Strategy Page – The Next Failed State, by Austin Bay

If you don’t know about Canada’s crooked politicians, you’re not alone. Democracy and free speech are breaking out in Beirut, but they’re both taking a beating in Ontario. The Canadian government has a press clamp on an investigation into the ruling Liberal Party’s “Adscam” kickback scheme. A “judicial publication ban” is the term. It may soon rank with the Watergate rhetoric like “modified limited hang-out.” Canadian Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Paul Martin is implicated in the Adscam fiasco, and he’s starting to look like the northland’s Richard Nixon.

Then he names a certain website I cannot name.

But the point, which is actually a true one:

What happens to Canada if Quebec secedes? Canadians are once again pondering this question — live on the CBC — and given Canada’s status as America’s number one trading partner and continental neighbor, U.S. citizens should consider the ramifications.

Canadians in the western and maritime provinces already dread the political power of populous Ontario. (Quebec serves as a political balance to Ontario.) If Quebec bids adieu, “remnant” Canada’s political rules will be subject to revision. Subsequent regional bickering could lead to further fragmentation…

Here’s a thumbnail sketch of that analysis: Say Quebec does become a separate European-style nation-state — a “people” with cultural, linguistic, religious and historical identity (never mind the objections of Mohawk and Cree Indians living in Quebec). Quebec has the people and resources to make a go of it, though the economic price for its egotism will be stiff. British Columbia also has “nation-state” assets: Access to the sea, strong industrial base, raw materials and an educated population.

Oil-producing Alberta might join the United States and instantly find common political ground with Alaska, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. Canada’s struggling Atlantic provinces might find statehood economically attractive and extend the New England coastline. A rump Canada consisting of “Greater Ontario” — with remaining provinces as appendages — might keep the maple-leaf flag aloft. As for poor, isolated Newfoundland: Would Great Britain like to reacquire a North American colony?

Alberta is Texas with snow. We’d get along great with them. And maybe Newfoundland should become British. The New Dominion of Newfoundland. But anyway, he’s absolutely right. And considering that both Quebec City and Montreal are within the bottom 100th of Quebec, practically, there’s a lot of people living very isolated lives at the top, and might not want to go en masse.