Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Iggy and LPC-Q: Running with scissors....

How can I best describe this?

Bad idea jeans?

Don't play with matches?

Apparently with the support of the Ignatieff campaign, the Quebec wing of the Liberal party feels that the LPC needs to recognize Quebec as 'une nation' and the existence of the desequilibre fiscal.

I've put 'nation' entre guillments, and in italics, because it doesn't mean the same thing in English as it does in French.

The desquilibre fiscal thing means exactly the same thing in English as it does in French. We want more money. I'm not sure why I put it in italics.

But let's deal with 'nation' vs nation.

En anglais, a nation is commonly used as a synonym for an autonomous political entity, like a country. Which is why an awful lot of anglophones go loopy every time they hear some suggest that Quebec is a nation.

Une nation a group of individuals who share cultural links which define them a community. These links might be language, a common history, values etc. Thus, some would argue that le Quebec est une nation, a l'interieure du Canada.

Of course, I haven't heard the last four words linked with the first four words very often.

But that really is a side point, because to deny la province is une nation is to drive an awful lot of Quebecers absolutely loopy. In fact, they start to look like anglophones who have just heard some suggest that Quebec is nation.

Now, I'll bet this is starting to sound an awful lot like distinct society.

I have to say, I have a lot of trouble telling the two apart myself.

A good number of us who live inside and outside of Quebec shake our heads and realize how incredibly disconnected that the political class of Quebec is from the Tim Horton's reality where 99% Canadians live, regardless of language or geography.

Most of us are trying to get through school, pay the mortgage, figure out who will win the Stanley Cup, watching tetesaclaques.tv and understand what really is going on Lost.

Et on s'encrisse si nous sommes une nation, ou bien, un gros donught.... Apparently LPC-Q didn't get the memo.

But distinct society was almost 20 years ago. 20 years ago Culture Club and David Emerson still had a chance a promising career. Pierre Trudeau was still having kids. Harold Ballard still owned the Leafs. S tephen Harper was trying to destroy the Conservative Party, and Bob Rae was trying to figure out how to get re-elected.

Today, Boy George and Bob Rae might still have a chance, but otherwise times have changed.

We've all matured a little bit, or so I'd like to think. Unfortunately, as much as I think mes confreres carres hors du Quebec have little interest or knowledge of the linguistic subtleties of nation vs nation, j'en suis tres sur que mon chum Mikey Ignatieff le sait tres bien.

Which, quite frankly, leaves me a bit ticked at Mr. Ignatieff and his campaign team who just about flat outed admitted in this morning's Grope & Flail that they were trying to distract people away from his mid-east peace initiative.

Iggy appears to have missed the last 20 years of Canadian politics and the divisive debates about distinct society, the referendum, and blah, blah, blah... I am not sure that this will play out as the card that shows he has the political acumen so absent in the last few weeks.

Don't mess around, this is fate of the nation kind of stuff...

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UPDATE: Buddy at the Waters Edge has nifty post on the motion passed at LPC-Q which is well worth the read.


Cerberus said...

I accept that many in the Liberal Party may not accept the idea that Quebec is distinct and a nation within the country, but in some very clear ways that ship has sailed.

- the party passed a resolution in Parliament in the mid-1990s agreeing that Quebec is a distinct society
- Bob Rae was stating in campaign debates in Quebec that Quebec is a nation and that that should be recognized in the constitution
- Stephane Dion has also agreed that Quebec is a sociological nation and that the constitution should one day ideally be amended to reflect that

So the question is what to do about that?

- the LPCQ voted down an amendment to the motion that would have called for immediate consitutional change
- Ignatieff has said clearly that we need to begin talking about what the frontrunners have said they want to do eventually, but not immediately
- there is no "Trudeau vision" candidate in this race that I am aware of, saying that Quebec is not distinct, not a nation, the constitution should never be amended

So with all of that, I'm not sure where all of the fuss is coming from.

Cerberus said...

And by the way, Iggy has about 40% of the delegates in Quebec. The motion was passed by 2/3s meaning Rae and Dion (including apparently Dion's wife, but that's just a rumour) supporters supported the resolution as well.

Liberalius said...

Une nation a group of individuals who share cultural links which define them a community. These links might be language, a common history, values etc. Thus, some would argue that le Quebec est une nation, a l'interieure du Canada.

Well I guess by that defination we should be declaring Ontario a "nation" as well.

As cerberus reminds us what would be the fuss.

Cerberus said...

Well the fuss would be that there aren't 4 frontrunner leadership candidates who have said they believe that, the Party has never discussed that, the Party has never passed a resolution agreeing with that, Ontarians don't believe that and aren't clamoring for that.

But other than all of that, yeah, sure.

Liberalius said...

Well that's interesting cerberus. So now all we need is a good clamour to get things done in this country.

Mark said...

Cerberus, when did Trudeau ever say Quebec is not distinct? It's asinine to imply that. Quebec's legal system is distinct, its language is distinct, in the coming century its immigration pattersn will likely be distinct, its education is distinct. By not putting this in some legal document does that give yo or anyone else the right to assume that we do not recognize "distinct-ness" when we see it. Quebecers, I would argue, have had little difficulty protecting their distinctness. A decentralized federation, the respect of its neighbours, effective language laws at both levels of government (promotive federally, protective provincially), a Civil Code that has been preserved pretty much from the time of the Quebec Act (if not earlier) and safeguarded through guranteed through guaranteed represenation on the SCC.

Contrast this with the Acadian nation - because yo cannot deny distinctness their either - who struggled for 200 years or more with no institutions of their own, no linguistic protection until a generation ago, etc., etc.

The Newfoundland nation (because 82 years of Canadian diplomatic relations with the Island after the BNA recognize it as such) is aging, shrinking, perhaps slipping away.

I won't even begin to address our countless First Nations across the country...

"Canadians" made a decision in 1867 to form one nation, not to form 50.

If giving up nationhood was a condition for us (Newfoundland) upon entry, then hey, we want it back. I imagine others will too.

Is this the kind of Canada that MI wants to lead us to?