There is a beautiful sentence in the novel the elegance of the hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery, which is also an important life lesson…
“Diplomacy always fails when the balance of power is balanced. We have never seen a stronger person accept each other’s diplomatic proposals…”
With empty hands
In other words, it’s not enough to politely ask for something to get it.
We need to strike a balance of power, apply pressure and let the other party understand 1) that it is in their interest to comply with our demands or 2) that any refusal on their part could result in high costs.
Like a strike, a revolt or a slowdown in work.
To quote a film that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, you have to make an offer the interlocutor cannot refuse…
For this reason, Justin Trudeau did not hesitate for a second to slam the door in François Legault’s face when he politely requested that Ottawa transfer all powers over immigration to Quebec.
Because Legault showed up empty-handed and in a weak position.
Whatever the little bunnies may think, life is not a rose garden populated by unicorns, but a balance of power.
Not who has the prettiest eyes wins or who is nicer, but whoever puts the most pressure on.
As the saying goes, “Beggars cannot vote…”
When we previously negotiated with Ottawa, we had an essential card in our game.
The sovereignist threat.
Even Robert Bourassa brandished it the day after Meech died!
“English Canada must understand very clearly that whatever one says and whatever one does, Quebec is now and forever a distinct society, free and able to assume its fate and its development. .”
I remember where I was when I heard that speech. I was driving my car and almost had an accident, this excursion surprised me so much!
Where is this card today?
We’re about to tear it up!
To burn it!
The PKP threat
The problem today is that Quebec doesn’t scare anyone anymore.
Why do you think English Canadians no longer hesitate to abuse us in their newspapers?
You know we’re in a weak position.
Legault says it loud and clear: He will not play the sovereign card.
He’ll just knock on Ottawa’s door like a little guy on Halloween… hoping the FBI will stuff a bunch of candy in his pocket.
Remember how Canadians reacted when Pierre Karl Péladeau became leader of the PQ.
They shit in their panties.
Could PKP have pulled the PQ out of Limbo? Could he have resurrected the sovereign option?
Unfortunately we will never know.
But he scared them in Simonac.
That’s missing in Quebec.
Monsieur Legault is a good fellow.
But you don’t reverse the balance of power by being good.