How much does it mean to ethnocentric Quebecois nationalists, that Stephen Harper declared in Parliament that the Quebecois people do indeed constitute a nation?
The second Harper brought the Quebec Nation debate to a vote in Parliament, he opened a door wide enough for any Quebecois nationalist to step through with any demand he or she wishes, with no way out for the federal government to say no.
How can the government of Canada possibly refuse the wishes of a nation? Especially a nation Canada created?
Since Harper created the Quebecois nation, the so-called federalist leader of Quebec’s Liberal Party, Jean Charest, has suggested that Quebec needs its own national anthem. As a nation, Charest also argues that Quebec needs new and more jurisdictions.
But that’s just the start.
Last week, Separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) leader Pauline Marois declared that newly arrived immigrants to Quebec who can not master the French language according to what Quebec deems to be sufficient, will not be permitted (amongst other things) to hold public office, work for any part of the public sector, nor petition the National Assembly.
More! These disenfranchised immigrants will not be granted Quebec citizenship. So, how does Harper square this circle? And aren’t theses immigrants, actually immigrants to Canada opposed to Quebec?
Is Prime Minister Harper about to tell Quebec that the nation status he convinced Parliament to bestow upon Quebec is really just symbolic, and in fact meaningless?
Or is he going to allow ethnocentric Quebecois nationalists the right to deny citizenship and equality to Canadian immigrants under Quebec’s laws?
Will he declare that Quebec isn’t really a nation, and therefore cannot grant Quebec citizenship? Or will he keep his mouth shut, not to jeopardize nationalist Quebecois votes in the next federal election?
Harper’s scheme can have only one of three possible outcomes:
Either Harper is so Machiavellian, that he set Quebec up on a fast-track path to independence, where it will just happen without anyone really noticing it, much like the separation between the Czechs and the Slovaks.
Or Quebec will stick around forever, sucking all that it can from the rest of Canada as a nation within a nation?
The third outcome might belong to the rest of Canada, as is stated at the conclusion of this editorial.
I am a Montrealer, born and raised. I understand Quebec far better than Stephen Harper ever will. And as smart as Harper thinks he is, he is not nearly as politically smart as most senior Quebec politicians.
Where politics is an occasional interest in the rest of Canada, in Quebec, it is a figurative blood sport. Quebecers live, breathe, eat and drink politics. Next to hockey, politics in Quebec takes a backseat to nothing else.
And Harper thinks he’s going to best Quebec at what Quebecers live for? Hah!
Harper has opened the door for another generational debate about Quebec. He has given Quebec and the elitist Quebec lobby (French and English) more years of wasted time, and more billions of wasted dollars to debate the meaning of Quebec’s nationality, while the rest of Canada watches as if we are nothing more than an audience who’ve paid the bill with our cost of admission.
Harper has renewed Quebec’s number one industry for many more years to come. And what industry is that you ask? The screw Canada industry don’t you know.
Quebec leaders aren’t stupid. They know on what side of the national bread you can find the butter. They’ve always known. And they’ve always played the rest of Canada like a floozy plays a mark at a gentleman’s club.
As much as the gentleman knows that the floozy is nothing but trouble, he just can’t help himself, and refuses to walk away, just like Quebec knows the rest of Canada will not walk away.
I’m hoping that this time the floozy’s wrong.
I’m hoping Harper’s political gambit of making Quebec a nation, will have an unintended consequence to the chagrin of Quebec and Harper.
Maybe the rest of Canada will finally stop looking at the floozy and just walk away?
Maybe the rest of Canada will wake up, and will no longer be willing to pay the price of admission to watch the Quebec show? Maybe Canada will even become the country of the 21st century after all?
Without Quebec – everything becomes possible.
Best Regards – Howard Galganov
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