AngryFrenchGuy

Québec Redneck Bluegrass Project: Québec is not where you think it is…

with 42 comments

I had to spend 27 minutes on the phone with a CBC producer last week to realize I had no real opinion about the upcoming federal election.

This of course is one of the great universal truths of our lives in this valley of tears: we know nothing, indeed are nothing, until we’ve got someone else to bounce off.

I had no idea what a America could possibly be until I went on my first trip to Europe. I can’t even count how many of my unpoliticized friends became sovereingtists in Spain, Belgium and BC. As a matter of fact the AngryFrenchGuy was born in the USA and the first post written in a Volvo 630 with Ontario plates parked at a Flying J somewhere near Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania.

Think about it, what could Canada possibly be if it couldn’t not be the United States?

And then, just as I was reflecting on this the Universe hooked me up with the Québec Redneck Bluegrass Project, drifters from the Lac Saint-Jean now based Kumming in the Yunnan province of southern China who sing in French, English and some southern chinese patois about the universal truth that we are so much cooler when we’re drunk.

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Written by angryfrenchguy

April 11, 2011 at 7:49 pm

42 Responses

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  1. I’ll say straight that I’m very glad this blog is back, it has always been one of my favorites.

    Vineon

    April 12, 2011 at 2:08 am

  2. “I can’t even count how many of my unpoliticized friends became sovereingtists in Spain, Belgium and BC”

    Probably a lie, but it’s irrelevant. What’s relevant is that you have to convince people where it matters, i.e. in Quebec. It’s been over 50 years of this nonsense already, and the unconvinced remain unconvinced.

    adski

    April 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

  3. « Probably a lie, but it’s irrelevant. What’s relevant is that you have to convince people where it matters, i.e. in Quebec. »

    I also became a sovereignist abroad : in Western Canada. I’m back here now.

    Anonymous

    April 13, 2011 at 9:35 am

  4. “I also became a sovereignist abroad”

    I became a vegetarian in the US, an agnostic in England, and a cynic in Quebec. Someone I know became a Christian in Korea. Tony Blair converted to Catholicism in Britain, and Bush Junior was born again in Texas. Ice Cube has converted to Islam at one point of his life, but I don’t know where he was at that specific moment. Christopher Hitchens used to be a socialist, but then became a neo-con. I believe his conversion took place in Washington, DC. He says it was a real conversion of ideas, but he stands accused of vested interests ($$$).

    Does any of this prove agf’s worldwide mass conversions to something the alleged converts couldn’t possibly have any attachment to, any knowledge of, or any interest in?

    Also, are you a non-francophone Western Canadian, or a Quebecois who suddenly realized that Canadians might not care for the French “fact” as much as you thought they would? Guess what, Santa Clause isn’t real either.

    On to the relevant stuff. Now that you are finally a “sovereignist”, what are you going to do? Wait for the “winning conditions”? Hope to squeeze through on a soft question that reads like an essay? Blabber on about an “association” with the other provinces? Send a delegation down to Boston to kiss American ass in English? Or simply exploit the issue so as to secure more privileges for the province of Quebec within Canada?

    Are you planning to act like a real separatist, or like a Quebec “separatist”?

    adski

    April 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm

  5. It’s been over 50 years of this nonsense already, and the unconvinced remain unconvinced.

    in 50 years Québec sovereignty went from being an idée de salon to enjoying nearly 70% support during the Bélanger-Campeau Commission to garnering 64% of francophone votes in ’95 and still polls often as a majority option for francophones. Some of the state sitting at the UN today took hundreds of years to achieve their independence.

    Your soul mate Charest says the « fruit n’est pas mûr ..pour parler de constitution. » He’s being saying that a long time. A couple of decades and counting. When’s it going to ripen? Is this a new genetically altered fruit?

    I became a vegetarian in the US, an agnostic in England, and a cynic in Quebec.

    when did you convert to such long-winded insignificance? Or is it congenital?

    James

    April 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm

  6. “It’s been over 50 years of this nonsense already, and the unconvinced remain unconvinced.”

    It’s been 150 since Québec joined “confederation” with a single vote majority among the French-speaking members of Parliement*, and, as James pointed out, 64% of Francophones rejected it in 1995.

    It’s the federalists who have failed to rally Francophones to their project.

