The unlamented loss of separatism and our diminishing sovereignty…

nonoui

Separatism is dead. Sovereignty is dying. I’m concerned about the latter; the former is still pointless.

These terms have unfortunately come to be somewhat interchangeable in Canadian political discourse, particularly when it comes to the perennial ‘Québec Question’, though in my eye and in political/philosophical terms they are exceptionally different. I would like to devote the rest of life to ensuring each individual citizen comprehends the fundamental importance of the latter, and further ensuring that each individual living in our collective society understands the suicidal lunacy of the former. We are a particular nation the sovereign collective, the collectively sovereign and it seems to me that our lack of self-awareness, our seeming lack of a socio-cultural foundation, lies somewhere deep in this political reality. We shrink from our responsibility to understand ourselves more fully, feeling ourselves to be presently and perhaps forevermore, a mere accident; Europe’s wasted effort.

Canada is not a nation. We are a collective of nations. We have no Nationalism and why would we? Destroying the greatest evil Nationalism ever created propelled us from imperial backwater to world power in six years. Nationalism was the 19th century’s mistake, and we were justified in turning our backs on it. We did this years ago. We made ourselves post-national and post-modern back in the 1960s. The good work done then lasted us well into the first part of the last decade; no matter what Stephen Harper tells you or makes you think, the Canada you live in is an inherently progressive country. Our laws, enshrined in our Constitution and Charter, make us a leading liberal social-democratic nation. And it was no accident.

I’m not going to whitewash things. We’re not perfect. But we have relatable foundation documents. We have modern foundation documents. No “Tea Party North” will re-interpret our Charter it’s meaning and intent is clear, and it, like our Constitution and the thirty years’ worth of legal proceedings since its repatriation, remain clear, progressive and inherently liberal. Despite some stand-out historical abuses of power which have marred our country’s reputation, we have managed to create a unique and exceptionally powerful example of a liberal democracy with a social-justice bent.

But we can’t take it for granted.

The Orange Crush of May 2nd 2011 demonstrated a sea-change in Canadian and Québec politics. Québec decided with one vote to forgo the continued widespread support of a regionalist-bloc party, and instead threw their support behind the dedicated agent of social-democratic change in Canadian federal politics. In essence, the people of Québec indicated that they are prepared to work with all Canadians to ensure Canada does not deviate too far towards neo-Conservatism. This event has heralded the end of sectarian/regionalist federalist parties: no longer can the CPC play the old Tory Populist card of appealing to Conservative rural voters in Québec and the West. The CPC is an alliance of regionalist, non-integrationalist thoughts and perspectives, manifested as a political entity. It is a party of division that succeeded by re-enforcing division. And yet from this we find unity, and surely the Tories could never have expected almost all of Québec to decide, almost overnight, to throw their support behind the NDP. Neither could they have imagined NDP support would grow nationally to the point where Jack Layton would retire his two main rivals. He is the undisputed leader of the national opposition, and his power base is primarily in Québec, though curiously all of the major cities as well. The May 2nd election was an event of national importance: there are indeed ties that bind and unite this nation. The cities are pan-nationalistic. Québec is the minorité-majeur. The NDP is the future of Canada and the sovereignty of all Canadians is the only major national concern moving forward.

Separatism must die and it seems that this is the case. The Bloc is a shell of its former self, and péquiste stalwarts are dropping like flies. It’s no longer in vogue for the young and it’s losing whatever academic or economic credibility it once pretended to have. At the end of the day it is not about whether or not it’s just for the people of Québec to have their own stolen piece of Aboriginal land, their own coins or trade agreements. It’s about what each of us owe to the other in the land we share. It’s about biting the bullet and getting involved, paying your taxes and working hard to support the welfare-state that keeps us safe and secure. It’s also about recognizing where these ideas come from, what their genesis was, and why we live the lives we do.

Canada wouldn’t exist without Québec; neither in our past nor our future. And in this relationship, where Québec sits as a kind of first-amongst-equals with regards to the other provinces, Québec has serious responsibilities to lead, to mediate, to demonstrate the ancient wisdom of our people, to demonstrate our intractable nature and commitment to the betterment of all Canadians. A separatist is fundamentally a nationalist-capitalist, disinclined to share. A sovereignist, by contrast, seeks to establish a confederation where sharing is the law, and we all take a little to maximize our collective freedoms.

And as we hit the mid-point of 2011, with news-reports coming in at an increasing rate of police abuses and contested civil rights from all corners of the decadent West, we must ask ourselves just how separate we really want to be. Because, when the state turns fascistic even if only by a small degree it is the collective sovereignty of the people that is fundamentally threatened. And the response can never hope to succeed if it is divided.

14 comments

  • This was posted on Reddit, and here is what I responded over there:

    This article is based on a false premise, i.e. that people who voted NDP instead of BQ Quebec are not separatists/sovereignists.

