Quebec royalty dethroned
Some say sovereignty — a polite word for separatism — for Quebec is dead.
Some said it was dead even before the recent election was finished.
Sovereignty, in reality, may be dead but the idea will never go away.
I call them neither separatists nor sovereigntists — but rather freemen of the French province — people who think the laws of the land don’t apply to them so they can declare their own country.
The pundits — mostly those in the journalistic field who were quick to fill news columns with obituaries of the Parti Quebecois — are kind of like appeal court judges.
They (we) like to come down out of the hills after the battle to shoot the wounded.
I prefer to say the Republic of Quebec will have to wait.
The electoral blow to pro-sovereignty forces will no doubt ease the fears of federalism-loving Canadians.
It has been opined this may not be permanent, but what form of the Parti Quebecois — a party dedicated to the separation of Quebec from Canada — would even dream of suggesting another referendum?
Although he’s been out of power since his own referendum defeat, I for one will miss king of the sovereigntists, former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau.
Whoops, I meant to say President Parizeau.
Yes he is a fervent sovereigntist who said some nasty things — in French.
“L’argent et le vote ethnique (money and the ethnic vote),” is how he blamed the loss of his 1995 referendum on separation.
The remark earned the “Most racist statement of the Year” designation.
But for all that — and all the years of hearing Parizeau — I still think the guy sounds way better in English than any unilingual Anglophone I know. Too bad his French isn’t so good.
And by his own admission, when asked about the ‘L’argent’ statement he replied (in English), “These are harsh words.”
He is right about one thing: “When politics is interesting, people go vote.”
As disturbing as the last real Quebec referendum was to the country, the people of Alberta — and those here in Red Deer — kept the spirit of their Quebec brethren at their sides.
Referendum day brought out the colours of the nation — and Quebec into the streets of Red Deer — even though it nearly brought the country to its knees.
On that day in 1995, innumerable pickup trucks and a lot of other vehicles flew the Canadian and Quebec flags as a sign of our being proud Canadians.
Some of those pickup trucks flew both flags flew side by side. It was our version of redneck federalism.
What were we saying? How about; “Hey Quebecers, you’re part of us, you’re part of Canada.”
Never having been to Quebec, I cannot say how much of our anglo culture has become part of life in Quebec.
But it would appear to be too much, if you believe the claims about loss of identity in Quebec.
We share two languages, and Western Canadians continue to make the effort to learn to speak French.
In more recent times and thanks to Justin Trudeau, that point is again re-emphasized.
“(People) who don’t learn French are lazy,” the sharp-tongued Trudeau was reported to have said before he became Liberal Leader.
Was he quoted accurately?
After a predictable uproar over that remark, Trudeau denied making it, instead explaining he said: “Governments are lazy for not encouraging people to learn (a second language.)”
He’s right. There is absolutely nothing wrong with learning another language.
Perhaps we’d all understand each other much better. And not so much would be lost in translation.
And the scattered Francophone communities in the country — including in Alberta — would no doubt be the better for it as well.
So let’s not be lazy. We need to share more of our cultures, particularly because it’s clear, once again, that Quebec is not leaving confederation.
Besides, there is no English word for poutine, eh?
David Nagy is an Advocate editor.