This French-speaking former Canadian province split away from greater Canada in late 1930, as the United States split up. The long-standing assertion that an independent Quebec could never thrive isolated between Canada and the U.S. no longer applied in an America composed of several competing nation-states. The Francophone nation-state today survives on a free-trade agreement with the Atlantic Coalition and Columbia, held together by endangered shipping lanes stretching out over the Atlantic and weaving down through the Champlain region. The Empire State and the Maritime Provinces could close down the latter routes at a moment's notice, assuming the pirates don't do it first.
The Empire State and Maritime Provinces have reasons to do so: to the southwest of Lake Champlain lies "Smuggler's Slide," a triangular patch of flatlands that Quebec bootleggers cross to gain the relative safety of the Empire State's Adirondack Mountains. East of the Lake is a border war waiting to happen, with Quebec and the Maritime Provinces contesting the lands south of the St. Lawrence River. To make matters worse, the small, but numerous, pirate havens in the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains are two insults away from a territory war over control of the Champlain Valley. Meanwhile, on the two Canadian borders Quebec finds itself hemmed in by former fellow-Provinces, neither of whom are well-disposed to the Quebecois.