Two Earthquakes -- Ireland and Québec

Yesterday was a huge day. I woke up to pictures of 11th hour meetings with Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley at the same table promising to form a power-sharing executive in six weeks. In this matter I have more praise for Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams than for Paisley, but not very much more. For the unionists, I understand that thirty years of conflict make them gun shy, and I understand that there's less of an official connection between the DUP and the so-called unionist, so-called militias than there was between Sinn Fein and whatever body the "volunteers" became in the last decade, but... It seemed petty to me that in the face of a hard, legislated deadline, the DUP could dig their heels in and threaten further unrest in the face of what some folks in the six counties could only interpret as double-charging on water. Good on Sinn Fein for acting to prevent the collapse. But both these parties are still working off of very different dictionaries. Until they can agree on what the end game will be (and their founding documents contain absolute contradictions there -- to join Ireland or to remain a province of the UK), any agreement will be in constant jeopardy. But I have more hope for Ireland than I did. No matter who holds the reins, all parties have to feel that they are full citizens in their own country, not systematically discriminated against regardless of how they identify themselves.

And then, in my own country, I had no idea what to expect in the results of Québec's provincial election. I turned on the telly just before supper and saw the ADQ in the lead and I've been shaking my head ever since. No sovreignty referendum for the next little while I think. Whew! What Mario Dumont is going to do with his huge rump is anyone's guess: echoes of the Reform Party sweep of the west after Mulroney stepped down as Prime Minister of Canada. It also remains to be seen what "Autonomism" (Dumont's idea of what Québec's relationship with Canada should evolve into) means and how easily it may transform, transmute, revert to "Soverigntism" (the Parti Québécois's position that the province should separate from the rest of Canada). I wonder, too, what this means for electoral results in Québec in the next Federal election which can't be that far away.

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