LA DIFFÉRENCE BETWEEN TWO

A POLICY BLUEPRINT FOR THE REPUBLIC OF QUEBEC

How would Marcel Chaput run an independent French-Canadian state? Would she have her own army? What about the English-speaking minority? And foreign policy, trade with Canada, nuclear arms? Here are a leading separatist’s answers

PETER C. NEWMAN February 24 1962
LA DIFFÉRENCE BETWEEN TWO

A POLICY BLUEPRINT FOR THE REPUBLIC OF QUEBEC

How would Marcel Chaput run an independent French-Canadian state? Would she have her own army? What about the English-speaking minority? And foreign policy, trade with Canada, nuclear arms? Here are a leading separatist’s answers

PETER C. NEWMAN February 24 1962

A POLICY BLUEPRINT FOR THE REPUBLIC OF QUEBEC

LA DIFFÉRENCE BETWEEN TWO

How would Marcel Chaput run an independent French-Canadian state? Would she have her own army? What about the English-speaking minority? And foreign policy, trade with Canada, nuclear arms? Here are a leading separatist’s answers

PETER C. NEWMAN

IT'S SOMEHOW TYPICALLY CANADIAN that the leader of a movement whose aim it is to destroy the unity of this nation should be, not a hollow-eyed revolutionary in a back-street basement, but a middle-class civil servant in a dark blue suit.

Dr. Marcel Chaput, president of Le Rassemblement Pour L'Indépendance Nationale, the strongest faction in Quebec’s separatist movement, sees himself as an habitant firebrand leading his people into a bright new tomorrow free of the sinister Anglo-Saxons who hog all the good jobs. But Chaput’s own career demonstrates that a French Canadian can make out in an English-speaking preserve.

One of seven children of a Hull, Que., printer. Chaput. got his first taste of science as a laboratory assistant at the National Research Council in Ottawa. In the army he spent fortyfour months in chemical warfare research, then studied biochemistry for six years at McGill University, earning a PhD.

Chaput joined the Defence Research Board immediately after graduation and was assigned to chemical warfare studies. He was later switched to classified work with the Emergency Measures Organization. His fellow scientists say they never really got to know him, because he didn't attend their social functions.

His recurring altercations with the Defence Research Board were climaxed last December when he resigned following a two-week suspension. ostensibly based on his defiance of the board's refusal to grant him leave of absence for a speaking engagement in Quebec City. Actually, he had for several months been involved in his separatist activities, at the expense of his laboratory work. At any rate, he's become the first martyr to the cause of Quebec separatism. He will shortly move his wife and four children to Montreal. His book. Why I am a Separatist, is currently in its fourth French edition: it was published recently in English.

A few days after he had resigned from the Defence Research Board, 1 called on Chaput at his home in Hull. He is a chunky, punctilious man who looks younger than his forty-three years. He received me in his book-lined study and proceeded to discuss his proposed insurrection. He talked with unemotional competence. Although I had heard him speak excellent English on previous occasions, he refused to use the language and our entire interview was conducted in French.

Unlike most revolutionaries, Chaput has a lively sense of humor. In the small talk that preceded our interview, he hugely enjoyed demonstrating the insensibility of Ottawa's officialdom to French-Canadian aspirations, by telling me that the letter of suspension he had received from the Defence Research Board, had been written in English. Then we talked at length about the sort of Quebec his movement eventually hopes to establish:

What concrete steps do you plan to take in obtaining independence for Quebec?

It's not the autonomy of a province we're

after, but the full rights of a sovereign nation.

I believe this can be accomplished without violence. I consider Quebec independence to be a legitimate goal: it’s unthinkable that we should be opposed with violence. I believe independence will be achieved in three stages:

(1) Phase one is the propagation of the idea of independence — to make French Canadians aware of its necessity. This involves spreading the idea to every corner of the province, and to every class of Quebec citizen.

(2) The second, and political phase will involve establishment of a new separatist political party, or the full-hearted acceptance of the separatist platform by an existing provincial party. I hope this will happen before the next provincial election, which is about two years away. This phase will end when the separatist party gains power.

(3) The third phase will be the start of negotiations between the Quebec and Ottawa governments for the province's independence.

How long do you imagine this entire process will take?

Probably ten years, although it could happen even sooner. Even if Quebec is not independent by 1972, by then we will certainly know whether independence is possible.

Once Quebec is independent, what sort of government would you like to see adopted?

I believe the majority of people in Quebec would like to see the establishment of a democratic republic, headed by a president.

Would you establish a state religion, like Catholicism in Spain and the Church of England in England?

Definitely not.

How would you treat the English minority in Quebec?

All nations have minorities. The English would be welcome to stay, providing they obey our laws, and recognize that they would be living in a country whose only official language would be French.

Would you allow the English minorities to secede?

No. Westmount is not a nation.

What would happen to the French-language minorities in other provinces?

They would be welcome to return to Quebec, and we would also hope to attract French-

speaking citizens from the U. S. If they’d return, they'd be assimilated.

Would you, then, have an immigration policy of your own?

Yes, just like every other nation. Of course, we'd put the stress on admitting French-speaking citizens from Europe and the rest of America, but a few others could come as well, if we needed their skills.

Would you have your own foreign policy?

Of course. I believe we'd continue to have good relations with other countries—as masters of our own affairs. We would be represented, with our own embassies, in all the important cities of the world, and speak for ourselves in the United Nations. We would withdraw from the Commonwealth (if it still exists) but whether or not we would stay in NATO and NORAD would depend on the circumstances at the time. We would stay in any associations which serve Quebec’s enlightened self-interest.

Would you establish your own armed forces?

We probably would have to have our own army, navy and air force, and certainly we would need our own merchant marine.

Would you allow free use of the St. Lawrence Seaway?

The Seaway would become international, like the Suez Canal with all ships having the right of passage, but we might establish a system of tolls that would benefit Quebec more directly.

How would you handle commerce with the rest of Canada?

We would probably establish a Common Market with Canada’s nine provinces, but Quebec would charge duty on some imports. Business would be carried out in dollars, but instead of Canadian dollars, they’d be Quebec dollars, with new designs and only French printing.

What would you do about American investment in Quebec?

We want political independence so that we can achieve economic independence. I believe that the one is essential to the other. There would still be American investment and omer foreign money but we would like to recapture a significant share of our own industries—the riches that arc now being exploited by foreigners. This would involve some nationalization, and we'd set up enterprises with government and private French-Canadian capital to run some of the industries. What would be left would have to conform to legislation that would guarantee access to top jobs by Quebec nationals and a certain share of domestic stock ownership. Businesses would have to conduct all their dealings in French.

How would you change Quebec's educational system?

We would try to make it as modern as possible and accessible—I say accessible, not free— to everyone up to and including the university level, to give us the specialists we'd need. Also, we'd place great emphasis on purifying the French language in Quebec.

What if Canada’s other provinces object to giving Quebec independence on legal grounds?

Name me one country which became free entirely legally. ★