    It is also false to equate separatists with nationalists/capitalists. I’m all for Quebec being part of a worldwide community with nation-states are obsolete, i.e. the Internationalist dream of socialists – but until that happens (and it could take a while) I see no reason why Quebec should be forced to remain united to the rest of Canada, especially when the way we got into Canada was anything but democratic.

    So, as a separatist NDP-voter, let me be the first to tell you you’re completely off the mark in your analysis.

  • Re: the way we got into Canada was anything but democratic.

    Sir, surely you’re shrooming.

    Québec was asked to join Confederation like the other three founding provinces. A lot of proud French-Canadians worked tirelessly to get Canada up and running back in 1867 (like G.E. Cartier – the guy honoured by that massive statue where you go to tam-tam). No one in Québec was forced into federalism – it was a legitimate goal of the people at the time.

    I suggest you read up on the Patriotes rebellion. The Patriotes wanted a sovereign Canada, not a sovereign Québec.

    It’s also cute when you mention how separatists aren’t nationalists, and how you think division today will lead to unity tomorrow.

    Sorry chief, someone’s got to lead. It’s easy to try and go it alone, but cooperating and effecting change from within, that’s where the hard work comes in.

  • > Sir, surely you’re shrooming.

    No, I’m not. The election that decided whether or not Quebec would join Canada or remain an independent British province was profoundly undemocratic.

    First, only well-to-do males could vote, and the vote wasn’t secret. That is by definition un-democratic.

    Second, the church (who had a strong hold on the population) lobbied hard for the Conservatives, saying a vote for the Red party (the precursor of today’s provincial Liberals, opposed to joining the proposed Canada) meant you’d go to Hell. They also threatened to deny last rites to anyone who voted Red or even read opposition papers.

    Third, the conservatives actually kidnapped several would-be opposition candidates, preventing them from being registered as such.

    Fourth, the church (again) could disinfranchise (the actual term used) a parish, which annulled their vote; as you can guess, the disinfranchised parishes were pretty much all Red party.

    Finally, good ol’ buying out candidates so they wouldn’t run. Again, this happened in Red-leaning ridings.

    In the end, only about 10% of adults voted in favor of joining Canada, but since that was the majority of actual votes, Quebec stopped being an distinct province of the British Empire and became part of Canada.

    That’s not even counting the fact the new country was sold in a radically different way to anglophones and francophones back then. English-speaking provinces were told Canada would treat them all equally, while Canada was sold as an alliance between two founding nations in Quebec. Again, not a very democratic way to do things.

    >No one in Québec was forced into federalism it was a legitimate goal of the people at the time.

    Had they been allowed to vote freely, the people would have rejected it back then.

    >It’s also cute when you mention how separatists aren’t nationalists, and how you think division today will lead to unity tomorrow.

    I thought your very own directions for this comments section was to “be nice” and “keep it clean”? Being called “cute” is quite condescending, especially when the topic at hand is quite serious.

    I didn’t say separatists aren’t nationalists. Some are, for sure, but many aren’t – at least in the ethnic, exclusionary definition of nationalism which is obviously the one you refer to. Thus, it is fallacious to *equate* the two.

    Personally, as a Left Libertarian (Libertarian Socialist) I am in favor of moving towards internationalism (as long as it is equitable) and moving away from nationalism. However, until that goal is reached, I want Quebec to be on equal footing with Canada and other nation-states. That’s pretty straightforward, and not “cute.” (I’m also for keepign the Queen as head of state until a separate referendum on Monarchism is held, by the way.)

    >and how you think division today will lead to unity tomorrow.

    Do you agree that Canada should be annexed to the United States, then? After all, unity is better than division, right?

    >Sorry chief, someone’s got to lead. It’s easy to try and go it alone, but cooperating and effecting change from within, that’s where the hard work comes in.

    That’s completely irrelevant. European states cooperate without them being subjected to each other.

    For the record, I would support a true Confederation instead of the federation we have now.

  • Well that’s quite a lot of words!

    Here’s why some of your points are straight-up retarded.

    1. Re annexation by the US; the American gov’t hasn’t openly proposed this since the 1880s, to my knowledge.

    A better counter-argument: would the USA be better if both the Confederacy and Union were acknowledged as distinct nations? No. And it’s irrelevant to even go down this road because it happened before Canada even became a nation.

    By contrast – recently sovereign nations of the world: East Timor, the Balkan states, the CIS nations. Get the picture?

    All of Canada grew from Québec (Montréal more specifically). We’re completely integral to the existence of Canada, and Canada functions best (historically speaking) when Québec leads.

