Montréal and Toronto, additionnal notes.

The number of head offices located in Toronto was already growing fast by the 30s, well before the rise of separatism.

One also sees that, after 1961, the number of head offices located in "other places" is also decreasing at a rate quite similar to Montreal’s. I would argue that it is because Toronto drained from Montreal but also from abroad since the metropolis of a country takes advantage of being the metropolis. (If there is ever one national financial market regulation agency, guess where it will be located? St-Jean New Brunswick? Guess again…)

(The first Montréal and Toronto post is here.)

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36 Réponses to “Montréal and Toronto, additionnal notes.”

  1. John Krug Says:

    Guess where the national securities regulator will be located? Please explain what your point is.

    • Michel Patrice Says:

      Mr Krug,

      You are right, my reference to national securities regulator wasn’t clear.

      I meant that if there is ever a national securities regulator, it will be located in Toronto. I will be so since Toronto is the financial center of Canada.

      My point is that the economic center of a country tend to attract government agencies, national agencies, head offices of large corporations, more immigrants from other countries and from other regions of the country, and so on. When a city reaches a given size, its size becomes in itself a force of attraction which fuels even more the growth of the city.

      And this is why Toronto attracts (or attracted) population and economic activity from not only Montréal but also from every regions of Canada, and today, one canadian out of five live in the Golden Horseshoe.

      (So, on the graph, one can see the "others" line decreasing at about the same rate than Montréal’s rate, since Toronto attracts from every regions, accept Calgary in this instance, because of oil. Geography again.)

      One of Jane Jacobs’s theory is that, over time, in a given nation, the economic center of the nation strengthens its position while other regional cities fade into regionalisation.

      Michel Patrice

      P.S. So far, you told me that Québec is bigot, petty, fascistic, absurd, that it was some sort of apartheid South Africa, you lectured me on the october crisis, you said that some of my remarks were shameful. But today, for the first time, you are simply asking me to explain my point of view, no insult, no judgment. That’s nice.

  2. John Krug Says:

    Michel,

    I stand by my comments about Quebec. Generally, you avoid the point I make and I have yet to see you disprove any of my comments.

    As you may discern, I feel very strongly about what has occurred in Quebec since long before you were born. This is why I and hundreds of thousands of Quebecers have left Quebec. Rene Levesque said that the English and the French were like two scorpions in a bottle. While I respect you as an individual I think that your belief system premised on collective rights makes your opinions fundamentally inflexible.

    In any event, what I have been wondering about is if you as a sovereigntist have given any thought to what would happen if Quebec voters actually answered yes to a clear question. For example:

    - would Quebec be partitioned?

    – would Quebec expect to automatically be a party to NAFTA or would it have to negotiate new terms with Canada, the U,S, and Mexico?

    - what currency would Quebec use and, if it were the Canadian dollar, would Quebec seriously expect to have any input on Canadian fiscal and monetary policy?

    - would Quebec have its own armed forces (at least for disaster relief) and, if so, how would it acquire weapons, equipment and experienced personnel?

    - how many more Quebecers would leave taking their present and future skills with them?

    - how many companies would leave Quebec ( I recall Jacques Parizeau’s naive comment that Quebec would force companies to have a head office in Quebec, as if the personnel would remain)?

    - would Quebec be able to afford to have embassies and consulates where Canada currently does (i can see the Pequistes lining up for these cushy jobs)?

    - would Quebec duplicate all the federal government departments, crown corporations and agencies?

    -what would Quebec’s balance sheet look like?

    – what rating would the rating agencies assign to the debt of Quebec and its "crown" corporations and what effect would this have on Quebec’s debt and the rates of corporate and personal taxes that Quebec companies and residents would be subject to?

    These are some examples of the numerous issues that Quebec would face.

    Do you consider these issues to be surmountable?

    In view of the increasing numbers of allophones in Quebec and therefore the virtual certainty that a referendum will never receive a yes vote, do you think there is any purpose to being a sovereigntist and, if so, what is it?

    I welcome your thoughts.

    • Michel Patrice Says:

      I know that you stand by your comments on Québec and I can see that you have indeed strong feelings about Québec. And (correct me if I am wrong) if you felt you had to leave Québec, leaving behind friends, family and a city that you once enjoyed living in, I can understand your strong feelings. This is essentialy what I wrote in On, A Moving Documentary (http://michelpatrice.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/moving-on-a-moving-documentary/)
      .
      You raise many interesting questions to which I have of course given thought. You have many questions and most of them demand a more or less long answer. You will forgive me for sometimes providing links in order to avoid retyping things that I have already said. I will try over the next few days to answer your questions.

      #1 Would our territory be partionned?

