Angle on Canada: Brexit, Brexit everywhere and not a drop to drink

Ah, but where to begin?

Britons had the chance last week to vote to leave or remain in the European Union. You may have come across something on this subject. But that’s the United Kingdom, what does that have to do with Canada? I’m glad you’ve asked, rhetorical device, because hoooit has plenty to do with us.

So let us try, as with all things referenda, to start things off in Québec. The day of the UK vote was the day before La Fête Nationale. Québec’s totally-not-Canada-Day happens the week before Canada Day, where the streets are filled with blue-clad families and partiers and everyone waves the blue Fleurdelisé and celebrates the nation-within-a-united-Canada that is Québec. Which is much different than Canada Day, where everyone is in red.

In any case, the British vote to separate from a larger political body so close—on the eve of!—anything so fundamentally Québec is, well, too damned perfect to pass up. The connection is right there, so connect it we shall. The parallels are so obvious, can’t you see? (That Fête Nationale is the hyper-secularized evolution of the Catholic Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day is of no interest here, because it does not neatly fit into this narrative. MOVING ON.)

But maybe there is something interesting to be learned from the post-referendum political collapse in London. As Chantal Hébert writes, there’s a pretty good chance that in 1995 things would have gone similarly to shit if the Yes side had won. Perhaps most interestingly, Hébert posits the federal Clarity Act, with its stipulation for pre-set winning thresholds and clear questions, might not inoculate the country from a disastrous post-vote omnishambles. “But in the Brexit referendum, the question was direct and all sides signed off on the simple majority rule. What we are witnessing in the U.K. is as orderly an adjustment to a game-changing referendum result as Canada and Quebec could ever hope for,” she writes. 

Ah well.

When pressed on this very point, Trudeau was less keen on acknowledging the similarities, when he was asked about it Tuesday

But this isn’t just about Québec. No matter what the outcome, there were bound to be grave lessons in the wake of Britain’s referendum on its European Union membership. Lessons for Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of this adorable little backwater we call Canada.

There are lessons about climate changelessons about electoral reformlessons about regular peoplelessons about the threat of big governmentlessons about the temperature of the housing marketlessons about jobslessons about Shakespeare metaphorslessons about lists. And those are just the lessons found in the Toronto Sun.

Maybe a Brexit means a free trade deal with Europe will be finalized, if the trade minister is to be believed, maybe it means a quick bilateral deal between the UK and Canada. Then again, maybe it doesn’t

Maybe Brexit is the counterpoint to Justin Trudeau’s vision for the world.

Maybe, Brexit means that Canada is the world’s last sane place. And maybe that means it’s about to get more crowded here. (Maybe, though, Google Trends is not to be trusted.)

Maybe this is all about Thomas Mulcair.

Then again, maybe there won’t be a Brexit, and all of this will be for naught.

Maybe there isn’t a lesson.

And now for a shorter-than-usual smattering of the Canadian angle:

• A woman born in Ashton, near Ottawa, is now the First Lady of Iceland. Which, I guess means Canada has a First Lady after all.

• Ontario Priemer Kathleen Wynne declares that Donald Trump is a danger to the world. Surely this will be what finally derails him.

Editor’s note: Angle on Canada is a semi-irregular feature of news stories made more about Canada than they should be. Particularly strained news examples can be sent via email or twitter.