by Ryan Thorson

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TNM LAW: Texas and Lessons From Quebec Independence
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In another session of the TNM’s Legislative Action Workshop, moderator Claver Kamau-Imani welcomed author and researcher Jake G. Provencher for his talk on “The Road to Referendum: Quebec’s Two Independence Votes.”

Jake Provencher began by underscoring the importance of the Quebec independence movement and their referenda on independence from Canada, rating it just below the American and Mexican revolutions in order of rank in the world.

Jake was quick to point out that Quebec’s interest in independence comes more from their cultural/linguistic distinctiveness (being the only French province) than from political divergence from the Canadian government. Out of a concern to protect “the cultural foundation of the French language” from Anglo assimilation, Quebec has held two referenda on independence in 1980 and 1995.

Differing somewhat from UKIP, the British equivalent to the party representing Quebec independence, they actually became a major opposition party in Canada’s Parliament. And while this turn of events prompted concessions from the Canadian government (such as the “Official Languages Act”), it didn’t result in the full sovereignty of the province. The effect of this and the multiple failures to secure independence at the ballot box have made Quebecers somewhat “fed-up” with their independence parties.

In addition to his analysis on Quebec’s independence movement, Provencher drew some parallels between it and Texas. “What Quebec and Texas share,” said Jake, “in relation to the countries they currently belong to is that sort-of powerhouse dynamic to the country. Quebec and Texas are among the most important areas of the country that they currently belong to, if not THE most important.” Both countries produce sustained budget surpluses, windfalls in revenues from tax-cuts, and account for a substantial percentage of their host union’s GDP. Unfortunately, as opposed to countries like Great Britain, both Canada and Texas have no generations alive that remember independence. While Texas has a great national pride in their revolutionary heritage, political autonomy still is a past, distant thing, and this remoteness is sometimes an impediment to achieving independence.

Jake is currently working on a book comparing the pursuit of TEXIT to Quebec’s own referenda. Besides the previously mentioned economic considerations, Provencher also recognizes similarities in their respective over-representation in the armed forces, their cultural nationalism/primary identification with their state/province, and the dubious propriety of the annexation/conquest of their state/province. “Culturally, politically, and economically there exists some very strong similarities between the two,” noted Provencher.

You can watch the entire session below.


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