Friday, November 24, 2006

The Quebec Nation and the Canadian Idiots

Uh seems that little storm over calling Quebecers a nation,has now been upgraded to a category five tempest in a teapot. Run for your lives!!! You may feel just like you felt yesterday or the day before. But I've got sad news to report tonight.... It seems that our beautiful Canada has died!!!!

" Recognizing Quebec as a “nation”, even “within Canada”, is a disaster waiting to happen....Ethnic nationalism was the cause of most of the bloody history of the last 200 years

So let us give thanks for one thing: at least the pretense is over...We are well on our way to Belgiumhood, and that suits our political class just fine..."

Oh no! Not Belgium....if there's any country more boring than Canada that's the one. Although they have gay marriage and we still sort of don' well as good chocolate. And these days I could eat a lot....You know I expected the right-wingers to be up in arms. And I was right.

"What a load of crap! Sellout to appease the Franco's of Kbec....."

"Quebec is a pain in the ass and if recognizing that they are an inferior part of Canada that needs to be isolated from the rest of us ... so be it."

And I fully expect that in redneck Alberta it's even worse....

Porky rednecks are capable of anything...

But I never expected to see so many respectable left-wing bloggers spouting so much crap. Or turn into so many Chicken Littles with so little confidence in the strength of this land. Holy flying feathers! They're squawking so loudly even the sweet Frog Lady has fallen off her lily pad.

"Why am I whining so much? Because, to put it simply, Quebec is not a nation..."

Oh really? Wot? I'm shocked. How could a froggy forget that Quebecers were a nation long before Canada was? Or not realize that in Quebec just about everyone knows that Quebec is a nation. Just like the First Nations are. And that includes new immigrants integrating into the French system and most Anglos under sixty too. Everyone my age feels that way. We're proud Anglos and Canadians but we're proud of being Quebecois and proud to be living in the homeland of the French nation in Canada. That's not scary....Frog Lady..... it's kool!!!

For fuck sake everyone!!! This resolution is purely symbolic. It merely recognizes the more than 400 years of shared history of the French people of Quebec. From conquered people, to the confident tolerant and progressive society....the last bastion of Canadian values.... they are today.

It's not a big deal. This isn't about legalistic scribblings. The word nation in English means country. In French it means community or people. It's a question of recognizing a people's pride. Instead of treating them like The Enemy.

I don't know where this anti-Quebec shit comes from. I've written about it before in this post about the abominable Jan Wong. So I'm not going to do it again......coz it makes me want to vomit.

But all I know is that when I'm in Quebec it still feels like Canada. Many French Quebecers, including many sovereignists still have deep and warm feelings about this country. And that's not about to change...

Even if you'll never see something like this...

Just be glad we share this land with them....

I think it's about time English Canadians moved on. Just like Quebecers have. And stopped acting like great big if a few little words could bring an entire country down.

Stopped being so chicken and so crabby. Spent less time trapped in the past reliving the First World War over and over again. You know the time when most Canadians considered themselves British. And the only real Canadians were the French...

Stopped looking at this country as some kind of prissy constitutional cage, and started thinking of it as more of a big and wild family. Who may share a home. But are different and have different needs and aspirations. And stopped being so damm scared of reinventing Canada into a new and exciting federation. Where everyone who lives in The Great White North can party together. And everyone stays together because they want to.

Please give younger Canadians some hope for the future. Instead of being so negative and so chicken.

Those despairing lefty Canadians should also realize that recognizing Quebecers as who they are won't help the cause of separatism. On the contrary. It will take the fucking wind out of its sails. And could do that cause enormous harm. How wrong can these ridiculous Chicken Littles be? Or stoopid. Duh???

Above all they should remember that disrespecting Quebecers pride in themselves as a people. And directing a torrent of uninformed nonsense and just plain hateful bullshit at them. Won't save this country. It will shatter it.

If they don't understand that. Then they should play this video over and over again....

Hey it looks to me like Canada is still very much alive...Yay!!! Who hasn't dreamed of driving a zamboni up and down Saskatchewan? I dare anyone out there to tell me which Canadian or Quebecois hosers wouldn't recognize themselves in that video? Isn't that something to celebrate not

On the other hand letting a country be destroyed because the majority wasn't generous or sensitive enough to make its French-speaking minority feel at home. Or too tired boo hoo hoo or lazy or smallminded. Or too Americanized. To accept this big country as it is. And make it big enough for all of us.

That's not only idiotic. And cowardly. And a monstrous failure of the imagination.

That's fucking tragic as well...


  1. I had to ask a taxi driver to turn off his Talk Radio call-in show. As soon as I got in the car I heard "Well, if Cue-beck wants special....bla...bla...."