    The whole point of the article was to get the readership to ask themselves where the roots of Canadian social-democracy lie. I think Québec, if anything, is a solid foundation for just such thought, as a reaction to State/Church oppression & collusion (as an example). Those who claim Québec is better off going it alone are naive to the point of absurdity, which is why, incidentally, I’m not taking you seriously at all.

    I mean for the love of God, have you actually sat down and tried to work out any of the details as to how exactly Québec would become an independent nation? Or do you just buy whatever the Separatist Elites tell you? Have you noticed that much of the separatist rhetoric is based on mere projections and speculations – not to mention the chronic assumption that Canada will voluntarily give Québec whatever it needs to get by (military aid, common currency, debt forgiveness etc etc).

    If you want a true confederation that simultaneously abolishes the existing confederation, Québec would by necessity have to be a part of those constitutional talks – and we all know how well the Canadian public deals with these (FYI – like ostriches).

    Point finale: everything you write up until the ‘cute’ section is anachronistic – you’ve got your history wrong.

    And yes, Canada is not a squeaky clean nation where everything that ever was and ever will be exists in a state of perfect karmic equilibrium. Much like many other industrialized first-world nations, there was one nation before the War, and another one afterwards. We’re lucky because the nation we had prior to WW2 was progressive and socially-inclined FOR ITS DAY. The nation which emerged afterwards has – throughout its recent history – done exceptionally well in my eyes to redress past errors.

    Sometimes you have to make do with what you have. It’s tough, but it builds character. You can’t undo your history, but if you learn it really well, you may be able to anticipate future problems, and fix them beforehand.

  • >Here’s why some of your points are straight-up retarded.

    All right, so I guess it’s impossible to have a rational debate with you, since you’re *already* down to name-calling.

    >1. Re annexation by the US; the American gov’t hasn’t openly proposed this since the 1880s, to my knowledge.

    Way to miss the point entirely: I was merely pointing out that, if joining together is better than being apart, then why shouldn’t Canada join up with the US?

    The reality is that cooperation can happen between separate nation-states, and sometimes a lot easier than among its constituting elements.

    >By contrast recently sovereign nations of the world: East Timor, the Balkan states, the CIS nations. Get the picture?

    No, I *don’t* get the picture. Are you saying East Timor, for example, should have remained under the oppressive rule of Indonesia? Or that the USSR was a great example of what a state should be? Really?

    I’m sorry, but you’re simply not making sense, now. Ask Czech and Slovaks if they should join again, you know, for shits and giggles…

    >The whole point of the article was to get the readership to ask themselves where the roots of Canadian social-democracy lie. I think Québec, if anything, is a solid foundation for just such thought, as a reaction to State/Church oppression & collusion (as an example).

    That’s a fair argument, but the fact you needed to drag the National Question into this completely ruined it. It also highlights how disconnected you are from current francophone attitudes towards the “Quebec question”.

    >Those who claim Québec is better off going it alone are naive to the point of absurdity, which is why, incidentally, I’m not taking you seriously at all.

    Underestimating your opponents is not a wise political strategy, which is why history will just leave you by the wayside.

    >I mean for the love of God, have you actually sat down and tried to work out any of the details as to how exactly Québec would become an independent nation?

    Yes, I have. My guess is we’ll do like the Americans, i.e. simply declare it once the people have voted in favor of it – and there’ll be nothing English Canada can do about it, really. Or are you insinuating that the Québécois are not capable enough to do what every independent people on Earth has done before them?

    >Or do you just buy whatever the Separatist Elites tell you?

    No, I have a mind of my own – but please, keep on trying to attack me personally, you’re only digging yourself deeper in that rhetorical hole.

    > Have you noticed that much of the separatist rhetoric is based on mere projections and speculations not to mention the chronic assumption that Canada will voluntarily give Québec whatever it needs to get by (military aid, common currency, debt forgiveness etc etc).

    Uh, sorry, but as part of Canada we own part of those. We’ll just split debts and assets equally, like adults, otherwise everyone will suffer needlessly. Simply put, economic pressures will ensure the transition is smooth – you know, unless you really don’t give a shit about Canada’s reputation in the rest of the world…

    >If you want a true confederation that simultaneously abolishes the existing confederation,

    We do not have a confederation. We are in a federation. Do you even know the difference between the two?

    >Point finale: everything you write up until the ‘cute’ section is anachronistic you’ve got your history wrong.

    Nope. That’s really how that election went down. Learn some actual history, please.

    >The nation which emerged afterwards has throughout its recent history done exceptionally well in my eyes to redress past errors.

    Again, you miss the point. It’s not about atoning for past errors, it’s about recognizing that Canada is an experiment that is profoundly dysfunctional. In case you forgot, Quebec *still* hasn’t signed the constitution, and even the current Federalist government in Quebec City is nowhere near doing that. Now, you may feel that this doesn’t matter, that the Constitution is just a piece of paper, but nothing could be further from the truth. Countries are social constructs, agreements between its citizens existing in time. They are born, split up, and so on. You are enamored with a social construct, and yet refuse to allow others to prefer a different structure because of your irrational attachment to a symbol.

