These are stories Report on Business followed this week.
Someone somewhere is smoking something. And it's not Toronto's mayor.
The Parti Québécois wants to hang onto the Canadian dollar if it wins the coming election and then a sovereignty referendum. Keeping the loonie is certainly doable, but PQ leader Pauline Marois would go one crucial and hard-to-imagine step further by trying to get a seat at the Bank of Canada table so Quebec could have some input.
So, given that we're fantasizing:
Why a sovereign Quebec should reject the Canadian dollar
1. There are no women on Canadian banknotes. Except for the Queen. Of England.
2. Every time you used one of the older $5 bills, the ones with the kids playing hockey, you'd be reminded that the Montreal Canadiens haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1993. (No other Canadian club has won it since then either, but in a sovereign Quebec the Habs would be the national team.)
3. You probably couldn't use Canadian Tire money. And while Rona may be a "strategic asset" to some, it doesn't have its own currency.
4. Bombardier's C Series jet will never replace the Canadarm 2 on the new $10 bill.
5. It's the same currency used by Justin Bieber.
6. The cross-country Canadian train is on the back of the new $10 note. So to really do it right, you'd have to get off at the Ontario-Quebec border and board again on the other side.
7. The world's sexiest central banker now lives and works in London, so you couldn't wink across the table even if you got on the policy panel.
8. You wouldn't have to listen to all the wags shorting the loonie and issuing dire warnings about the Canadian housing market. (You would have to listen to them shorting a new currency and issuing dire warnings about the Quebec housing market.)
9. You could use your own money to bail out and prop up as many companies as you like.
10. Montreal smoked meat has to be worth more than 90 cents on the dollar.
11. It's the same currency used by Rob Ford.
12. Even Iceland, home of Björk, didn't want the loonie. And that was after giving it a surprisingly large amount of study.
13. Arcade Fire has to be worth more than 90 cents on the dollar.
Why a sovereign Quebec should adopt the Canadian dollar
1. What else would you use if not the loonie? "Bitcoin" doesn't translate well. Best I could come up with is "morceau de pièce de monnaie."
2. Everything looks that much better at 90 cents. Consider: Quebec's net debt is forecast to hit $191.2-billion by March 31, 2015, or about half of GDP, the worst in the country, and that doesn't include the share of the federal debt it would have to absorb. But if you convert that into U.S. dollars on the basis of 90 cents, it's less than $175-billion, which sounds so much better. It would still be 50 per cent of GDP, but a sovereign Quebec would no longer be saddled with "worst in the country." You couldn't compare it to British Columbia's 17.6 per cent because B.C. would be in a different country.
3. Ignore the fact that the green ink used in the U.S. dollar just happened to be invented in Montreal, by American chemist Thomas Sterry Hunt in 1857 when he taught at McGill University. Our new money is really colourful.
4. Our new banknotes last 2.5 times longer than the old stuff. So it wouldn't be that easy to get rid of, anyway.
5. It's the same currency used by Celine Dion.
6. You could use someone else's money to bail out and prop up as many companies as you like.
7. The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec could continue to beat up on companies in English Canada.
Are there alternatives?
1. Some people think Quebec should opt for the U.S. dollar. But the greenback, remember, declares that "In God We Trust." As in "God," that religious symbol. There's also Latin on the U.S. dollar, and if you've got a problem with English ...
2. Quebec could always form a monetary union with Iceland, which has already looked at the ins and outs. Iceland's debt may have topped 100 per cent when the country crashed in 2011, but the 1980-2012 average was more in line, at 46 per cent. And Celine and Björk could be besties.
3. Or the province could join Europe's monetary union and adopt the euro. After all, Quebec City's tourism group says it's "the most 'European' like city in North America." You'd get added points, too, because that "worst" debt designation would suddenly disappear.
4. If all else fails, join the BRICS group of emerging economies and become the BRIQUETTES.
- Rhéal Séguin and Les Perreaux: Sovereign Quebec would keep dollar, seek Bank of Canada seat, Marois says
- Boyd Erman in Streetwise (for subscribers): Ontario better off if sovereign Quebec stayed in monetary fold
- Barrie McKenna: Independent Quebec would have no say on Canadian policy
- Why keeping the Canadian dollar would be dicey for a sovereign Quebec
- Scott Barlow in ROB Insight (for subscribers): Loonie or no, sovereign Quebec's economic future would be grim
- Globe editorial: Pauline Marois’s loonie delusions
- Why provinces have little to show for two years of ‘painful’ restraint
- Sophie Cousineau: Montreal’s economy lagging, study shows
- Five reasons why Iceland should adopt the Canadian dollar
The week's top news
- Nathan VanderKlippe: With South Korean deal, Canada secures free-trade foothold in Asia
- Tara Perkins: Winter's chill can't freeze condo boom
- Bertrand Marotte and Richard Blackwell: Quebec sees slight downturn as investors fear PQ majority
- Eric Atkins: Railways fire back over grain shipments
- Richard Blackwell: Sale to Italy's Campari puts Canadian whisky maker closer to global goal
- Jeffrey Jones: PetroChina nears finish line on Alberta oil sands project
The week's must-reads
- Omar El Akkad: Does Android dream of profit?
- Iain Marlow: How high costs and low subsidies killed Australia's auto industry
- Tara Perkins: Why the doomsayers are wrong about Canada's housing market
- Nathan VanderKlippe: For China, an oil sands investment that can't be blocked
- Eric Atkins: After job cuts and closures, a stronger food sector emerges
- Paul Waldie: Ukraine protest leader now heads central bank
The week in Streetwise (for subscribers)
- Boyd Erman: Breaking into the boys' club of investment banking
- Tim Kiladze: Banks fight technology war in era of digital disruption
- Jacqueline Nelson: Fairfax's Prem Watsa sums up year of hedging
- Rachelle Younglai: Goldcorp founder doesn't see rival bids for Osisko
- Boyd Erman: Regulators approve easier way for companies to sell stock
The week in Business Briefing
- Was NAFTA just a 'one decade wonder' for Canada?
- The 'Menaissance: Guys are dropping a bundle on clothes
- Vancouver, Calgary home prices set records in 'east-west' Canadian divide
- Why keeping the Canadian dollar would be dicey for a sovereign Quebec
- Canadians score record wealth and a slightly easier time juggling debts
The week in ROB Insight (for subscribers)
- Scott Barlow: Loonie or no, sovereign Quebec's economic future would be grim
- Brian Milner: Péladeau rains on Ottawa's wireless parade
- Kevin Carmichael: The main obstacle to aid for Ukraine? Republicans
- Carl Mortished: China siphons the tanks of Western auto makers
- Brian Milner: On market reform, China can't have it both ways