Canada and Sarkozy deserve each other
It’s been a pretty good week for Québec’s independence movement. For real.
Whilst in the middle of very busy week in which he managed to insult the Prime Minister of Britain, the government of the Czech republic and bring almost every single French man and woman to he streets, Nicolas Sarkozy took the time to squeeze in a few nasty thoughts about Québec’s sovereignty movement.
He dismissed us, the sovereigntists, with the same disdain he used to reserve for the racaille of Seine-Saint-Denis. The president called sovereingtists, without naming them, ‘sectarian’ and ‘inwrad-looking’. He said he did not understand the « obligation to define one’s identity by fierce opposition to the other. »
The right of the Québécois democratically decide for themselves who should govern their affairs was not his « thing ». The world did not need another division, he reasoned with the sophisticated and subtle thinking that has become his trademark.
I’m loving it. Nicolas Sarkozy was elected with the support of an important part of the Front National vote. He opposed the accession of Turkey to the European Union because “if it was in Europe, we’d know about it”. He doesn’t think French colonialism had any negative effects of Africa and that the continent’s problem is that “it never entered History”. And now he feels strongly about a united Canada.
Wow. I doubt you could get a stronger confirmation that the sovereigntists are the good guys short of getting George W. Bush and Robert Mugabe to hold a joint press conference titled “The Canadian federation. Our model and inspiration.”.
But even better, Sarko’s little diatribe completely drowned out any news of Jean Charest’s trip to Europe, arguably the most successful trip to the old countries by a federalist Prime Minister. Ever.
Predictably, the Canadian media nearly choked with self-righteousness, praising the French president’s ‘fresh’ and ‘forward-looking’ thoughts. We’ll see how fresh they think he is when he tells them it’s time Canada gets rid of that anachronistic little border on the 49th parallel. He might just get a real taste of a country that defines itself by ‘detestation’ and ‘opposition’ to the other…
But the real story here is not that Nicolas Sarkozy does not know anything or that Canadians are completely blind to their own hypocrisy. Everybody knows that.
No, the real story is that Québec’s sovereigntists need to get new friends. Fast.
Ever since Québec emerged from the Great Darkness, the forces of light and good in the province have put all their eggs in France’s basket. As if the only recognition an independent Québec would ever need would be that of France.
There is a reason why Québec looked to France and it is not only because of a shared language. France has consistently been the West’s left wing. Cooler, smarter and not afraid to break rank on NATO, Irak and the Occident’s apparent determination to abolish food.
But France is not only Renaud and IAM. It is also Brigitte Bardot and Johnny Halliday. France too has it’s Stéphane Gendrons, Josée Verners and Denis Coderres. It is as it never occured to any of the Parti québécois’ numerous regulars of the bistros of Boulevard Austerlitz that one day one of them might actually take power.
Someone like Nicolas Sarkozy.
But it was bound to happen. As night begets day and life begets death, a well read and inspiring American president begets a reductive twit at the Élysée.
The real issue is « why haven’t sovereigntists cultivated more friends in other countries? »
Before the Obama administration actually got the briefing on the aliens of Area 51 and the nuclear missile launch codes, all observers knew exactly how many friends Israel had in the White House and how powerful they were. Canadian Conservatives had mules in Washington before they took power in Ottawa. David Frum, a National Post columnist and the son of Barbara Frum, is the Bush speechwriter who coined the inspiring, in a Battlestar Gallactica kind of way, image of the Axis of Evil.
The last time there was anyone with any pull whatsoever in the White House who had ever heard about Québec was when Pierre Salinger served as press secretary for JFK. Other than that their might be a cab driver in Baltimore who has a cousin in Beloeil. That’s about it.
And while were at it, why don’t we have any of our men and women working the pubs of London? There once was a time when Québec’s representatives regularly looked to London as a fair arbiter in their conflicts with English-speaking neighbours and on more than one occasion the cooler heads in London did not hesitate to put the proto-Rhodesians of Upper Canada and Montreal back in their place.
Sovereigntists could send Pauline Marois to hang out with the Queen. I’m sure they would get along splendidly as they both have a taste for expansive rural estates and an entourage keen on palace intrigue and making inappropriate comments. A few shots of sherry and firm commitment to keep her on as Reine du Québec after independence and there is no doubt Betty would get on board.
First of all, she would have no choice but to publicly support her own subjects’ declaration of independence. Second, no Englishman or woman, no matter how blue the blood, who would ever miss an opportunity to stick it to the French!
Take that Sarko!