Wednesday, November 22, 2006

So Much For Sanity

Well, that wasn't awkward at all, I guess. I must say, I didn't expect this:

Quebec is a nation within a united Canada, but will never stand alone, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday.

This is being heralded as some sort of compromise when, in fact, all Harper has done is taken the BQ motion and clarified that it refers to Quebec being a nation in Canada as supposed to...I dunno...Denmark?

As a result, everyone is left looking like an idiot.

"Quebeckers ... know they've participated in the founding of Canada and its development and in its greatness. They know that they've protected their language and unique culture, but they've also promoted their values and interests within Canada," Mr. Harper said.

By tying language to this, Harper is giving the va te faire foutre to Anglophone, Allophone, and aboriginal Quebecers (but, then again, they all vote Liberal anyways). He also looks like he's selling out his principles to score a few seats in Quebec which I'm sure will go over well with his base.

"How could we ever support a motion on Quebec by a party that has zero commitment to Canada, which is blind to the greatness available for Quebeckers within Canada, a country in which they are at home from coast to coast to coast because we have sought to make them at home, because it is their home," Mr. Graham said.

So, in other words, we didn't like the Bloc calling Quebec a nation but if the Tories want to do that, we're cool with it? WHAAAAAAA?

"It isn't up to the Prime Minister to decide what Quebeckers will choose as an option. It's up to Quebeckers," Mr. Duceppe said.

"The refusal to recognize the Quebec nation, the refusal to acknowledge an obvious reality, is something that we could call a blockage in Canada.

Excusez-moi? How is calling Quebec "a nation within Canada" a refusal to acknowledge that Quebec is a nation?

Tories, Grits, and NDP
Harper said the Bloc's intent is clear: it's not about Quebec as a nation, he said. "It's about separation. For them, 'nation' means 'separation.'''

The opposition Liberals and NDP declared their support for Harper's motion, for the sake of a united Canada.

Let me be clear. Harper says calling Quebec a "nation" will make separatists think it means Quebec should separate. So...we're going to call Quebec a nation. Uh-huh. The Dippers and Grits feel that this is perfectly logical so they'll pat Harper on his back.

Pro-Nation Crowd
The argument they gave was that this would be a great way to make Quebecers give up their dreams of sovereignty and would not necessitate any (new) special powers...

"Never will I accept that the only condition to be a nation is to recognize the right to remain in Canada."

Having Ottawa officially recognize a Quebec nation should be more than a symbolic gesture, Mr. Duceppe said. It is the most fundamental question facing Quebec, and it was also a fundamental issue for Canada as a whole, he said.

Anti-Nation Liberals
It sounds like several Liberals, including Mr. Dion, who opposed the motion from the Quebec wing are ready to support this one. If they do, it would be a massive revirement.

So, in short, everyone ends up looking like an imbécile. And, as a consequence, Michael Ignatieff looks less ridiculous in comparison. So he and Jean Charest are probably the only winners in this sorry, sorry spectacle we should not have had to go through.

UPDATE: OK, OK, maybe Iggy doesn't come across looking so clean on this. The Star story implies he's now taking credit for taking us into this mess which he has been trying to stress over the past few days he had nothing to do with:

Ignatieff himself took credit for getting the ball rolling on recognition of Quebec as a nation.


  • that's one key to this whole thing it separates the concept of nation from the territory of Quebec.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 10:39 p.m.  

  • Doesn't the Harper motion call QUEBEC a nation within Canada? Not the "quebecois". Either way, his speech called Quebec a nation within Canada.

    In that respect, his proposal is even more loaded than Duceppe's which I believed only refered to quebecois.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:43 p.m.  

  • from what CBC and CTV are reporting, both motions specify Quebecois.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 10:51 p.m.  

  • I'm not sure that this is a "massive revirement" by Dion.

    The PM (or I guess arguably the Bloc, or arguably Ignatieff) has let the cat out of the bag now. Dion can vote for the motion, while emphasizing that it is a purely symbolic motion and pertains only to 'nation' in the sociological sense, and probably noting that we need to stop letting this debate be central in our unity discussions.

    Harper's motion is better than the one that was coming to convention, in that Harper's motion is more clear that Quebecois do not form an independent nation.

    That said, this still isn't the way that I would have hoped that the Prime Minister would have dealt with this situation.

