April 8, 2006

Nurtured Nationalism

Pierre Trudeau used to be a separatist in his youth. SCANDAL!!! Stop the Presses! Sound the Alarm!

Actually I’m not all that surprised.

Many Quebeckers grow up separatists only to come to their senses when they see that Quebec shouldn’t leave Canada on the basis that they are different.

I grew up a federalist. I was raised Italian, Liberal, and federalist. There simply was no alternative. I heard my MP, Alfonso Gagliano, say the same federalist propaganda 3 times but in different languages (by the time he hit language number 3, we could say the speech along with him. Good times Isabella) it was the only viewpoint I understood.

My involvement with politics was brought on by my Canadian History teacher, as it is with most Quebeckers. While most francophone teachers preach separatist propaganda, anglophone teachers would preach federalist propaganda. There is no common history in Quebec because blatant nationalism creates an environment that encourages otherwise.

I was lucky. My mother busted her ass to get me into Lower Canada College, at quite the discount, and I had a great Canadian History teacher. He walked into class, and promptly threw the two history textbooks into the garbage. We sat there wide-eyed, he was also the headmaster of the school. He threw both propagandas in the garbage. We only saw that book again when it was time for the final exam. (96% woohoo!)

We still learned about the Acadian Deportation, the Riel execution, the domination of British society in Quebec through the Quiet Revolution. The Charter was a contested document. Meech was potentially flawed, but it was a solution. We learned both sides of every story. We also had to take on roles in historical simulations to help us learn. As I was an adamant student, (much more in history than in Math class trust me) I had the benefit of taking on three roles.

Lord Durham, the British fool who didn’t know any better so he picked the simplest answer for Canada, assimilation. Canadians, all Canadians, said no to that vision. You mean Anglos had a chance to wipe out French Canadians and preferred not to? Guy Carleton made the same choice in 1774. My friends in French school told me they didn’t know Carleton was British and told me francophones fought for the Quebec Act from the British government. Close. Carleton the Bloke fought for them!

Louis Riel, the innocent victim of French Canada. Quebeckers never forgave les Bleus until the Charter was signed in 1981. Then they were pissed off about something else. Louis Riel is the best example we Canadians have of French Canada, not francophones in Quebec. This country is more than two tracts of lands with a language for each tract.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion, leader of les Rouges, or the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party, back during the days of Confederation. They opposed Confederation because they knew Macdonald wouldn’t respect provincial jurisdiction. (The Ghost of Benoit Pelletier?) I guess the PLQ existed back in the 1860s! I got to see all the sides of Canadian History I had grown up to disagree with. I put myself in their shoes, and I understood their points of view. It allowed me to develop my own arguments. I was no longer a blind federalist.

Most Canadians learn how great this country is after they finish high school. Once they truly discover Canada, they no longer wish to see its demise. Pierre Trudeau’s most famous writing, and my personal favorite, is about when he is canoeing alone in the Northwest Territories. Word that he used to be a separatist actually makes even more sense now. That epiphany that entered his head as he paddled down that river solidified the views he would carry throughout his entire life.

Being a separatist at 16 or 18 is not a horrible thing. Many of us are enveloped in a nationalist vision because it brings hope and we don’t have the mental capacity to think of all the factors. Our lives have yet to be shaped by events which will develop our ideas. (To Mark Holland, that’s why vote 16 sucks)

Until I went to Ottawa to join a national program with Canadians from coast to coast to coast, I always thought of myself as Italian first then Canadian. I grew up in the ghetto, woptown as I so lovingly call it. Pride to be Italian coursed through my veins more than pride to be Canadian. Meeting people from across Canada helped me develop that Canadian pride. We weren’t all that different. All Canadians, despite language barriers, are actually quite the same.

National symbols are there to reinforce that. They tell us that we share the same citizenship that binds to each other. Some take that nationalism too far and make citizen turn against each other. That is taking it to the extreme and is quite dangerous. However, some national symbols are there simply to remind us we all share the same citizenship.

When Canada wins a hockey game, does it matter where the players come from? Is there a more Canadian moment than the 1987 Canada Cup clinching goal Gretzky to Lemieux?

Is Antoine drinking a Cappucino Glacé any different in Quebec than Anthony drinking an Ice Cappucino in Newfoundland? Not really.

I doubt Pierre Trudeau was thinking about hockey or Timmies as he paddled that day, but he passionately felt bound to this great country. It is that calm sense of belonging that has developed into Canadian nationalism. Would we Canadians do it any other way?

14 Commentaires:

Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Thanks for the history lesson Di.

4/08/2006 3:10 p.m.  
Blogger decoin a dit...

Biographical research reveals Trudeau as a Fascist - nevertheless he had good points and he should be forgiven for his many flaws. Despite his hatred for the western portion of the nation and his general ignorance of how to budget he did his best for the country.

4/09/2006 2:40 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

I thought Chretien was again the GST and NAFTA...what happened?

