Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rising Storm

I was more than willing to give Michelle Jean the benefit of the doubt at first but when Pierre Bourque can dig up a dozen stories a day with fun little tid-bits from her separatist past, it’s becoming very difficult to defend her. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

1. This video shows Michelle Jean, with six well known Quebec separatists, toasting to independence. To be fair, it’s not clear to whose independence they are toasting but given that they are six separatists, including one FLQ leader, I suspect it’s not to Basque independence or to the independence you get when your wife is out of town.

2. There is also this exchange from that same video:

During the scene, Front de Liberation du Quebec leader Pierre Vallieres says his book Negres blancs de l'Amerique was inspired by Cesaire's writings on colonialism, explaining that being a "white nigger" means "being exploited, dominated, held up to contempt."
"And Quebec's white niggers also have their black niggers more and more," adds Jean, referring to Quebec's growing black population.
Seated next to Vallieres, Jean supports the separatist's statement that Martinique "should not only go for independence, but towards a revolution, like Quebec also."
"In general, yes, independence is not something that is given - it is something that is taken," Jean says.

Now, once again, notice how she doesn’t say that Quebec independence should be taken, merely that “independence is something that is taken”. Mind you, when it’s in response to a comment that Quebec independence should be taken…by an FLQ leader…uhh…

3. There’s also this:

Ms. Jean is also featured joining in a toast to "independence." She says, "C'est fini, les petis peuples!" (Which translates roughly as, "No more, dominated people!") She also notes that there are "three choices for independence." She says that in Haiti, the country of her birth, the choice was "painful." In Martinque, it is that of "compromise" and in Quebec it is "on hold."

Once again, I suppose it’s possible that “no more dominated people” is in reference to other people and that the fact that Quebec separatism is “on hold” is merely her analytical interpretation of the situation rather than wishful thinking that it will one day resume. But if I went to a white supremacist meeting and started making borderline racist comments, I think there would be just cause to assume the worst in those statements.

4. Her husband, Daniel Lafond, meanwhile, is also getting in trouble with this:

"So, a sovereign Quebec? An independent Quebec. Yes, I applaud with both hands and I promise to attend all the St-Jean Baptiste Day parades," the cinematographer wrote.

I’ve got to admit, I’m salivating at the prospect of Scott Reid trying to explain this one.

5. It also appears that the new GG won’t say how she voted in 1995 which, I guess, is fair enough. I just find it odd how many people in Quebec forget how they voted in 1995.

Maybe there’s a rational explanation for all of this. But I think it’s gotten to the point where there “some ‘splaining to do”. First, by Madame Jean, to reassure Canadians that she is committed to Canada. I’m not even that keen on the fact that Canada is still a subservient to the British crown but if we’re going to be, it’s absolutely essential that our head of state’s representative believe in Canada.

Secondly, it wouldn’t hurt for the PMO to explain their screening procedures. Did Jean Lapierre run the background check? I find it hard to believe that Paul Martin could have known about these video clips and still appointed her, but I find it hard to believe that the RCMP could have missed them. I am relatively certain that someone like Jean Chretien who was obsessed with fighting separatists would have damn well made sure his GG appointment wasn’t a closet separatist (or, in Mr. Lafond’s case, pretty much openly separatist). Even if this isn’t Martin’s fault, it’s quickly turning what looked to be an inspired GG nomination into another mishap. I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the “hardline independentists” trying to “smear” Jean:

Bourgeois said yesterday his target in the revelations about Lafond, and now Jean, is Prime Minister Paul Martin.

"We want to show that Paul Martin is a washed-up incompetent who made a nomination like that without checking anything," he added. "For us, the hardline independentists, it is a bit comforting."

UPDATE: Paul Wells has found someone willing to stick up for Jean!


  • QuebecHarpermaniac says:

    CalgaryGrit, you are a fair-minded person and if every Grit had the honesty you had, we could restore civility in politics.

    I am thankful that you are helping to address what should make every Canadian uncomfortable.

    However, I would point out that I doubt Paul Martin was unaware that she is likely a separatist. I worry his intentions for Canada are not good. This may explain Chretien's intense dislike of the man - he knew Martin was not a real Canadian.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:30 p.m.  

  • Bring back Ed Schreyer, need I say more and save Canada from this bumbling fool of a GG.

    Brought to you by the Ed Schreyer fanclub

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:29 p.m.  

  • No Liberals are blogging in defense of the GG-designate.

    Looks to me like the Martin machine has finally ground to a catastrophic halt.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:28 p.m.  

  • Not quite true - at least 1 Liberal blogger is, which isnt a surprise I suppose since Jason position is well known to be a Martin supporter in the Liberal Party, but
    other Progressive Bloggers are as well.

    Myself.. I think this is a tempest in a teapot. This is just hard-line sovereginists trying to stir up trouble - with at least 1 sovereignist from what I hear openly admitting that he hopes to get Jean's nomination revoked from the storm they're attempting to cause so that they can whip up Quebecker's resentment against the rest of Canada... and of course.. a major part of the Blogging Tories and some members of the Conservative Party and media are falling for it hook, line and sinker.

