Quebec's Misplaced Over-Patriotism is Driving Me Crazy

June 27, 2007 § 1 Comment

WARNING! This post may contain political views which might offend you. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

Here we are, two days from the St. Jean Baptist, Quebec’s provincial holiday. Still today, even after it’s over, I can feel the excitement that is usually caused by a event of the kind, and I don’t mean the hangover that ensued after the traditional celebrations. The St. Jean usually has many side-effects, like the installation of our province’s flag on many cars, public display of the said flag, and an unexplained amount of patriotism amongst the general population, patriotism which sometimes results in the temporary loss of one’s commonsense which transforms the affected person into what looks and sounds like a temporary separatist. During the 4 – 7 day period which includes a few days before and after the 25th of June, some people start to behave like separatists, through behavior such as the excess use of the phrase “Vive le Quebec libre!”, which roughly translates in “Long-live free Quebec!”. In this time of the year, it’s seems like everybody is talking about the “NATIONAL” holiday, and how we will celebrate our “NATION” everywhere, including places like Montreal and Quebec (which according to it’s welcome sign is the “NATIONAL” capital). This excessive display of either ignorant or very separatist-like behavior has only but fed the flame that is my conservative Federalism, and I find that this is a nice time to write the Federalist rant that I have been wanting to write for a while.

First, I would like to give you a little bit of background on my political life. I am the male, English speaking child of two somewhat conservative but otherwise politically un-orientated, French-mother-tongued parents, with the rest of my father’s side family being mostly separatist. If you are a regular reader of my blog (thanks a lot for reading) you might already know that I am well under the legal age for voting, which means that I have not yet voted for anything, might it be provincial or federal, or even municipal. However, thanks to my parents and some high-school teachers which gave me a lot of political base knowledge in my early teens, and to the fact that I have been reading the paper (almost) every day and watching the news just as often has made me very inclined to following political campaigns with lots of interest. So, for the last provincial and federal elections (maybe more, but with a bit less interest), I have been watching and reading everything that I possibly could about political campaigns and their participants, analyzing everything I could, honing my critical skills. These two campaigns, along with the many discussions that I have with my parents, teachers and friends, were enough to forge my political opinion to the indestructible piece of Federalist conservative granite that it has become. Most of the people I spend most of my time with, being my classmates, work buddies and related parents can testify that I deep down inside of me I have always been a conservative: I hate change, prefer the security of what is known and gentle progressivism to radical changes, and that applies everywhere, from my haircut to my playing style in RTS games. As for the Federalist part, my views in the next few paragraphs is pretty sure to enlighten you.

So back to separatists. For the last couple of years, I have come to the conclusion that the province of Quebec, it’s inhabitants and it’s government, or at least some of the contestants for the latter, can be metaphorically compared to an overzealous youngster: we are the weakest link in the chain that is our country, yet we permit ourselves to comment about the federal’s every practice, and when things aren’t going the way we want, we try to ignore the rest of the country and separate, thinking that our meager economy is enough to compensate for the loss of all infrastructures currently owned by the Canadian government. Like a teen stuck right in it’s teenage crisis, we want freedom and recognition just for ourselves, just because some people think we can afford it, we refuse cooperation. The feds are ripping us off they say, taking our federal tax money for the extraction of tar sands in Alberta. This is one thing that separatists don’t seem to understand: today, a country has to be run like a business, and I personally don’t know a business which would invest in something that won’t yield, IE the province of Quebec, home of hydroelectricity and employment rates well under the Canadian average.

This brings me to another point: the stubbornness of my province in relative to their culture and language. Let go of the freaking culture will you. Yes, I know, our provincial motto is “I remember”, but how about remembering and letting go of these stupid habits of “protecting” our native language by banning everything english we can possibly get away with. In this North American world of Anglos, we refuse to submit to the defacto, which would open many doors in profitable sectors, and instead we let our children go through high-school without getting appropriate English language education, making them unprepared for the outside world, confining them to this province they call a nation, which it too is being overrun with Anglo immigrants, as can testify Montreal.

I just can not stand this over-patriotism that lots of people display, specially in this time of the year. I don’t want to make myself look superior to everybody else here, but it looks to me that some people just adhere to the separatist crowd without even knowing what it implies, too often have I seen people my age not give a shit about politics and then proudly announce that they were for the separation of our oh so “STRONG” “NATION”. I think that everybody needs a reality check: in the eternal search for a peaceful, smooth running country and province, cooperation is the key, like in pretty much everything else. Stop calling Quebec a nation, it’s not, never will be, or will die trying to. Don’t people even learn what happens when a government restructures? I haven’t live long enough to see lots of those, but historically, we have a good chance of falling into poverty and civil war for quite a long time with such a restructure.

So how about pleasing me and putting that flag down for a second, and think seriously about what being a nation implies. Stop blaming it all on the feds, it’s about time that we take our responsibilities and get our act straight before we can complain. The sad truth is that Canada can continue (not without some changes, but it can) without Quebec, but Quebec cannot without Canada. I am not telling you to ditch all pride for your province, I love my province too, but don’t go overboard with it, separation is just not an option.

And that was my political rant. If you disagree or agree in any way, I invite you to discuss it in the comments, in the language that suits you, may it be French or English.

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§ One Response to Quebec's Misplaced Over-Patriotism is Driving Me Crazy

  • Van Mantha says:

    I’m not sure how I found your page, but this was a nice read!

    I was born in the part of Gatineau that was once Hull, before it got swallowed up. My mom’s from Québec, but my Dad is actually from South Carolina in the USA. I moved a more southern part of the United States in the 7th grade, this being the first time I’d attend an English school ever.

    No way can I let my roots go. I’ve lived here for over a decade and let me tell you the last thing any french-speaking Quebecer ever wants to do in this huge pool of English is giving up on your culture. I’ve visited back home only a handful of times since then, to see my family (since my parents, my brother and I are the only ones here in the US), and unless I’m there I only have my mother to speak in French to. It was nice when I lived home, but now that I’ve been in college for a few years I’m limited to phone conversations (trust me I make them last) and hearing my French professors talk.

    This brings me to why WE CANNOT let go. Every person in these classes in America are learning PARISIAN French. What’s more grueling to listen to than a straight french accent? An american french parisian accent. God it hurts to hear.
    If we keep allowing these waves of Anglo-Canadiens or even northern American people have their way by limiting the French imposition on everything, then what will happen to French Canadian? The dialect will die! Also, I’ve never met person in Québec that can’t speak English to some level. Pluuuus my dad worked there for like 15 years and did just fine. He never felt oppressed for being english hahaha. You almost make it seem like you think we’re completely deaf to what’s around us.
    (Slight hyperboles here and there lol).

    It’s just frustrating living down here and hearing about this separatist vs. anti-seperatist vs. whatever when really all we need to do is NOTHING; meaning I think everything’s fine just how it is. I agree that people should stop trying to make Quebec a country, sure, but I don’t agree that people shouldn’t feel a sense of national pride in our little spec of individualism that we have left on earth.

    Meh. Rereading what I wrote made me realize that I just seem to be agreeing with you, to a pretty large extent. Woo

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