Thursday, November 09, 2006

Harvard is a nation, too

Today, in the Globe and Mail, Ignatieff shows why he's not the guy for the federal Liberals:

"Quebeckers, moreover, have come to understand themselves as a nation, with a language, history, culture and territory that marks them out as a separate people. Quebec is a civic nation, not an ethnic nation. More than 5,000 nations are recognized as such in the world, but there are fewer than 200 states at the United Nations."

If anything, it's the other way around. Ethnic-based nationalism is precisely the problem with Quebec. It has been since the emergence of the survivance movement in the late 19th century. Far too often, Quebec nationalism has a noxious chauvinism to it that reached its nadir during World War II, when much of the clerical and civil elite sympathized for the fascist Petain regime in Nazi-occupied France. Anyone who cannot see, or refuses to acknowledge, that the Quebec media and political elite sees the Quebec "nation" as the decendants of the settlers of the colony of New France is not dealing realistically with the issue of Quebec nationalism. Quebec nationalism was once built on the three pillars of Norman ethnicity, the French language and Roman Catholicism. Quebec has chucked the latter pillar, has adopted ludicruous and malicious language laws that blatantly violate individual rights to "save" the middle one, and pretends that the first one is simply a reflection of Quebec settlement. That's easy to do when you are unwilling to discuss the movement of more than one million non-Francophones from the province in the past thirty years, the "ethnic cleansing" of the old Anglophone populations of Quebec City, Montreal, the Eastern Townships and West Quebec, the officially-encouraged erasure of English place names, and the rest of the sordid acts done under the false and dishonest excuse of "protecting" French.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi there, it's true that ethnic-based nationalism is still deeply rooted in the mentality of certain White French Quebeckers, because talking about that is still a taboo. However, the Bill 101 (the language law that favours the use of French) is not as coercive as it looks, because it still guarantees to Anglophones that they can still attend to English-speaking schools. Let me ask you one question: do you consider ethnic minorities as Canadians?

Just leave in this blog entry of mine: Ignatieff's lack of judgement

Ottawa Watch said...

I believe ethnic minority people who have acquired Canadian citizenship or were born in Canada are Canadians. this is, of course, not the case in many Asian and mid-East countries.
Having English schools is one small concession. Losing place names, being effectively barred from the public service, many university faculties and most elected offices, having your contributions to history erased and living in a society where your language is not even tolerated on business signs, are acts of degradation. Those are all symptoms of an ethnocentric society that has, at times, drifted very close to fascism.