4/09/2006 6:46 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...


Antonio, who claims to want a fair leadership race, is refusing to give membership forms to non-Ignatieff organizers at Concordia University.

This is just unbelievable! Antonio you should be ashamed and in fact resign. This is exactly what we don't want.

This will be news in the media very soon.

Clean up your act Antonio and start acting like a Liberal.

4/09/2006 8:27 PM

4/09/2006 8:42 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

membership forms have not been made available to school club members until late last week. I had been trying to get my hands on forms for 3 weeks and I finally got them. We had done tabling last week, signed 70 names and had no forms to sign them up with, I was saddened as well. The party is giving numbered forms to candidates, who will distribute them to organizers.

we received 25 out of the youth's 200 total stack for general recruitment. Quebec headquarters gave 200 TOTAL forms to youth, and I received 25 of them. Anyone who wishes to sign up as a Liberal Concordia member may do so by sending me an email at canadese@gmail.com. I have yet to be asked for a membership form, but yes I have some, 25 in fact first come first serve. Bring your Concordia ID.

Stop trying to create scandals where they do not exist. Slander will get you nowhere.

4/09/2006 11:54 p.m.  
Blogger fidel a dit...

a trudeau apologia. how quaint.

you misunderstand lord durham. look at it contextually antonio. contextually, he was quite progressive. i can back up this statement. however, my wrist is sore.

and. for the love of god: why do you remember your history grade?

ps: haha..antonio has founded his own scandal.

4/10/2006 12:05 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Antoine drinks a Cappucino Glacé in Quebec and Anthony drinks an Ice Cappucino in Newfoundland, but what does Antonio drink in woptown?

Another liberal scandal, and Antonio is at the centre of it. Will he get tranfered to the Canadian Embassy in Denmark?

4/10/2006 12:32 a.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Espresso with crushed ice at Milanos!

4/10/2006 12:46 a.m.  
Anonymous Marianne a dit...

Wow I wish I had your history teacher Antonio, I had a wonderful teacher too but a little bit too much of "beware those mean Anglos they want to assimilite us like the always did" ya right!

Is Milanos this place with those GREAT sandwiches ? I used to work in Woptown and would often go there to have a sandwich and a Brio on the pation hummmmmmm Can't they open a succursale in Edmonton ? We have a tiny Italian quarter :)

Questa bocca e fatta por mangiare la sandwich! ;)

4/10/2006 11:39 a.m.  
Anonymous élie a dit...


What are you taking at Concordia? Poli sci?

I have never been at Concordia, but my feeling is that most Concordia students must me enthusiastic NDPers or Greens (or just plain communists). Am I right?

I'm at Laval, and here, it's all Bloc/PQ/Québec Solidaire. Which is ridiculous, but you know how it is. By the way, we had André Boisclair giving a speech recently. He's the PLQ's best asset, trust me.

4/10/2006 12:08 p.m.  
Blogger Christopher Young a dit...

I may be dumb, but couldn't people just buy their membership on the website?

And why do the hell are liberal membership forms that hard to get ? I mean, any good reason ? Someone somewhere doesn't like habing new members?

4/10/2006 1:18 p.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Membership forms only became available to candidates April 7th, Friday. If you wish to support any candidate, I'm sure they will be happy to get you a form (they will all have contact info up soon) The Liberal Party has promised online memberships, but they're not happening yet. I hope they happen soon. It is an issue. I believe you can go to provincial offices and pick up a certain number of forms in person. Toronto for Ontario. Probably Montreal for Quebec, just check the address on the web site, sorry I'm from Ontario.

It is too difficult to get memberships and participate at the grassroots level. These issues are slowly being addressed, and will definately come forward at the biennial in Nov/Dec.

There is no need for any club or riding association to only support one candidate this time around. The membership votes and a proportion of delegates equal to the support for the candidate is sent on the basis of first ballot preference. Second ballot and after you can vote however you want.

If you want to support a candidate other than one overwhelmingly supported by a student club, if in fact that is the case, then join the local riding association. Youth are guarenteed a certain number of delegates from riding associations no matter who you support. They almost never fill their quotas.

My riding association can send four youth the the AGM Ontario, for example, we only have one.

Good luck.

4/10/2006 8:08 p.m.  
Blogger Steve a dit...

Decoin-You know nothing. Trudeau was not a fascist, he thought he was clever scaring people with that uniform and helmet. You can throw the book at him for this or that loyalty or whatever complaint but your extrapolation is laughable. He did not hate the west at all, he just did not give in to the regionalist trojan horse of western conservatism, and sorry he reacted sourly to partisan plants throwing things at him such as manure (this is a fact, they were organized not just the outraged people of the west). That he knew nothing of the economy is another myth.
Again, not giving in to one side of a political debate does not equate with failure, even if its yours.

4/12/2006 2:14 a.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Online memberships are now up and working.

4/12/2006 8:27 a.m.  

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