Jack Layton is not a Franco. So what?

with 53 comments

Just two weeks ago the Sith’ari of the Conservative Party of Canada, the University of Calgary’s Tom Flanagan, explained to La Presse’s Patrick Lagacé that his boy Stephen Harper had pretty much filled up on all the Québec votes he was going to get.

« Stephen Harper has made some big efforts. But he’s not a native son. He faces Gilles Duceppe, who is a native son. Is there an example in Canadian history of a party leader able to win Québec when his main opponent is Québécois?  I don’t think so.  It might be an impossible burden. » (My backlation of Lagacé’s French translation)

If you can crunch that quote into 140 characters, you might want to tag a #FAIL to it.  According to the latest polls, Jack Layton’s New Democratic Party is ahead of the Bloc in Québec with 36% of the votes to Gilles Duceppe’s 31%.  Even with the all important Francophone demographic Jack Layton is in the margin of error at 34% compared to Gilles Duceppe’s 38%.

Not only does the NDP not have a Québec or Francophone leader, it doesn’t even have a decent token Franco.  The NDP’s only Québec MP, Outremont’s Thomas Mulcair, is also a Maudit Anglais.  It apparently hasn’t stopped them from a formidable surge in Québec.

Of course the NDP will not win much more than a handful of seats on May 2nd.  The very poll that puts them in the lead might spook voters back to the old parties, the NDP doesn’t have the political muscle to get the folks from the retirement home to the voting booth and many voters might change their minds when they see unfamiliar names instead of « Clayton » on their ballot.

But this latest poll once again challenges the tenacious Canadian myth that Québec voter base their democratic decisions on obscure tribal loyalties.

This idea that the Québécois vote ethnically is more a cop-out than a myth, really.  Instead of actually trying to come up with policies and a vision of Canada that the Québécois could buy into, English-Canada’s politicians have wasted three decades in grooming Frenchie Saviors willing to sell their agenda to « his people ».

It’s that kind of thinking that led the Liberal Party to choose Stéphane Dion, against the loud opposition of its own Québec caucus, as leader.  Native son or not, Dion was trounced in the 2008 election.

So now I have a question for Tom Flanagan.  When was the last time the voter of Alberta voted for a Québécois when there was a Albertan on the ballot?

Written by angryfrenchguy

April 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm

53 Responses

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  1. @ Pèlerin
    You make a good point: If we stop thinking about the implications that this election will have on Québec and the Canada-Québec relationship for a second, we have to see that giving the opposition to the NDP as we did might help create a healthier Left for the federation, which could benefit both the ROC and us. If Layton plays his chance right, it may catch on outside of Quebec in the long run, and Canada might go back to being closer to what it once was on the political spectrum.

    @ Antonio & Tancrède & D.I.D.

    “I would argue that there is a strong left-wing rational for independence” (Tancrède)
    “There is a left-wing rationale; it is to consider that Quebec is under a neo-colonialist regime where the descendants or allies of a colonial elite are still imposing their views to the people of Quebec, through powerful lobbies and media. That is, quebeckers are to the ROC what the proletariat is to the capital, if I can use a somewhat dated language. That’s the idea of decolonisation view of Quebec independence, a view that was championed by Falardeau, for instance.” (D.I.D.)

    I’d say you’re both right and wrong.

    With a certain left, independence is indeed viewed as a means to an end: Taking control of a smaller nation-state in order to bring about more social justice; make an independent Quebec something of à N-American Sweden.
    For them, it is not solely that “les maudits Anglais” are the ones keeping them from achieving that, or not in those exact terms: People who place socialism (or social-democracy) that high on their program don’t usually think like that, and they especially avoid racial rhetoric. If they see the capitalists as “les anglais”, it’s a historic coincidence proper to the Quebec context.
    Yes, they see capitalism as the enemy; they are also fond of revolutions in general. Therefore, they see breaking up and controlling a smaller state as the solution. What language or languages would be spoken in it matters secondary to them. And they’d be just as happy staying in a more socialist Canada. But for now, they conclude that Canada is too large a body to control, especially with the West’s influence.
    That’s QS’ position.

    Conservatives and even libertarians can also figure that an independent Quebec could eventually swing to the right; or at least do so alternatively. Mathieu Bock-Côté comes to mind, with his fondness for the Duplessis era conservatism. That position is not unfounded, but seems less spontaneously in tune with recent history, and with the reflexes of Quebec’s political majority.

    Then there are sovereignists. For them, left or right, blue, red, orange or checkered, rich or poor… All of that matters secondary. Independence is the end in itself: Giving a state to a people who has forged itself a history, has survived colonization, has its own national identity and now needs the tool that is the nation-state in order to assume the responsibilities of its own destiny. This is where Falardeau lies. And if you need a proof, just listen to his discourse on Françoise «Mère Thérésa» David. Falardeau had a decolonization outlook, yes: He didn’t hate the English as bosses as much as colonizers: A people imposing their rule on another. He had the same outlook concerning French Algeria, The Gaza strip or Russian South Ossetia; and would have too for Canada if it had ever come under US administration, for example.