    * “If we remove on one part the votes of J. Poupore and of T. Robitaille, who represented the largely anglophone Pontiac and Bonaventure ridings, and if we add, on the other hand, those of Holton and Huntingdon, who represented francophone majority ridings, we can say that of the 49 representatives of Francophone ridings who participated in the vote 25 said yes and 24 said no to the confederation project.” Jean-Paul Bernard in Fernand Dumont, Genèse de la Société Québécoise.

    angryfrenchguy

    April 14, 2011 at 8:38 am

  7. If we were to ask Quebeckers the hard question (9 words long) and send them to the polls tomorrow, how would the vote split?

    “With that [a victory for the Oui], Quebecers would be trapped like lobsters thrown into boiling water.” – Jacques Parizeau (reported by Chantal Hébert)

    adski

    April 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm

  8. “64% of Francophones rejected it in 1995

    It’s the federalists who have failed to rally Francophones to their project.”

    If you call that figure a bad sales job, what about sovereignists selling their project to non-francophones. Anglos, allos and Natives all voted over 90% No. That’s a number even Stalin would be proud of… You don’t see that in democracies.

    I always thought that the sovereignty movement should reach out to allos. It just seems that getting an extra 10-15% of their votes is well within reach. And it will probably be even more important in a future referendum as their numbers have grown since 1995.

    AM

    April 14, 2011 at 7:16 pm

  9. “If you call that figure a bad sales job, what about sovereignists selling their project to non-francophones”

    Agreed. If they only had managed to get Anglos to vote like Natives (80-90% No rather than 90% + No) that tiny shift would have meant we’d have this discussion in the Republic.

    angryfrenchguy

    April 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm

  10. “Agreed. If they only had managed to get Anglos to vote like Natives (80-90% No rather than 90% + No) that tiny shift would have meant we’d have this discussion in the Republic.”

    Right, but with a 90% of the minorities against the republic. How would you solve that issue? Would you be blaming the Quebec government for that the same way you are now blaming the federalists for not being able to convince a majority of Francophones?

    AM

    April 14, 2011 at 9:49 pm

  11. the elections are all a scam anyway.

    TDN

    April 14, 2011 at 10:04 pm

  12. “Agreed. If they only had managed to get Anglos to vote like Natives (80-90% No rather than 90% + No) that tiny shift would have meant we’d have this discussion in the Republic.”

    Going after the anglophone vote would be a waste of time. The anglophones would continue to vote NON no matter what because they would not want to give up their majority status to become a true minority in an independent Quebec. It makes sense on their part just like it makes sense for francophones in Quebec to vote OUI in order to become a true majority in control

    Going after the allophone and autochone vote makes sense, especially the allophones that have been raised in French (after Bill 101). It appears to be working but more work needs to be done.

    Antonio

    April 15, 2011 at 10:38 am

  13. “The anglophones would continue to vote NON no matter what because they would not want to give up their majority status to become a true minority in an independent Quebec.”

    Are you saying that they are a false minority? Are the francophones a false majority with Quebec being a part of Canada? (You’re on the right track)

    “it makes sense for francophones in Quebec to vote OUI in order to become a true majority in control”

    Apparently not. Otherwise this thing would be a done deal right about now, no?

    adski

    April 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm

  14. Nice. The Angry French Guy is back. :D

    John

    April 20, 2011 at 4:07 pm

  15. adski said: “Also, are you a non-francophone Western Canadian, or a Quebecois who suddenly realized that Canadians might not care for the French “fact” as much as you thought they would? Guess what, Santa Clause isn’t real either.”

    Well, it’s one thing for propaganda to be slightly exagerated, it’s another for it to be a complete lie. Without Quebec, Canada is not a bilingual country. Only 3% of the ROC speaks french. Not to ignore the existence of patches here and there – Acadie for instance – but it would be a better approximation to say that Canada is composed of two nations, Quebec and the ROC, than to say that it is a bilingual country.

    And if everyone in Quebec knew that reality – that the old trudeauist propaganda is a lie – as well as those who stayed outside Quebec, then we would end up with an independant country in no time. Even long-time separatists believe in part in the federalist “Santa Claus”, because people can mistrust politicians, but they can’t always imagine that big a lie.

