Time to say goodbye : the case for getting Quebec out of Canada /
Reed Scowen.
Toronto : M&S, 1999.
170 p. ; 22 cm.
0771079605 (pbk.) :
More Details
Toronto : M&S, 1999.
0771079605 (pbk.) :
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references.
A Look Inside
First Chapter
The argument of this book can be summarized as follows. Canada is a very successful country that would be even more successful without Quebec. The time has come to ask it to leave. However, Quebec cannot be forced to go against its will, and there is no incentive for it to do so as long as we continue to comply with its demands for privileged treatment. It is Canadians themselves who are perpetuating the Quebec crisis.

The first step towards a solution is for Canadians to see more clearly and confidently who we are and understand that we have the ability to succeed as a country of nine provinces and three territories. Then we must make clear our terms for Quebec’s continuing membership in the federation. I believe that when Quebecers understand these conditions, and our determination to maintain them, they will vote to leave. We should encourage and support them in that decision. If Quebecers prefer to stay, we will be happy to have them as a part of our country, on Canada’s terms.

Persuading Canadians to support the Yes side rather than the No side in a Quebec referendum will require, it’s safe to say, a major change in our current attitudes and instincts. The first and most important question to be addressed is: Can there even be a Canada without Quebec? And my answer is: Yes, there can be a Canada without Quebec, a better Canada.

Over the years, many people have expressed their doubts about this. Lucien Bouchard, when he was premier of Quebec, stated categorically that the Rest of Canada is not a country. In a recent speech in Montreal, the eminent French intellectual Jacques Attali informed us that without Quebec Canada is just part of the United States.

Many patriotic Canadians seem to agree with Mr. Bouchard. Some cling to the theory that Canada is a partnership between “Two Founding Nations,” and if one of those nations is no longer around, then the partnership, by definition, can no longer exist. Canadians who oppose the “separatists” usually refer to themselves as “federalists,” seeming to leave out the possibility of a very nice federation with nine provinces and three territories. Some Albertans have suggested that if Quebec leaves, they will do the same thing, taking all their oil wells with them and bringing the rest of the country to its knees. So there is a lot of noise out there suggesting that Quebec is an essential ingredient in a life-­sustaining Canadian diet.

The principal objective of Time to Say Goodbye is to prove that this mindset is wrong. If it is not wrong, then we are truly in a mess, because it means that Quebec’s presence in the federation is the only thing that’s holding the rest of us together, and our future is therefore hostage to their priorities, their demands, their vision of things. I find this implausible — and unacceptable — and I hope you do too.

The importance of this question was brought home forcefully in March 2000, when Bill C-­20, commonly known as the “Clarity Bill,” was adopted by the Chrétien government. Based on an earlier Supreme Court decision, it established two important, and surprising, principles. It set out, in some detail, the procedures that must be followed if Quebec is to hold another referendum on sovereignty — the nature of the question, the majority required, and the negotiations that must follow. The relief this brought to all Canadians was palpable — we knew at last where we stood on an issue that had caused tension and anguish for a quarter of a century. And we had given the Rest of Canada a role in a process over which the separatists had always claimed a monopoly.

However, there was another part to the Supreme Court decision that was even more important, but that received little attention. The judges declared that Quebec — and any other province, for that matter — has the legal right to secede from Canada if certain conditions are met, our country thus becoming, in the words of Stéphane Dion, “the first major democratic state to acknowledge its divisibility by legal enactment.” To understand the magnitude of such a ruling, try to imagine it applied in the United States.

So Quebec can now legally separate itself from Canada, and we have established in considerable detail the procedures it must follow to do so. But we have not even begun to give a single collective thought to what we Canadians will be left with — who we are, what we do — the day after that happens. What about the Rest of Canada? No one knows.

This book tries to answer that question. It’s a reconfirmation of our ongoing existence — the discovery, the definition of a strong, healthy Canada that does not include Quebec.

Excerpted from Time to Say Goodbye: The Case for Getting Quebec Out of Canada by Reed Scowen
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
This item was reviewed in:
Globe & Mail, October 1999
Reference & Research Book News, February 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
A New Optionp. 1
A Short Note on the Authorp. 9
A Shocking Revelationp. 14
Bill 101: Claude Ryan to the Rescue!p. 19
A Competitive English Communityp. 27
The Two Founding Nationsp. 41
Quebec: A Nation-Statep. 50
On Moral Bondsp. 60
Canada: In Prosep. 71
Canada: No Founding Anythingp. 78
The Canadian Identity: A Moral Bondp. 86
The Republic and the Nationp. 95
The Process of Divestiturep. 103
Will the Rest of the Country Break Up?p. 110
The Future of the English in Quebecp. 115
How Do We Negotiate Divestiture?p. 124
How Do We Persuade Canadians That This Is a Good Idea?p. 135
How Can Quebec Be Removed from the Federation?p. 142
A Matter of the Heartp. 148
Notesp. 155
Bibliographyp. 165
Acknowledgementsp. 170
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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