The Referendum Debate

Responding to The Creighton Solution, from ‘clarion call' to ‘paranoia’

July 25 1977
The Referendum Debate

Responding to The Creighton Solution, from ‘clarion call' to ‘paranoia’

July 25 1977

Responding to The Creighton Solution, from ‘clarion call' to ‘paranoia’

The Referendum Debate

Incredible as it may seem to our politicians, Canada has produced at least one individual capable of thinking and speaking for himself rather than letting the government do it for him. Bravo for Donald Creighton’s contribution to the Referendum Debate: No More Concessions (June 27). May the whimper of this babe in the woods be accompanied by a resounding shout from the rest of us. Whatever becomes of Canada, with or without Quebec, will depend on whether we, the people, are prepared to speak our minds or be forever enslaved by our apathy.

R. C. MACKENZIE. OTTAWA

I f I felt any lethargy before reading Professor Creighton’s article, it has indeed been transformed into fear. I fear not the actions of the PQ, but instead the militancy and neo-militarism inherent in Creighton’s proposals. The effect of the article can only be harmful, in that it can only serve to give the arguments of Messieurs Lévesque, Morin and Laurin a credibility that they would otherwise lack. I can picture Dr. Laurin’s glee at hearing Donald Creighton call for the extinction of French language and culture in Canada.

G. NEIL REDDEKOPP, CALGARY

The islands of Montreal can accommodate 2.5 million people and would make a fine kingdom for the separatists. Hong Kong, Singapore and Monaco seem to function.

ROBERT SPOKOWSKI, TORONTO.

Instead of sitting back and listening to Lévesque and his group tell us what’s going to happen, we need more people like Donald Creighton setting up ways and means to make things happen. Blackmail by the

Macleans

French and appeasement by the English should stop now.

JOSEPH A. WILSON. PLEASANTVILLE. NS

Whether Quebec stays or separates will depend a lot on who has the best public relations team. Can we trust Trudeau, or does Canada lose by default? All this pussyfooting and appeasement is nauseating. Surely rank and file Quebeckers would welcome a strong statement from Ottawa that says: “This is the way it’s going to be.” Isn’t there someone in Ottawa who will come out fighting?

P. BLANCHARD. LETHBRIDGE, ALTA.

As a lawyer I must take exception to Creighton’s preposterous notion that the District of Ungava belongs to Canada and

not Quebec. Canada has no more right to reclaim this land than it does to reclaim northern Ontario or to dissolve the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, all of which were created out of the former Northwest Territories. My only comment about his suggestion that we occupy the St. Lawrence Seaway is to call the idea ridiculous, one might say creightonous.

GLENN RIVARD,TORONTO.

There is just one amendment I would like to make to Creighton’s suggested boundaries for separation: the southern boundary should be the St. Lawrence River. The river is a natural boundary and the Eastern Townships were originally settled by mainly English-speaking immigrants. This would form a corridor to the other Maritime provinces and unilingual Canada would then prevail from coast to coast.

PHILIP ELDON TYAS, CALEDON EAST, ONT.

Maybe the separatists need to face the very real likelihood of a complete breakup, rather than an economic union with Canada, and of this being followed by the piecemeal absorption of all but Quebec, and sooner or later of Quebec itself, in a greater United States. If the victory of the PQ has made one unthinkable thinkable, it may in course of time make even more unthinkable thinkables thinkable.

JAMES HARRISON, GUELPH, ONT.

Creighton spews and sputters the philosophy that built and brought down the Empire: colonial self-righteousness. It is disappointing to see that our elderly scholars have learned nothing from history. The politics of confrontation recommended by

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Creighton does nothing for the advancement of a rational debate on unity.

RONALD HENRY, SUDBURY, ONT.

Continued concessions to Quebec in the name of unity will achieve nothing but the embitterment of non-Quebeckers.

ANDREW DUDZINSK.I, CALGARY.

History speaks of Earl Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain in Britain who followed a policy of appeasement with Hitler until the British people revolted against their leaders and turned them out of office. We ought to do exactly the same with Trudeau’s government at the next election and pray for another party to act strongly on Creighton’s guidelines.

P. EVANS, SUDBURY, ONT.

English Canada must realize that the more it begets solutions such as Creighton’s, the larger will be the number of Québécois who conclude that Quebec has nothing to do with or in Canada.

RENÉ THIBAULT, AYLMER, QUE.

At last Maclean’s has published an article that doesn’t sound like a lecture to the English to be good little guys and do everything the French want. Words such as “blackmail,” “intimidation,” “coercion” and “self-abasement” are finally being printed and it’s about time. We English have been walking softly and now it’s time to wave our big stick. Personally, I feel that it would be worth a civil war to keep Canada together. Spineless English are standing by and allowing one of the best countries in the world to go down the drain.