    Tancrède

    April 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

  16. “Even long-time separatists believe in part in the federalist “Santa Claus”,”

    Or maybe they want to believe it, and want the dream to come true. Trudeau’s Santa Clause is so appealing after all. Why risk creating a banana republic that’s bound to be swallowed up by the States sooner or later, if by constant moaning and threatening you can take a shot at francising Canada coast to coast? French speaking nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific… French Alberta, with all its oil… 36 million French speakers north of the United States…

    Why limit yourself to your province, if you can try to impose yourselves beyond your borders? No?

    adski

    April 25, 2011 at 10:24 am

  17. It’s to note and well-known Trudeau also wanted to assimilate the indians, inuits and métis as well – closure of the reservations, end of their status, etc… WITHOUT ANY HELP OR COMPENSATION. Like a guy in mental instutiton, free now.. but thrown out into the street. ‘You’re free, do what you want now!’

    And hopefullly for him, they would fade and disapear like the francos of canada, in an WASP- and such-based mass…

    the Ubbergeek

    April 25, 2011 at 11:43 pm

  18. AFG

    “Think about it, what could Canada possibly be if it couldn’t not be the United States?”

    This is the kind of stuff that really pisses me off about you guys.

    I respect Québec as a nation, and I sympathize with your desire to be recognised and treated as such, but what has always rubbed me the wrong way is how one-sided this seems to be.

    Namely, you can be recognized as a nation and your culture is to be protected at all costs while you do not recognize the Canadian nation and have your representitives openly stifle any attempt to protect Canadian culture, you can vote to separate from us but we are somehow “not allowed” to do the same to you, and we must respect your opinions – especially the separatist ones – lest we be stymed as “anti-Québec” while you continue to denigrate and disrespect our culture, the list goes frickin on…

    The above quote does have some truth in it, as a matter of fact, but it can also go the other way: what could Québec be if it couldn’t be not Canada or not the USA? What could Germany be if it couldn’t be distinct from it’s neighbours? What about Russia? Or England, Scotland, Catalonia, Basque, France, Flanders, Tibet, the Inuit, et cetera?

    Face it, all nations are partly the psychological product of rejecting neighbouring cultures. It is only more noticible in Canada because aside from Québec – whom we share an economically sucessful if politically disfunctional binational union with – our only neighbouring major sovereign nation is the United States, and thus it will most often be the United States that we will try to measure our values and culture against even though we are very similar. Even I, a strong Canadian nationalist, admit this. Why can’t you?

    Furthermore, wouldn’t it be in Québec’s logical interests to help Canadians preserve and enhance our national identity as a sort of cultural buffer to the United States? If you truely think, in your arrogant separatist delusions, that Canada minus Québec isn’t as much a nation as it is an American subculture that will rapidly be absorbed culturally and politically after the independence of Québec then you are condemning Québec to be totally, and irreversibly surounded by a politically and culturally united greater USA. Tell me if you can that this would not be a threat to Québec’s independence and its culture, and thus a threat to the existance of Québec as a nation. I bet that you cannot.

    Whether as a binational union or as two independent nations, we need to work together in some way if both of our nations are to survive.

    D.I.D.

    April 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm

  19. Adski,

    That’s one of the funniest things I have ever heard in my life, and I used to debate conspiracy theorists. Protecting what remains of the French Canadian nation won’t mean that the English Canadian nation is about to be swallowed whole. All we have to do is stand up, look around, and discover our own rich national culture, which the establishment in Ottawa seems content to marginalise and attempt to destroy.

    D.I.D.

    April 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm

  20. “Protecting what remains of the French Canadian nation”

    This thing isn’t about survival, it’s about political power. Don’t fall for this “dying culture” shtick – it’s just an excuse to peddle a certain policy. There are 7 million of French speakers and their language is privileged in the province of Quebec, and enjoys the status of an official language the rest of the country, even though hardly anyone speaks it there. So it’s not so bad off. And the idea of francising the RoC is not so far fetched. The threats of separation often go with the justification that if Quebec is to stay in the confederation, every Quebecker must feel at home everywhere in the country.

