Thursday, November 23, 2006

Harper: Quebecois a "Nation"

This is so dumb.

This is politics at its worst and highlights the ignorance that permeates news writing these days.

But, of course, I'm somewhat interested to know what "the people" think and to find out whether or not they can see through this charade.

It's all semantics, people.

Let me see if I got this straight: just when the Liberals were starting to attack one another on the question of Quebec's role and identity in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper does Michael Ignatieff a huge favour (Why? Could it be because he actually wants the foot-in-mouth neophyte to win?) by pronoucing that "Quebecers form a nation within a unified Canada" (or words like those - I heard them in French and English).

Now, are you paying attention? Did you catch that huge loophole?

'Cause I'm not sure half the press stories I've read/seen did.

Quebecers form a nation...not Quebec. BIG difference.

Harper's wording makes it so that Quebecers form a "nation" within Canada much like Amerindians (a word I much prefer over the innacurate "native" - a subject for another day) do, or much like how we refer to Toronto Maple Leafs fans as "Leaf Nation". That is to say, a group or people identified by a common trait.

This is a FAR cry from recognizing the province of Quebec as a nation in Canada (which would bring about all sorts of issues reagrding powers and sovereignty). But, again, I'm not sure everyone in this debate realizes that.

See, there's no constitutional argument here. Harper gets to cozy up to those in Quebec who might lean towards the Bloc (thereby securing a few more seats,perhaps?) all the while talking out of the other side of his mouth to the Rest of Canada (ROC) and making it seem rather innocent. Which, of course, it is. Whether the language is adopted in the House or not, it has no teeth. The province of Quebec is unaffected.

For those of you who might be freaking out over this hornet's nest being stirred up again: relax. This. Means. Nothing.

Harper is paying lip service to separatists who only read the headlines.

But let's get back to me.

See, I have a personal beef with this language. Specifically, I'd like to know what we're trying to say, exactly. I mean, what is it about this group of people that makes them a "nation"? Surely Harper is not merely talking about those who live within the boundaries of the province of Quebec - that makes no sense. How does being an anglophone renting an apartment in Westmount while working at the local IBM office make one worthy of being recognized as a member of a recognizable "nation"? There must be more to it. Being subjected to French signage doesn't cut it.

No, surely Harper is talking about a culture here. This people must be identified somehow by what they bring to the fabric of Canada. Is it that they are decendants of the first French colonists of Lower Canada who fought to maintain their cultural identity in the face of eventual British rule? The reason Canada was eventually declared a bilingual country?

If we are talking about such culturally-defined people, then why the f**k is Harper using the term "Quebecer"?

THIS is my problem.

Just whose ass is Harper trying to kiss? 'Cause by the definition above, I belong to this "nation" though I have never lived in Quebec, just like thousands upon thousands of other ROC "Quebecers".

So, Mr. Harper, just who the f**k belongs to this special "Quebecer" nation of yours: my aunt, who grew up in northern Quebec but now lives as a retired French school teacher in Burlington Ontario, or an immigrant from (insert whatever country here) who only speaks English and (insert whatever language here), who can't tell the difference between "poutine" and "putain" but happens to live 30 minutes east of Cornwall?

Until our delightful PM defines "Quebecer", it's hard to imagine they form any kind of "nation".

Mr. Harper may be getting kudos from the ignorant, but those of us with half a brain who are able to see this for what it is (regardless of what side of the sovereignty debate we're on) are clearly not impressed.

The news media, however, don't seem to get it.

Tell me, oh readers of mine, that you understand the difference...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

poutine v. putain - you're the best!