    It’s really a matter of what cause subsumes the other; even if, as usually goes with political reality, most people stand on the overlapping parts of these positions.


    May 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

  2. “The Best and the Brightest” speak…

    Vous voulez savoir ce que les proches de Jack Layton pensent du Québec ? Lisez ce qu’en écrit son ancien directeur de campagne, Brian Topp, dans le Globe and Mail de mercredi. Et sachez d’abord que Topp est brillant, superbement informé et parfaitement bilingue et que, comme négociateur de Layton lors de la tentative de coalition de 2008, il connaît très bien le Bloc, ses ex-députés, chef, conseillers:

    What did it say about Canada that most of Quebec’s seats were held by ethnic separatists? What does it say about Canada that this is no longer true?

    Vite ! Trouvez le politicien “ethnique” sur cette photo.

    Voilà le résultat de 20 ans de présence à Ottawa des Viviane Barbot, Maka Kotto, Oswaldo Nunez, Maria Mourani. Les députés bloquistes étaient des “séparatistes ethniques”.

    En quoi les nouveaux députés blancs francophones du NPD ne sont pas des “néo-démocrates ethniques” me dépasse un peu.

    Mais cela indique combien les préjugés anti-nationalistes québécois sont bien enracinées, même dans les têtes les mieux faites, même dans la gauche progressiste canadienne.

    for the With a “left” like this… file


    May 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm

  3. @Raman:
    The second quotation, that you attributed to D.I.D., actually comes from me. D.I.D. actually say that he is debunking it.


    May 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm

  4. QS’s position is more like, souverainisme is leftwing – and they are dedicate (just read Montmarquette), but even if the idea was to be closed for good, they’d fight for a progressive quebec and so canada.

    the Ubbergeek

    May 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm

  5. Sorry about the mixup, Tancrède and D.I.D.

    When I catch up on these discussions, I tend to read them as one long text, and often lose track of who said what…


    May 8, 2011 at 10:32 pm

  6. It’s interesting to see how Quebec separatism has evolved in character from an inward stance to an outward one. The old strand of separatism was primarily focused on Quebec and was preoccupied with turning Quebec into a lebensraum for the one true nation. The new variant of Quebec separatism is more outward looking and very preoccupied with the rest of Canada. The focus today is the RoC and its persistent and arrogant refusal to idolize the “French fact”.

    This essentially means that the demands of Quebec separatists will never be met. It was one thing for Ottawa to try to appease Quebec separatists by gradually disengaging itself from the province of Quebec and letting the Quebecois run the province the way they want. It’s another to try to appease the new, more greedy, strain of separatism that demands that all Canadians passionately embrace Quebec and the Quebecois.


    May 9, 2011 at 9:59 am

  7. “The focus today is the RoC and its persistent and arrogant refusal to idolize the “French fact”.”
    Propaganda? Respect, not some yesmanry.

    We demand a measure of respect, and selfruling. Not some lavish adoration farsical idiocy, and no gifts or such!

    The arrogance is in ROC and it’s usual snobery of any ethnolinguistic nation who is beyond cutesy token stateism, like many native nations and our acadians brothers – Québecois still have a good % and enough lout to oppose Ottawamnen. Probably one reason why Mohawks by example got a bad rap; they too have balls to stand up.

    Beside, we pay Ottawa A LOT as well. Quebec have to pay the ‘war-gold’ to the jarls of the City…

    And if the Gods reversed the situation of Canada, you *would* look outward – preocupated by your interests in Ottawa (your money and its traveling ,respect of provincial integrity, the fellow related minorities,e tc…)

    Adski have the WASP Privilège. Or at the very least AS, probably W and perhaps P.

    the Ubbergeek

    May 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm

  8. “We demand a measure of respect, and selfruling.”

    The problem is that when you say “respect”, you mean privilege, special treatment, and entitlement.

    You must also realize that in international politics there are no friendships and unconditional “respect”. Nation States have interests, not friends. Alliances and seeming friendships are just a reflection of congruent interests. That’s where the problem comes in with Quebec. Quebec wants to have a cake and eat it too. It wants to have all the freedoms and privileges of a nation state, but at the same time it wants to be treated preferentially by a neighboring nation-state of Canada. You must understand that the more Quebec is drifting away from Canada and becoming a nation state within a nation state (or outside of it), the relationship between Quebec and Canada will be becoming more and more dry and formal. If on the other hand, you want to stay in the confederation and play by the rules (i.e be just another province), then you can expect warmer treatment and maybe even a few favors.

