At a Conference sponsored by the Canadian Study of Parliament Group in the fall of 1991 to mark the bicentennial of the Constitutional Act, 1791, Liberal Claude Ryan remarked on Canadians’ “living attachment” to parliamentary institutions. “The grant of elective legislative assemblies to the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada in the Constitutional Act of 1791,” he said, “marked the beginning of a long evolution which led in 1848 to the achievement of responsible government and in 1867 to the creation of the federal system. Very rare are the modern political societies that have such a long tradition of living attachment to their parliamentary institutions. Beyond all the political differences that may separate us, we have every reason to be proud of the Canadian parliamentary system.
Ryan’s statement is something to keep in mind now that the matter of Quebec’s separation looms again. I have no doubt that Quebeckers will not give up parliamentary institutions.
The question for Canadians outside Quebec is whether an independent Quebec will bid for a shared currency. Here’s Jane Jacob’s opinion: “Two of the things René Lévesque wanted for Quebec – independence and a shared currency with the rest of Canada – are simply irreconcilable.” (Jacobs, The Question of Separatism (New York, Random House, 1980), 102. And see the whole of Chapter Seven.