    Now, I don’t really have a problem with that. We can’t all agree, and that’s why we have democracy. What I *don’t* like is when people demonize, belittle and demean those who disagree with them. Your visceral aggressiveness in this discussion, contrasted with my polite, yet determined attitude, is why you are losing this debate. Detach yourself a little – after all, it doesn’t really matter if Quebec and the rest of Canada achieve social justice united or as good neighbors, as long as they *do* reach it. As a progressive, *that’s* what should matter to you, not whether or not Quebec remains within the Canadian Federation.

  • As a side note, congratulations to South Sudan for becoming the world’s newest nation!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14089843

  • Yeah – I’m sure the South Sudanese are really going to be on easy street now. No one’s going to exploit them for profit. Why I’m certain their GDP will skyrocket now that they’re not tied down to the North’s manufacturing and processing base.

    C’mon buddy, of all the shitholes in the world, you had to pick the one that’s truly helpless and will doubtless soon be invaded by North Sudan?

    South Sudan makes Haiti look like a responsible first world democracy!

    You need a good dose of reality – your inclinations are far too romantic.

  • Ok Archie –

    I was raised near a small river in a small town somewhere you’ve never heard of. And spanning this small river was a small bridge. You know what lives under bridges right?

    That being said, I love a challenge, and I can only hope that the readership of FTB is as caught up in this war of wits as you and I.

    I’ll be working my way down through your second-to-last comment to make it easier to follow.

    1. There’s a difference between two countries with vastly different cultures and no real common cause uniting and the situation within Canada. While the French Canadians of Canada constitute a distinct society, I’m disinclined to believe that the same is true of Québec. Go to to Ontario – or for that matter Upper New York State – and you’ll find that save for a language difference, the people are very similar and have a lot in common. That being said, Canada is unique because of its cultural mix and the methods by which we mixed in the first place. We’re different from the majority of Americans, but not nearly different enough from each other within this 144 year old country. On the grand scale, all Americans from Cape Horn to Alert Station share the common bond of being somewhat mulatto and distinct from Europe, Asia or Africa, but any attempt to unify nations throughout the Americans AT THIS POINT would be detrimental to a great number of people. It’s precisely for this reason that we can’t get into bed with the Yankees and make the ONAN a reality – they’re government is broken and the people are borderline homicidal. We’re distinct from that and ought to pursue strengthening our position as a middle power. The middle powers of the Americas, such as us and Brazil, should be looking to build real joint power, so that there are American geo-political alternatives to the USA and the Old World Order.

    2. The Czechoslovakian example is a bad one since it was a hold-over problem from before the First World War; deep-seated resentment between these distinct peoples goes back to the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. That said, these nations would have been better off together. Unity is difficult, but consider the examples of Spain, France, the UK, Italy or Germany. They all unified a long time ago and are far from culturally homogeneous. l’union fait la force. Incidentally, Canada is really only as old as Germany or Italy (in their modern sense).

    And yes, the USSR was better off under Gorbachev. Maybe there could have been a transition to a united democracy, but today the GDPs and life-expectancy of the CIS nations has plummeted. Moreover, now we have to contend with some hard-core fascistic dictators (who incidentally keep blaming Jews for all the world’s problems) right smack in the middle of Central Asia.

    The UN should have gone in to protect the East Timorese and enact sanctions against the Indonesians. Something tells me that the Asian economic crisis of the late-1990s could have made just such an operation considerably more difficult. Nothing like poor economic prospects to make a country start thinking about which ethnic minorities are ‘screwing them’. It wasn’t handled properly.

    3. I’m half-Francophone. I think I’m in touch with reality. Moreover, the roots of Canadian socialist thought and the National Question are very much related. Don’t get me wrong, Canada needs to have another round of constitutional talks and we need to re-conceive this nation in entirely 21st century terms. But Québec should lead from within instead of leaving outright. That will spell disaster for the legitimate aims of Canadian social-democracy.

    4. History will leave me by the wayside for underestimating my political opponents? Are you running against me? Am I in an election? Besides, I’m clearly giving you the time of day…

    5. I don’t see Canada as a dysfunctional experiment, I see it as a legitimate experiment that has worked well for the most part. I also have some major issues with your understanding of Canadian/ Québec history, and without going into detail, and with all respect, I suggest you go over what you consider to be facts.

    I don’t think the ROC would simply let Québec separate. I think it could potentially lead to a civil war, and that’s something I’d try to prevent at any cost. But at the end of the day Québec serves its own interests and the interests of all Canadians for the better as long as we remain an agent of change from within, which is what I think the Orange Crush has demonstrated. What Québec owes the other provinces can’t be calculated in monetary terms, and I’d argue the same point with regards to any other province wishing to separate.

