Editorial - The Barrie Examiner - What is all the national fuss about the Parti Quebecois leadership race?
One separatist is the same as another to the rest of Canada, whether it's Andre Boisclair or Gilles Duceppe or Pauline Marois.
Boisclair, of course, is no longer an issue - given that he resigned last week following the PQ's dismal performance in the last Quebec provincial election. Then Duceppe, leader of the Bloc Quebecois (the federal separatist party, an oxymoron if there ever was one), decided he was interested in being the PQ boss. Then Duceppe decided he'd rather not. Which leaves Marois, who has run unsuccessfully for the PQ's top job twice before. She is now the only declared candidate in the race.
Her first statement was to call upon party membership to put aside the timing of another referendum on independence.
Marois says the PQ must not become entangled in the mechanics of how to achieve sovereignty, and focus on explaining the reasons for leaving Canada. All of which is curious.
Included in the PQ's platform during the last Quebec election was a promise to hold another sovereignty referendum as soon as possible - if the party won. That the PQ had been crushed when all the votes were counted should have sent a clear message, and perhaps it did.
Quebecers are in no hurry to even vote on a separate Quebec, let alone have one.
The last one was in 1995, and the federalists won by a very narrow margin.
Since then other dates for referendums have come and gone - including one in 2001 pledged by former premier Lucien Bouchard and one in 2005 by Bernard Landry.
The reason, of course, is that PQ leaders obviously knew they couldn't win a referendum on separating Quebec from Canada.
If they the separatists (or sovereigntists) though they could win a referendum, they'd be having one right now.
So they're taking a different path to the same goal. Instead of talking about a referendum, they've decided to talk about why Quebec would be better off separating from Canada.
Which, quite correctly, puts the rest of the nation right to sleep. The rest of Canada simply no longer cares.
The perception outside Quebec is that Canadians already bend over backwards to appease Quebecers - the last federal budget being a prime example, even if it was only to buy BQ support.
Canada is officially bilingual, even though 95 per cent of Canadians outside Quebec speak English.
Yet our laws protect French-language rights from coast to coast.
There's even a tolerance for the BQ in the House of Commons, a tolerance for a political party which cares nothing for the national interest, only the interests of separatists in Quebec.
So from the point of view of Canadians outside Quebec, it matters little who leads the PQ or the BQ.
About the only good news is that the separatists have acknowledged there's no appetite for a referendum.
Getting hit hard over the head with that notion during the last Quebec election certainly helped.
But not much else has changed in Quebec politics, whatever its politicians would have the rest of Canada believe.