    By Blogger rob, at 11:07 p.m.  

  • You can see the video at the National Post website (and I assume CTV). Harper clearly says that the Quebecois form a nation within Canada, not Quebec. However, I believe at least once he uses the term Quebecers, which is slightly confusing, but still doesn't necessarily refer to the province of Quebec.

    Then again, I don't speak French, so I don't know what he said in that language. But his English was careful not to say that Quebec is a nation, but rather the Quebecois, which is far less objectionable.

    By Blogger Olaf, at 11:32 p.m.  

  • Yeah, talking about peoples as nations is fair game, though I still don't like the substance of any of these motions particularly. Referring to a province - which has legal status in Canada - as a nation, without specifying whether that entails any particular special powers is UNACCEPTABLE.

    By Blogger JG, at 11:47 p.m.  

  • Let me clear something, I am french Canadian. Canada was the name of the country of my people. Since english power stole the name Canada and the power in 19th century from french canadian majority, in 20th century, us that remained in majority in Québec, we chose a new identity, "Québécois", inclusive of all who live in Québec and that want to join. The marojity chose democratically to build a francophone society. The majority understand we are legitmate nation candidate to auto-determination. To me this is a legitimate choice and it also have economic advantage like protecting Montreal against economic decline in favor of Toronto.

    By Blogger ..., at 12:11 a.m.  

  • "The marojity chose democratically to build a francophone society."

    I'm sorry - what? Was there a vote and nobody showed up?

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:54 a.m.  

  • Well, my uncle and aunt live in Gatineau. They are not French Canadian, but I don't believe they ever were able to vote on this notion of "building a francophone society."

    So are you saying they should simply adapt and speak French all the time? What about other anglophones or allophones? Or aboriginals? How do the Kahnesatake Mohawks fit in? Something tells me most would decline to be part of la nation Québécoise... and the principle of self-determination most certainly does not allow or you anyone else to make them part of such a nation.

    By Blogger JG, at 1:02 a.m.  

  • I'm finding it hard to believe that I need to point this out, but the important word in Harper's amendment to the BQ motion is not "Canada." It's "united."

    Harper's motion therefore states that Quebecers can be a nation without having the right to a state.

    Duceppe realizes the difference, which is why he so terribly awkwardly said that he will "never accept" the idea that Quebec's nationhood is dependent on its being a part of Canada. But you'll note that's not what the motion says.

    I listened to Duceppe's speech. He could say nothing that made any sense. He was utterly trapped by this play. A number of BQ MPs couldn't even bring themselves to applaud while he was speaking. They literally sat their rubbing their foreheads.

    This is a win for federalists in Canada. I consider myself lucky to have been watching it live on TV.

    The federalist parties have finally admitted the only valid point the separatists have, and by doing so have left the separatists disarmed.

    And why? Because some jackass in the Liberal Party had the temerity to make an issue out of it, when everyone knew he shouldn't have.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 2:40 a.m.  

  • quebecistanais,

    yes, but this resolution allows that Quebec the territory does not equal Quebecois la nation.

    "the english?"

    take a look at the flag of Montreal: 4 founding peoples - only one of them english and only one of them french-speaking.

    do you deny those symbols on the flag of Montreal that says the Irish and Scots had as much to do with our city and the Henglish and the French?

    if so, can you not understand how important it is for Montrealers to keep an option of pursuing our own agenda separate from separatist francophones?

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 11:04 a.m.  

  • Hear, hear.

    By Blogger JG, at 11:29 a.m.  

  • I love the idea!, Way to go Stvie! Lets hope now we can put this debate behind us and enjoy the Nation we both share and love. Vive la Quebec! Vive la Canada!
    Hey now I won't have to continue with my letter campaign and sending money favors to Washington Congressmen and Senators for our swap of the province of Quebec for the State of Minnesota. We still want Minnesota minus Tim Pawlenty. We could trade Hans Island? You guys in Washington like Danishes right? I'll start a new campaign.
    P.S. George, Go ahead and deposit that last money order I sent (spend Wisely).

    By Blogger Hawkeyi's Blog, at 4:20 p.m.  

  • Hear..hear!

    Jannine Pecasales
    Executive Vice President

    By Blogger Jannine Pecasales, at 4:48 a.m.  

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