Should Quebec Separate?
Quebec should not separate from Canada, because it will negatively affect Canada. The country will lose great amounts of revenue from the popular tourism industry of Quebec; it will also lose a good portion of its land and people. Finally, it will lose even more revenue from Quebec’s immensely powerful natural resource industry. Quebec is a province with rich cultural history and beautiful land to explore. The capital city alone has many festivals and events that attract nearly 5 million tourists every year, with almost 1 million of those coming from countries other than Canada (Quebec City Tourism, 2016). In 2012, the Quebec City Tourism industry employs 24,100 people with full-time jobs, according to Quebec City Tourism (2016). The Government of Quebec posted that also in 2012 the tourism industry of the whole province brought in an economic impact of a little more that $7.3 billion (2015). All of these numbers helped contribute to the $78.8 billion that Canada earned in 2011 from tourism spending, says the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and Visa Canada (2012).
If Quebec were to separate, Canada would lose that $7.3 billion which would be helping to pay off our debt of $1.2 trillion. Our debt is huge and every square kilometer of Quebec’s history-rich land is helping to pay it off; and there’s a lot of those kilometers.
Canada has prided itself in being a bilingual country since 1969, when the Official Languages Act was passed. The Canadian Encyclopedia says that Quebec is the largest province of Canada, making up 15.5% of the country’s total land.
Along with losing 1.5 million square kilometers of land, which would drop Canada own to the sixth largest country, it would lose 8.5 million people of its 32 million person population. Among the 8.5 million, there are the first inhabitants of Quebec, the Algonquin, the Iroquoian, and the Eskimo-Aleut. Aboriginal leaders have expressed their disinterest in a sovereign Quebec and are doing everything in their power to remain in Quebec (Global Economics, 2015). They’re opposed due to the fact that if Quebec separates, they take all of the Aboriginal land without permission. In 2014, a CBC poll found that the aboriginal people are among the 61% of Quebecois are against Quebec separating. One of the more obvious reasons, is the economic toll it will take on the country and the province.
The province of Quebec is a large producer of pulp and paper, with their forestry industry bringing in an annual turnover of around $15.7 billion and the Quebec Employers Council says that in 2014, Quebec’s mining and minerals industry brought in $8.7 billion (2015). Within the natural resources industry of Quebec, the GDP per worker was considerably higher than the number for the industry as a whole. GDP per worker in forestry sector was 16% higher and in the mining and minerals sector it was 75% higher, showing that these sectors are very productive. The forest industry produces shipments valued at more than $18 billion and pulp and paper shipments being valued at $11 billion. Canada is in the top ten countries with the highest GDPs and 11% of that is from Quebec’s natural resources. Their strongest renewable resource is their hydroelectricity.
The government of Quebec is the sole owner of Hydro-Quebec, which is the largest generating company in the world, therefore making Quebec the largest electricity producer in Canada as well (Financial Post). The province’s natural resource export business contributes to a lot of Canada’s GDP and the annual income of the country, if they separate the country loses a whole lot of money. The province of the Quebec should not become sovereign because Canada will lose too much. It will lose a lot of revenue from tourism in Quebec, it will lose 15.5% of its land and 25% of its populations and even more revenue from Quebec’s large natural resource industry.