      A lot have been written about this. It is all about long, boring and technical legal debates, we could argue about this pointlessly for years. Two english canadian analysts have given some thought to it too in Dividing the House. Their conlusion is :

      "It would be in our best interest to indicate from the beginning that we are willing to accept the existing provincial boundaries of Quebec as the boundaries of the new state of Quebec provided that Quebec surrenders forever all claims to Labrador and agrees to reasonable maritime boundaries and the right of passage through its territory. Though it might make us feel better to lash out by stirring up internal dissent within Quebec, it would be unconscionable to mislead Anglophone and particularly aboriginal groups to believe that if they make enough of a fuss, we will come to their aid and help them to secede from Quebec. Promising this kind of support could only be backed by threatening to use force. Any resulting violence could poison relations between Quebec and Canada for many a year. Even worse, it could serve as a trigger for a more serious direct confrontation between Canada and Quebec."

      You can read the full chapter here : http://global-economics.ca/dth.chap6.htm

      And their conclusion about partition in the context of native issues is :

      "Canadians will have to be careful about what we pressure Quebec to do. Aboriginal people living in Canada will expect no less from us than what we champion for Quebec natives. Aboriginal self-government and land claims are far too complex to be settled quickly at the same time as the country is trying to come to grips with the separation of Quebec. A hasty and ill-conceived attempt at resolution would only add to the centrifugal forces that will have to be resisted to keep the rest of Canada strong and united.

      There are many higher-stake issues, such as the division of the debt, and trade and monetary relations, that need to be resolved. An early acceptance by Canada of the territorial boundaries of an independent Quebec would enable us to get down more quickly to the hard business of settling these bread-and-butter issues as part of a package deal that would include territorial recognition."

      You can read the full chapter here : http://global-economics.ca/dth.chap7.htm

      #2 Would Quebec expect to automatically be a part to NAFTA?

      Automatically? No. This new NAFTA would need some negociations. The USA want a free trade agreement that covers all americas from Argentina to the North Pole, thinking that they would want a free trade agreement that would cover all americas but not Québec is odd.

      Québec trade with the USA is larger than USA trade with Brazil and Argentina together. If USA are interested in free trade with Brazil (they were when supporting FTAA…), they might be interested in free trade with Québec.

      Would they keep Québec out to please their long term friend and ally Canada? The USA are known to act in their own self interest. They did not bend over to please their long term friend during the softwood lumber dispute and the mad cow desease crisis. If Canada wants the USA to keep Québec out, what will it give in in exchange? Give up the Canadian Content Act? Give up the Canadian Wheat Board? Will Canada have to join another american war to please the americans (against Iran? China? who knows…) Americans will not scratch Canada’s back for free.

      And also, one has to remember that Ontario sells for over 20 billions in Québec yearly, Ontario’s self interest is to continue to trade with Québec, both selling and buying products and services.

      Of course, Ontarians will be very upset at first and could be unwilling to trade with Québec simply to get a revenge. Maybe. But one also has to think that many companies in Ontario are local branches of american companies. (Most of my suppliers in Ontario are local branches of american suppliers.) Will the american owners of a local branch take the punishment of the rebel province as a excuse not to meet sales targets?…

      Both Québec and Canada will have a mutual interest to trade. Canadians will be upset. But states have no feelings, only interests (Montesquieu I believe…).

      (This is it for today. I will come back later this week with your other questions.)

      Have a nice day.

      Michel

    • Michel Patrice Says:

      #3 What currency would Quebec use and, if it were the Canadian dollar, would Quebec seriously expect to have any input on Canadian fiscal and monetary policy?

      We already use the canadian dollar, and continuing using it is our preferred option.

      Would Quebec seriously expect to have any input on Canadian fiscal and monetary? Of course not. (Fiscal policy is one thing and has nothing to do with monetary policy.) We would have our own monetary policy which would concist simply in raising our interest rate when Canada would raise his and lower it when Canada lowers it. It would be some kind of defensive mimesis. It might look stupid, but Canada does essentially the same thing, when the USA raise their interest rate, Canada does the same, when they lower it, Canada does the same. Do not overestimate your independence regarding your own monetary policy. (And yes, if we use the american dollar, we would not have any input on the american monetary policy either.)

      Could we use the canadian dollars? Today, I use canadian dollars, and I have sometimes used american dollars, sometimes pesos, all I had to do was to go to a bank and ask the lady to exchange my canadian dollars for whatever I wanted. If you want my canadian dollars what will give me in exchange? Just like if you want my house, what will you give me in exchange? It is the same thing.

      Canada could keep Québec from using the canadian dollar by forbidding the circulation of canadian dollars outside of its borders, which would be a problem for a country trading worlwide.