    The pigs in Animal Farm led an uprising to fight for the rights of animals and for equal treatment. After the farmer was chased away, the pigs then ended up moving from the stable into the farmer’s house, started sleeping on linen sheets, and proclaimed themselves “more equal than others”. This happens over and over in history, and it happened in Quebec in the 1970’s. Don’t underestimate that.

    adski

    April 29, 2011 at 8:39 am

  21. Adski,

    When I say what remains of the “French Canadian” nation, I don’t mean the Québécois: I consider that a different nation (I’d explain why and how but I do not have the time right now). The French Canadians outside of Québec number only about 1 million, scattered across the country. They are surviving, but they are not expanding, and this equilibrium is a good thing.

    “…enjoys the status of an official language the rest of the country, even though hardly anyone speaks it there…”

    I guess I will pounce on you before AFG and the separatists do by saying that this ‘official’ treatment of French is in federal government services only, and most provincial and municipal services are not to be found in French. Ontario doesn`t have it as an official provincial language, but there are a number of municipalities well serviced, same with Manitoba and I think Alberta as well. New Brunswick is the only ‘bilingual’ province in every sense of the word.

    “The threats of separation often go with the justification that if Quebec is to stay in the confederation, every Quebecker must feel at home everywhere in the country.”

    Actually, that is not so much a justification by the separatists as it is a response by the self-declared Undermenschen of Canada, and that would be us, the English Canadians. It is in the separatists’ interests to isolate Québec socially as well as politically in order to weaken the bonds that hold Québec in Confederation. It is our Canadian politicians who have betrayed us by showing open contempt for our own national culture while trying to promote Québec’s.

    Please do not use the phrase “Rest of Canada” – it is highly insulting, for it insidiously implies that Canada minus Québec is barely worth mentioning.

    D.I.D.

    April 29, 2011 at 10:46 am

  22. “implies that Canada minus Québec is barely worth mentioning”

    I didn’t mean it at all. I think it’s the opposite, actually. You got it backwards.

    Canada could be a great country without Quebec, united and cohesive under a common language and a set of values, and closely tied to the Commonwealth and on good terms with the United States with which it shares a common language. Canada has only one problem – the endless conflict between the Canadian elite and the vain, pathologically ambitious, uncompromising, and hardheaded elite of one province. All the problems that this country had to face for the last 50 years stem from this simple fact.

    adski

    April 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm

  23. I liked this post a lot, although the way the comments on this blog sometimes get so nasty always bugs me a bit. AFG makes a good point that almost all Anglo Canadians define their nation by how it is different from the US. (I think we’re pretty good at laughing at that fact though.) I am one Anglo who hates the idea of a Canada without Québec. I’m happy with the way politics seem to be heading; I never saw any future for separatism and the latest election confirms what I had thought. There is a new kind of thinking going on, especially among younger people. Anyway, I think a certain number of Ontarians like me enjoy the way the French language makes us different from Americans. Maybe it’s silly, but hey. What can I say, it’s part of the Canadian identity; we’re a bilingual country. And the more bilingual people we have, the better off we’ll all be.

    Margaret

    May 6, 2011 at 5:37 pm

  24. Margeret,

    Please. We have pleanty of national literature and national credos that make us a distinct nation. It is the widespread attitude like yours that enable the politicos in Ottawa to abuse this fact. It is so ironic watching previous Canadian governments throw money at preserving the “national” culture, when in reality English Canadian literature gathers dust in the universities, English Canadian city festivals continue to recieve funding cuts, and in the place of this genuine culture we are presented the myth of a self-hating anti-American people who’s national existance is totally dependent on another nation.

    Unlike yourself, I do not cling to Québec as somehow integral to my own national identity. This is not only a false preconception but is also very dangerous. Separatism isn’t dead, or at least it isn’t as far as I can see. If Québec does secede when we Canadians are innoculated with the state-sponsered fantasy that Québec is all that makes us distinct from the Americans, then our national doomsday shall become a self-fullfilling prophesy. Like you, I would prefer that Québec remains with us in our successful binational union, but if she chooses to divorce, well, too bad, so sad. It won’t mean the end of us as a nation, and it is self-debasing to think so.

