LAST OCTOBER Maclean’s asked readers for their views on some basic questions concerning the future shape of this country. Has the time come to remake the face of Canada? Should geopolitical boundaries, which may have made administrative sense 50 or 100 years ago, be altered to conform with present realities? To stimulate response, we printed three versions of how such new boundaries might be drawn, together with the present map of Canada.
The response, as it turned out, hardly needed stimulating. Just by asking the questions we stirred up a WASP’s nest of patriotism, tapped a long-fermenting keg of frustrated opinion. It became clear that Canadians young and old, east and west — there were even comments from aroused expatriates in such far-off fields as Kentucky and Scotland — fundamentally care about their country’s future and want to be heard.
Twelve hundred replies to our questionnaire had been received by press time and more were still arriving. (Results of the $500 essay competition, announced at the same time, will be printed next month.) Analysis showed that
only 27 percent of the respondents (326 out of 1,200) are content with the Canada we have now (Map 1).
A clear majority of those advocating change, 41 percent of all replies, thought Map 2 (above) represents a more realistic Canada in terms of population grouping and economic efficiency. Only 10.5 percent voted for Map 3, showing a Pakistan-like Canada divided by a separate Quebec. Slightly more, 13 percent, favored the idea that Canada, minus an independent Quebec, should join political forces with the United States (see Map 4).
The combined support for Maps 1 and
2 show that at least 68 percent of the voters believe Canadian unity can be preserved one way or another. However, the total votes for Maps 3 and 4 indicate that 23.5 percent of what were predominately English-speaking readers think a separate Quebec is either necessary or inevitable.
Encouragingly, younger readers were on the side of unity. The under-21 vote was 8.2 percent of all replies for Map 1 and 9.5 percent for Map 2. In contrast, the non-adult vote for Map 3 was 1.3
percent of the total and only one percent for Map 4.
Finally, 8.5 percent of respondents didn’t like any of our maps and supplied detailed, often beautifully rendered versions of their own. These dissenting suggestions, which we regret we don’t have space to reproduce, ranged from the concept of a 20-province country to the breaking up of Canada into 10 nation states.
l (27 percent)
For many readers, Edith Cavell was wrong. Patriotism is enough. The sentiment most frequently echoed by this group was that “Canada is the best country in the world in which to live, just the way it is now.” However, P. M. de Chazal, of Granby, Que., put the case more constructively: “Quite apart from sentiment, it still seems to me the best framework for a multicultural progression.” Others voted for this map because:
□ “Canada should remain united and pro-English-speaking and continue as a Dominion.” — JOHN SMITH, OAKVILLE, ONT.
□ “It helps to keep fresh in the memory of our people an account of those who blazed a trail in the face of insurmountable difficulties — the early settlers.” —
DAVID CLELLAND, OWEN SOUND, ONT.
□ “If there are not enough responsible people in Canada as it is to make this a great country, then changing the boundaries would not make us any greater or more responsible.” — s. A. NEWCOMBE,
PORT CLEMENTS, BC
□ “Giving Montreal and Toronto provincial status could raise problems when other cities reach a similar size. They too might start campaigning to be regarded as separate provinces.” — TED SERBEN, 17, EDMONTON
□ “The way things are, everybody is already adjusted to the time zones across the country.” — MARGARET JANZEN, 10,
ÊÉ (41 percent)
Consolidation of the Prairies and the Maritimes into single provinces, together with the creation of new provinces out of the conurbation areas of Montreal and Toronto, struck a majority of readers as being eminently practical. “Clearly the Maritimes need to unite for economic reasons,” wrote Adrian O’Sullivan, of Edmonton. “The north would be developed and administered better than at present when part of its southern neighboring provinces; Alsaskman would counterbalance the east in Canadian life.” Other comments:
□ “This map could come about in a natural way without any violence. It would seem to be the natural grouping of people, of commerce, of political boundaries. It would not endanger the mutual trust that one area gives to another.” ALICE SQUIRES, ST. VITAL,
□ “It would do many things to bind us together. Our ethnic Canadians from many lands would no doubt welcome this new Canada as a great improvement.” HAROLD BROWN, VANCOUVER
□ “It’s ridiculous that Montreal should continue to support the Province of Quebec. Let the rest of the province pay its own way.” — LOUIS SCHLOMOWITZ, 20,
□ “It looks nicer. The names are new and modern. They are easier to write. There are fewer provinces to argue about. There are fewer governments to worry about. And there will be something for my children to remember.” - DALE
YANO, 10, KELLIHER, SASK.
_ (10.5 percent)
An articulate minority of English Canadians have clearly come to believe that Quebec’s separation is inevitable. “Since Anglo-Saxons and Latins have despised each other since the beginning of time,” argued John Primrose, of Vernon, BC,
“there can be no peace, security, progress and unity in Canada under a bilingual system for well-founded and proven reasons.” On the other hand an English-speaking Quebecker, Kim Hollet, of Boucherville, saw separatists as the only true Canadians: “They have tolerated me and my like for 300 years and have treated us more liberally than any other minority in the province. The future of Canada does not lie out west, or in Ontario, or in the Maritimes. Quebec is Canada and has the only real Canadian identity on this continent. Why don’t you come out and join us?” Other comments:
□ “A new Canada as depicted in Map
3 will allow Quebec to become a nation and prevent the rest of the country from being swallowed up by the U.S. A nation is a people; and a people is what it thinks and feels; and that is the language it speaks.” — DON JAMES, LYDIATT, MAN.
□ “Canadian governments have traditionally catered to the French vote, to the detriment of the rest of Canada, and no end to this is in sight unless Quebec separates.” — A. R. BRAY, OTTAWA
□ “Map 3 is great because Quebec is satisfied and Canada is one unprejudiced, happy country with its lesson learned.”
BRIAN MAXWELL, 16, HAMILTON, ONT.
The pro-Americans among us, while studiously avoiding the Vietnam war, put together some impressive arguments for joining the U.S. “During my travels through the States I have been completely unable to detect any differences between an 'American’ as a person and a 'Canadian' as a person,” said R. S. Matheson, of Edmonton. 'The political, cultural and social aspects of life in the two countries are identical. Why then shouldn’t we all be part of one political, economic, social and cultural unit?" Other comments:
□ “The car I drive, the movies I see, the instruments I use, the conventions I attend, the crimes I read about are all 'Made in USA.’ So why not call a spade a spade?” — DR. G. A. KLOSS, KENTVILLE,
□ “Confederation is doomed. Canada is too large, too underpopulated and too dependent on the U.S.” — ALEXANDER
FOSTER, POWELL RIVER, BC
□ “Working-class people, who are the
vast majority of Canadians, are more concerned about getting an honest living than in Canada's trying to ignore the hard, cold facts and quibble about nationality.” - JOSEPH CORBETT, LONDON,
□ “A united America would produce a nation far in advance of any power and further the course of world peace and health.” — STEPHEN MORRISON, 18, SAR-
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