    Go back through this blogpost and all subsequent comments and ask yourself whether you’d support the same ideological position if you replaced Québec with Ontario, Alberta or Newfoundland.

    Further, if you really want to achieve a better functioning confederacy with a legitimate social-justice bent, then you’re going to need people, resources etc. As it stands Canada is filthy rich but sucks badly at properly distributing the wealth. Separation won’t help this. And once one goes the rest will doubtless follow. Québec is the pin that holds the country together, so I will aggressively attack anyone’s delusional opinion that we’d somehow be better off going it alone. Historically it doesn’t make sense, economically it doesn’t make sense and I’ve heard almost all the weak justifications before – including your own. I’m sure you’re a good, nice, affable person, but you’ve brought your B game to the court.

    You can say you’re winning this argument/debate as much as you want. Glenn Beck functions much the same way, as do all the other pundits. You might not want to go there.

  • About South Sudan: it doesn’t matter if their in for a bit of hardship, it was their collective will to separate. I personally wish them well, and I’d hope you’d do the same, although from your tone it almost sounds as if you want them to fail in order to support your political opinion.

    Now, as to the rest of your points.

    >I was raised near a small river in a small town somewhere you’ve never heard of. And spanning this small river was a small bridge. You know what lives under bridges right?

    I am not a troll. It’s not my fault if you can’t handle different opinions without flying off the handle. If anything, you were the one trolling when you claimed that “separatism is dead” when 40% of Quebeckers still support it (even though it is very low on the list of priorities).

    >That being said, I love a challenge, and I can only hope that the readership of FTB is as caught up in this war of wits as you and I.

    I’d rather have a dialogue than a war of wits, but it seems you’re solidly entrenched in an adversarial position.

    >We’re different from the majority of Americans, but not nearly different enough from each other within this 144 year old country.

    I’m sorry, but Canadians – especially in Southern Ontario, Alberta and BC – are much closer to Americans than they are to people of Quebec. They are much likelier to listen to American music or television, watch American movies, travel to the US instead of Quebec, know American writers than Quebec writers, and so on.

    Again, I don’t understand the logical reason, if you think unity is better than separation, for not joining up with the US. It would have the added benefit of moving the US a bit to the left…

    > It’s precisely for this reason that we can’t get into bed with the Yankees and make the ONAN a reality they’re government is broken and the people are borderline homicidal.

    Wow. It seems your knowledge of the US and Americans themselves is as limited as your understanding of French-Speaking Québécois. I would suggest you actually visit the Northeastern states a bit more, you’ll see they’re atually very close, culturally (especially Vermont).

    > The Czechoslovakian example is a bad one since it was a hold-over problem from before the First World War; deep-seated resentment between these distinct peoples goes back to the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. That said, these nations would have been better off together.

    So they hate each other, but they should have stuck together? That doesn’t make any sense. It’s *much* better to be good neighbors than bad roommates.

    >Incidentally, Canada is really only as old as Germany or Italy (in their modern sense).

    German and Italian national sentiment is much, much older than Canada.

    >And yes, the USSR was better off under Gorbachev. Maybe there could have been a transition to a united democracy, but today the GDPs and life-expectancy of the CIS nations has plummeted.

    There’s no evidence this is due to them separating. The point is that they were joined together by force, and didn’t want to stick together once the oppressive Soviet regime was down. That they should choose – of their own accord – to cooperate again in the future is fine, but to be forced into an alliance is a recipe for disaster.

    >Moreover, now we have to contend with some hard-core fascistic dictators (who incidentally keep blaming Jews for all the world’s problems) right smack in the middle of Central Asia.

    Again, these sentiments existed before, they were simply kept hidden from view. Much better that they come out in the open, so they can be denounced and debated.

    >. I’m half-Francophone. I think I’m in touch with reality.

    Perhaps you should have discussed your ideas with actual francophones, including separatists, before stating separatism was dead. It isn’t, and separatists aren’t fascists, racists or isolationists. It’s much more complex, and until you embrace the complexity you won’t have an accurate picture of the Quebec zeitgeist.

    >Moreover, the roots of Canadian socialist thought and the National Question are very much related.

    So you acknowledge that most progressives in Quebec are also separatists, right? The Québec Solidaire gang are, and a large number of Quebec NDP MPs are as well, even though they must keep it under wraps for now (the debate over the 50%+1 was a dead giveaway, though).

    This reality severely weakens your argument that separatism is incompatible with progressivism.

    > History will leave me by the wayside for underestimating my political opponents? Are you running against me? Am I in an election? Besides, I’m clearly giving you the time of day…

    No, but we are debate opponents in a political discussion. Your premature dismissal of separatism indicates you don’t have an accurate idea of what’s going on in the province.