    In 1867, there were the canadien(ne)s and the British North Americans. By the early 1900’s, we self-identified largely as canadien(ne)s-francais or English Canadians (who’s identity was partially based on ties to the British Empire, which separatist demagogues like AFG are only too happy to remind us), after the world wars we were (English) Canadians (trying to determine our new identity) and the French canadians, who were now wondering and more than a little flustered about their own status. Today, we are largely Canadians, Québécois (a new identity, based largely on the old French-Canadian nation but with a modern, assertive new look) and what remains of the French Canadian nation (the loss of Québec kinda balkanised these fellows). Underneath all of this there are also the Native nations and the Acadiens, both of whom are struggling to hold in there.

    I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: every “national” identity is partially based on the rejection of the culture of ‘les autres’. Our major neighbour and the only other soveriegn nation north of the Rio Grandé on this continent is the United States, so, it is only logical that the United States is the standard that we measure ourselves against.

    D.I.D.

    May 6, 2011 at 7:06 pm

  25. “I’m happy with the way politics seem to be heading; I never saw any future for separatism and the latest election confirms what I had thought. There is a new kind of thinking going on, especially among younger people.”

    Really, Margaret? You’re happy to have a nation-state within your own nation state? A nation-state with its own policies and interests that often run counter to the interests of Canada? You’re happy with the politics of this country in the past 50 years? I’d suggest you read Brian Lee Cowley’s “Fearful Symmetry”.

    You’re right to say that the presence of the French language does make Canada different from the United States. But what about the price you pay for having this differentiating “factor”? Is it worth it to have it make a mockery of your country just so you can feel different from the Americans? Wouldn’t it be better to have a country that’s more like the United States, but at the same time internally cohesive? There might be no perfect solutions neither for Canada nor for Quebec, but you Canadians should sit down and think hard which option from the two sucky options is better.

    adski

    May 9, 2011 at 8:40 am

  26. D.I.D: “state-sponsored fantasy that Québec is all that makes us distinct from the Americans.”

    If this is a fantasy made up by Ottawa out of whole cloth, it is a remarkably successful one, because most of us here in the US who give this issue any thought believe it too.

    Anglo Canada has its own national culture, it is true. And it has produced some very talented people. But the most talented of them–people like Mordecai Richler, Denny Doherty, Neil Young, etc.–usually go elsewhere, usually south, to make their mark. In doing so they become somewhat subsumed in the larger North American English-speaking culture. Which will also be the fate, I am afraid, of the ROC, pardon the expression, if Québec goes its own way.

    Heureux de vous revoir, AFG.

    littlerob

    May 10, 2011 at 8:21 am

  27. Littlerob, what’s your point? Is the RoC already like the US (and living in a “fantasy made up by Ottawa”), or will it become like the US (meet its “fate”) only “if Québec goes its own way”?

    Your post, slightly inconsistent, seems to be a mix of pointing out that the RoC should not delude itself that it’s distinct from the US, and that at the same time it must keep (read: continue to appease) Quebec in order to sustain this (non-existent?) distinction.

    I don’t think Canadians get fazed by this incoherent (and at times insulting) gibber any longer.

    adski

    May 10, 2011 at 10:50 am

  28. So, we have no right to *be*. and should be obliterated?
    A sens of anglo-saxon grandeur and superior interest inherited from UK or what?

    We won’t get assimilated to please guys like you adski. Don’t thread on me.

    the Ubbergeek

    May 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm

  29. “So, we have no right to *be*. and should be obliterated?”

    Where did you get this? I haven’t said anything remotely along these lines.

    I think the problem is that you equate “existence” with “influence”. In other words, Quebec can only exist if it’s influential outside its borders. That’s not correct. There exist small but economically prosperous countries that stay out of international spotlight. They also manage to remain pretty liberal within their borders.

    I wish Quebec the same. Only superpowers get to project their influence beyond their borders, and Quebec is no superpower. Some modesty is therefore advised.

    adski

    May 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm

  30. the Ubergeek,

    Don’t be ridiculous. Neither Adski nor myself expressed the notion that the Québécois culture should be assimilated to placate some-sort of imperial triumphalism. All we want is for our culture to be respected within our own country, like yours is within Québec. If that is too much to ask?

    “So, we have no right to *be*. and should be obliterated?”

    Such hypocricy: That is exactly what you two-faced separatist slime have been saying to Canadians for decades, that we are not a nation and thus do not deserve to have our own country apart from the US.

    D.I.D.

    May 10, 2011 at 4:37 pm


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