      I now own a certain amount of canadian dollars, if I can’t use it anymore, I will exchange them for something else (american dollars, euros, gold, a new Québec currency, whatever…) I wonder what would happen to the value of the canadian dollar if every quebecker sold all his canadian dollars for american dollars at the same time. It is not a threat, since we do own a fair amount of canadian dollars, it is also in our own interest that it keeps a good value, and it is also in the best interest of Canada that the canadian dollar keeps a good value.

      I have a question too : would you not want Québec to continue using the canadian dollar? I am not playing smart ass, it is a honest question.

      I have always thought that we would better keep the canadian dollar. But I don’t know for sure now. Because of the Dutch desease (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_disease), I sometimes think that we might be better to use the american dollar and since the USA are now our first trade partners, why not?

      #4 Would Quebec have its own armed forces (at least for disaster relief) and, if so, how would it acquire weapons, equipment and experienced personnel?

      Opinions about the size of the army that we should have differ. But there is a general understanding that we would not buy dozens of jet and fregates. (And also, it will be possible to choose between a jet fighter or a hospital, now we don’t have that choice since these spendings are planned in two different budgets, each of them being decided by two different governments.)

      But I guess that your question is more about how we will pay for it. In fact, we already pay for an army : the canadian army. Roughly, one fifth of the federal budget comes from taxes from Québec, so we pay for roughly one fifth of the canadian army, so could afford an army that would be one fifth of the size of the canadian army.

      This raises two questions :

      1. When assuming that we could still pay the same amount, one assumes that independence will not bring an economic apocalypse. So the question is : will we be able to make a living on our own? So asking if we will be able to afford an army, ambassies, pensions, and so on is irrelevant, the true question is will we be able to make a living?

      2. Will this army one fifth the size of the canadian army be large enough? No army will be large enough to stand up to the american army, it is pointless to even try. Will it be enough to stand up to the canadian army? Interesting question. The swiss army was much smaller than the german army, yet, it was just large enough to make think Germany think twice before stepping on the swiss territory.

      How will we find experienced personnel? There is already a large number of quebeckers that are now serving or have served in the canadian army. After loosing one fifth of its GDP, Canada will most probably find its army overstaffed and will also probably find problematic to have an army out of which one fifth to one quarter of its soldiers are from Québec. One can think that many of those quebeckers will be available.

      Goodnight for now,

      Michel

  3. Anonyme Says:

    You cannot see the fact that except for Montreal, ALL other big cities have a growing numbers?

    • Yannick Says:

      Vancouver has been kind of stagnating actually, and "all other cities" has also gone down.

      Calgary has the advantage of sitting on top of a gigantic puddle of oil, I don’t think it’s fair to compare it to Montreal or Toronto.

      • Michel Patrice Says:

        Calgary has indeed a context of its own (but then again, don’t every city has a context of its own?). On the graph, there is a line for Calgary simply because I took the figures from a table from Mark Levine’s The Reconquest of Montreal, the table provided figures for Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and "others".

        Michel

        P.S. Do you know that the argument about Montreal, Toronto and geography on No Dogs or Anglophones is still going on? It’s insane…

        • Yannick Says:

          I no longer read that blog, it was depressing me too much. I expect people to react to differing viewpoints with logic, patience, and explanations. Not ad hominems and strawmen.

  4. Michel Patrice Says:

    #5 How many more Quebecers would leave taking their present and future skills with them?

    Will french quebeckers leave (around 80% of the population)? I we assume a Yes victory, then more than 60% of them (if assume that anglos and majority of allos voted no) would have voted Yes and those would probably not leave. Those who would leave, where would they go? In the rest of Canada where they will most probably face hate and resentment? In the US? English canadians who are some sort of american with MediCare (I am of course simplifying…) do not see how the US are a totally alien society to us. In France? Nothing is ever simple with ever nitpicking frenchmen, immigrating to France is not so easy.

    What about anglos? Some will leave. Many, I don’t know. In 1976, some left but most remained. Will Anglos who keep saying and thinking that it will never happen, have a plan or will they have to leave in a hurry? Did you ever sell a house? Do you get a better or a lower price when your are in a hurry to leave? And what if every house on every street in your neighborhood is for sale? The house is often a family largest’s asset. Will many of those wanting to leave take some time to wait and see since they can’t sell the house right now? Probably. And they might see that the sun will set again on the next morning.

    The majority of anglos did not leave after 1976. Today, the young generation speaks both french and english. Many of them say that they are not quebecker nor canadian, they say they are Montrealers. If find it interesting, they don’t say that they are quebecker, it would be some how negating what they are just like saying that I am canadian would be negating my "quebeckness", yet they seem to be not as canadian other canadians, they might have stronger bonds to Montreal than you imagine. (I would like to hear from young anglos about this.)  This is for the young generation.

