SHOULD QUEBEC BE A NATION?

At a conference of young Quebec Liberals over the week-end, Premier Charest spoke about the national question.  He says Quebec still wants to be recognized as a nation in the Canadian constitution.  “In my view it reflects what we are as a country. When?  I don’t know but I do believe that it is something that needs to be done.”

It has always seemed to me that Quebec is not just a province like the others.  Because of its history (founding nation), language and culture Quebec deserves some kind of “special status”.

I should have thought all right-thinking Canadians would agree with that proposition.  Do you?

Should Quebec be a nation?

What do you think?

23 Comments »

  1. 1
    Gunnar Says:

    “Nation” is defined in terms of history, language, culture whereas “State” is a legal concept. A few countries are seen as clear cases of Nation-States where the two areas coincide. Common examples are France and Sweden (although recent immigration is challenging established concepts of a uniform culture). Many African and Middle Eastern countries for example, having emerged from centuries of colonization, suffer from considerable fragmentation culturally. Western powers often deliberately created administrative areas, later to become independent states, that included several cultural, linguistic or religious groups with results that have been disastrous in many cases. Quebec appears to meet all or most of the criteria for being defined as a “Nation”. In fact, I have always thought of Quebec (even before I moved here from New York) as a Nation. The question of Statehood is of an entirely different nature. The Special Status option may be the only possible compromise as Quebec continues to fight to maintain its cultural and linguistic identity.

  2. 2
    william wallace Says:

    It time moving into the present century // not linger in the past
    the present century does not see/ bring ghosts of the past but
    focuses on truth towards ones present needs based on reality.

    Its time for the people’s of QUEBEC as all CANADA in COMING
    to an understanding of their spiritual roots /not a material realm
    but that of the spiritual / bringing a unfolding of the spiritual self.

    How is such to be achieved ??? Answer / via meditation / where
    one directs their senses inward / in doing / awakens a unfolding
    of the spiritual self. Not ideas. Not of beliefs. Not a heaven or an
    paradise beyond the clouds // but having very practical spiritual
    experience which brings clarity of understanding / answering all
    ones querstions / even the questions as yet remaining unasked.

    Much time having been wasted where through political deceit as
    cunning one section of humanity turned agin the other / where it
    done in pursuit of political power / of wealth / or worldly pleasure.

    It is time to one being freed from the mind // its land of shadows
    unto that of the light of creation / where one drink in quenching
    their thirst from the well within // in hearing the music of creation.

    On PC search put ( words of peace ) on site a large selection of
    videos where Prem Rawat talking of the need of meditation /thus
    one starts a process of their individual unfolding of their spiritual
    self // not of believing / but via practical experience knowing truth.

    Such the purpose of creation / that it sustaining the human form
    the purpose of the human form / that via heart brain / comes the
    growth in understanding as experience /in leading to the ultimate
    stage of learning // in turning the senses inwards toward creation
    thus one via meditation one can cross the bridge betwixt finite as
    infinite/ thus experience the power of creation /unto its pure form
    one can live in the material realm yet have access to the spiritual
    such design of an human form is its ability to grant enlightenment.

    Thus to all people’s of Quebec /Canada don’t waste more time on
    that which differs but give more unto that which unites all people’s.
    Let your journey home progress unto the next chapter / a chapter
    unfolding much joy / in depths of your understanding / experience.

  3. 3
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Gunnar,

    Thanks for your helpful distinction between State and Nation.

  4. 4

    I think that Gunner is right. Quebec does need a special status in order to define itself in the world. And to Neil & Jean Charest-I do agree.
    It just gets my hackles up.
    I would like to be addressed in future as “Your Majesty”, or “Highness”. I don’t deserve the distinction, but I WANT it, to make me feel important.

  5. 5

    …and att:/
    W//W: Crack-a-lack-a.

  6. 6
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Once Quebec starts respecting human rights, then and only then should the discussion of “nation” be broached.

    Also: if Quebec believes itself to be a nation, it can refuse the eight billlion dollars a year it receives in equalization payments. Constitutionally, only provinces are eligible for equalization.

