Happier Quebec

Unfortunately, the perfectly serviceable slogan "If it ain't broke don't fix it" becomes "if it ain't fixed don't worry about it" where Quebec is the subject.

Just recall when it is that the world hears about the French-Canadian province. Invariably it's when separatism nears a boiling point in anticipation of a provincial trip to the polls.

The subject comes to mind just now because a recent public opinion poll of Quebec voters showed sentiment for separatism slipping. The early October survey reported 46 percent of Quebeckers would definitely vote against separating from Canada and another 13 percent would "probably" say no. Those who said they definitely would vote for independence numbered 23 percent, and an additional 18 percent said they would probably do so.

Remember that in the most recent actual referendum on independence, in 1995, "no" voters outnumbered separatists by a margin of just 50.6 percent to 49.4 percent.

All friends of Canadian unity can take heart at this gradual change of view. But it would seem only common political sense that the optimum time to cement this change by working quietly on improving inter-provincial relations is now when things are calm. Better now than when some perceived slight stirs up feelings of grievance once again.

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