    But I am told that the anglo population is aging. Will those over 50 leave? They still have to work and it not so easy to find a job when you are over 50. I know, I have seen my father looking for a job in his late forties, some think that you are too old, some think that they won’t be able to pay you what you are worthed. It not so easy to start over in a new job, in a new place, making new friends, when you reach a certain age. And is it time to leave when your own children start to have children of their own? My mother lived at a 12 hours drive from me and, though she felt it would be nice to see each other more often, it was ok, but as soon as my first daughter was born, that distance became unbearable overnight to my mother, she moved to Québec City. So maybe some of those who want to leave will wait and see only to discover that quebeckers who voted yes and who now rule the political agenda are the same quebeckers along which they lived peacefully for decades and not the foaming at the mouth anglo haters depicted in the english canadian mythology. 

    Some will leave. I wish they would not. But if someone is unwilling to participate in our society, if one thinks that he will never be happy in Québec and wants to leave, so be it. It’s a free country.

    #6 How many companies would leave Quebec ( I recall Jacques Parizeau’s naive comment that Quebec would force companies to have a head office in Quebec, as if the personnel would remain)?

    Answering question #2, I explained why I think that we would be able to sustain a  livable economy. With this question, you probably refer to the idea that companies and investors do not like political instability and would leave Québec.

    Yes companies do not like instability. So would they leave to settle in the rest of Canada?

    After a Yes vote, Canada would face strong centrifugal forces. As long as the negaciations are not over, Canada will be stuck with its debt (the federal debt in under the name of Canada, not under the name of Québec…) and will have lost one fifth of its workforce. What taxe load will be spread over the rest of Canada to make for the lost 45 billions in taxes coming from Québec? The maritimes will be worried to be left isolated and they will want to have a say in the negociations. You can expect Newfoundland to be quite vocal.

    Alberta who always complain about being to one to pay for everyone and who resent being ruled by central Canada, will want to have a say in the negociations. And if it looks like Québec could leave without paying its fair share of the debt, guess who will think about leaving too, leaving Canada stuck with the debt?

    Manitoba will want to be reassured about the ability of the federal government to maintain the equalization payments that they get. They might be disappointed with the elusive answers that they might get.

    If Canada needs to modify its constitution, you can expect natives to want to have a say, they have territorial claims. And if there is talks about natives in Québec partionning Québec territory to have their own territory, you can expect trouble from natives in Canada.

    Some people on Bay Street will be worried to see quebeckers witdraw their assets from now foreign canadian banks (estimated to 200 billions, figure from 1997). Local branches of american corporations will see the canadian market as one fifth smaller overnight.

    Canada would turn into a "foire d’empoignes", nothing that looks like political stability. Companies would leave Québec to settle in this mad house? Maybe, maybe not.

    Meanwhile, in Québec, there would be a government who would suddenly be in control of all its powers and means. In Québec, power would no longer be torn between two governments with two different agendas.

    Québec is a small society and one of its strenght is its ability to speak and act as one. What can we accomplish when we act as one in a common goal? We can accomplish something like building the largest electricity company in the world, carry electrical power over impossible distances and build a reservoir that can be seen from space.

    I remember a recent article from LesAffaires.com about the success of Québec City and the shortcomings of Montréal : http://www.lesaffaires.com/archives/generale/relancer-montreal-en-suivant-l-exemple-de-quebec/538084

    According to the article, two things explained the success of Québec City : 
    vision and cohesion. Vision is having a goal, cohesion is acting as one. So it seems that acting as one in a common goal goes a long way.

    #7 Would Quebec be able to afford to have embassies and consulates where Canada currently does (i can see the Pequistes lining up for these cushy jobs)?

    …and I can see english quebeckers whinning that they are excluded from these cushy jobs because of our supposed ethnocentrism.

    #8 Would Quebec duplicate all the federal government departments, crown corporations and agencies?

    Absolutely not.

    We will not duplicate federal departments, we will not duplicate federal finance department, we already have a finance department, we will not duplicate health department or stat canada, we already have a health department and Statistic Québec.

    Not only we will not duplicate what we already have, there are things that only the federal does that we will not duplicate. So we would have a smaller government. Do you think that our two actual governments are too small? too large? or just the right size? I personnaly believe that they are too large, so it would a good opportunity to down size it.

    #9 What would Quebec’s balance sheet look like?

    My What Would We Do Without Equalization Payments post might answer your question : http://michelpatrice.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/what-would-we-do-without-equalization-payment/

    #10 a) What rating would the rating agencies assign to the debt of Quebec and its “crown” corporations …

    The question of the debt is interesting. Québec, within Canada, is the most indebted. However, Québec as an independant country would be in better position than the average of OECD countries. Strange paradox, isn’t it?

    Here are figures from 2009. They take into account the total debt of all the public sector, they take into account our share of the federal debt and take into account the assets of each country (standard method for comparing debt of different countries.) (Example of asset : Hydro-Québec, the Caisse de Dépots, SAQ, Lotto Québec…).