    As for CalgaryGrit's view on things, I myself dont particularly care how she voted in 1995. If she's accepted the job as GG, do you really think she'd have done so if she was still for sovereignty? (and no, I dont buy into any murky 5th column stuff as a reason for her saying yes)

    As for her hubby.. he wasnt appointed to GG - Jean was. I dont believe we pick the position on the merits of the spouse of the person, unless he did some awful horrible deed.. and I'm not really sure if what he supposedly said if its in context qualifies as such a deed.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 3:45 p.m.  

  • Quebec Harpermaniac asks:

    How many tempests in a teapot does it take to make a hurricane?

    Dump the loser. He can't tie his shoes without creating a controversy.

    There are actually competent Liberals around - I may not be able to name them - but they must exist.

    Wouldn't it be nice to return to the days of Chretien, when he argued but laughed at the same time?

    Why do you Grits enjoy the poison and bitterness that Martin creates?

    Separatists, like all Quebeckers, loathe Martin. That's why they are muck-raking - to underscore his patheticness to the RoC.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:49 p.m.  

  • CG, you should give her the benefit of the doubt regarding her federalist credentials. It seems to me that too often we jump on people like the GG without fully considering the implications of what we are saying. What are you saying to young Canadians when you imply that the current PM is such a buffoon that he appointed a separatist as the head of state. What are young Canadians thinking tonight?? Your post, and those of your ilk make PM look weak, like he did the night he begged for his life in April in front of TV cameras regarding the made-in-the-liberal-party-scandal. You must consider the children CG when you post.

    With great power comes great responsibility, please remember this next time.

    More anonymous than anonymous

    By Blogger more anonymous than anonymous, at 6:31 p.m.  

  • "My Canada includes Quebec whether they like it or not."

    Umm... no. Sorry. Seperatism is a minority viewpoint in a province of Canada. If it becomes a majority viewpoint, we're going to have a discussion. But in the meantime, seperatists are Canadian.

    It's OK for the GG to be a minority in skin colour, ethnicity, and language, but not a minority in political view?

    Why? Explain to me why that should be so, without resorting to the quotation at the top of this comment.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 6:37 p.m.  

  • Because to be a governor general you have to be a governor of the general.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:52 p.m.  

  • and if you are going to be a proponent of separatism, you might as well learn how to spell it. Even in French you have spelled it wrong.

    By Blogger bijoux55, at 6:58 p.m.  

  • Gauntlet; If the GG's minority view was that aboriginal people were inferior, I don't think that would be an acceptable view. And considering her job is of head of State of Canada, her opinions on Canada seem fairly relevant to the job.

    Would a company hire a CEO or even a figurehead leader who wanted to see the destruction of that company?

    Regardless of whether or not Jean is, or was, a separatist, it's pretty obvious that Canada can't have a separatist head of state.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:32 p.m.  

  • cg, you silly goose, the toast was in a film about an activist from martinique and his impact on quebec politics - what is uncertain is whether they were toasting to quebec or martiniques independence.

    By Blogger angela, at 9:48 p.m.  

  • A source close to the governor general selection process told CBC News "Canadians will fall in love with this woman. Her story, her nature and her character are nothing short of inspirational."

    By Blogger bijoux55, at 10:15 p.m.  

  • I for one am angry about this. What other country would be so obsessed with placating differences that they would even have a debate on the matter. As far as waiting until the facts are in...the GG's role is almost entirely symbolic, so, things like optics mean almost everything.
    I guess it shows how desensitized we've become to the separatist cause that there is even debate on the issue. God I miss having real federalists in power, I'd give my left nut to have Jean or Pierre back - somebody with a god damn spine.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:32 p.m.  

  • "Would a company hire a CEO or even a figurehead leader who wanted to see the destruction of that company?"

    Sure, companies hire CEO's to restructure things all the time. Paul Tellier probably did the corporate equivalent of selling off Quebec while head of Bombardier and that's a fairly mild example. As long as the new arrangement is more efficient, everyone's happy.

    But then politics and business are pretty different.

    Also, I didn't think Jean claimed that she couln't remember how she voted, I thought she just (righfully) chose not to answer the question.

    Finally, I'm not sure that equating support for Quebec independence with a belief that aboriginal people are inferior makes any sense. The problem with viewing aboriginal people as inferior is that this view is offensive, not that it is a minority view. I don't see how support for Quebec separation is offensive in the same way.

    By Blogger Declan, at 4:04 a.m.  

  • Declan: I'll quote Harper. "Obviously the person you choose to be head of state should believe in the state."

    By Blogger matt, at 6:57 p.m.  

  • Sure Matt, sounds fine to me.

    By Blogger Declan, at 12:42 a.m.  

  • By Blogger 柯云, at 7:57 p.m.  

  • By Blogger raybanoutlet001, at 11:52 p.m.  

  • By Blogger raybanoutlet001, at 11:28 p.m.  

  • By Blogger jeje, at 11:21 p.m.  

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