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This Newfound Sense of Independence Is Brought to You By Alberta Oil Money

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Think of is as a bad news/good news/bad news proposition. Provided that you take Quebec Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Jean-Francois Lisee at his word.

The bad news (provided that you follow Lisee's line of thinking) is that support for sovereignty in Quebec is growing stronger, and accordingly Quebec may attempt to leave confederation. Lisee says a recent poll holds that support for separation has climbed to 44%, up three percent from this time in 2012.

The good news is that at least Alberta wouldn't be footing Quebec's bills anymore. You know the story quite well: Alberta annually pays billions of dollars into equalization. Quebec draws billions of dollars from that very program.

This leads us directly into the second bit of bad news, which is basically bad news for Quebeckers: Quebec now gets to foot its own bills. This with a government so committed to loony radicalism that it essentially refuses to develop Quebec's economy or, more pointedly, to allow private enterprise to develop Quebec's resources. Shale gas being a key example.

“The distance between Quebec and Canada is growing. It is as though at many levels Quebec is already independent in its mind, in its way of making decisions,” Lisee declared. Quite boldly for someone all too accustomed to someone else paying the bills for those decisions. In particular, Alberta. More specifically, with royalties earned from the sale of oilsands petroleum -- an industry that Quebec would quite happily see shut down cold.

Personally, I'd like to make a proposition of my own to Minister Lisee: if you think Quebec is becoming more independent, why not give it something of a test run? The rest of Canada -- Alberta in particular -- can put a halt to any equalization payments Quebec would otherwise receive. Let's see just how "independent" Quebec is when the rest of us aren't paying the tab.

Of course, I'd be just as happy to see Jean-Francois Lisee knock off all the talk about Quebec separatism for good. I really don't believe that Quebec loves Canada any less than ever before, or that the rest of Canada loves Quebec any less.

But I'd say we can get real sick of this Parti Quebecois government awfully quick.



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