Thursday, January 18, 2007

Why Canada needs Quebec

Québec has been getting a lot of attention in the media for the past several years, for issues such as the referendums and Québec sovereignty. Most recently, the House of Commons has recognized Québec and the Québecois (nobody, not even Harper, knows who is and is not a Québecois) as a nation. This motion was

One little piece of info


There is a very good column written by Larry Zolf, who is a regular contributor to CBC News Online. This is a very interesting article written last November entitled Harper's Quebec Strategy.
introduced by Prime Minister Harper in November of 2006, and was supported by most Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP. The motion was to recognize Québec as a nation (I guess kind of like the First Nations) within a unified Canada (a nation within a nation). But there is controversy over the motion. There is a very interesting article from the CBC about this Québec motion. It says that Quebeckers now have another argument for their side: that Canada will try to make us special, but we won't really get anything out of them.

So why does Québec want to separate? To the best of my knowledge, it is because they think (and they are) different from the rest of Canada. So just because you are different, you should separate? In many of the suburb cities of Vancouver (Richmond, etc.), the majority of people are actually immigrants, and the majority of them are from Far East Asia and Southeast Asia. So why don't they separate to make their own country? Just like in Québec, there are still some people who don't fit into this category (meaning English or non-immigrant people), but that can be just pushed off to the side. Finally, just as a little fact, when I was in Québec, all of the Québec government buildings I saw (about 4), and even the National Assembly, only had Québec flags. Every other provincial building or legislature I've been to has a Canadian flag.

Personally, I think Canada would be at a great loss if Québec separated. While I have only been there once for the 2006 NDP convention, it was one of the best places I've been to in Canada. The beauty of it, and the culture, are things that need to be kept in Canada. It is so different than the rest of Canada, and that is something we should all treasure.

How should we keep Québec? We need to show Quebeckers what would actually happen with an independent Québec, and we need to keep a balance on how we treat them: we cannot treat them like royalty, nor like it is just the same as any other province like Saskatchewan. And we need to actually treasure and value the culture and language that one of our oldest provinces brings to us. United we stand, divided we fall. This is the message we need to carry.

Québec is one of our founding provinces; it's capital is just about 400 years old. French culture and the natural beauty of Québec is not something that can be given up just so we don't have to fight the battle of federalism.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

i read somewhere a while ago that if Quebec separated, they wanted to keep our $$ currency, use our military, and keep our passports. How cheap is that?

SUZANNE said...

Quebec separation is predicated on the belief that remaining in Canada is bad for Quebec. There's a subtext that English Canadians oppress the French.

What I believe is missing in Quebec is a strong federalist cultural voice. One of the reasons why unity forces are weak is that any cultural expression of affinity with Canada is tax-subsidized. Quebeckers know that.

Quebeckers need more federalist *artists* and cultural producers promoting their role in Canada. Unfortunately, in Quebec, the federalist forces are dominated by businessmen and pragmatic types-- people who are not the kind to create cultural products.

I don't think this conflict will be resolved by English Canadians. I think they can contribute, but I think Quebeckers are the ones who must decide what they want. This is their conflict, really. Not English Canada vs. Quebec.

Simon said...

Alex as a Quebecer I should tell you that most Quebecers don't want to separate.The real hardliners make up about 20 per cent. What most Quebecers do want is to protect their unique language and culture. As a minority in an English-speaking sea they want to make sure they control the levers that affect their destiny. And it's more than just language and culture.Because of their history Quebecers believe in a more cooperative left wing kind of a society than what is the norm in English Canada these days. But one thing is really important for decent Canadians like you to understand. They don't hate English Canadians like many English Canadians hate them these days. They are doing it for themselves not against anyone. I have plenty of separatist friends and I've never felt even the slightest hostility. The good news is that if Canada remains the home of our beautiful gentle and tolerant Canadian values, Quebecers because they share those values will never separate.

Alex said...

Thanks Simon for the comment. I do not believe that Quebecers hate English Canadians, or vice versa. I am also quite found of the Québecois culture and language. I really agree with your last statement. Thanks.

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