[Marxism] A "Québécois Nation"?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Dec 20 06:55:10 MST 2006


http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/fidler191206.html
A "Québécois Nation"? Harper Fuels an Important Debate
by Richard Fidler

The House of Commons voted on November 27 to support a Tory government 
motion that "the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada."  What 
does it mean?  And why now?

The second question is easier to answer.  The motion was triggered by an 
unexpected turn of events.  Michael Ignatieff, in his quest for the Liberal 
leadership this fall, ignited a firestorm of protest within his party when 
he suggested that Quebec should be recognized as a "nation" in the 
Constitution.  A similar proposal was endorsed by the federal party's 
Quebec wing.  It was promptly denounced by the other candidates and widely 
condemned as a "gaffe" in the English-Canadian media.

Fellow Liberal leadership contender Bob Rae voiced the widespread unease in 
ruling circles: "I'm not somebody who is going to set this country on a 
constitutional adventure, whose consequences and whose outcome I'm not 
certain of," Rae said.

Rae was an architect of the ill-fated Charlottetown Accord, forged by the 
provincial premiers after the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord in the early 
1990s.  Neither of these proposed constitutional arrangements recognized 
Quebec as a nation.  But Meech died in the face of English-Canadian 
opposition to a clause simply identifying Quebec as a "distinct 
society."  Charlottetown was defeated in a pan-Canadian referendum in which 
Quebec voters rejected it because it failed to recognize the province's 
national specificity, while voters in the rest of Canada (ROC) rejected it 
because they thought it did.  Three years later, Quebec came within a 
hair's breadth of voting for sovereignty.

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