|Pauline Marois of the PQ celebrates in Montreal|
The Parti Quebecois’ (PQ) victory in Tuesday’s snap election in the predominantly French-speaking Canadian province will likely embolden some supporters of Taiwanese independence, as it usually does when the separatist movement takes power, to draw parallels in their struggle for nationhood.
While it may be tempting to regard events in Canada as a source of inspiration, the Quebec experience is a bad template for Taiwan’s struggle against Chinese encroachment and therefore should not be used as an analogy. Above all, unlike Taiwan, Quebec is part of a federal system whose “colonial” power that the separatists have been struggling against is democratic, officially bilingual and does not threaten to use force or unleash paramilitary columns if they do not behave. Contrary to China, Ottawa does not brandish 1,600 ballistic missiles at the province’s 6.1 million people, nor does it have a so-called law that would legitimize the use of force against it should its people decide to secede, which they have tried to do twice through referendums.
Still, politicians and pundits in Taiwan will sometimes argue the case for independence along “ethnic” and “linguistic” lines, and in that aspect, Taiwan can learn from the PQ’s experience, primarily to find out how not to behave.
My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.