Sunday, November 26, 2006

Loose Cannon

Go to the one minute mark of this video of Lawrence Cannon on QP today where Lawrence explains who the Quebecois are:

"Basically the Quebecois are the original Canadians who landed here 400 years ago in Quebec City and founded Quebec City."

Then, at the five minute mark:

"If we go and speak to the person in the street who is in Shawville Quebec, and you ask him if he's a Quebecois and a Canadian, he'll say yes, I may be a Quebecois, but I'm also a Quebecker, I am a Canadian, and he knows formally where he's come from and where a strong majority of Quebeckers have come from. They've immigrated from France."

So, at least in the eyes of Lawrence Cannon, the motion Harper has proposed is to recognize that the pur laine form a nation within Canada. Ahh...ethnic nationalism...

I'd also like to draw attention to Warren's petition and encourage everyone to sign:

UPDATE: Andrew Coyne outlines some of the confusion about the wording in the resolution.


  • The petition doesn't even appear to realize that Harper's motion refers to (tacitly) francophone Quebecois, and not Quebeckers generally or the province of Quebec institutionally.

    Every attempt to recognize the fact of Quebecois cultural, historical, social uniqueness has run up against an anglophone resistance ostensibly defending universal equality of citizenship.

    There is no way that this sort of "Canadian first" rhetoric can be seen as anything but assimilationist by francophone Quebecois, whether it's Manitoba schools, the conscription crisis, Meech Lake or the nation business. Look; francophone Quebecers are a sociological nation. So are Acadians, so are Mohawks. This resolution recognizes one not in order to set it up on some pedestal but because the lack of recognition of this one particular nation among many has become a millstone around federalism's neck in Canada.

    Not recently, but for years. This recognition was the sine qua non of successful federalism in Quebec and although I'm one of the most Harperphobic Liberals I know, I applaud the PM for pulling both our parties bacon out of the fire.

    Conversely I think that people making petitions like the one below should probably be given a stipend by the Bloc Quebecois for their hard work in vilifying Canadians as chauvinistic assimilation advocates.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 4:33 p.m.  

  • As an annendum, I should say that Cannon's comments were stupid and justifiably criticized by CG here as dangerously close to a sort of very narrow ethnic nationalism; but my criticism of the general "No pandering to the Kweebeckers" reaction is the reason I replied.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 4:35 p.m.  

  • If Lawrence Cannon can find someone on main street Shawville self-identifying as a "québecois", he's talking to a tourist.

    By Blogger C4SR, at 4:41 p.m.  

  • It seems interesting that Warren Kinsella is leading the charge on this issue, when his own guy, Jean Chretien, tabled a vote in parlaiment to label Quebec a "Distinct Society."

    Does Kinsella rebuke this vote as well as Harper's most recent one labelling the Quebecois a "nation"? Why he didn't start a petition in 1995?

    By Blogger None1, at 5:04 p.m.  

  • I applaud the PM for pulling both our parties bacon out of the fire.

    I don't think he's done that at all. This is still a very open question on many fronts.

    By Blogger catnip, at 5:11 p.m.  

  • Well, if either party's leadership had decided to play the "Don't pander to kweebeck" card we'd be seeing what bacon really looks like in the fire.

    I think the federalists parties should just hold the line on this issue until people digest it, and just be glad that it wasn't submitted to the one-nation demagoguery of a Meech-style plebiscite.

    I also think that Duceppe's attempt to turn up the heat on said party leaderships by tainting the government bill with Bloc support is probably a myopic strategy. It allows him to claim a certain flip-flop victory, but in the long run, he's defined Quebec nationhood in a formula including the federal state.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 5:33 p.m.  

  • Wouldn't the original Canadians be those who settled on Ile-Ste-Croix in 1603 and moved to Port Royal in 1604? Port Royal was the first permanent settlement, Quebec City wasn't settled until 1608.

    By Blogger Bailey, at 6:33 p.m.  

  • Harper's motion didn't call any "province" a "nation." Maybe someone should send the motion to Warren so he can actually read it.

