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Timeline (Farewell My Canada)

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1995

30 October

  • The Referendum on Quebec's sovereignty is won with a narrow margin: 50.58% "Yes" against 49.42% "No"

Notes : The result has simply been inverted compared to *here*. Considering the difference is one of a few thousands of vote, the divergence is probably a results of a few factors (for example, post facto, it was found that around 56,000 had been illegally registered, mainly is predominantly "NO" circumscriptions. Also, a former cabinet minister has admitted that the provincial government placed so called "hardliners" at polling stations in mainly federalist areas with the expectation they would reject a higher proportion of "NO" ballots).

  • Jacques Parizeau, Quebec Premier and leader of the "Yes" side, declare victory.

In his victory speech, he calls on everyone to come together irrespective of how they vote. He promise to give autonomy to the 11 native tribes of Quebec and to enshrine the rights of the anglophone community in a future Quebec constitution. He also emphasize that the current vote was for negotiation on the terms by which Quebec would separate and not immediate independence. He gives roughly a period of a year until it happen.

Parizeau names Lucien Bouchard as chief negotiator for the Province. In what Parizeau deem "the spirit of coming together", he also offer that Daniel Johnson (leader of the Quebec Liberal Party) name 3 negotiators of his own choosing to represent the Official Opposition and assist Bouchard during negotiation.

  • Parizeau's declaration is quickly followed by a televised speech by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien stating: "We have understood the message, but it is not to break the country. We have work to do, but it is not to break the country. We have problems to solve but not by breaking the country."

Notes : This is similar to a speech prepared for the prime minister in the event of a "Yes" victory.

31 October

  • Orders are sent to army commanders in Quebec to send troops to federal installations in an effort to prevent a "Sovereignist Takeover". To avoid negative reactions, troops are sent in unmarked vehicles and keep a low profile. When questioned regarding the deployment, the Minister maintain that troops are there only to prevent vandalism from celebrating sovereignists.

Notes : A recent book on Jean Chretien (Canadian Prime Minister at the time) quote David Colonette (Minister of Defence at the time) as saying he had consider such a thing.

  • A carefully worded press release from the French government announce it recognise the vote's result. The short dispatch avoid any mention of independence reiterating the government position of "Non-interference but Non-Indifference".

1 November

  • In the Federal Commons, the Prime Minister reiterate that it is his responsibility to protect the Canadian constitution and that he will use all its power to defend it. He also maintain that he believes that between 30 to 40% of yes voters must have misunderstood what he call an "ambiguous" question and that such a small winning minority means nothing anyway.

Notes : Similar comments were made in interviews after the referendum.

  • Parizeau table a bill at the National Assembly of Quebec on eventual sovereignty. He also respond to Chretien that if Ottawa is unwilling to recognise the result of the referendum and negotiate in good faith, he will have no alternative but to declare sovereignty unilaterally.

Notes : Based on comments made by Parizeau regarding the aftermath of a "Yes" victory.

  • Excerpts of a speech made in 1991 by Canadian Army Chief John de Chastelain is published by a few of the large national newspapers. In it, he had said that "The Canadian Armed Forces' role is not to fight to preserve the unity of a country which we did not have the common sense or the will to maintain otherwise". The general had also stated that apart from invoking a State of Apprehended Insurrection, it would be impossible for the Canadian government to legitimately deploy troops in Quebec.
  • The value of the Canadian dollar begins to fall. Interest rate rise.

Notes : Economical markets have always had a problem with perceived political instability. It is not so much the idea of a "YES" victory that have made people nervous in the past as much as the uncertainty regarding the Canadian (and international) reaction to it.

2 November

  • While condemning Parizeau's mention of Unilateral independence, Daniel Johnson (Quebec's opposition leader) ask Ottawa not to ignore the result of the vote. Later in the Day, Jean Charest (Vice-president of the No side and Leader of the Progressive-Conservative Party) send a similar press release reminding all that he had pledged to recognize a simple majority.

Notes : Unlike the Federal Prime Minister, both Charest and Johnson had stated during the campaign they would honour a "YES" majority.

3 November

  • Rumours begin to circulate regarding trouble within the Liberal Party of Canada. According to these, some members had been putting pressure on the Prime Minister not only to recognize the vote but also to step down since it was felt a prime minister from Quebec couldn't legitimately negotiate on the rest of Canada's behalf. When asked, Chretien refuse to comment on the rumours but state that he would not resigned under any circumstances.

