Justin Trudeau is right

with 2 comments

Justin Trudeau is absolutely right. The recognition of Québec as a nation by the House of Commons last year was a bad idea. He made the comments in the Parc-Extention News, a local newpaper in the Montréal riding where he plans in representing the Liberal Party in the next federal election.

The motion is the equivalent of placing the Québécois on Canada’s endangered list along with the Metis, Algonquin, Abénakis and Mohawks. We are now just one step away from the reservation. It’s the trading of ancestral rights for a bottle of whisky.

I don’t want to be part of a Nation. I don’t even know what that means. I want to be a citizen. I want to be the citizen of a country that doesn’t treat me like a second class citizen. I want to be the citizen of a country that will represent my culture and my values in international forums and on the world stage. I’d like to be the citizen of a country where I can speak my own language when I call my embassy. I’d like to be the citizen of a country where all citizens earn as much, regardless of the colour of their skin, their gender or the language they speak. That country is not Canada.

Justin Trudeau is right once again when he says the concept is an antiquated one from the 19th century. It does raise the question of who is a member of this nation. All the residents of Québec or only the « Québécois de souche »? All residents of Canada are in theory equal. All residents of an independent Québec would be in theory equal. If you don’t like your country, you are free to change it by participating in the political process, or to leave it altogether by moving away. You can’t do either of these things in a Nation.

I agree with Justin Trudeau that the House of Commons motion recognizing the Québec Nation is wrong. I totally disagree that the kind of Canada he represents and that used to be peddled by his father is any better.

In Justin’s father’s bilingual and multicultural federation 50% of Canada’s french speaking population outside Québec has been disappearing with every generation. Canadians of colour born in Canada are among the lowest earners in the country. Natives still live in conditions somewhere between those of pre-civil rights movement blacks in Alabama and India’s untouchables.

Nothing can guarantee that an independent Québec would be a more Just Society. Like most countries it will probably fall short of the grand goals it sets out for itself. But if America’s french-speakers wish to increase their political power at home and in the world, political independence of the only state that is their own is something concrete they can do about it.

A House of Commons motion that recognises the « Québec Nation » is just another broken mirror used to buy off a defeated nation.

Written by angryfrenchguy

December 19, 2007 at 4:19 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Recognizing an ethnic “Quebecois” [sic] nation would be quite funny:

    Would be members of that fictitious national community all those individuals who can trace an ancestor who lived on the banks of the St. Lawrence river at the time of the British Conquest, in September 1760. We would be talking about an uncertain number of individuals, surely over 10 million, making up a community scattered all across the earth but mostly located in North America, speaking all kinds of languages, but mostly English and French, and mixed up with almost every other ethnic group that ever lived.

    This fun national group would be unable to communicate for a lack of a common language. They would be unable to make sense of their own collective existence, an existence which many would deny anyway.

    Image the ridicule of claiming a distinct territory corresponding to where these people are concentrated: they would find themselves at war with the USA overnight.

    Indeed, it makes a lot more sense to claim Statehood for a very old French Province (turned into a British Province, turned into a British North American Province) and to just consider every citizen of that finally decolonized society an equal member of the body holding sovereignty.

    As for the diaspora members, living in the ROC and the USA, they should feel free to identify with and love Quebec as much as they want. I find it not difficult to conceive that it would be easier for them to do so if Quebec was the self-confident Republic it should already be rather than the out-of-place Canadian province it is stuck being.

    And if Justin wanted to be Canadian like his father wanted to, he could just immigrate there and leave the rest of his Quebec co-citizens alone. This would also work the other want around: Canadians could finally immigrate to Quebec and feel they are really on equal footing with the citizens of their adoptive country.

    Mathieu Gauthier-Pilote

    January 3, 2008 at 2:26 am

  2. Bon papier angryfrenchguy !


    January 8, 2008 at 9:48 am

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