    By Blogger S.K., at 6:44 p.m.  

  • I agree fully with Jason Townsend. I am no longer a French-Canadian from Ontario. I am now a Quebecois-outside-Quebec (!), so I wonder to what extent will the Quebec government, in its newly-discovered mission as leader of Canada's francophonie, be responsible for the delivery of programs to Quebecois-outside-Quebec?

    By Blogger loraine lamontagne, at 7:29 p.m.  

  • No, this motion recognizes Quebecois - the people - as forming a nation (as a self-identifying sociological grouping), not the province itself.

    I think the federalists parties should just hold the line on this issue until people digest it, and just be glad that it wasn't submitted to the one-nation demagoguery of a Meech-style plebiscite.

    You mean Charlottetown-style. As a simple motion of the House with purely symbolic effects, I wouldn't have much trouble supporting this motion. But, were this to be inserted into a constitutional document, I would be skeptical, at best.

    By Blogger JG, at 7:37 p.m.  

  • that this is looking like ethnic nationalism is exactly as we want it. For too long, we have quietly allowed the separatists to pretend their movement was civic in nature and not ethnic. There is no other basis on which to separate - there are no civic reasons that should make any Quebecker want to live in a separate country.

    I haven't heard a remotely convincing argument that the separatists make for Quebec the country for civic reasons. So why should we allow them to pretend its not what it is?

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 7:38 p.m.  

  • The Star has the text of Harper's speech; the term used was Quebecois.

    This is the least contentious, most acceptable way of getting at the nation issue; unless, of course, people like Cannon aren't careful about their definition of who is Quebecois.

    Acceptable definitions of "Quebecois" could range from a 17th century family, a francophone Irish family, or anyone with enough socio-cultural engagement that they feel a part of the nation, without reference to their heritage.

    Those pundits who are against it but have at least noticed that the bill doesn't reference the province of Quebec seem hung up on calling it ethnic nationalism. That, to me, is a very tendentious reading of the motion.

    Ignoring (or better yet, flouting) the fact that there is this important linguistic-cultural-social grouping within Canada is not a clever compromise - it's an outdated ostrich strategy that helps the separatists. Noting that one nation exists isn't a slight on others, and it strengthens federalism in Quebec, rather than weakening it.

    Which explains why different leadership campaigns were part of the move within the party on this issue that started it all rolling, and why the federalist party leaderships took hold of this Harper motion. I don't think the one-nation reaction will manage to obliterate the positive effects of this resolution, though not for lack of trying.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 7:51 p.m.  

  • The wording used specifically did not define a geographical region but a people. Kinsella's petition is completely pointless. There is no motion before the house recognizing any province as a nation.

    Given that the man is a lwayer and can read, one assumes his motivation for this petition is to promote misinformation as a method not actually circulate a genuine petition.

    By Blogger S.K., at 8:37 p.m.  

  • Kennedy has come out against the motion - thank God there is someone out there that will oppose it.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 9:57 p.m.  

  • Y'all should play the long game as Harper is. Nation motion costs Canada nothing now, has proved that Bloc sought Canada's "permission" for status, and the motion sets up the Bloc and Quebec for downstream questions posed by CANADA about their intent within the federation.

    Approve/disapprove of the motion as you like ... won't mean a hill of beans now or at the convention next week. All Kennedy has shown is that he's not ready for prime time, by playing the populist card again.

    But of course Kennedy has never stood for anything before, so why should he change his spots now? Just another biush-leaguer (not US, OK?).

    By Blogger Erik Sorenson, at 11:49 p.m.  

  • Negationner l'existence du peuple québécois, un peu comme vous avez fait avec les autochtones? À quand des réserves pour les Québécois?

    Allez donc chier tabarnak.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:53 p.m.  

  • The actual text utilized particularly didn't determine the physical area however the individuals. Kinsella's request is totally useless. There isn't any movement prior to the home realizing any kind of land like a country.

    Considering the fact that the person is really a lwayer and may study, 1 presumes their inspiration with this request would be to market untrue stories like a technique not really really move an authentic request.

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