This article was written in the wake of Lucien Bouchard’s move to the leadership of the Parti Quebecois and his vow to continue the long march toward Quebec independence. It was first published in the New Brunswick Herald Telegraph, January 17, 1996 as it appears below and again in The Gazette, Montreal, Monday, January 22, 1996 under the headline: Partition answer to irreconcilable differences.
Faced with the imminent arrival of Lucien Bouchard and his vow to complete the long march to independence, more and more Quebecers are coming to accept that they live in a deeply divided political society. Two radically different dreams are trapped in the confines of a single territory called Quebec.
The dominant political forces see a future independent, ethnic state, preserving a French-speaking culture which they view as unique and threatened by the English-speaking societies of North America. An indistinct opposition longs to return to a bilingual, liberal state supporting a cosmopolitan society in which the use of language and the free evolution of culture is a personal, family, business or neighborhood affair.
Neither of these political divisions is new, nor have they been played out on the modern historical stage without demonstrating their own particular strengths or inherent weaknesses. But two such adversarial concepts cannot live securely and comfortably under the same roof.