    So, in 2009, in % of GDP :
    Italy          97.4
    Japan 96.5
    Greece 86.1
    Belgian 81.3
    Hungaria 58.8
    USA 56.4
    Portugal 55.6
    France 53.1
    Europe 51.7
    Germany 50.2
    OECD average 50.2
    UK 46.9
    Québec 40.5
    Island 35.4
    Spain 33.2
    Canada (2007)) 23.1

    (http://www2.lactualite.com/jean-francois-lisee/tir-groupe-sur-la-dette-nette-le-quebec-cigale-ou-fourmi/2945/)

    Strange isn’t it?

    Of course, we have a large debt. But at world scale, we are more or less normal. Should we do something about it? Of course we should. (And I think that we should do something about it ourselves rather than letting do it by a government that is quite happy to be able to reach a majority whithout Québec.)

    Today, rating agencies are lowering the rating of France and other european countries, they are warning Ontario, but not Québec. I know, I know, we have a good credit rating because we are in Canada. (Ontario is in Canada too…)

    Have a nice day,

    Michel

  5. John Krug Says:

    Michel,

    I am looking forward to your response to the second to last paragraph of my comments.

  6. Michel Patrice Says:

    Mr Krug,

    You asked : "In view of the increasing numbers of allophones in Quebec and therefore the virtual certainty that a referendum will never receive a yes vote, do you think there is any purpose to being a sovereigntist and, if so, what is it?"

    Since 2004, a majority of quebeckers see themselves as quebeckers first or quebeckers only, this percentage rose constantly for the last 30 years. Today, 60% of quebeckers see themselves as quebecker first or only, this figure includes every quebeckers, francos, anglos, allos. (This is from a Jack Jewab’s study, it was reported in The Gazette, article no longer available I believe.)

    In 1980, this percentage was around 40%, and the result of the vote was 40% ; in 1995, this percentage was 50%, the result of the vote was 50% ; today, it is 60%.

    Le Devoir Michel David reports this week support for sovereignty at 43% (according to Léger Marketing), essentialy unchanged since april 2011, so the strange may 2th election wasn’t the end of sovereignism it seems. Just before the 1995 referendum, polls indicated support for sovereignty under 40, yet the result was almost 50%.

    For the last 20 years, with the Bloc in Ottawa, we had the feeling that we had a voice in Ottawa. Now, the conforting Bloc’s presence is no more and the federal governement reached a majority without support in Québec, now more than ever this government is alien to us.

    Also, if there is another referendum, the canadian public opinion mindset will be a little different than what it was in 1995 since more and more canadians are fed up with us and would like to see us leave the federation. There is not as many of them as I wish there would be, but they don’t have to be a majority in the public opinion, we only need a few têtes brûlées to wipe their feet on our flag like it has been done in Sault-Sainte-Marie during the Meech Lake debate. There were only a few of them, but these images went a long way in fueling support for sovereignty. How many of them will there be next time?

    A virtual certainty that a referendum will never receive a yes vote?… Êtes-vous si certain de vos certitudes?…

    Michel Patrice

    P.S. And I realise that I haven’t yet answered you about the purpose of sovereignty.

    • Yannick Says:

      Are you sure that it is more and more Canadians that are fed up with Quebec? Or that the internet gives the malcontents more visibility?

      I don’t think people were paragons of tolerance in 1995, were they? Perhaps the comatose state of the sovereigntist movement since then has goaded the RoC into thinking that the time is ripe to pull the plug on conciliation measures.

      What do you think?

      • Michel Patrice Says:

        I am leaving for the weekend, i’ll be back on Sunday night.

      • Michel Patrice Says:

        More and more Canadians are fed up with Quebec or the internet gives the malcontents more visibility? Probably a mix of the two.

        The comatose state of the sovereigntist movement is a factor and also the fact that a governement has reached a majority without Québec. The ROC is now comforted in its ability to ignore Québec.

        I think that the mindset of the ROC is different than what it was in 1995, not that they loved us so much then, but the mindset is different now.

        Michel Patrice

        • Yannick Says:

          How is the mindset different?

        • Michel Patrice Says:

          How is the mind set different?

          That a government reached a majority without Québec is an important event. During the 90s, Chrétien, a quebecker, was prime minister, before him was Mulroney. This era was the era of the Meech Lake accord, of constitutionnal talks about Québec and about reforming federalism.

          That time is over. Today, the west is gaining power, Québec can be ignored and reforming federalism is no longer an option.

          Anyway, this my reading of the ROC’s mindset. But since, if I am right, you live in the west, you are in a better position to tell me about the ROC’s mindset.

          Michel Patrice

        • Yannick Says:

          From day-to-day conversations in the west, you woudn’t know there is such a thing as a French Canada. We really do live in two solitudes.