    It's going to be a death of 1000 cuts, and over zilch.

  2. This isn't just about Quebec. It's also about Harper's goal of turning Canada into a collection of nation states loosely aligned under the umbrella of a disempowered federal government.

  3. Anonymous11:04 AM

    You don't know how mistaken you are. Canada is a great country, that I agree with. I'm not surpirsed that you are proud to live in Quebec, because I am prod to be from Manitoba. We are all proud of who we are, but I do not think that this kind of thing helps unity, but rather destroys it. Many Quebecers always talk about Canada being unwilling to compromise, but isn't that true of Quebec as well. When do you recognize that the otehr provinces are unique as well, or are you so caught up with your own uniqneness that you are blind to that of others. Quebec, though a great PROVINCE, in reality is no more unique or special than any other. It is not a nation, it is not a distinct society. It is a province of Canada, and that is how it should stay.

  4. Anonymous5:33 PM

    *rolls eyes*


    Quebecois = a Canuckian nation
    First Nation = a whole buncha Canuckian nations
    Anglo douchebags like me: yet another Canuckian nation

    Cassete tapes didn't kill the music industry, Harper's announcement is just him trying to get a bunch of assholes up in arms for the next election (and sadly, it's working) as much as it is him trying to weasel some Quebec votes.

    J'adore Quebec. And I've only ever been to Hull. Go figure. :)

  5. Anonymous9:58 PM

    Hi Too Busy! yeah I's all about's just words to make Quebecers feel better...but in a country like this we have to learn to be creative about things like that. As somebody somewhere wrote's like when your wife asks you whether the dress makes her look fat...a lot can depend on the answer!

    Hi Robert!

    Harper's plans to castrate the federal government is indeed something to be deeply concerned about. But when you boil things down that's another story. All the provinces want more power and money. This feel good nation stuff I don't think will affect things much ...even if the PQ comes to power. Quebec will continue to demand more powers just like Ontario, BC, and Alberta. But they'll still have to convince Quebecers that they have a good case. And aren't just picking unnecessary fights with the feds. As for the feds...well their going to have a hard time making their case. The federal government is increasingly invisible in our lives. The trend to decentralization appears to me unstoppable. Jacques Parizeau became a separatist because he figured Canada was so big it would need a strong centralizing government to hold it together. We don't have one anymore.Either someone comes up with a bold new vision and rededication of Canadian values.And saves our present federation. Or sooner or later we're going to have to come up with a new one...

    Hi anonymous...I think part of the problem here is that this argument has been muddled by the translation. The word nation in English means country. But in French it means people or community. So you can be a nation in a province. Try to think of it this way...imagine how we would feel if we lived in an English-speaking province. And all the other provinces were French speaking...Don't you think we would want reassurances that the country would recognize our own unique culture...I think we would...

    Hey Jay!!

    you're absolutely right...he's trying to have it both ways...if you listened to his French speech and then what he said in English...he was stroking the nationalists in Quebec...with a speech that said all the things they like to hear. And then turning around and sounding like a tough defender of Canadian unity to English Canadians.The fact that his little ploy was so successful...almost makes me ill.But I don't think he'll fool Quebecers. They hate him for so many other things. And if we stir up the wingnuts in Alberta maybe we'll get the Reform Party!!! As for getting only as far as Hull Jay well...I don't know how to put this...but Hull is only known for being the place where the poor desperate people of that bore-a-torium known as Ottawa...go to drink...a lot. On a Saturday night you can paddle a canoe through the time you get to Quebec walk crawl or whatever all the way to Montreal!! believe me you'll love it :)

  6. Anonymous1:16 AM

    Believe me Simon, the next time I'm in the neighbourhood I'll hit you up for a good place to get some decent smoked meat. :)

    When I was in Hull, it was a pleasant diversion from being in....dum duduhn DUHN! Ottawa.

    I was like, 14 or so, and I was there as part of the fisrt ever Royal Canadian Geographic National Geography Challenge. I was the top dog from Saskabush, fell ass over tea kettle for a stunning girl from the Trois Rivieres area, and snuck off for a walk and ended up wandering around Hull. It was as clsoe to Quebec as I could get at the time.

    Oh yeah, this was back when Alex Trebek still had his 'stache. He's one tall dude.

  7. That video was pretty cool. Now they need to do one about australians. Oh, I forgot, most of the world doesn't know we exist. :)

  8. I don't know if you read Margaret Wente but thought I'd send you her column from this morning and see what you think:

    Just make the whole thing go away

    Here at the far end of Queen Street in Toronto, we can't decide whether we live in the Beach or the Beaches. The wrangle has been going on for years. Last year, they took a vote and "the Beach" won out, but the losers haven't given up. Sometimes fisticuffs still break out at Quigley's.

