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La Question nationale


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Building upon the initial public euphoria over the reestablishment of a sovereign state, the social elite had worked with an almost inhuman and certainly for Faraway atypical speed and efficiency, to cement the position of the state in the society and to reestablish a system conductive for whatever changes might come. But what was it they wanted? As time passed on, it became increasingly less clear, as not only did political parties fight over whether to keep a traditional Québec or to aim for something else, but also among the ruling party, the idea of what the new state should be was a contested matter. Even among the stratified elite of former Faraway, which was known for close coordinaton to operate as a somewhat united front, there was no consensus over what to do and in some ways, it was reminiscient of when Faraway formed the first time. Just like back in the days, factions within the elite formed, operating in a unified manner only towards the outside and towards the lower classes, while standing in more or less sharp opposition to each other when it came to defining the actual course.

 

These debates would only subside momentarily, when a decision within the innermost circle would be made, which the others then deferred to. In the past, this unifying factor had been the monarchy. With unrestricted powers, it was the crown, which kept the noblesse at bay. As long as Faraway was ruled by nobles, as equals, they could only act in coalitions, however, with a clear superior, the word of the crown was law. And thus, the Québec state found itself in a political crisis, without clear authority, without clear course, without proper order. And with a parliamentary opposition noone wanted.

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Through the ranks of the parlamentarians murmurs and chatter could be heard, as many used the last few minutes before the session to discuss their business, some broader politics, the order of the day or the weather. To the far left were the ranks of the liberals, to the far right the Québecois and in the centre, the restaurationists, given as a third force, they positioned themselves there. But this was just one of the peculiarities of the parlament, just like the name (États-généraux), the skewed gender ratios and the odd amount of tea cups, which, together with the animosity towards the body itself, caused the ruling party itself to just call the whole thing "the nation's largest teahouse".

 

But the laid-back atmosphere changed rapidly, as the clock hit the full hour and perfectly on time, the President Helena de Grenville and, at her side, the Premier entered the room. After a short respectful nod to her companion, the Premier stepped back and assumed her seat at the back end of the room, overseeing the assembly, while the President took a few quick steps to the central podium. Next to Helena, who made a gentle, but strong and energetic impression, the Premier seemed a bit reserved, cold and showed little emotion. Her movements were almost silent, her appearance had a ghostly air to it, as one could still witness that though mostly concealed by a long black dress, her built was slender, her complexion pale and her long almost white hair did not lend her a healthier impression. Rather the sole thing that seemed lively were the fierce green eyes that went through the ranks that had immediatly become silent upon witnessing her presence, especially among the restaurationists. As the President prepared to speak, the announcement passed through the room. "Helena de Grenville, Presidente de Québec"

 

Helena ordered the sheets in front of her for her speech, before adressing the assembled États-généraux. Many had expected her to give a statement on the course of the nation and today, she had announced to provide an outline. For that purpose even the otherwise absent Premier was in attendance. Not that this was the sole purpose of her visit though...

 

"I wish the assembled États-généraux a good day,

 

I have summoned you today, in order to address the state and future of Québec, so as to establish a clear understanding of the way ahead of this nation. Especially, as in the last few weeks, there has been a quite extensive debate over fundamental matters of the state. To address the concerns, partly valid, I want to say, the Realm, at this point, will not change any of its most fundamental aspects. These aspects, which define our new country, are to stay, for as long as is needed.

 

Québec has a long and great history. It is the birthplace of American francophonie and it has a cultural legacy that is distinct from the rest of the continent. This fact will have to be adressed and it will be. However, this does not contradict Québec as part of the Faraway realms. Nor does it mean Québec is not to be part of any greater American community. It merely has a different, for its situation unique and maybe even superior approach to these issues. Because at the end of the day, Québec remains on this very continent and it will always have been an important part of the Realm.

 

The Faraway Realm was by no means perfect. It was partly inefficient, caught up in outdated structures and had a long streak of mismanagent. This we have to acknowledge, when we think of our past. However we also need to acknowledge one other fact. Faraway's collapse, frankly speaking, was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe to have shaken the North American continent in recent years. Almost overnight, a country of over one hundred million people imploded and we still do not know what exactly happened. States have risen and fallen in the lands of former Faraway, ours is just the latest of generations. While having many faults, Faraway provided our people, the people of all Canada and the Great Lakes, with a stable government, proper order and security from outside powers. It was the combined efforts of the Hudson Bay Federation and the Faraway Crown, which have repelled the Madison madness, the Southern Aggressors and which have created the peaceful environment, which characterises our continent ever since. We ought not to forget these very important achievements. Before Faraway, there were movements like at Madison, after Faraway, the American Commonwealth has thankfully managed to keep the Northern Americas save.