          If french/billingualism is mentionned, it is usually positively enough, but in a kind of indifferent way : "It’s so nice that he knows two languages, that opens you a lot of doors".

          I’ve talked to a fair number of privincial civil employees in Alberta, a suprising number of them have told me that they want to learn French. I am surprised; I ask them "surely hardly anyone here requires french services, surely you have more need of punjabi or mandarin speakers". They agree with me that that is the case, but that it’s french on a resume that will ease promotions. They don’t seem bitter about it; it’s about gaming the system. I don’t get the impression that they ever expect to actually have to use it.

          As for Quebec specifically as a province, whenever it comes up people rehash the whole corruption/freeloading story, if they actually have any kind of feeling about it. Often enough they don’t. People certainly were gleeful to see that the Bloc was defeated in the last election though, as if their traditional voters had suddenly been transmogrified into model canadians.

          In general, the feeling I get is not of hostility but of more or less complete indifference.

  7. John Krug Says:

    I will respond in detail to your comments at some point but I will simply state in response to your most recent comment that I have never met an anglophone who considered himself or herself a Quebecer first or only. I do not need to rely on some third part’s "study". In fact, the very notion is quite frankly absurd.

    • Michel Patrice Says:

      I haven’t heard of you for a while, so I will just answer your last comment.

      "I do not need to rely on some third part’s study". Is better to rely on one’s subjective impressions?

      "I have never met an anglophone who considered himself or herself a Quebecer first or only." I never said that there is, I said that 60% of Québec’s population see themselves as quebeckers first or only. This figure includes francos, anglos and allos and it does not mean that 60% of francos and 60% of anglos and 60% of allos see themselves as quebeckers first or only ; it means that, overall, 60% of the population see themselves that way.

  8. Anonyme Says:

    With its position, Montreal should be compared to Toronto, not with other no-name cities. Even Vancouver, Calgary, they did better. I am pretty sure, If the graph could be extended to the last twenty years, then the only loser is Montreal.

    All other no-name cities did no better than Montreal, what an pathetic excuse!

    • Michel Patrice Says:

      Thank you for taking some time to comment.

      You are right that comparing Montréal to other no-name citities is unfair. But if one wants to illustrate the point that Toronto drains from not only the economy of Montréal but also from abroad, comparing Montréal and Toronto only would be missing the broader picture.

      Also, it would be missing the broader north-american picture. The US economy has a massive economic gravitationnal force that greatly influence our economy and our development.

      Two questions if you have some more time : Why are no-name cities (for instance St-John NB or Winnipeg) no-name? Since Montréal declined because of separatism, what explains the fast decline between 1931 and 1961?

      Michel Patrice

      P.S. If you chose a name instead of Anonymous, It makes it easier to have a on-going discussion.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    #2 Would Quebec expect to automatically be a part to NAFTA?

    I gather from your answer that you think acceptance into NAFTA will be relatively easy, or barring that, that a bilateral agreement with the US would be negotiated quickly.

    NAFTA is an agreement between 3 countries. If a 4th one were to be added, a whole new agreement would have to be signed. Just imagine the number of different interest groups/lobbies/industries whoever would want to renegotiate this thing and that. NAFTA took several years to conclude. Do you really think they would want to open up such a new can of worms for a country that represents less than 2% of the NAFTA areas population/GDP? Maybe, but it definitely would not be easy.

    And a bilateral deal with the US? I don’t think Americans are currently too crazy about free trade, especially with the Democrats in power. That might change, but other than NAFTA, the US has free trade deals with 11 countries + CAFTA (which is a group of mostly Central American countries). And all these agreements take years to negotiate as well.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    #8 "Not only we will not duplicate what we already have, there are things that only the federal does that we will not duplicate. So we would have a smaller government. Do you think that our two actual governments are too small? too large? or just the right size? I personnaly believe that they are too large, so it would a good opportunity to down size it."

    Yes, this was duplication (chevauchement) was mentioned a lot in Legault’s 2005 (I think) paper on the finances of a sovereign Quebec and how that would save so much money. What is also interesting is that sovereignists have also always said that Quebec based employees of the federal (Canadian) government would not be let go. So they are going to cut costs, reduce the size of government, and all this without laying people off? Seriously?

    Look at the cost cutting of Quebec provincial governments when it comes to education, or better yet, health care. It doesn’t matter which governments, the Libs or the PQ. Nobody has made any dent in government costs for decades.

    • Michel Patrice Says:

      The cost is not only the wages of civil servants, it is also the money they spend. There is the cost of the wages of civil servants who bought the jet fighters and there is the cost of the jet fighters.

