A Plea For Saskatchewan Separation

Way back in
College 1.0, I wrote a satirical essay in one of my writing classes which I
think is appropriate at this time as I sit in a Montreal hostel, looking through the books on the history of the city. 

At the time I wrote this essay, it was a few months after I'd returned from an exchange to
England.  The feelings of anger and confusion having gone into the residence cafeteria the
morning after the 1995
Referendum not knowing if I'd be returning to the same country I'd left were still pretty fresh in my mind. 

As a westerner, I love that Canada includes Quebec and feel that the
advantages this gives our country greatly outweigh the negatives
(buying my booze in the grocery store today being the least of these advantages!) 

I can understand why some
Quebecers want their own country but hopefully this essay exposes some
of the ludicriousness of their arguments as well. 

Sorry for the length of this essay – I'm too lazy to put this up as a linked PDF file
right now.  This is also the first draft which I still like quite a bit more than the final
draft which became a lot drier piece that was sort
of a fictionalized “articles of incorporation” for the new country of
“Saskatchewan”.



A PLEA FOR SASKATCHEWAN SEPARATION

My fellow Saskatchewatonians:

    I'm fed up! 
All you and I have been hearing about for the past year is how Quebec
wants to separate from Canada.  This story fills our newspaper
headlines daily.  It's been going on for the past year, it's been
going on since 1980 – hell, if you were one hundred and twenty-nine
years old, I bet that you'd have been hearing this “Quebec separation”
line for one hundred and thirty!  But have you noticed
something?  Quebec's still here, they're still a part of Canada,
and they're still complaining about it.  You know why they're
still here?  Because if they ever did separate they wouldn't know
what to do!  Who'd listen to them?  Where would the majority
of their funding come from?  Where would the spotlight focus then?


    Quebec complains
that the rest of Canada doesn't respect their language, their culture,
their history.  They complain that they aren't as well off as
Ontario and British Columbia then complain that they must support
poorer provinces like Manitoba and Newfoundland. 


    But from my
Saskatchewanois position, this simply isn't true.  When I was in
England this past year, who was topping the British charts?  Not
Saskatchewan's local hero, Colin James but Quebec chanteuse, Celine
Dion.  When people found out I was from Canada, did they ask about
the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool's plans to go public?  The Grey Cup
being held in Regina?  No, they asked about the Quebec
Referendum.  When I went to a pub with a group of Germans, what
was the only thing these world-reknowned unity experts knew about
Canada?  Only that Quebec wanted to separate (and boy, were they ever interested in the reasons why!).  And when I
woke up on the morning of Monday October 30, 1995?  Imagine waking
up in a foreign country and not knowing whether you'd be returning to
your own country or a nation split in two?


    I'm fed up with
this and I think it's time we tried a different tactic.  Let a
province leave that has good reasons for separation from the rest of
Canada: my fellow Saskatchewanians, I make this plea to you: 
Saskatchewan must separate from Canada!


    Now, my fellow Saskalonians, I know what
you're thinking as you sit there in your lazy boy, drinking a nice cool
Great Western Draft and waiting for the lottery numbers to come
on:  “Why should Saskatchewan separate?  We've got it pretty
good out here, don't we?  What about that survey said that
Canada's the best place in the world to live?  And that other
survey said Saskatchewan was the best place in Canada!”  That's
got to mean something, doesn't it? 
   
Sure it does.  But only to the people who live
here.  The rest of Canada still thinks of us as a flat wasteland
where they cut the telephone poles to different heights just to make
the landscape less boring. 

    Friend,
that survey was road apples!  Propaganda by the rest of Canada so
we'd stop flooding into their provinces and going on their welfare
programs instead of staying here on our own welfare program (here, it's
called “farming”). 


    We shouldn't have
to put up with this behind-the-back snickering from the rest of the
country.  Quebec thinks they have reasons to separate?  They
haven't been to Saskatchewan!


    Quebec always
talks about their distinct language.  But we've made a concession
to their language and because of the cross-Canada influence of the
French CBC, most non-French speakers would be able to get around in
Quebec using the French they've learned from watching Canadiens' games,
reading the other side of cereal boxes and watching French foreign
films (only for the language
of course, not for the fact that they show full frontal nudity in the
middle of the afternoon on that
channel.) 
    Is the reverse true?  Would somebody from
Quebec be able to order in a restaurant in Climax, Saskatchewan? 
Or would they stare at the menu bewildered?  “Cabbage
rolls”?  “Perogies”?  “Saskatoon berries?”  Would they just shake their head when
somebody identified the machines in the fields as “combines” and
“swathers”?  That those skyscrapers in every town and city aren't
office buildings but “elevators”?  Would they understand that
those bodies of water aren't Saskatchewan lakes but “sloughs”? 
How would they respond when somebody asked, “Is it cold enough for
ya?”  When a Quebec tourist asked “Ou est la salle de bains?”, would a gas
station attendant be able to decipher this strange request as meaning
“crapper”?  I don't even want to consider how we'd translate
“bunny hug” into French for them – a bad translation could cause a war!


    The Quebec people
are proud of their history.  Co-founders of Canada, Plains of
Abraham, and twenty-two Stanley Cups.  But Saskatchewan has just
as rich and proud of history.  Home of the medicare in Canada,
the Riel Rebellion and fans who cheer for a football team that never
actually wins anything.  (Anybody can cheer for a winner, try
cheering for the Riders for awhile and see how disenfranchised you
become!)


    For culture, the
people of Quebec have Carnaval and maple syrup.  But can that
compare with a Saskatchewan culture based around Agribition and deer
sausage that you've cured, cut and hung yourself? 


    Quebec complains
that Canada mistreats them but up until recently, they were one of only
two provinces to have two National Hockey League franchises (in
Montreal and Quebec City.)  Saskatchewan, even though we've
produced more NHL players per capita than anywhere on earth, has never had an NHL
team. 


    There is one final
reason that Saskatchewan, not Quebec, should separate from
Canada.  Someone in the national media might just pay attention to
us for once. 


    So what happens
when Saskatchewan separates from Quebec?  There is a myth that we
are a “have-not” province.  This is not true.  We have lots
of stuff – okay, most of it is the form of grain crops but hey, our
farmers are
being told to diversify all the time so the potential to become a
“have” province is there.  If somebody could figure out how to
turn wheat into gasoline, we'd be like a Canadian Saudi
Arabia.   
    Saskatchewan has the new Casino Regina as a major tourist
attraction and an independent Saskatchewan could build on this by
putting Casinos in every other major city (er, in Saskatchewan a major
city is anywhere over 5000 people – but we won't mention this in the
marketing brochures advertising our country as “Vegas North.”)
    If we really want to take advantage of our
agricultural history, we could become the first place in North American
to legalize marijuana.  Imagine a place combining the gambling and
illegal drugs – the money from tourism would flow in!
     There are many other details to be worked out
but this is something that can, no, that needs to be done. 
Saskatchewan separation, like a Gordie Howe elbow to another player's
jaw, is an inevitability – the people of that province and of this country just don't know it yet!

Comments 1

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Ahem, Saskatchewan is not “west”. It is more of the “middle” of the country.
    Just so you know, BC is “west”, whereas Alberta is simply “hick”.

    Posted 03 May 2006 at 8:24 am

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: