[Marxism] A "Québécois Nation"?
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Dec 20 06:55:10 MST 2006
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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