Monday, December 01, 2008

Why don't you want Quebec to separate?

This question was posed to me by one of my francophone friends: why do anglophones, who seem so angry at Quebec and Bloc, want her to stay in Canada?

It's really an excellent question. Now, she specifically excluded anglophones who live in Quebec and those who appreciate the culture of Quebec (a larger group than one might realize) from the question. In those cases, the answers are clear.

In light of today's coalition of the NDP, Liberals and Bloc to (we hope) bring down Harper's government and the freaked-out comments of the right over on the cbc website (it's amazing, the comments there sound like they came from Fox News; I mean I know we had some right-wing people living here, but I didn't realize they were as paranoid and stupid as their brethren down south), this question kept popping up in my head. A lot of those people are ranting about how this coalition is basically selling out to the Bloc and going to cause the disintegration of Canada.

Let's see. You are completely ignorant of the culture of Quebec. You hate the Bloc with the passion of a thousand suns (a party that represents the wishes of the majority of Quebecers) and everything they stand for. You consider separatists to be traitors. But you want them to stay. Why? Is it because of some vague, nationalistic idea of Canada as a nation? Geographic size? (This one is important to me; if only Russia had truly fallen to pieces, we would be the biggest!) Domination of a people we sort of defeated in a war? Fear for the economy?

I mean why does some guy in the suburbs of Calgary care if Quebec becomes an independent nation?

I'm honestly curious.


Anonymous said...

well put. looking forward to read answers to that.

Jason L said...

Many of us don't really care that Quebec wants to leave. The more relevant question is does Quebec have a valid argument for secession?
Language? Culture? Money? I challenge any Quebecois to move out to Newfoundland or Saskatchewan and see how marginalized you feel be the Canadian government. I suspect that much of the resentment from the Anglo world comes from the feeling that Quebec has no special reason to separate.

OlmanFeelyus said...

Interesting point. It sounds like what you are saying is that there is a more vague feeling of resentment towards Quebecers because it sounds like they are complaining all the time when people in the regions and out west are also complaining just as much (and the people in the Maritimes may have actually had a reason to complain).

It doesn't answer the question though, and that is a valid question, especially when you see Harper's attack strategy against the coalition ("they did a deal with people who want to split Canada apart"). Yes, there are people who are saying "stop whining, Quebec" but there are also a hell of a lot going on about the destruction of the Canadian federation and the tearing apart the nation.

Back to your main point, what's so ironic (and I've spoken about this in previous posts) about people complaining about Quebec complaining is that it shows just how similar we all are. A bunch of whiny bitches who constantly complain about the federal government when we are all living in one of the richest, safest countries in the world!

Anonymous said...

I know it's 3 years later but...

I'm a Torontonian. I don't speak french. I have no ties to French culture.

I find separatists to be ignorant of what they're really asking for.

I don't want quebec to separate for many reasons here are some:

#1- My anglophone counterparts who live in Quebec have the right to keep their Canadian status and the land which they own in Quebec has the right to stay Canadian.

#2- Quebec leaving would take a gigantic chunk out of the Canadian economy and the Canadian tax revenue.

#3- Quebec leaving would split Canada into 2 parts opening the door to the atlantic provinces also separating.

#4 an independent Quebec would struggle economically and would leave us with a poor neighbour.

#5 The St Lawrence seaway would now be saddled with a border stifling shipping to the rest of Canada.

#5 IF you're truly against one culture infringing on another, please feel free to move back to France and donate your land back to the natives you stole it from.

#6 and to me the most important. I come from Yugoslavia. I do not want a repeat of that crap. War is hell and separatism invites conflict. In Yugoslavia all provinces spread mass propaganda about loss of national identity etc which led to hatred. It was all lies just like it' all lies that Canada somehow infringes on French culture.

If you want a pure French culture, move to France. Not to rub anyone the wrong way but Quebec is free. No one enslaved you and said you must speak english.

At my job if you speak french you will get paid more than me. That's discrimination against an anglophone but you don't hear us complaining. Quebec separatists need to understand what they're essentially asking for is an economic collapse and animosity from the US and Canada which will utltimately lead to war.. it pretty much always does. FLQ tried their best to cause one.

Be careful what you wish for

That said. I appriciate what francophones bring to this country and I am proud that we live in a place where many cultures can co-exist. You must love living in Quebec if you still live there. A reason why Quebec is a great place to live is because it's in Canada and Canadian policies have made it a great place. You could always try to remember that in Haiti you can speak all the French you want.. do you want to live there?

OlmanFeelyus said...

Hey Anonymous, I don't know if you are checking back here, but let me say that I really appreciate you taking the time to post and to post such a solid and well-thought out answer. Really, I pretty much agree with everything you said. I think history in other parts of the world where different groups were allowed to separate and put up borders has shown us that this tends to exacerbate conflict and often lead to actual war. In this global sense, I pretty much believe we need to eventually move to a single world government (à la Star Trek).

The one part of your argument that I will take issue with (though I suspect you were making more of a rhetorical point) is that francophones should just go to Haiti or France if they want to live in a french world. Though the languages are the same, the cultures are very, very different and Quebec is so much more than just the french language. People have been here for over 3 centuries now and a lot has gone down. It makes sense they want to keep what they have.

Other than that, though, your response is rational and well thought out. I only wish more Canadians, on both sides of this issue thought like you. We lack the perspective and appreciation of someone coming here from another country and appreciating what they have.