      If someone finaly gets down to downsizing governement, would it be easier with two governments each with their own agenda, objectives, powers and jurisdiction or with one governement? Simplicity is one of the principles of action (a long story…)

  11. Anonymous Says:

    #3 "since the USA are now our first trade partners"
    The ROC is Quebec’s biggest trading partner, not the US.

    "Canada could keep Québec from using the canadian dollar by forbidding the circulation of canadian dollars outside of its borders"
    Canada could not do this.

    "I now owe a certain amount of canadian dollars, if I can’t use it anymore, I will exchange them for something else (american dollars, euros, gold, a new Québec currency, whatever…)"
    You should read Parizeau’s book. The great man himself wrote that a separate Quebec currency would never survive.

    "It might look stupid, but Canada does essentially the same thing, when the USA raise their interest rate, Canada does the same, when they lower it, Canada does the same. Do not overestimate your independence regarding your own monetary policy."
    Have you not been reading the about the goings on in Greece to realize that the two situations are not the same? Greece is having to accept an incredible amount of foreign interference in domestic policy (it is losing sovereignty, the opposite of what sovereignists are looking for) because it does not have its own currency and realizes that installing its own currency could bring about even more economic turmoil. Canada would not have this problem. Quebec could if it uses another country’s currency.

    "It is not a threat, since we do owe a fair amount of canadian dollars, it is also in our own interest that it keeps a good value"
    If you OWE a lot of money, you actually want the opposite, a lower value for the canadian dollar so that the real value of that debt decreases, and hence becomes easier to pay back.

    "I have a question too : would you not want Québec to continue using the canadian dollar? I am not playing smart ass, it is a honest question."
    If Quebec were an economic powerhouse, had good public finances and low debt, then yes. If no, then no. Think about this way: say Greece is not in the Euro today. If Germany could choose now to take Greece into the Euro or not, what do you think they would choose? Would they not be more favourable to accept a country like Sweden in the Euro?

    • Michel Patrice Says:

      “It is not a threat, since we do owe a fair amount of canadian dollars, it is also in our own interest that it keeps a good value”
      If you OWE a lot of money, you actually want the opposite, a lower value for the canadian dollar so that the real value of that debt decreases, and hence becomes easier to pay back.

      I am glad that you spotted this one. It is my mistake, I mean "own" not "owe", one letter that changes the meaning a lot. (I corrected my initial comment.

      Thank you for taking some time to comment. I will have some more time to reply tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

      (Have we discussed together in the past, here or elsewhere? It is better if you pick a name, you don’t have to register, just sign a name at the end of your comments.)

      Michel Patrice

    • Michel Patrice Says:

      Trade Partner

      "The ROC is Quebec’s biggest trading partner, not the US."

      I believe the USA are our first trade partners.
      "Les États-Unis sont ainsi devenus le premier partenaire commercial du Québec, prenant à ce titre la place du reste du Canada. Le Québec est devenu le septième partenaire commercial du géant américain." (http://www.cei.ulaval.ca/en/current_inter_american_relations/articles_and_themes/alena_relations_canada_quebec_ameriques/relations_canada_quebec_ameriques/)
      But can we settle for "important trade partner" if not "first" trade partner? Using the american dollar is logic since we trade a lot with the USA, using the swedish krona is not because we don’t trade a lot with Sweden.

      forbidding the circulation of canadian dollars outside of canadian borders

      Indeed, Canada could not do this. My point was that Canada could keep from using the canadian dollar by forbidding its circulation outside of its borders. If Canada cannot limit the circulation of the canadian dollar, then it cannot keep us from using it. That’s my point.

      Québec currency

      I read Parizeau’s La Souveraineté du Québec, he says indeed that a Québec currency could not survive. I am glad to see that you read it too (did you?). May I guess that you live in Québec?

      My point was not that we would use a Québec currency, my point was that whoever wants to take back the canadian dollars that we have will have to give us something in exchange : american dollars, euros, gold, a new Québec currency, whatever. The key word being "whatever".

      It might look stupid, but

      I talk of a situation in which we use the canadian dollar, which is already the case. We would not have much to say on interest rates, which is already the case anyway. Greece and Québec are in different situations, the problems of Greece are far more than a shared currency.

      • AM Says:

        "The key word being “whatever”."
        Yes, you can ask to be paid in whatever currency you wish. BUT, my point is that Quebec’s debt will still be owed in Canadian dollars, no matter what currency you use. So if the currency you use depreciates vis-a-vis the Canadian dollar, the debt becomes more expensive. Look at the US dollar, it was worth C$1.60 a few years ago. Now it’s at parity. That is a huge change. Imagine if Quebec had been independent and using the US dollar during that period.

        And my comparison with Greece is not to suggest that Quebec’s problems are as big as Greece’s. It’s that if your debts are denominated in a currency over which you do not have control, devaluation to ease the debt burden is not an option.

