nothing less. You donít have to be a Pollyanna to see the possibilities. After all, optimistic outcomes are just as likely as pessimistic ones. As for Lucien Bouchard, an honourable settlement with the rest of Canada may just as readily secure his place in history as sovereignty.

Margret Kopala

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