CHARLOTTE ROSS, WESTMOUNT, QUE.

Westerners are not interested in refighting the battle on the Plains of Abraham, and I doubt if they can be talked into fighting a battle for the St. Lawrence Seaway.

MARY AITKEN, CALGARY.

The answer to threats of separatism is a policy that is firm and clear on the part of the federal government, something like that of Creighton, so that at the time of the referendum the choice will be clear because the alternatives are obvious.

W. WHYTE, WEST HILL, ONT.

I would add another item to Creighton’s list of demands for an independent Quebec: any well defined region of Quebec that expresses a wish to remain part of Canada should be offered the economic and, if necessary, military support required to ensure that large numbers of Canadians are not deprived of their citizenship at the whim of Quebec City.

DOUG MCPHERSON, TORONTO

For sheer grandeur of stupidity there is little to equal Creighton’s recommendation that English-speaking Canadians should defend themselves by rending the

nation asunder to defy the secessionists. This is the equivalent of urging someone to cut his legs off to assert his independence. All of Canada needs Quebec, and Quebec needs all of Canada. The answer to the demands of the secessionists for national dismemberment can only be an emphatic NO!

EDWARD CARRIGAN, TORONTO

The sooner separation occurs the better, for both Quebec and Canada. An independent Quebec and the rest of Canada

will coexist without any special contract as good neighbors and friendly trading partners, just as Canada and the United States do. I would rather visit an independent Quebec where I am regarded as a welcome foreign visitor than a Quebec where I am regarded as one of the oppressors.

BILL BUDACHS. TORONTO

Hurray for Donald Creighton! I wonder if he has ever considered running for Joe Clark’s job.

RONALD G. BELL. TORONTO

Professor Creighton brings out the big economic club. If they leave, we must not deal with them any more, he says. Is it possible that the professor is wishing for the day when he will at last see the French-Canadian people on their knees, subdued beyond doubt?

G. S. BAIN, GRANDE PRAIRIE. ALTA.

What is needed is a change in attitude on the part of English Canadians who have been woefully slow to accept that a country that has two heritages to draw upon should consider itself fortunate indeed. Sack the Commissioner of Official Languages? Hell, give him a raise—and have him direct more of his programs toward benighted university professors.

A. G. NORMAN, PIERREFONDS, QUE.

I am a French-speaking Ontarian and a firm believer in Canadian unity. However, I believe the fight for unity should be pur-

sued with intelligence, understanding and compassion. This is contrary to what I read in Donald Creighton’s article, which is filled with contradictions, hostility, paranoia and something close to a wish for vengeance. Furthermore, I believe that Creighton’s suggestions for the preservation of Canada are reckless, and would probably lead to a state of civil war— something reminiscent to Northern Ireland perhaps. For example, to think that an independent Quebec would relinquish a territory the size of the District of Ungava without a fight is ridiculous. In addition, his suggestion that Canada reject its bilingual program completely is unfair to French Canadians outside Quebec. You call Donald Creighton Canada’s preeminent historian. If so, then Canadian historians must be a wretched group indeed.

GERALD J. PRUD’HOMME, OTTAWA

Just once I would like to be able to pick up a copy of Maclean ’s and not be subjected to another article on what should or should not be done to or with Quebec. While the subject may be topical, it is only one of many issues with which Canadians are concerned at this time.

RICHARD J. L. LEITCH, OTTAWA

The problems posed by the French upheaval can be solved only by a new brand of leaders seeking solutions rather than accommodations. Men and women of this type will not be selected for office in prolonged backroom negotiations by any political party establishment. A Canadian Churchill will arise spontaneously and lead English Canada to victory only when the current crisis has reached the depths of despair.

JOHANNES ALASCO, OTTAWA

Before Creighton’s hard line can be adopted we must know whether the people of Quebec wish to remain in or out of Confederation. I do not think “you’re out and these are the terms” is very reasonable. The referendum should be held soon—but under the control of the federal government so that the crucial problems of wording and timing are placed in “sympathetic” hands. And the rest of the nation should be polled.

GORDON P. SCHAEFER, REGINA

Creighton has forgotten that Quebec is not asking for concessions or begging for anything. We would, in fact, regard with suspicion any so-called concession or apparent gift. Quebec has taken its destiny into its own hands and is going to cope with whatever happens. Quebec can do it alone and, by God, it will. As for threats about boundaries, the Seaway, the French minorities— the Anglo Canadians can do no worse to the French minorities that what they are already doing.

GASTON TRUDEL, ROBERVAL, QUE.