Quebec is, of course, a huge issue in the politics and being of Canada.
I’ve been reading Roy MacGregor’s book Canadians. It’s a good overview of what makes Canada, Canada, and all things and people Canadian throughout the history of this land. You can’t write a book without discussing the Quebec situation, and he does so at several points throughout the book.
On page 305 he writes: “(Michael) Ignatieff was widely ridiculed for calling for Quebec to be recognized as a nation within a province within a country… It was a misstep, that, weeks later, surely contributed to his coming up short in the Liberal Party leadership race.”
Claiming nationhood for Quebec is always such a touchy subject in English Canada. But why? Let’s face it, Quebec is a distinct society, one of many, within Canada. In fact each province has evolved its own particular character and slight differences in culture, so much so that there is more difference between a person born and raised in Ontario and one raised in Nova Scotia than there is between that Ontario person and someone living in New York State. So, why not recognize provinces as nations unto themselves?
It does get tricky, though, with all the movement of people both internally within Canada, and from immigrants from other countries. Let’s look at the issue in Quebec. The failure of past rerferendums for Quebec sovereignty has been, by some, blamed on immigrants, and their fear of what life in a Nation of Quebec would be like for them. It’s hard to blame them when laws like Bill 101 are passed (language law) to keep Quebec distinct within its French culture and heritage. I wonder what Quebec Sovereigntists would think if they drove through some neighbourhoods in Toronto where all the signs are in some dialect of Chinese, or Russian or Indian, or some other language, with only minimal, or no, reference to English anywhere.
So, if Quebec is to receive identification as a Nation then other regions and people should be given the same distinction. First and foremost the First Peoples of Canada should receive it, and have more right to the identity as a nation or nations than Quebec ever will. Way to go Nanavut.
The feeling, at least from this English Canadian, is that Quebec Sovereigntists want to be superior rather than equal, whereas the goal is to recognize the difference between the different regions of Canada. Recognizing the equality of all individuals should be the prime goal of any sane society.
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