  7. 7
    jim Says:

    If Quebec is allowed to become a “nation”, so should all the other provinces and territories be allowed the same status. What’s in a name, that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. (from the Shake)
    I think that Charest is throwing a bone to the separatists who are sitting on the proverbial fence .He wants their vote.
    Charest has become quite sleezy since the last election, such as – text books not being available in English schools – signs stating that service is available in English in hospitals, however, the signs are printed in French – the language police (a worldwide joke) is running rampant lately – most notices in the mail from the Quebec government are not bilingual. There is some method of aggrevation being used.regarding the latter remark. I’ve noticed that if the correspondence is bilingual it is because it concerns government revenues that they are asking you to remit. It helps Quebec to get their money faster.
    I want Charest to tell us what he means by “nation”. I want him to tell us if his version of “nation” has any connection to the words Separation, Seccession, Sovereignity, Independance, Self-determination.
    The Iroquois is a nation, is that the status he wants. Just asking
    In the past the U.N. has stated that the only time an area may separate from a country without that country’s permission is if the separatee was colonized or invaded by the conqueror.and that the separatee departs under the terms of International law. Sounds to me that the Indians could ask for all of ‘a mari usque ad mare’.

  8. 8

    Every major political party in Quebec and every Quebec general election is ruled by the following demographic/political reality:

    Linguistically, the population of Quebec is made up of:

    80% francophone
    20% non-francophone

    99% of the 20% non-francophones are ardently federalist and will vote Liberal.

    The 80% francophone population breaks down into thirds:

    33% ardent separatists
    33% federalist
    33% nationalists who swing both ways.

    It is this latter group (the 33% nationalists who swing both ways) that makes or breaks every single Quebec election and, by extension, Canada’s future (because when the PQ gets in power, they tend to hold referendums that have the potential to actually break up the country). Since only about 70% of eligible voters vote (in a good year), they represent about 23% of francophones or about 18% of Quebec’s overall population.

    And they represent about 4% of Canada’s total population.

    Yet this one demographic holds sway like no other over the future of Canada. It is this group that, in making or breaking the election aspirations of either the PQ or Liberals, is the one which causes schmucks like Jean Charest to do everything he can to get their vote, like insisting that Quebec be recognized as a nation; it is a never-ending obsession of the Liberals to cater to this soft nationalist demographic.

    4% of the population rules the roost.

    Depressing, isn’t it?

  9. 9
    Glen Says:

    We cannot damn any more generations of Canadians and Quebecois to this never-ending, sterile and costly debate. It must be settled permanently.

    Unfortunatley the only permannet solution is to encourage the people of Quebec to go their own way and for the rest of Canada to respect the decision.

    Both sides can then negotiate diligently for a mutually agreeable division of assets and socio-economic arrangements.

    There is just too much of a critical mass of francophones who want nothing to do with being in the federation and this fact will never change.

    I do not agree on any level with the project of independence. As an anglo baby-boomer I have no axe to grind. I grew up in a predominently french area and lived as well as worked in french as an adult until moving away fifteen years ago. I have property there and return regularly.

    Canada and Quebec have to put this behind them as we have have little in common socially or politically. In reality we have both moved on in our own directions we just need to formalize our split.

  10. 10
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Glen,

    I appreciate your thoughtful views on the Quebec separation issue but I still feel we would both lose something historic and precious if we decided to go our separate ways.

  11. 11

    Well said, Glen.

    I particularly liked your last paragraph:

    Canada and Quebec have to put this behind them as we have have little in common socially or politically. In reality we have both moved on in our own directions we just need to formalize our split.

    Quebec needs the protection for its culture and language that the borders of an independent nation naturally gives it. This is what nations do. So, if Quebec is a nation — as people such as Neil McKenty and Stephen Harper and Brian Mulroney and Jean Charest are so insistent upon — let it be a nation.

    But let’s not have Quebec be a pretend nation as in “the Quebec people are a nation within Canada” or other such silliness. Let’s have one nation where human rights and equality is respected and where language laws that frighten half a million people from their homes don’t exist.

