October 30, 2006

Dispelling Nation Mythology

Yes, the mythology is back. This time, it is coming from federalists. This slippery slope to stupidity is running out its course and the debate around how this infamous nation resolution came about has created its own mythology. Time to take some time off from debunking separatist mythology to dispel some mythology surrounding the infamous nation resolution.

Myth no. 1. This resolution was brought forward by the Ignatieff campaign in an attempt to create a stunt.

The following quote is from Marc Garneau, co-chair of the working group for the renewal of the Liberal Party in Quebec.

He was on Question Period defending the integrity of the Commission.

“Following this consultation, we undertook, with the help of the Party's Quebec Political Commission, the process of reviewing, collating and integrating the various inputs into a series political resolutions. The concept of recognizing the Quebec Nation emerged clearly as an important issue for Quebec Liberals and this, regardless of which leadership candidate they were backing.

Let's be clear on this matter as we move forward. The fruit of the work undertaken by the Quebec Working Group for "A Renewed Liberal Vision" accurately reflects the will of Quebec Liberals.

Furthermore, the adoption by a large majority of members of the resolution to recognize the Quebec Nation transcends partisan politics and the leadership race. Men and women from all camps worked for and strongly endorsed this resolution. Why? Because they have concluded (as I have) that it's time to reach out to Quebec in order to make Canada a stronger country.”
You cannot get clearer than that. I was one of the people on that committee. The campaign did not put anyone up to anything. In fact, the amendment was from the pen of a Dion supporter. At Conseil, Quebecers from all camps endorsed this resolution.

Myth no. 2. Michael is only taking this position as a political opportunist.

This one frustrates me quite a bit. Michael Ignatieff has recognized Quebec as a nation since 1993 when he wrote Blood and Belonging. He has held on to that position firmly since then, as seen through the Massey Lectures for the CBC (2000). Don’t be too surprised the same notion ended up in Ignatieff’s platform.

In fact Michael is the only one to hold onto that position for so long. Stephane Dion, in 1996, supported Quebec nationhood and its recognition in the Constitution.

Bob Rae, as recently as August 2006, said "I always supported the notion that Quebec . . . is a nation, it is a distinct society, which we need to recognize in our Constitution and I have fought for that," Mr. Rae said. Bob wants to open the constitution later. So does Michael. They seemingly have the same position but now Bob Rae is saying otherwise. A complete flip flop from Bob Rae…Luckily for us, Michael knows how to
fight back.

Myth No. 3. Michael Ignatieff will open the constitution before you can pour milk on your corn flakes December 3rd.

This is ridiculous Rae spin.

Michael has NEVER set out a timetable for when he was actually going to put this forward and with good reason, he, like everybody else (Rae, Kennedy, and Dion), wants winning conditions before we do any of this, but at least Michael is willing to say that he will go forward instead of closingthe door as Rae and Dion have done.

The resolution that was passed, and endorsed by Ignatieff, but rejected by Rae and Dion, only called for a working group, similar to a recommendation made by former Justice Minister, and Bob Rae’s most prominent federalist supporter, Martin Cauchon, in his report to the Liberal Party. Cauchon recommended we recognize Quebec as a nation, but said we cannot open the constitution now because we are not ready. This is exactly what Michael is proposing.

Bob Rae and Stephane Dion, by rejecting the resolution, are saying they are not open to discussing how the Liberal Party should approach this delicate subject, despite the fact they BOTH SUPPORT QUEBEC NATIONHOOD.

They are avoiding the issue. The media here in Quebec is raking them over the coals for it, and rightly so.

Myth no. 4. Separatists will use this issue to further their cause for independence.

Rejected Endorsement of the Week: Bernard Landry, PQ premier (2001-2003)

Landry’s efforts to undermine Ignatieff and the PLC(Q)’s position were a great success in English Canada. However, they were a non-starter in Quebec.

This recognition is not a concession. In fact, I think no candidate has been clearer than Ignatieff on the fact that he will not devolve any powers to the provincial governments. Canadian federalism depends on playing by the rules we already have. Landry knows it is favorable to sovereigntists if the Liberals continue to reject Quebec as a nation. They are scared to make federalism relevant in Quebec again.

That is why we need this task force. We need to delicately maneuver through all the land mines that can explode in our faces. It is a daunting task; it is one that ALL LIBERALS must do together. By saying they would not allow such a task force, it is Dion and Rae who are dividing the party.

Myth no. 5. Only Ignatieff supporters support this resolution.

Lucienne Robillard, Liza Frulla and Marc Garneau are only a short list of Quebec federalists who have come out in favor of this resolution.

Yesterday the YLC(Q), Quebec’s influential youth wing has decided to come out in favor of the resolution, as an executive, without objection from any of the camps who are on our executive. To our generation, Quebec’s status as a nation is a given. Blame the education system if you want, but to us, there is no problem identifying to both nations, and that is why we continue to scratch our heads over the stubbornness showed by some Liberals outside Quebec.

Add this to the 80%+ of delegates present at the Conseil General who supported this resolution, the Liberal Party in Quebec has never been more united, despite the leadership, across the lines of all candidate camps.

Even the Tory hardline that Andrew Coyne and L. Ian Macdonald would have you believe, is on very shaky ground. This weekend, none other then Montreal’s Cabinet Minister Michael Fortier said that Quebec was indeed a nation. Lawrence Cannon, Harper’s Quebec Lieutenant and De Facto Deputy PM, said it was nation.