  12. AM Says:

    "(Have we discussed together in the past, here or elsewhere? It is better if you pick a name, you don’t have to register, just sign a name at the end of your comments.)"

    First time here. I’ll go by AM. I’ll have some more comments too.

  13. AM Says:

    On the equalization payments post:
    "The amount of money we send yearly to Ottawa is roughly 46 billions (in 2007, Stat. Can.). We would make different choices for that money."

    There is lot less room to maneuver than your post seems to imply. It’s not like the $46 billion can now be spent all that differently. The largest parts of the federal government’s expenses are things like unemployment insurance, transfers to the provinces, the army, etc. These are not expenses that can be radically cut or changed. Just keep in mind that the Quebec’s share of Canada’s GDP (just to use this as a proxy for how much taxes the province sends to Ottawa) is lower than its share of the population. So you have to proportionally spend more on social services than you will receive in taxes.

    "Those banks would then be foreing banks, one would think that we could bring back those assets to Québec, and help developping our own financial sector."
    How can you bring this back? I am not sure what you mean by this. I mean, a bank is going to take deposits and make loans to whoever it thinks it can make money off of. And if those people/companies are outside an independent Quebec, then that is where the money is going to go. Unless you pass laws that force the banks to keep money in Quebec. That’s great economic policy: force companies to invest not in the best opportunities they can find, but worse ones. That will definitely work well, the government telling you where to make loans. Sounds a little like China.

    And you are assuming that Quebecois residents will want to keep their deposits in Quebec. That is not a foregone conclusion either, especially when Quebec has a 95% debt ratio, the 5th highest in the world I believe. Any sign of trouble, people could up and move their deposits to branches in the ROC. Again, read up on Greece. Greek banks are losing deposits because people are afraid the country will leave the Euro and are parking their money in other countries.

    "The future debates, in Québec and in Canada, will be more about WHAT to do with money instead of WHOSE MONEY will be spent. That would be a very good thing for Quebecers AND for Canadians."
    Umm, this is an interesting argument. But let’s follow this logic and go the other way. If Canada took all the province’s powers, it would have the same powers as an independent Quebec. Then would we really stop arguing about WHOSE money is being spent?

    • Michel Patrice Says:

      Umm, this is an interesting argument. But let’s follow this logic and go the other way. If Canada took all the province’s powers, it would have the same powers as an independent Quebec. Then would we really stop arguing about WHOSE money is being spent?

      Yes, in the abstract world of ideas, Canada could take all powers and solve the problem of whose money we spend. I suggest that you test your idea in the real world : ask quebeckers if they want to give all powers to Québec or to Ottawa, ask Albertans if they want to give all powers to Edmonton or Ottawa.

      • AM Says:

        My point here was not that giving the federal government a lot more power is possible. It’s not. My point is that even if you did it, people would still be arguing about how public funds should be spent. Governments’ money at the end of the day is taxpayer money. So Albertans would still complain about equalization and Quebecers would still complain about subsidies for the oil industry and whatnot. What I am trying to say is that this would not disappear in an independent Quebec either. It’s not like Montrealers will be thrilled that they would pay for half the cost of the Quebec City Colisee or that the regions will just be all giddy to pay billions for a new Champlain bridge. The same debates would continue.

        • Michel Patrice Says:

          Yes, people would still argue about how public money should be spent. They would argue about WHAT to do with the money. Arguing about paying for Québec’s Colisée or paying for a new Champlain bridge is arguing about WHAT to do with the money. It can be argued that it would be arguing spending money FOR WHO, but it is no longer WHOSE money.

          It could be argued that Montreal and Québec’s regions would argue about the Champlain bridge. True. But Quebec’s region understand that Montreal is their economic metropole, that the future of Montreal is their future and Québec’s regions understand that they need Montreal and Montreal understands that it needs Québec’s regions. They are economicaly interrelated. On the other hand, in, let’s, say Edomonton or Vancouver, they don’t see the future of Montreal being their future.

          "Governments’ money at the end of the day is taxpayer money." And two governments managing that money is inefficient. I already had a long discussion about this : http://michelpatrice.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/what-would-we-do-without-equalization-payment/#comment-23

          One government is more efficient than two "pour la même raison qu’il est plus facile de marcher avec une tête qui contrôle les deux jambes que de marcher avec deux têtes qui contrôlent chacun une jambe."

          (How many times do you hear on the news something like : "le projet est près à aller de l’avant, il reste plus qu’aux deux paliers de gouvernements à s’entendre sur le financement"?)

  14. Michel Patrice Says:

    AM,

    Excuse me for the shortness of my answers. Your questions/comments cover many points and we are going in every directions. I cannot take time now to answer all your points.

    I will come back later to comment some more. Nice talking with you.

    P.S. Do you read french? If I quote stuff in french, can you read it?

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