    We can't even agree on our street signs, so I doubt we'll ever put this "nation" stuff to bed. We already call the Buffalo Point First Nation (population 125) a nation, so why not Quebec?

    Personally, I am delighted to acknowledge that Quebeckers are a distinct society, a nation, and an extra-special unique collectivity unlike all the others in the galaxy. Whatever. Just make it go away. I want closure. I want healing. I want never to hear a word about this again.

    Alas, I know that we can never make it go away. Existential arguments about identity are our second-most-popular national sport. The difference between the game of hockey and the game of "who are we and what is our relationship to Quebec and vice-versa?" is that the identity game has no clear winners. Also, it never ends. It just goes on and on, and every time you think it might be over, up it pops again, like a vampire rising from the grave. Our national-identity arguments are as inevitable as winters, only twice as dreary. You can't escape from them unless you go to Florida and tune out for the duration. I heartily recommend this as a coping strategy. You'll feel much better, and when you come back you'll realize you haven't missed a thing.

    Sometimes, I try to explain our national arguments to the Americans, but they don't get it. They know exactly who they are. They never have a crisis of identity, and they spend very little time complaining that all the other parts of the United States are trying to rip off their part. We, on the other hand, are in a constant state of grievance, like a bunch of kids who are all convinced that mom and dad treat the other kids the best. We are stuck in a state of permanently arrested development. We're like teenagers. We navel-gaze a lot and about every 15 minutes, we seem to have a crisis over who "we" are.

    People are griping that nobody has a clue what Stephen Harper's "nation" resolution really means or how important it really is. Nobody can agree whether it's a breakthrough of historic significance, or a nice but largely meaningless gesture of good will, like saying, "Quebeckers sure are swell!" But this ambiguity is not a bad thing. It is an essential thing. The beauty of this resolution is that it means anything you want it to mean, which means that everybody, even Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe, can vote for it. Ambiguity is the glue that holds Canada together. Without it, we would have spun apart a long time ago.

    Let's face facts. Every francophone in Quebec is a nationalist, whether you like it or not. Some of the nationalists are separatists, and some are federalists. But saying Quebeckers are a nation is like saying the sky is blue. It just is. The people who object to saying it are generally leftover Trudeauites and unreconstructed Reformers (an odd coupling, to be sure).

    They think this is a giant step down the slippery slope to the end of Canada. I doubt it. The real giant step would be to resurrect the C-word. Mr. Harper may be many things but he isn't bone-stupid enough to try to fiddle with the Constitution. And that's a good thing, because the next time the C-word gets back on the national agenda, I'm out of here. Constitutional crises are the worst of all worlds: stupefyingly boring but profoundly important. I'd rather be grilled on a spit than go through all that again.

    Anyway, Stephen Harper's not to blame for summoning the vampire to rise up from the dead. I put the blame on Michael Ignatieff, a one-man storm that blows wildly off course and creates havoc and destruction everywhere. Hurricane Iggy outraged the Jews with his war-crimes crack about Israel, hijacked the leadership convention by raising the N-word, and gave Mr. Duceppe a perfect opening to make mischief. Not bad for a complete amateur and political dilettante.

    Since Iggy first declared that only he has the vision to lead the nation (or whatever you want to call the entity we live in), everyone around him has been in damage-control mode. It's ironic, of course, that the guy Iggy thinks he should replace as prime minister is the guy who wound up riding to his rescue. But history is full of ironies. In the end, Stephen Harper did us all a favour. He drove the stake back into the

  9. Hi Beep! What do you mean? You Australians are waaaay more famous than us...Even our neighbours don't know who we are. I've always been fascinated by Australia. But my interest in the country really took form after I flew in a small plane from Belize to Tikal in Guatemala with the writer Robert Hughes on board. And spent the next three days with him. I didn't know anything about him except that he was doing a piece for Time magazine... or was it National Geographic? And that he drank a lot and spent most of his time trying to arrange boat fishing trips. But when I got back to civilization I read The Fatal Shore and it just blew me away. It was one of the hardest reads I ever had. But after I finished I had to love you fact I'm hoping to travel there one day.
    As soon as I can afford to buy a ticket...for a plane.... with a bed!

    Hi Too busy...yeah I saw the Wente piece...and as much as I hate to admit it...she's mostly right. Except that like so many Canadians she thinks we can just wish the problem away. And you can't. This is the country history gave us...s the sooner we recognize that, and stop being so afraid that Quebec is just going to get up and walk away...the better it will be for all of us. As I mentioned in my post what we have here right now is a failure of the imagination....