By Craig Funston
Independence. It sounds good, looks good, and feels good. Well, sort of.
You think you get it when you move out of your parents’ home, and away from all their rules. It’s yours, maybe, when you get your driver’s license and later, your first car. They tell you independence happens when you get a real job and the financial independence that goes along with that. And it’s true that getting married could be a form of independence.
I say “independence” and you think of Crimea getting their “independence” from Ukraine. Or South Sudan from Sudan. Well, sort of. Closer to home–and the catalyst for today’s column–the independent faction in Quebec got their collective butts kicked in their recent election.
And that would include being handed to them on a platter, to be precise.
I’m not a politician nor the son of a politician, but I do follow public life issues. So I was interested in the outcome of last week’s election in Quebec, mostly because of this persistent burr in the federal saddle: Quebec’s push for a sovereign state within a federal dominion.
Provincial politics still intrigues me. If I ever got involved, I would embrace the conservative side of things (surprise, surprise)—you know, the fiscally, morally, educationally, and medically conservative side.
The term “conservative” has fallen on hard times these days: Those that carry the name are anything but (at least in most provinces); or, the name conjures up images of outdated policies, concrete thinking, and male chauvinism.
Sometimes that’s true, but mostly it’s political mudslinging.
To conserve really means to be cautious, constrained, and careful. We need that sort of leadership at every level in this country. Those are good principles when leading any jurisdiction—including the family.
Meanwhile, back in Quebec, our friends said “yes” to those conservative principles and “no” in a very big way to independence —or at least a referendum on Quebec sovereignty–by voting in a conservative government. It seems that common sense prevailed. The people, marked by an overwhelming fit of the greater good, have spoken, loudly and clearly.
The Liberal party that thumped the Parti Quebecois, so far as I know, is very much like the Liberal party of British Columbia, namely, more liberal than Conservative, but more conservative than Liberal. (Please note which words have the capitals; it actually does make sense.)
If you’re still confused, look at federal politics as an example: BC and Quebec’s Liberals would be somewhere between Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau—just to the right of centre.
Independence has a cost, and wiser heads prevailed in Quebec recently. Unseen costs and hitches plague every everyone who breaks away. Unknown demands and crises show up at one’s door on a regular basis. Unwelcomed pressure points are part and parcel of independence.
You’re probably saying, “Do you mean a kid leaving home or a province breaking away?”–and the answer is “Yes.”
You see, leaving one’s parents’ home is fun and exhilarating—for a few weeks—as is that newly- obtained driver’s license, the car, and the new job. Everything has a price, nothing is free, and euphoria is soon replaced by reality, freedom is trumped by tasks, and independence is supplanted by dependence.
Now, frame the above around any independence movement, and you get the picture.
Whether it’s Quebec or some African outpost, sometimes independence is a horrific pipe dream, with a steep price to pay. Some day we should examine the disaster of the African nations’ pursuit of independence, not only in terms of what they left behind, but what they have become.
It seems that the voters in Quebec may have learned that lesson in advance.