Notes :

  • Here* there was a meeting held 8 days before the referendum attended by some of the non-Quebec born federal minister. The subject was the possibility of a Yes victory and its aftermath. Brian Tobin is reported to have mentioned his opinion that a Prime Minister from Quebec (where Jean Chretien was born, raised and elected) would have no legitimacy in negotiations with the rest of Canada.

December

  • The Republic of Texas Provisional Government calls for a referendum on the status of Texas as a State of the United States of America.

Notes : The same group *here* claim that Texas voted four to one to separate from the USA in 1861 and is thus an "occupied country".

1996

  • A motion of non-confidence takes down the federal government with the support of some of the Liberal backbenchers who fear Chretien's intransigence will only lead to chaos as the dollar continue to plunge. Some of those who have crossed the floor declare themselves independent MPs. Under pressure from their own parties, most of the non-bloc Quebec MPs resign from their party.
  • An early federal election is called in which the Liberal Party of Canada is all but wiped out. The Progressive-Conservative make a comeback in Ontario. The prairies is solidly Reform, the Maritimes, Democrats. In Quebec the majority of the seats go to either Bloc Quebecois or independent MPs as the three other major federal parties chose not to field candidates of their own. A few predominantly English speaking ridings elect candidates from a new entity called the Unity Party which is staffed largely by Equality Party members and ex-liberals. The UP call for Canada to annex parts of Quebec (the outaouais, Eastern Township and metropolitan regions) upon its independence.
  • With financial backing from various groups, Quebec lawyer and avowed federalist Guy Bertrand ask the Supreme Court to give its opinion as to the constitutional legality of a province separating. After months of deliberation, a unanimous decision is rendered stating that nothing in the constitution allow or disallow independence and that in the absence of any clear statute, negotiations would have to be undertaken between both parties neither of which can have any a priori guaranteed expectation as to its outcome.
  • Inspired by events up north, activists in the US states of Washington, Oregon & Idaho start again to promote the idea of their states seceding and joining with British Columbia to form what they dubbed "the Ecotopic Republic of Cascadia". They base their idea on a shared bioculture and outlook completely different from their prairies neighbours and respective federal government.

1997

  • Some of the Canadian regional parties openly talk about separation of their own provinces to achieve either independence or annexation by the USA.
  • With the end of negotiations, the date for the hand-over of federal power is fixed, for symbolic reasons, on the 24th of june (the traditional "National Holiday" of Quebec). On that day, the federal MPs representing Quebec hand in their official resignations.
  • The Puerto Rico independence movement gain in popularity.

1998

  • A referendum in Puerto Rico result in the nation adopting a looser association with the USA.
  • After a referendum, Alberta declare its intention to separate from Canada. The campaign was mostly motivated from economical factors (such as refusal to participate anymore in the perequation program) and a perceived drift between the conservative political leaning of Alberta and the rest of Canada. Reform party MPs from the province resign leading to the eventual demise of the party in federal politic.

2001

  • After years of building links between themselves, the Canadian province of British Columbia as well as the US states of Washington, Oregon & Idaho are now in most aspect an independent country. British Columbia declares itself independent but the US states delay after threats of legal or possibly military actions.

Notes : Unlike the Canadian constitution, the US one is quite clear in forbidding secession of one of its state. This incidentally wouldn't affect Puerto Rico as it is officially a "freely associate" entity and not a member state.

==2003==
  • The remaining Canadian provinces create the Confederation Council to largely replace the discredited Federal government. The new, looser confederation is meant to prevent further separation by giving an increase amount of autonomy to the Provinces. The only power to remain in the hands of the federal (as opposed to the confederal) government will be foreign diplomacy and the military. To address the difference in provincial population, the Council adopt a reform of the (now elected) senate based on regional population (as opposed to a fixed number per province).
  • As part of the reorganisation of Canada, the northern part of Ontario (after a vote) becomes a new province under the name of Aurora. There were original calls for joining with Manitoba but due to a negative backlash from southern Ontario, the government of Manitoba refused the initiative. New-Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland join together as the Maritime Province. All 3 territories are elevated to provincehood.

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