April 14, 2006


Uproar as artists turn backs on sovereignty
: Stars' remarks a cause célèbre in Quebec (INGRID PERITZ, 4/14/06, Globe and Mail)

Artists have always been in the vanguard for Quebec independence. So when two of the province's artistic luminaries questioned their sovereigntist faith this week, their remarks fell like a bombshell.

Michel Tremblay, the world-acclaimed playwright whose works have helped capture Quebec's soul, declared that he was no longer a separatist. It was as if the Pope were renouncing Catholicism. Mr. Tremblay's words were front-page news.

Then another light of the Quebec stage, Robert Lepage, enjoined that he, too, was "less convinced" about independence. The theatre director even admitted to ambivalence about his Quebec identity, since he considered himself Canadian when he travelled the world.

"When I'm here in Quebec, even in Ottawa, I don't feel Canadian," Mr. Lepage said. "But when I travel abroad, I don't know what happens, I feel that Canada is a reality, and I'm part of it."

The pair's avowals had the entire province talking. And the backlash within independence circles, especially against the iconic Mr. Tremblay, was fast and ferocious.

Stop thinking of yourselves as a nation and you aren't one.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 14, 2006 8:05 AM

Can this be the vanguard, I wonder? Intelligent and honest members of the leftwing persuasion must see that their positions are ludicrous at best and lies at worst.

Posted by: erp at April 14, 2006 11:44 AM

I would never describe Quebecers as "anglo-spheric", and they wouldn't thank me if I did, but they are North American and have decidedly un-French iconoclastic and pragmatic streaks. The younger generations see themselves as a cultural majority and aren't into the sense of victimhood that so formed their boomer parents. Also, almost all English Quebecers and many, many more English-Canadians are bilingual today, while the separatists have made it hard for francophones to get good English training for their kids. There is nothing like having to compete with a bilingual majority to take the oomph out of linguistic nationalism. And many are sick of the heavy-handed high-tax statism they associate with the PQ.

It's not going to disappear, though. Comes and goes. Sort of like wide ties.

Posted by: Peter B at April 14, 2006 1:22 PM

Fall out from French riots: Quebecers are distancing themselves from their French hypersensitivities.

Posted by: ic at April 14, 2006 7:32 PM