    > I also have some major issues with your understanding of Canadian/ Québec history, and without going into detail, and with all respect, I suggest you go over what you consider to be facts.

    Please indicate to me exactly where I was wrong in my historical analysis. I’ll be happy to provide sources.

    >I don’t think the ROC would simply let Québec separate.

    They wouldn’t be able to do anything to prevent it. As I said, economic interests would be the strongest incentive to make the transition as smooth as possible.

    > I think it could potentially lead to a civil war, and that’s something I’d try to prevent at any cost.

    I’m sorry, but that’s fear-mongering. Canada does not have the military might to force Quebec into staying within Canada; furthermore, the economical *and* political price would be too much to bear. From a strategic point of view, you’d basically be uniting all Québécois against Canada.

    I’m sorry, it just doesn’t make any sense. Canada has no way of keeping Quebec against its will.

    >But at the end of the day Québec serves its own interests and the interests of all Canadians for the better as long as we remain an agent of change from within, which is what I think the Orange Crush has demonstrated.

    The “Orange Crush” was an attempt to oust the Conservatives, but it didn’t work. It doesn’t mean the Québécois are turning their backs on Quebec sovereignty. As for being an agent of change, it is not our responsibility to foster progressive ideas in the rest of Canada – they can very well do that on their own, or not if they don’t want to.

    >What Québec owes the other provinces can’t be calculated in monetary terms

    Sure it can. We owe our part of the national debt, and own our part of the national assets. Clear and simple.

    >Go back through this blogpost and all subsequent comments and ask yourself whether you’d support the same ideological position if you replaced Québec with Ontario, Alberta or Newfoundland.

    Sure I would. Why should I care if Alberta wants to remain inside Canada or not? It’s up to the Albertans to decide.

    >Further, if you really want to achieve a better functioning confederacy

    We are not in a confederation. I asked you earlier if you knew the difference between a confederation and a federation, and you haven’t replied, so let me explain it to you:

    In a confederation, the constituting entities (i.e. provinces) delegate part of their sovereignty to the central entity (the confederation). They can reclaim some or all of that sovereignty, as they are the primordial entities.

    A federation is exactly the reverse: the central entity is sovereign, and delegates some of that sovereignty to the constituting parts, but it remains the primordial entity.

    As I said, I’d be fine with a true confederation, but as that is unlikely to ever happen separation is the only other option, IMO.

    >then you’re going to need people, resources etc.

    We have enough people and resources to make it on our own. Check out Denmark, it’s been doing quite well ever since it and Norway went separate ways. In fact, Scandinavia is a very good example of how you can be (relatively) good neighbors without forming the same political entity.

    >Québec is the pin that holds the country together

    Yeah, that’s why we are so appreciated in the rest of the country. Seriously, how do you come up with this tripe? Go in the rest of Canada and you’ll see the prevalent view there is that Quebec is “one province out of ten,” and one that’s always complaining at that.

    Let’s put it another way: if Quebec is the pin that holds the country together, then perhaps it *shouldn’t* be held together. It’s not our responsibility to maintain the Canadian dream if the ROC doesn’t care enough about it (or us) to keep going.

    >so I will aggressively attack anyone’s delusional opinion that we’d somehow be better off going it alone.

    Well, that’s your problem. As I said before, you’re enamored with a concept, a symbol, and it’s causing you to lash out emotionally towards anyone who thinks differently.

    >Historically it doesn’t make sense, economically it doesn’t make sense

    Actually, it makes sense both historically and economically. Countries are richer per capita just because they’re bigger. Again, if that was the case then there’d be no argument against Canada joining up with the US.

    > and I’ve heard almost all the weak justifications before including your own.

    That’s opinion, not a rational argument. Sorry.

    >I’m sure you’re a good, nice, affable person, but you’ve brought your B game to the court.

    All I’ve done is present things as I understand them, but obviously you are too emotionally attached to the idea of Canada to be able to discuss this rationally.

    >You can say you’re winning this argument/debate as much as you want. Glenn Beck functions much the same way, as do all the other pundits. You might not want to go there.

    I never said I was winning, I said you were losing due to your tactic of belittling and demonizing those you disagree with – and *that* is the kind of thing Glenn Beck does. I think it’s time for you to take a long, hard look in the mirror and realize your attachment to the idea of Canada is standing in the way of your progressive philosophy.

  • My progressive philosophy stems, in part, from the progressive history of Canada.

    What can I say, I’ve reviewed your points and a lot of them are weak, in my opinion. You haven’t really brought anything new to the table, and I’ve heard a lot of this before. You’ll have to take my word that I vested a degree of research, reflection and thought into this article.

