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Canadian Army was prepared to invade Quebec in 1995

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  • Canadian Army was prepared to invade Quebec in 1995

    Maybe the Colonel could shed some light :)

    Army poised for Yes vote
    Collenette ready. PM was prepared to dismiss a loss of 1995 referendum, new biography says

    The Gazette

    Wednesday, October 22, 2003

    Former Defence Minister David Collenette was prepared to call in the Canadian armed forces to protect federal property and assets in Quebec in the event of a referendum victory by sovereignist forces in 1995, according to a new biography of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

    In Iron Man: the Defiant Reign of Jean Chrétien, author Lawrence Martin reveals that the federal government was prepared to take a much harder line with Quebec than it publicly admitted, should sovereignist forces have won the agonizingly close referendum.

    One of the strongest advocates of adopting a hard line with Quebec was Collenette.

    "Defence Minister Collenette was ready, in the event of a loss, to make the federal presence felt," Martin writes in his book just published by Viking Canada. "For starters, the army was to protect federal property and federal assets from a sovereignist takeover. 'I was in a tough position,' he recalled years later. 'I was minister of defence. There were things that went on that we had to prepare for that I don't even want to talk about.' "

    Earlier in the chapter, Martin suggests Collenette was also prepared to come to the aid of federalists still in Quebec.

    " 'My view,' Collenette would explain in a later interview, 'was that these guys aren't going to get away with this. This is my country. I don't care what the numbers are. It's one thing to say you want to separate. But now we start playing hardball. Because we're not going to abandon all those people who want to stay in Canada.' "

    Martin is the author of The Will to Win, a biography of Chrétien's earlier years, as a well as The Antagonist, a controversial biography of ex-Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard.

    In the Iron Man, Martin reveals that Chrétien adviser Eddie Goldenberg had prepared two speeches for the PM to deliver on referendum night - one in the event of a federalist win and the other in the event that sovereignist forces were victorious.

    "A negation of the verdict in front of tens of thousands of celebrating Quebecers would have risked a bloody backlash. But in fact that is what Chrétien planned to do," Martin wrote. "Goldenberg recalled the speech he prepared for Chrétien that night. 'He wasn't about to let the country break up,' he said. Chrétien's speech would say, 'We are getting a message from the people. But this is not the breakup of the country.' "

    Former solicitor-general Herb Gray said he and most cabinet ministers agreed with a hard-line approach. Gray said Chrétien was to say that "the referendum was a consultative exercise and that nothing in our constitution allows anything to be changed by a referendum."

    In an interview for the book, Chrétien admitted he would not have recognized a close vote.

    "You know, at 50 (per cent) plus one, I was not about to let go the country. You don't break your country because one guy forgets his glasses at home."

    Jacques Parizeau, then the premier of Quebec, revealed in his book Pour un Québec Souverain that he was prepared to declare unilateral separation if Ottawa refused to accept the referendum result. Throw in Chrétien's stance and Collenette's willingness to call in the troops, Martin speculates, and you have the elements for a possible civil war.

    In his book, Martin paints a picture of a cabinet lured into a sense of complacency by Chrétien lieutenant Alfonso Gagliano, only to suddenly wake up and realize the country was on the brink of disaster.

    Sheila Copps was one of the few federal ministers who made forays into Quebec to campaign and was one of the few to sense trouble, Martin writes. "Copps, who normally had deep faith in the instincts of Jean Chrétien, couldn't believe the attitude."

    It was only near the end of the referendum campaign that the feds woke up, he writes, recounting how Chrétien broke into tears at a caucus meeting only a few days before the vote.

    All the while, federal and provincial federalists were barely on speaking terms, said Liza Frulla, a key organizer of the No forces. Frulla and other Italian Canadians in her riding were being warned they would "have to go back to your own country," when the sovereignist side won.
    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

  • #2
    I never got any warning orders and I know for a fact that the Que regts were ready to get everything out of Quebec and Air Command was going to fly all the planes out.


    • #3
      Im just curious, but would the Quebec spertaists actually have clashed with Canadian goverenment forces if it came to that?


      • #4
        And more importsnt, who would the US have sided with?
        Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

        Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.


        • #5
          In the 1970s, a Que seperatist terrorist group was blowing up mail boxes (typical Canadian, other terrorists blow up buildings, we blow up mail boxes). They kidnapped and murdered the British High Commissioner, prompting then Canadian Prime Minister to call out the Army.

          The terror group made a deal and was exiled. They should have been hanged in my book.

          I also have no doubt that there are a few CF members who favours seperation and would join a new Que force.

          There is an interesting trivia. Northern Que was ceded to the Crown by the Mohawks who then assigned it to Que. The Mohawks stated that their treaty is with the Crown and not Que. If Que seperates, then, that territory would remain with Canada as per the terms of that treaty.

          Ottawa made it clear that military force would be used to defend those treaty rights.

          This being all said, the majority of both sides have dictated that the Que issue would be decided by the ballot and not by the bullet.

          As for who the US would support, past American Ambassadors and Congressmen have stated that they viewed Que seperation as close to treason. The US fought a Civil War to keep the Union together. Apparently, they extend that view northwards.


          • #6
            What do you think would be the fate of Canadian provinces seperated from Canada by Quebec, if Quebec did indeed secede? (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador.
            "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


            • #7
              Nobody likes to say it but it all depends on Ontario, including Quebec. Ontario has been the province providing most of the money throughout history (Alberta is only a recent contributor relatively speaking).

              If Ont decides to bear the costs, then Canada conceivably could be kept together. If not, hello US, which would follow a Texas style integration. That is the Maritimes would declare independence, eventually to be swallowed up by the US.


              • #8

                You make it sound like Moby Dick swallowing up Captain Ahab!

                "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

                I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

                HAKUNA MATATA


                • #9

                  The former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau likened the Canadian-American relationship as a mouse sharing a bed with an elephant. No matter how benign the elephant, the mouse ain't going to get much sleep.