Thursday, November 23, 2006

Resolved: This Blog recognizes that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada

When I heard that Harper was going to introduce a motion recognizing "Quebec" (for so it was reported on CBC Radio news last night) as a nation, I have to admit my first reaction was about the politics of it. "Why would Harper want to save Iggy's political bacon like this?" But bigger issues are in play.

Whether the motion is true depends, of course, on what you mean by the "Québécois" and by "a nation". I have no trouble recognizing that the descendents of the habitants represent an ethnic nation, or, as we used to say, a "race".

However, this nation is not coincident with the residents of the province of Quebec. It is a majority in Quebec, and nowhere else, but that isn't the same thing.

If we give in to history, and call this nation/race the Québécois, then the resolution is true. I would even be happy to go further and say that one of the reasons we insist on strong provinces is so that the one jurisdiction in which this nation is the majority has the power it needs to ensure the future of this nation/race.

Trudeau objected to this, because Trudeau was a principled liberal. He didn't think states should be in the business of ensuring futures to nations/races. I admire the way Trudeau insisted on his principles, but I don't share them. Whatever the later excesses of their nationalisms, I am pleased the Canadian Indians and the "Queébécois" told him to buzz off. I am less pleased that my people bought Truedau's principles as a way of fighting separatism. In the end, redrawing the borders of your country is a better thing than teaching your children to be embarrassed at their own identity.

Update: Andrew Coyne has an entire aviary in opposition to the Commons motion recognizing the Québécois as a nation.

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