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September 17, 2012

The lack of strong reactions from the outside world to the Parti Quebecois victory in the Sept. 4 Quebec election is a sign of how much things have changed. This change may be due to an acceptance of the regular change of governing parties that takes place in provinces with a lively democracy.

Or, one may attribute it to the fact that the PQ no longer represents major change. The revolution took place long ago.

The real revolution was not the election of the first separatist government in 1975, but rather the Quiet Revolution of the 1960's. That was when Quebec moved from being a rural, Catholic society with strong families to one that put its hopes in big government and individual freedom.

Perhaps Church and family were too strong in pre-1960 Quebec. However, when a society rejects its religious roots and treats the family as an optional add-on, trouble lies ahead.

On what, then, is society to be built? In Quebec's case - as with so many societies over the millennia - the answer was government and the pursuit of economic growth.

Every society, of course, needs both a government and economic activity. But when these become its raison d'etre, life gets very cold. By whom would a child rather be raised - a mother or a bureaucracy? In homes without both mother and father, the trend is clear. The children are more likely to have futures characterized by educational and economic failure, involvement in crime, broken marriages and general aimlessness.

The great historian Christopher Dawson once wrote, "A tree cannot bear fruit when the roots are gone." A society that rejects faith and family is one that has cut off its roots. Little fruit will grow when the soil is composed of state management and the pursuit of economic gain. Only self-interest, efficiency and an impersonal idealism remain to motivate the people.

However, in that, is Quebec so different from the rest of the Western world? It may have "progressed" further toward secularism and it may set the balance between business and government differently than in other places. But aren't these differences merely a matter of degree?

Quebec may be more secular than say, the Prairie West. It may put greater stock in government intervention. It may be more tolerant of different forms of family. But we are moving in the same direction too, only not as fast.

The reconstruction of their society, and ours too, requires a major turnaround. A good society is based more on nurturing souls than on filling wallets. Government or business will not take the lead here. A revolution of hope is rooted in faith and love. Faith and family have always provided the foundation of a strong society. They will provide the solution to many of our woes today as well, if we but give them the chance.