    Selfruling is something you have achieved. Yes, Canada’s Supreme Court occasionally steps in and overrules your more far-reaching policies, but the same policies passed in an independent Quebec would probably meet with a condemnation of the UN. Remember the 1993 United Nations Human Rights Committee ruling regarding the ban of languages other than French from public space in Quebec: “A State may choose one or more official languages, but it may not exclude outside the spheres of public life, the freedom to express oneself in a certain language.”

    Also, I think the 8 billion $ a year compensates for the occasional Supreme Court “encroachments” on your “freedoms”. After all, you’re still in Canada. There must be something that keeps you here, and as we all know, when you don’t know what it is, it’s usually the money.


    May 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm

  9. ‘Devolution’ or whatever was/is the british word for it aint a gift. But getting the baby wheels off to drive by ourselves.

    And this is the 21st century, not the colonial era anymore. Nations now have rights, rights to be considered, rights to self-rules and all. Look at the UN(?) Resolution on natives peoples by example.

    And right to protect languages. What we do is by example no worse than what Catalonia do, by example. Or Basque Nation. Or such.

    Why is Canada closed to renegotiate such things? Is Scotland getting stuff will suddently treaten Britain and rest of UK? No.

    The hypocrisy is that if Canada was 75% and more french, I bet Anglo Quebec would do the same as us. And note how WELL we actually protect the anglo-quebeckers minority. Better than our french-speaking relatives out of Quebec are given back.

    I bet a lot of this 8billions, as proved actually, come from OUR taxes by the way, sent to Ottawa.

    And peoples from ROC complains there is some peoples bitter toward anglos. The attitude of treating francos like spoiled brats, if not worse, ain’t helping the nation,s unity. Separatism exist for many reasons, and you make me happier voting Québec Solidaire.

    the Ubbergeek

    May 11, 2011 at 11:28 pm

  10. georges. peux-tu m’envoyer un courriel? c’est thomas, du MN, maintenant au québec. une question/demande pour toi. merci.


    July 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm

  11. RIP Jack Layton.


    August 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

  12. RIP indeed, Jack…

    Say hi to Lévesque, and ‘merde’ to Trudeau, by the way. ;)

    the Ubbergeek

    August 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm

  13. Night at the pub, Bo Zo got drunk, boisterous and obnoxious. But the evening ended without the climax of a good brawl. Gets back home. It’s 1:59am. Looking to channel some pent up frustration. Posts on the net: A message of triumphalist, yet still bitter, Canadian nationalism…


    September 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

  14. I find his nick quite à propos.

    the Ubbergeek

    September 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

  15. Indeed, triumphalism does seem quite à propos to a great part of Canadians.


    September 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm

  16. Hum… The AngryFrenchGuy voted for the NDP and he would hardly characterise his ballot as the expression of a finger at the independence movement.

    But keep wishing us away, Canada, and one day both our dreams will come true.


    September 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm

  17. Hi!
    Re-twit you post: to my @oqsodoas twitter


    November 9, 2011 at 7:28 am

  18. I still wonder why the frag some hatahz post still – the place is dead now. Nobody listen really anymore.

    the Ubbergeek

    December 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm

  19. La tentation Front National de Mathieu Bock-Côté:


    March 22, 2012 at 5:55 am

  20. Mathieu Bock-Coté is unsufferable, an arrogant bourgeois smug boy.

    If the only way to make Quebec a country is to go ethnic nationalism AND PCC style Neoliberalism…. URGH… I’m ill.

    the Ubbergeek

    March 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm

  21. I just finished reading all your posts. i think you’re a good writer. i wonder why you stopped making entrries though.

    You are a typical nationalist though even though you try to pretend not to be. Nationalism like religion will just cloud your ability to be critical and investigative of all things. you are critical of everything except “Quebec” and nationalistic notions surrounding that concept.


    December 5, 2012 at 11:17 pm

  22. @BNM

    Of course, Nationalism is right when it’s YOUR OWN PEOPLE’s, as I saw much showing behind the supposedly enlighted anglo-canadians’s opposition to Quebec’s. Crass canadian nationalism, WASP power even at times.

    Anti-nationalist ideologies like Communism end up actually being forms of Nationalism, OR an assimilative and as destructive Globalism.

    If you opened your eyes guy(s), you’d see him, we in fact, are critical of our own side, of our own nation’s issues and all. Nationalism in itself is not always bad, as Civic Nationalism and LEFTWING sovereignism (a big side of the thing) show. What matter is the mind.

    The Ubbergeek

    December 14, 2012 at 2:44 am

  23. Hey AFG, are you still around? I like what I’ve seen here so far. Dans l’election qui approche, j’éspère que Stephen Harper perd…ou je vais retourner au camp souverainiste!

    Lord of Mirkwood

    September 10, 2015 at 11:23 am

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