Today is the 20th anniversary of the 1995 referendum that might have led to an independent Quebec if the yes side won and if people could have figured out what the question meant. All I can say is: phew!
I would not have ventured to Montreal and McGill had Quebec seceded. Easy for me to say in hindsight, but I am pretty sure that is the case. First, there would have been no Canada Research Chair for me, since Quebec, despite the best efforts to diminish the costs of transition, would have been hosting a Canada/federally funded educational program. So, McG would either not have had the position or would not have had the sweeteners to compensate for a salary that represented a pay cut from my previous job due to the exchange rates. Second, the Quebec nationalists have frequently taken hostile positions towards McGill, so I doubt that McG would have been creating new positions or filling old ones, except perhaps for those English speakers who were fleeing the new country. Third, Canada seemed like a good place to live. A newly independent nationalist state with some degree of animosity towards English-speakers? Yuck.
Canada dodged a bullet in 1995. While support for independence is low now, the issue remains the third rail of Canadian politics. Which helps to explain the NDP pandering about 50% plus 1 and all that. It also means that Canada cannot amend its constitution because Quebec's issues would arise anew. Still, the province did give far more votes to the man with the wrong last name (Trudeau senior apparently alienated the province long ago).
So, I am thankful that a small majority of Quebeckers turned out and made the right decision. Not only has Canada been better off together since 1995, I am better off for Canada remaining together. As I have repeatedly posted here, Canada has been very, very good to me and mine. Now that 2/3's of us are citizens (Soph Spew needs to swear....), we are in big-time.
Let's celebrate Canada unity day by ... watching some hockey and feeling smug about the Canadian health care system! Woot, eh?!