Dear Editor

To the editors of the Toronto Star;

Some are asking whether the departure of Lucien Bouchard signals the death knell of separatism. The death knell of separatism was sounded in 1976 when Rene Levesque was elected premier of Quebec. It became clear at that point that Quebeckers could achieve their legitimate aspirations within Canada.

I do not often agree with Mike Harris, but I believe he was right on when he went to New York and told the bond raters that the chance of Quebec leaving Canada was zilch.

The paradox for the PQ is this: If they govern badly, they show that they are incompetent to run their own country. If they govern well, they reduce the pressure for change and demonstrate that Quebeckers can control their own fate within the Canadian federation.

Revolutions are not made by people who are fat and happy. They are made by people who are desperate and have nothing left to lose. Quebeckers have a great deal to lose. They can read the newspapers, and they know that Canada is the best country in the world in which to live. You do not destroy a country because it is too prosperous.

Lucien Bouchard was an excellent premier for Quebec. He got his province through a tough economic time, balancing the budget and cutting taxes without destroying the social safety net. Indeed, he brought in five-dollar daycare and pharmacare, ensuring that Quebec will serve as the model for the rest of Canada in the future development of social programs. He made Quebec a better place to live, and by doing so, made Canada a stronger country.

Lucien Bouchard is a great Canadian. We should make him a senator, or maybe Governor-General.

Wayne Smith

(Edited version published in the Toronto Star)