When Intrawest bought Mont Tremblant four years ago CEO Joe Houssian said the separatists interpreted the purchase as a sign that business would still invest in a sovereign Quebec. At the same time the federalists interpreted the purchase as an indication of Intrawest’s confidence Quebec would remain part of Canada. How do we interpret Monday’s 50.6 to 49.4 vote? MLA David Mitchell says it’s the worst possible result. Quebec Liberal leader Daniel Johnson says No means change. Jacques Parizeau, before he stepped down as premier, said the the vote was only a temporary setback on the road to separation. Prime Minister Jean Chretien says the No vote provides an opportunity to re-open Constitutional discussions and has mentioned "distinct society." Premier Mike Harcourt says he’s not willing to open the Pandora’s Box of Constitutional talks again. But those are only the politicians’ interpretations. In the final analysis the referendum result was determined by the people of Quebec and, to a lesser extent, by Canadians from outside Quebec. And it should be the people of Quebec and Canada who determine where things go from here. Separation will always be the dream of some Quebecers, even though to many outside the province the success of an independent, sovereign Quebec nation seems doubtful. But just because separation won’t die in the minds of some doesn’t mean the rest of Canada should once again throw up its hands and tell Quebec to love it or leave it. We Rest-of-Canada Canadians are guilty of gross ignorance if we continue to think of Quebec as simply francophones who want out and a few anglophones who want to remain part of Canada. In Monday’s referendum 40 per cent of francophones voted No. Moreover, many on the Yes side, when asked for details of a sovereign Quebec, talked about some form of sovereignty association, rather than a completely independent Quebec. The hard core sovereigntists will never become federalists, but they are democrats and they are a minority. The hope for Canada and the reason we should not flipantly dismiss Quebec is the people of that province. Lucien Bouchard, the Bloc Quebecois and the Parti Qubecois will remain but the people of Quebec will have opportunities to decide whether they want them re-elected. Things aren’t the same as they were three weeks ago when a No victory seemed assured and much of the rest of Canada showed no sign of caring. The Prime Minister, having barely survived the refrendum, has been weakened. Lucien Bouchard may leave the Bloc to take over as premier of Quebec, which would leave the Reform Party as the official opposition. But most importantly the people of Quebec and the rest of Canada .... unity rally/Canadian people, Chretien’s reduced standing, Quebec... Politicians have interpretations (Parizeau’s comments), but listent ot the people... Quebec referendum an eye opener/learning experience for Canadians Deciet throughout campaign - Bouchard is decit incarnate; Parizeau deceitful on what Quebec nationalism really is all about (ethnic nationalism, same as Serbs want in Bosnia); deceit about fundamental question - awful lot of Yes supporters seemed to be talking about some form of soverignty association, rather than a separate country; deceit about campaign being Quebec first - it’s about socialist agenda But that’s only the politicians. Referendum campaign showed what people feel/want, rather than just what politicians say. Much more importantly Canadians learned something about what other Canadians feel - learned Canadians from all parts of the country care about Quebec - Canadians in ROC learned more about Quebecers’ concerns. There’s a long way to go, as far as Quebecers are concerned - real sentiment for change - an opportunity for all Canada to "grow" (address distribution of powers) but it will take some imagination and it will take some time (time for healing) - Polls have shown Canadians sick to death of Constitutional debates, maybe now we will understand the importance of these debates and be prepared to take part in them. - good old Canadian compromise - sovereigntist movement in Quebec may never die, but Parizeau’s comments etc. shows the sovereignty movement is not a unified bloc. The referendum showed only 60 per cent support among francophones - is that important? - some people now saying give Quebec special status, a veto, go back to Meech - others saying no special favours, same like it or leave it approach as before the referendum. - things aren’t the same as they were three weeks ago, when No victory seemed assured and much of ROC seemed not to care (people of Canada different and politicians different; "unity rally", Parizeau’s comments, Chretien’s reduced standing...) - before rush off in every direction should sit down and analyze the analysis Judi gets most of her antiques from Quebec How many Quebecers know the Canada they are leaving? How many Western Canadians know Quebec, or Canada beyond Ontario?