    If there’s really that much wrong with my point of view, perhaps your complaint lies with the people at FTB. Or maybe you should put this much effort into starting your own blog so you can preach your opinion and effect a change here in Canada/Québec/Montréal. You clearly have something you want to get off your chest, but in my experience, most of the people who argue in blog comments sections such as the way you do here, and possibly on Reddit as well, have too much time on their hands and not nearly enough to do.

    If you disagree, feel free to submit a rebuttal to the fine people who run the blog.

  • Look, my intent was not to advocate whether or not separatism is the right option or not. My point was simply to indicate that reports of separatism’s death are premature, and in fact inflammatory.

    I have tried to do this in the calmest, most polite way I could, but you seem to have chosen the low road, and continue to do so with comments like this:

    “You clearly have something you want to get off your chest, but in my experience, most of the people who argue in blog comments sections such as the way you do here, and possibly on Reddit as well, have too much time on their hands and not nearly enough to do.”

    In case you didn’t realize, it’s Saturday, and as it happens I have nothing better to do today, even though tomorrow it’s back to work (being an entrepreneur means you do come in on weekends as well, but I need at least *one* day off per week).

    I argued in the comments section because it’s there, and I’m sure you’d feel differently about my numerous pro-Environment comments on Reddit if you took the time to read about them. Is it an efficient use of my free time, as far as politics go? Perhaps not, but then again if I don’t offer a counter-argument, then the climate change deniers will have the whole field to themselves. *Someone* has to denounce their lies…

    Anyway, don’t take any of this personally. I’m sure we agree on a lot more than we disagree; my only hope is that you’ll abandon your needless attacks on separatism (especially when they have the opposite result of what you want) and focus on the progressive agenda instead of the national one due to a misplaced sense of patriotism.

  • Misplaced in your opinion.

    Your high-road approach seems disingenuous; when you really take the high-road, people know it instinctively, it doesn’t need to be spelled out.

    At the core you do seem to advocating in favour of Québec separation, and as a rationalist and someone who has studied Québec and Canadian history & politics, I will take this personally, and seriously. If Canada is an experiment then who are you to say its dysfunctional? Why not take the ‘we can fix it from within’ approach?

    At the end of the day the clarion call for an Independent Québec seems more romantic flight-of-fancy than a legitimate need due to internal aggression against a minority group. And yes, separatism, in my opinion is dying in terms of its legitimacy while sovereignty – on an individual level – seems to be gaining traction. I think the bigger issue is how our federal government, like the current and previous US administrations, is infringing on the individual sovereignty of all Canadians, and it will take a unified national effort to un-seat a guy like Harper. The Orange Crush – in my eyes – demonstrates a significant interest in bonding together to rid ourselves of the worse we’ve allowed ourselves to tolerate thus far. All the more reason to put the nails in the Separatism Coffin while we can. Moreover, I wouldn’t put it past a guy like Harper to push for Québec independence so Canada can have its own kind of Mexico. Yes, I do believe he’s that evil, and would doubtless exploit an Independent Québec for all it was worth.

    I consider myself a Libertarian Socialist as well, and my two Canadian political idols happen to be Lévesque and Trudeau. What I like most about Trudeau was his vision for all of Canada, and his ruthless approach to attaining his own political goals. For the most part, they worked for betterment of not only all Canadians, but the world as well. Lévesque by contrast, demonstrates when its right to step away from your individual goal and seek what is best for your fellow man, and both men are important for these reasons (and many others).

    In 1984 Lévesque was at a PQ town hall meeting in Laval (I believe) and he was being harangued by those present for not pushing for a second referendum (among other things). In walks Fred Rose, one of the FLQ kidnappers, who had been invited by the local PQ riding association to make a short address. A terrorist, a murderer, received a standing ovation. One of the TV cameras in the room turned to get Lévesque’s reaction. It was the most poignant look of utter defeat I’ve ever seen in my life. In his eyes you could tell he had lost touch with an element of Québec society, and it was time to leave. He’d be out within a year and dead in three.

    It was discovered afterwards, during the Constitutional talks at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, that Lévesque had once told Camille Laurin that thanks to the success of Bill 101, Québec would never need to be an independent nation, and had almost no hope of attaining that goal so long as Bill 101 was enforced and accepted.

    So vive le Québec libre. We are free now, and the freedom we secured for ourselves – freedom from the Church, from our once fascistic leaders, from our provincial attitudes towards multi-culturalism, from fear and from economic domination. We are free from all of this, and today we lead Canada in specific ways. This was the success of the Quiet Revolution, a revolution which is on-going. I can’t wait for the ideals of Québec society to one day be fully in line with those of the other provinces, and the nation as a whole.

  • >Misplaced in your opinion.

    Either patriotism is good or bad. If you think it is good, then you cannot condemn Quebec nationalism, which is in fact patriotism (just for Quebec instead of Canada). If it is bad, then it’s bad for Canadian patriots as well.