 

We should think of Faraway not as our nationality, for it never was never a nation. Rather, Faraway was a system and as such, we should adapt and adopt it. The Québec state ought not to become a new Ontario, however it should be clear that as one of the most important parts of the former Realm, Québec cannot run from its responsibility of forming a pillar of North American stability and order, as Faraway did in the days of old. To this end, Faraway has to work closely with our fellow nations on this continent, with other Canadian nations, so as to build up a strong North, and with the American Commonwealth, an amicable partner of both, Faraway and the Grande Republique. It is vital for our country to establish good ties with our neighbours and to prevent a resurgence of chaos on this continent.

 

Naturally, restoring this Faraway legacy will not be all sugar and rainbows and it will need internal and external policies that adress the issues that remain or potentially could arise. First of all, proper order has to be restored within our very borders. As a first step, the State of Québec ought to decide for itself, on what to do with the old crown. The former Queen of Faraway is not to be found, the other parts of the Realm are republics, in regards to Faraway... Québec, c'est ce qui reste. In this regard, restoring Faraway will be a virtually impossible thing to do, and it might be more advantagous, to establish a new monarchy, to guide our country in a new era. Québec cannot let itself get dragged down by the weight of old and needs to adapt pragmatically what is good for itself. In this regard, we have to weigh our options and not merely restore, but improve on the legacy of Faraway. Our internal organisation will have to ensure the stability of the Realm, regardless the circumstances. To this end, first measures have been taken, but further steps towards proper order will be inevitable. A reform of the constitution, especially in regards to this very institution will have to be made, so as to ensure qualified rule and an end to republicanism within our borders.

 

Indeed, we will have to clearly identify and name the threats to our country that stem from within and form a tumour of which we have to rid ourselves. The proponents of radical and revolutionary changes, of mob rule and anarchy will have to be marginalised, in order to protect the country against its internal foes. These ideological currents, which advocated for violent upheaval of the established Faraway order, were an issue throughout the Realm's history, having caused issues like the Madison rebellion and the final collapse. Any new order will be wise to contain such violent and counter-productive movements without shying away from showing the necessary assertiveness.

 

But with the same assertiveness, we should adress the outstanding issue of Southern Québec and Acadie, both which have formed integral parts of this nation for decades, if not centuries, and which are indisputably linked to our countries through their large francophone populations. In many ways, that these lands are outside the State poses many problems, ranging from cultural issues, to economic problems, to security concerns, all three being gravely affected by the matter. This issue will have to be treaded carefully, given it is not the intention of our country to disrespect our neighbours, however, it needs to be clear, that the État québécois will always and forever, lay claim to the full extent of historical Québec territory, as established by the Grande Republique and in the form, as it joined the Realm. We may not actively enforce this claim through means that are as unconductive to our overall policies, as brute force, but it should be brought up to our neighbours, as it is a valid concern of the Québec nation.

 

One would hope this gives this assembly more of an idea, what the course of our government shall be on the matters of recent debates. I would hope for this very assembly to take the necessary steps, in order to cooperate with the line provided by the government, so as to not obstruct the progress of the state. I thank you for your attention."

 

As Helena ended her speech and took a sip from a glass of water in front of her, the middle ranks of the États-généraux started to applaud fervently, and altough a good number of people at both ends of the chamber looked with consternation, these were a minority, which in Helena's view could be ignored in the face of a restaurationist supermajority.

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Within a week of the speech, the États-généraux would pass a motion to amend the constitution, which was mostly carried by the restaurationists, against the declared will of the opposition parties to both sides. This ammendment would most of all see a change in the way the États-généraux worked, by changing the way it was composed and the tasks it was to fulfill.

 

Instead of being elected directly from the electoral districts, the seats would be occupied by representatives from different "electoral census classes", of which there are five, which are noblesse (holders of a noble title, having 30 seats), clergy (10 seats), military (30 seats), bourgeoisie (urban citizens with at least 15,000 Faraway Pound tax value, 30 seats) and peasantry (everything that's not in the other categories, 50 seats). The main duty of the États-généraux will from now on be to represent the different social classes of society, in order to allow them to cooperate in their position towards policies of the state and to forment a spirit of cross-class unity within the population.

 

The legislative powers of the États-généraux are from now on shared with the President, allowing both seperately from each other to create, amend and abolish laws, altough when in conflict, the President's position takes precedence.

 

As the position of the deputies in the États-généraux is not to be dependant on party affiliation, but on the class they belong to, the body, in the future, will be a non-partisan chamber and parties are expected to disband themselves within 48 hours.

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