Breaking the Ice
If Canadians in Eastern Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick have learned anything in the past week, it is that the forces of nature and the drive to help those in need will always reign supreme not politics.
Ice Storm '98 continues to take its toll on millions and clean-up efforts are only putting a dent in the real damage of the frosty week. After only a few days though, it has become clear that, as always, Canadians can put aside their differences and band together in a time of need.
Whether it is sleeping bags, batteries and candles donated by a Toronto family, soldiers sent from Manitoba or emergency workers from Alberta, when disaster strikes, fellow Canucks are there to offer support.
This should not go unrecognized. Similar situations in other countries might not result in the same outpouring from fellow citizens especially after being plagued with political unrest and the prospect of one of your provinces separating.
For the first time in years, the cries from east of Ontario are for a unified effort. As mother nature pelts the most politically entangled region of the country with an artillery of water filled with bilingual wishes and separatist dreams Ð Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard has wisely chosen to reach for help from the country he longs to pull away from. Trés bien, Lucien.
All Bouchard had to do is ask and suddenly 12,000 Canadian troops are on his doorstep, clearing icy debris along the way. Now, as one group of Canadians helps another, will all of Quebec's calls for distinct society and a separate country go away? Will the efforts of the federal government finally convince Quebeckers to seek nationalism? Non (which means "no," in English).
Sure, the federal government has waited through years of cold nights to hear the leader of the Parti Quebecois ask for help, but Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and the rest of Canadians have watched Bouchard compromise his position more than any other politician because the well-being of the people (no longer referred to as voters) comes first.
Once spring arrives, the damage is fixed and Quebec has all of its power back (both politically and hydro-electrically), the province can once again continue to analyze its position within Canada. But no matter what separatists may say, Canadians were willing to help save lives regardless, in a province that wants to kill a unified nation. That speaks volumes.