    In other words, your position is simply untenable from a logical, rational point of view.

    >At the end of the day the clarion call for an Independent Québec seems more romantic flight-of-fancy than a legitimate need due to internal aggression against a minority group.

    No, it is simply the recognition that Quebec is *not* seen as a founding nation in the rest of Canada, and thus an equal partner, but rather one province among ten that happens to speak French.

    >And yes, separatism, in my opinion is dying in terms of its legitimacy

    Well, that is where we disagree, obviously. It is still as legitimate as it ever was, as self-determination of peoples always is.

    > I think the bigger issue is how our federal government, like the current and previous US administrations, is infringing on the individual sovereignty of all Canadians

    You keep talking about “individual sovereignty” but that is a meaningless expression. Sovereignty is about the seat of power, which in a democracy is with the people *as a whole*, not with individuals. You can’t suddenly decide a law doesn’t apply to you on your property, ergo you do not individually possess sovereingty over a territory.

    >The Orange Crush in my eyes demonstrates a significant interest in bonding together to rid ourselves of the worse we’ve allowed ourselves to tolerate thus far.

    I kind of agree, but again it doesn’t mean those who voted NDP won’t vote for Quebec independence when the time comes. Quebeckers are by nature strategic voters. They can support a federalist party while being separatists – and many do (I’m such a person).

    > Moreover, I wouldn’t put it past a guy like Harper to push for Québec independence so Canada can have its own kind of Mexico. Yes, I do believe he’s that evil, and would doubtless exploit an Independent Québec for all it was worth.

    Again, I find your idea that a separate Quebec would invariably become some sort of third-world country to be insulting. Perhaps you are not aware of the post-referendum plan the PQ had, with its billion-dollar fund to stabilize markets, but if you think separatists are all romantic idealists with no real-world experience or ability to plan ahead, then you are sorely mistaken.

    >We are free from all of this, and today we lead Canada in specific ways.

    I think you overestimate how Quebec is perceived in the rest of Canada. Perhaps you should do as I did, and live outside of the province for a few years.

    >This was the success of the Quiet Revolution, a revolution which is on-going

    …and which is intrinsically linked to Quebec separatism. The people who led the Quiet Revolution were also separatists – you can’t cherry-pick what you like about them, and then paint those who share their national views with such a wide brush.

    > I can’t wait for the ideals of Québec society to one day be fully in line with those of the other provinces, and the nation as a whole.

    Now you’re idealizing Quebec…we’re not *that* great, we still have a lot of work to do before we become a bastion of progressivism.

    Well, at least we both dislike Harper. Let’s focus on what unites us right now, there’ll be time in the future to argue about voting yes or no on the next referendum. Deal?

  • There is an absolute lack of vision in Québec Politic’s regarding to the election of Prime Minister Jean Charest who was elected by people that didn’t understood half of what he said (because they didn’t speak French). As he was elected, ignorance and indifference held up the politics reigns for more the ten years. What do we get now : corruption, and americanized youth with no real political values or intends.

    In Québec, Canada Day means nothing at all. The only ones with Canadian Flags are new-welcomed immigrants and tourists. Canada In fact, people feel more compelled by the american Flag than by the Canadian one.

    Nationalism isn’t dead at all. It is actually growing really fast among la intelligencia québecoise (which comes from the youth). It is an underground thing which gets you into the coolest place and meet the coolest people in Montréal. Rebel rebels, followers change themselves to fit into the system. Who are you?

    As for the creation of a new country ; making history and opening a world of unimaginable quantity of possibilities in the golden continent of North America, only Loosers with no visions wouldn’t want to be part of it. WELL OUI ARE TIRED TO LISTEN TO THEM. Québec is the Artiste Nation but which is poisonned by an overwhelming quantity of self-haters.

    Why shouldn’t we care about them?

    Because their life and preoccupations will be absolutly not changed in our new country ; when getting the new ipod touch product and partying is your main focus in life, you don’t have to have a political points of view and we don’t have to listen to you.

    How so?

    Because people no matter what society tells us, aren’t worth “socially” the same. For example, if you don’t understand the standard common language well, you cannot communicate with your peers and they can’t with you. That’s make you worth socially a lot less. Unfortunatly, there is a lot of immigrants in Québec that don’t understand French..and Anglos that fake not to understand…and because of them we are stuck with the worst Prime Minister (who speaks his politics in French btw…) in decades ; Québec is now stuck in corruption.

    So wait and see, things are gonna happen without you doing nothing about it. And oui gonna get a lot more than Oui have now. Because we are a golden peuple. Oui are a mix of American and European culture with eyes opened to the World. This is our identity. Canadians are not like us ; they should stop pretending to be. Québécois is the most beautiful culture in part because we live like kings and understands everybody out there!

    Oui are Golden
    Je suis Québécois
    Merci

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *