November 24, 2006


Inside Story: how the Quebec motion was hatched: When Mr. Harper's press secretary approached him about 6 p.m. on Tuesday with the Bloc motion in hand, it didn't take him long to decide on action: defining Québécois as a nation within Canada (GLORIA GALLOWAY, 11/24/06, Globe and Mail)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was surprised by the Bloc Québécois motion calling for the recognition of Quebeckers as a nation. But he'd been pondering the subject for some time — at least since the question was put to him by a reporter in the province last spring.

Over the summer, the Prime Minister discussed the concept with Quebec Premier Jean Charest.

And when the Liberals waded into the quagmire after leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff supported a party motion stating that Quebec was a nation within Canada, Mr. Harper knew the issue would eventually confront the Conservatives.

So when his press secretary, Dimitris Soudas, approached him about 6 p.m. Tuesday with the Bloc motion in hand, he didn't take long to decide that action must be taken, Conservative insiders said Thursday. [...]

He and his staff drafted a motion identical to the one to be put forward by the Bloc Québécois but for four critical words added on to the end, reading: “That this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada.”

Any people who thinks of themselves as a nation is one.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 24, 2006 9:09 AM

If Quebec becomes a sovereign nation, whose hard-earned money will they confiscate to pay for their welfare state?

Posted by: erp at November 24, 2006 9:19 AM

Will there be a civil war in Canada?

Posted by: sam at November 24, 2006 9:28 AM

Canada will send it's fatuous - I mean, famous peace keepers to prevent a civil war.

I consider myself one nation - a nation of one. I guess by oj's definition, I should be able to get me a seat in the General Assembly at the UN.

Posted by: obc at November 24, 2006 11:45 AM

These children can play at setting up statelets because they know the world government will protect tnem. Unity is a prerequisite of power, if a people is content to rely on the kindness of others to provide protection, why not set up as many "nations" as they please?

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 24, 2006 12:23 PM

Heck, that's why there's an America. We knew the Brits had us covered.

Posted by: oj at November 24, 2006 12:37 PM

Canadians refer to the Indian tribes as "First Nations", so in effect, this is just lumping the obnoxious Frenchies in with them. Definitely a creative solution, and one that tends to deflate "Francophonie" pretensions. (It also has ramafications with the tribes in northen Quebec, who have stated they like being a part of English dominated Canada, and threatened their own secession back into Canada in '95 if the Bloc's referendum had succeeded.)

Just wait until the whole province is turned into a giant casino and fireworks stand.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 24, 2006 1:25 PM

In Quebec's last referendum on sovereignty, the mush-phrases and smokescreens were out full force: e.g. they were led to believe by the PQ that sure they were gonna separate ... but nonetheless they could use the Canadian dollar as their new National currency and they could also maintain their Canadian passports. Say what?

The whole thing's really about snobbery and posing (and subsidies!). In the meantime, Quebec itself is in decline. Sometime in the next couple of years or so, Alberta, with less than half the population of Quebec, will have the larger economy of the two. Young people will inevitably go where the good jobs are, as they always have.

If there's any good to come of it, it's that it's gone on so long that now, when Quebec asks for more power, the other provinces have long since learned to say, "good idea, me too," which means the grassroots support and leverage is there for decentralization if it's wanted, tho the chattering classes generally oppose it.

Posted by: ras at November 24, 2006 9:29 PM

ras has this right. It's a brilliant move by Harper and doesn't add up to much more than Ottawa saying what everybody knows: "Yeah, ok, you're different". Quebec brights will knash their teeth at the hypocritical perfidy, but ordinary Quebecers will appreciate the spirit of the gesture and take baseline linguistic reassurance from it, especially if the West doesn't get its libertarian knickers in a knot. If you thought Bill Clinton could stretch out debate on what sex means, you should see what we can do with the word nation.

I think I've quoted before a famous (separatist)Quebec stand-up comic from the '70's mimicking a typical Quebecer:

"Those English are so stupid. They are always asking what Quebec wants. What's the matter with them? It's obvious what we want. We want a free and independent Quebec within a strong and united Canada."

Posted by: Peter B at November 25, 2006 7:27 AM


DuBois on Quebec: "I have always relied on the kindness of strangers".

Very good.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 25, 2006 9:06 AM