It’s embarrassing, the way Canada is behaving on the world scene. Here we are, a G8 country, only by virtue of our trade agreements with the USA. Yet; as always, we seem to stand for nothing, other than to suck up to as many do-nothing countries as we possibly can. And in the process, we screw over our real friends South of the border.
This is not a new phenomena. Canada has taken our relationship with the USA for granted for as long as we have been a country. But never more so, since the days of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who preferred the Arabs, Asians and South Americans to the Americans just on the South side of the 49th parallel. So much so, that US Presidents and members of Congress have had a visceral hatred for the man.
In my younger years, when I was a Pierre Elliott Trudeau fan, and more of an idealistic Canadian nationalist, I too found pride in being Canadian. But the pride I had in Canada dealt more with the tearing down of the USA, than in the building up of my own country. And that was very unfortunate.
Now that I am 52 years old, and not 22 years old, I understand how wrong I was. But I also understand something infinitely more important. My attitude was Québécois.
In Quebec, one celebrates one’s strengths, and hides one’s weakness. And instead of doing whatever you can to be as good, or better than the next person, in Quebec, you do whatever you can to drag the other person down to your own level. This is the “Québécois Game”.
The “Québécois Game” also includes getting something for nothing. In fact, getting as much as possible for nothing is more like it. Too many Québécois love to take from others, what they can not build or earn on their own. And they love for their government’s to do it for them.
That’s why productivity within Quebec does not measure up to successful provinces, states and regions throughout North America. And that’s why only a few Quebecers are on the top of the food chain, while so many are either at the middle or the bottom. That’s also why the Québécois pay such enormous taxes at the upper level, so the hard working and successful can pay for the lazy, and those who won’t take a risk at the lower levels.
As Quebec threatens separation from the rest of Canada with one hand, the other Québécois hand is grabbing as much Canadian largesse as it can possibly hold; in terms of grants, transfer payments, equalization payments, corporate government investments, crown corporations and just plain graft.
So, how does Québécois social and political philosophy impact in Ottawa, and the way Canada plays with the rest of the world? The same way Quebec plays with the rest of Canada – is how.
As a micro manager, Trudeau brought the “Québécois Game” with him to Ottawa in the late 1960’s. Brian Mulroney kept it very much alive in order to keep himself and his Tories in power. And Jean Chrétien plays the Québécois game as well as anyone could, mostly because Chrétien is so Québécois.
The world stage however, isn’t Canada, where politicians get away with this Québécois kind of stuff everyday. This is realpolitik, where there are serious consequences for screwing your friends, and for getting on the wrong team, or spending virtually all your time sitting on the fence. Just ask the men and women employed by the Canadian softwood lumber industry. Or the Canadian farmers who are getting massacred by US subsidies, which the US is giving to their own farmers.
The President of the USA, and the American Congress do not look for votes on our side of the border. And as long as they keep the American voters happy, they couldn’t give a damn about what is happening in Canada.
Therefore; the “Québécois Game” being played out in Ottawa, as part of our foreign and trade policy, is already doing us tremendous damage. And if it doesn’t stop anytime soon, we’ll be cooked.
To Brian Mulroney’s credit, he only played the “Québécois Game” within Canada. And when it came to dealing with the Americans, he played a different game entirely. And as much as I hate to admit it, much to our benefit.
In my most humble opinion: there is only one way to reverse this problem and keep it from getting worse and from happening again. Don’t vote for a Prime Minister from Quebec, or a Prime Minister such as Joe Clark, who will do whatever it takes to buy-off Quebec nationalists.
The “Québécois Game” has already cost Canada dearly. And if allowed to continue, it could inevitably lead to our demise. The US economy is showing a strong indication that it is going to go into free-fall. And when that happens, all this great Canadian wealth we shovel in from the Americans will evaporate, as the USA circles their wagons to take care of their own.
Perhaps Jean Chrétien hasn’t looked recently. But if he did, he would see that Canada sells a hell of a lot more South of the Border, than what we buy from the South. And it wouldn’t take all that much for this tap to be closed.
Whatever we think of George W Bush isn’t all that important. All we have to know, is that he is the President of the greatest nation on earth. The US of A, Canada’s “sugar daddy”.
And he has already shown what he thinks of us when he called Mexico, America’s most important trading partner, and then “forgot” to mention Canada, when he thanked so many countries for their support after 9/11.
These are not omissions, whether intentional or otherwise that we should ignore. It will be a terrible tragedy if the curse of Québécois nationalism and the something for nothing mind-set finally does us in, in a manner most Canadians could never have seen coming.