“Former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says Quebec “eventually” will become an independent country and that a victory for Scottish separatists in an expected 2014 referendum will launch a new effort by Quebec nationalists to fulfil their sovereignist dream.
Ignatieff, an author and academic who left the Liberal leadership after his party was badly beaten in the 2011 election, made the comments in an interview being broadcast Monday on BBC Scotland.
He also said Quebec and the rest of Canada have little to say to each other and that the two already are “almost” separate countries.
Ignatieff told BBC Scotland that devolution of central powers, whether from London to Edinburgh or from Ottawa to Quebec City, likely will be only temporary.
“It’s a kind of way station. You stop there for a while, but I think the logic eventually is independence — full independence,” Ignatieff said in an interview in his home last month.
Asked by interviewer Glenn Campbell if he was referring to Quebec as well as Scotland, Ignatieff replied: “I think eventually that’s where it goes.”
The only area where “the union still holds together” is in fiscal and monetary policy, he said.
“But the problem here is we don’t have anything to say to each other anymore,” he added. “There’s a kind of contract of mutual indifference which is very striking for someone of my generation.”
Noting that he speaks French, Ignatieff said he couldn’t imagine Canada without Quebec.
“But that’s not the way most English Canadians now think of their country. They might have done 30 or 40 years ago when we thought we could live together in this very strange hybrid country called Canada.
“Now effectively . . . we’re almost two separate countries. Although Quebec does not have sovereignty it acts domestically almost as if it did, and that I think has produced this strange reality that I don’t think most Canadians I’m thinking of are happy about.”
Ignatieff, describing the United Kingdom as one of the oldest multinational states in the world, said a ‘yes’ vote for independence in Scotland will have reverberations around the world.
“I think if Scotland goes independent a lot of other smaller nations in Europe will start accelerating their quest for independence,” singling out national minorities in Spain and Belgium.”
Meanwhile the BBC is reporting that the:
“…SNP has sought advice from Quebec nationalists ahead of the referendum on independence for Scotland.
The SNP’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, travelled to Canada last summer to consult key figures in the Parti Québecois, which wants independence for the province.
The Quebec nationalists have fought and lost two referendums.
The last one was in 1995, where they fell just 53,000 votes short.
The SNP is keen to learn lessons to help the party win in 2014.
Two former premiers of the province say they were consulted, but it is not just the SNP which is drawing on the Quebec experience.
A senior Downing Street adviser also visited the dominion as the UK government considered its response to plans for a vote on Scottish independence.”
- More Parallels Between Québec, Scotland And Beyond (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Québec Nationalism On The Rise Again? (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Ignatieff warns of Canadian breakup – Toronto Star (thestar.com)
- Scottish independence: SNP ready to vote on ditching Nato policy (scotsman.com)