    Neil writes that he feels we would lose something “precious” if we went our separate ways. What, pray tell, is that, Neil? The promotion of two ethnic groups — the english and the french — and all else be damned? What exactly? The hate towards the english that federal and provincial governments have allowed to foment for the past 40 years?

    I’d really like to hear from you exactly what it is that we will be losing…

  12. 12
    Neil McKenty Says:

    What we’d be losing, among other things, is that Canada, a beacon to the world universally admired because two language and cultural groups have lived serenely side by side for centuries in a federal system that is the envy of mankind.

  13. 13

    Neil, it took 500,000 Quebec anglos out of a population of 1.2 million non-francophones hitting the road down the 401 over the past 40 years to have the two groups serenely live side by side.

    Quite a formula for success.

  14. 14
    jim Says:

    Tony: I was reminded by an item in the local bugle today that Quebec has never held a referendum asking the question ‘Do you want to separate?’ This type of question has always had a caveat, such as ‘and when we become a nation we will develop a partnership with Canada’. The addenda were necessary because Parizeau and Bouchard both knew that the ardent separatists population stood at only 30%.
    Tony, If Quebec leaves, Canada will diappear. If you look at the situation carefully, each province remaining will not want to share their assets with any other province especially by way of transfer payments. Also no province would want to have anything to do with Ontario unless it is to sell them something. So here we are, in the middle of it, taking it all in, in the heat in the kitchen.

  15. 15
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Tony, you hve figures for those who have left. How about the figures for all those who came back.

  16. 16

    For the first time in decades, in June I saw cranes in the sky all around the Montreal downtown. I counted 15 or more! That is such an encouraging site- I hope that the 33% in question interpret that positively.
    (PS: I am an eternal optimist).
    I think the “question” of separation was clear enough, it was the vote counting I never understood and always wondered about.
    Quebec can not survive in any way, i.e. culturally, financially, politically, separated from Canada.
    I would not consider living here in the event of separation and often rue the day I didn’t pull the plug in the 70’s and go West. I love Quebec, but this same conversation gets so tiresome and frequent among Anglos.

  17. 17
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Those cranes in the sky are working on the site of the new English hospital in N.D.G. This is the greatest concentration of cranes in the history of the construction industry in Quebec.

  18. 18

    There were cranes on Nun’s Island as well as East of University. Good sight!

  19. 19
    jim Says:

    They were whooping cranes

  20. 20
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil: when is segregation ever a solution to a problem and why do you support it?

  21. 21
    Francois Says:

    How about we all make up and become New Brunswickers?!

  22. 22
    PHYLLIS CARTER Says:

    I am so sick and tired of people being “politically correct” and catering to extremists. I was a member of the Quebec Liberal Party when Rene Levesque was still a member. I was on Place d’Armes when Pierre Laporte’s body lay in state in Notre Dame Basilica. I was there on the square watching the army with their raised bayonets as they ensured our safety against the FLQ. Most people just want to live in peace, but the politicians and the media cater to the loudest noise – the extremists who always hold the threat of violence as a possibility if they don’t get their way. We have lost so much through all these years by trying to placate the extremists. Families have been torn apart. People have lost their businesses. And we never get any peace. What about everyone else? What about all the French speaking people who are smart enough to know what a blessing it is to be Canadian ? Those who don’t make noise have to put up with the constant agitation. Know this – Extremists will never give up. They will agitate for more and more forever. How long do we have to cater to them? When will we stop giving them so much attention?

  23. 23
    jim Says:

    P.C. you go so far back that you are a living fossil. I think the strategy that the powers that be haven’t wanted to speak about over the years is that given enough time, with the U.S. and Cdn. English TV playing a large part, the Quebec population will eventually learn English with enough unintentional subliminal indoctrination. It has happened before even without TV in Louisiana, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire. When that transition happens here, Quebecers will realize that the English are not so bad after all, so let’s be friends. Whilst your at it look at Duceppe, who could hardly utter the word “pension” in English when he was first elected, is doing just fine now. Yep, I’m in favour of keeping everything as they are. We in Quebec are off our hinges and I just love it.


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