Saturday, June 24, 2006

Partying with the Quebec Nation

Oops! What with Gay Pride weekend, and the World Cup, I almost forgot this big Quebec party.

Of all the great things that have happened to me in this beautiful country, being a Quebecer has to be one of the best.

I love the province and its people. They are progressive, tolerant, fun loving and just plain amazing. Their French language and culture enriches us all. In these right-wing times they are also the last bastion of Canadian values. Just look at how they treat their children.

They provide $7 a day daycare to help kids and their parents. They don't believe in jailing young offenders and throwing away the key. Like so many do in English Canada. Quebec spends more on rehabilitating kids rather than just punishing them. And their results are way way better.

They are also the biggest defenders of Kyoto and the environment, the biggest defenders of gay rights and a woman's right to choose, the most secular of Canadians, and the most wary about our new role in Afghanistan. If the rebel province didn't exist Canada would have to invent it.To remember what being Canadian is all about. Isn't that ironic?

There's also the cruel fact that if we subtracted Quebec's joie de vivre and sexxxy ooh la la appeal from the Canadian equation. Our enjoyment index would plummet like a stone. I mean where would you rather spend a wild weekend? In Calgary, Ottawa, or Montreal?

And oh yes.......they are a nation. Whatever Stephen Harper says.
Everyone in Quebec knows that. Everyone in Canada should know that too. It's a matter of survival.
If Harper thinks it's just a question of "semantics", he doesn't understand Quebec........ or Canada. Some things don't come from the head you nerd. They come from the heart. Will someone please send him to see the Wizard of Oz.

As long as French speaking Quebecers feel that they're a great nation in a great country Canada will stay united. And if they don't it won't.

It's as simple as that.

So here's to the great and wild and wonderful French-speaking nation in Canada. Long may it continue to flourish and feel free to be what it wants to be in this great country. Long may it help make us the country most Canadians want it to be. And make us kick up our heels and stop being so crabby. And shout " Whoopee aren't we lucky." Or just "merci beaucoup" once in a while. Like I do all the time.

Bonne fete tout le monde!!

I only wish I could be in Montreal tonight. Listening to those beautiful French songs. Watching the fireworks light up the city and the people I love.

But duty calls. Vroom, vroom...where's my broom? It's back to the other party. I'm not just cleaning up I want you to know.

I'm bringing the ooh la la too...


Anonymous said...

Oops, you might want to consider the validity of Kyoto before you include it on your list of things where support is to be lauded. This link should help:

Kyoto is an obvious example, but across the board, I think you views are a bit simplistic to say the least.
I like the spirit reflected in what you have to say, but you need to be more nuanced in making your case. Why, for example, is it so wonderful that Quebec is "the most secular of Candians" -- why exactly is that to be admired?

It would be good for you to spend some time thinking about other points of view. There are very good arguments againt such things as gay marriage (note that I did not say "gay rights"), "a woman's right to "choose" and even $7 a day daycare.
(It's not the $7 . . . it's the practicality of universality.)

I am obviously a bit more to the right in my political views than you are, but increasingly, I recognize that it is far too easy to dismiss alternative perspectives. If we want to find truth, we must move beyond the points of view with which we are most comfortable and try to discover why others think differently. You don't have to agree in the end . . . but you do need to consider the alternative views -- I think.

Anonymous said...

Who was that self-confirming dude anyway who goes by the name "Anonymous"? As if that gives him any credence in life.

I just wanted to give you a bad time about calling yourself montreal simon and forgetting all about fete nationale. It’s a good thing you’re cute.

Simon said...

Hi anonymous thank you for your comment. I don't think I'll ever agree with you on anything political. But you disagree in a very gentle and civilized way and I appreciate that.I agree that I am sometimes guilty of oversimplifying things. Take Kyoto for example. I agree that it's hideously flawed. But what I like about it is the fact that so many countries signed it. Maybe we can work to come up with a better agreement. But we can't fight global warming on our own. It's a planetary problem. I'm frustrated that the world can't agree on how to preserve our future. As for the secularism in Quebec all I meant to say is they're not receptive to the message of hate coming from the religious right. On the other hand I think the way they treat young offenders is entirely consistent with real Christian values. As I said I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree. But I will bear in mind what you said about understanding why others feel differently. Everyone should do that.
As for you're right I really would have looked foolish if I had forgotten the Big Blue Party.Toronto Simon sounds even worse than Simon85. But you can't give me a hard time. Coz I was able to recover just in time. About ten minutes before the party was over. But it still counts. So there. :>)

Anonymous said...

Quebec – Harper's Achilles Heel:

Did Harper really understand Quebec when he rolled the dice, flew to Montreal, and tried to cajole the nationalists into supporting the New Tories?

We know that he planned on a Western Provinces – Quebec Axis as the power based designed to bring him to a majority government. We know that he deliberately tailored an ambiguous message to Quebec before the election. We know that support for the New Tories increased and he won ten seats.

But we also know that Quebec nationalism is a quagmire for the unwary, and that his new support is shallow and based in two areas only at this stage, as shown by these snippets from the National Post:
"Results from the Jan. 23 election which brought the Harper government to power show that outside Quebec, the vote shares of the major political parties did not change dramatically. But in Quebec, the Conservatives more than doubled their vote share to 25 per cent in 2006 from nine per cent in 2004. The Liberals, meanwhile, attracted just 17.3 per cent of the vote about half of the 33.9 per cent they secured in 2004.
''The real story of the 2006 Canadian general election is what happened inside Quebec,'' Maioni contends.
Although support the Conservatives remains relatively shallow inside Quebec, the party's electoral success represents a potentially significant change in the province's political landscape, Maioni believes.
In winning 10 Quebec seats, the Conservatives relied upon two main sources of francophone support: the Quebec City region, known as an 'enigma' ''for its vacillation of the sovereignty question and for its fickle voting pattern'' and rural parts of Quebec known as the 'bleu' heartland."
To build on that support, she says, Harper will have to show in concrete terms that ''open federalism'' is meaningful. Otherwise, francophone voters are likely to return en masse to the Bloc Quebecois.
''In the context of Quebec, unless (the Conservative party) uses those levers of power to deliver on specific promises related to Quebecers' quest for recognition and autonomy,'' she predicts, ''it will like be unable to dislodge the BQ.''
"In other words, Harper's overture to Quebec in the form of open federalism has enormous consequences, both for the future of his own party and that of the country.
If the prime minister's overture eventually disappoints Quebecers, it will help to establish the winning conditions for the Parti Quebecois and for another referendum while relegating the Conservatives, once again, to the margins in Quebec."
The question facing Harper now is simple: Did he miscalculate?

Signs that he might have:
• the swift distancing which Charest put between him and Harper with respect to Harper's gutting of Kyoto;
• Harper's fumbling response to whether Quebec is a nation, and his reluctance to even talk about the issue.
You opened Pandora's box with your West-East axis, Harper. Let's see you now try to close it ..