The separatist attacks on Ignatieff and the PLC(Q) fell flat this week as pressure builds on Bob Rae and Stephane Dion to stop ignoring their Quebec supporters and rally behind this issue, one of paramount importance to the future of our party.

This is not an Ignatieff issue, it is a Quebec issue. The rest of Canada ignores it at their own peril.

33 Commentaires:

Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Antonio, you are certainly skilled in wrapping yourself in the language of your opponents, but the only mythology here is any evidence of support for this proposal amongst the Canadian people. There is also an astonishing lack of reasoned argument on behalf of this resolutions few supporters to justify its merits, and instead they attack its opponents and question their loyalty to Quebec and to Canada.

The headlines coming out in the media today with 30 days to go before the convention are heartbreaking - in a matter of days we've become a party that is "deeply divided" from one that well on its way to a "path of renewal and party unity." This whole series of events has been a disaster for everyone, and the whole proposal seems like a hardly-disguised nationalist trojan horse.

To downplay the fact that Bernard Landry and the separatists are cheering us on in this ill-fated endeavour is, to me, frighteningly short-sighted.

For more examples of problems with this, read:

Mr. Ignatieff's lose-lose Quebec proposition by LYSIANE GAGNON in today's Globe and Mail, which can be found here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

10/30/2006 6:34 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

As a relevant aside, my good friend Antonio, I studied blogger support (in both English and French) for the idea from October 24th to 29th, and the results were as follows:

Among all bloggers (posting October 24 until October 29):

10.0% in were favour
12.9% were undecided/indifferent
77.1% were opposed

Among Liberal bloggers:

6.3% were in favour
9.4% were undecided/indifferent
84.3% were opposed

Among non-Liberal bloggers:

13.2% were in favour
15.8% were undecided/indifferent
71.0% were opposed

More details and info on methodology can be found over at my own blog over at braedencaley.blogspot.com

10/30/2006 6:40 a.m.  
Blogger godot10 a dit...

//The fruit of the work undertaken by the Quebec Working Group for "A Renewed Liberal Vision" accurately reflects the will of Quebec Liberals.//

There is nothing new under the sun. The Allaire Report.

//This is not an Ignatieff issue, it is a Quebec issue. The rest of Canada ignores it at their own peril.//

This approach has failed time and time again. The Liberal Party should propose an economic reform vision for Quebec prosperity in a globalized world, where the appropriate level of government will have the appropriate powers to achieve this.

Quebec's problem is its economy, not the constitution, nor its identity.

If Quebec is prosperous and paying its own bills, if Canada is prosperous and paying its own bills, most everything else will take care of itself.

I don't deny or reject any of the other stuff. The Supreme Court interprets the constitution mostly respecting Quebec's uniqueness, so one is really trying to fix what doesn't need fixing immediately or perhaps ever.

The rest of the Canada has moved on. The challenge is the global economy and the emergence of China, India, and Brazil, and the relative economic decline of the United States.

If one deals with building a future, the past will take care of itself eventually. Building a future will identify new ways to fix the past.

It is easier to talk about nationhood, than address the structural problems in the Quebec economy.

10/30/2006 7:03 a.m.  
Blogger [JTF6.0]Undecided a dit...

Once again Antonio, you are distorting Dion's positions to try to protect your candidate from being isolated on this issue. Once again, as I told you before. Dion was refering to "distinct society" in his speech to the commons during the passage of the "distinct society" proclamation in the House of Commons. In no point in the quote that you and the Ignatieff team bring forward does Dion use the term "nation". Secondly, the ones who have been pushing this and trying to turn up the heat ala "knife to the throat" have been Ignatieff supporters such as Liza Frulla and yourself. Thirdly, every three days or so, you and the Iggy campaign change their message. First is was that only Iggy "got" Quebec, then when the storm hit the rest of Canada, Iggy vacillated; saying that it was only "symbolic". Then thirdly when Dion attacked the inconsistency argument (is it symbolic, or does it have real meaning and thus a redistribution of powers), Ignatieff changed his tune again to the present line that the candidates are pretty much the same on this issue. In the span of a week, Ignatieff has done a completely reversal on this issue. Now I read in the Toronto Star that Iggy is trying to dial down the intensity of the debate, even though it was he and his supporters (including yourself) who have ratcheting up the heat. May I remind you of your commments on the "gang-rape" of Quebec, and the veiled blackmail of the ROC to accept this motion. This entire episode has proven to me several things:

1) Ignatieff's inexperience is potentially fatal for the party and perhaps the country. -we could be in another referendum within two years. We can't risk putting the fate of Canada in the hands of an amateur. He has proven again and again that he doesn't have what it takes.
2) Ignatieff's strategy is deeply flawed. Similar to the Martin strategy, Ignatieff has taken the bad advice of his Quebec team (Coderre, Frulla, Rodriguez) which values rhetoric and symbols rather than results (electoral or policy)
3) Ignatieff's academic musings show that he has no concept of ordinary Canadians. As the Greg Westion said on the Don Newman panel on Friday, the SUN had done extensive polling on this issue and constitional change or enshrining Quebec as a nation in the constitution was nowhere on the radar screen (even in Quebec).
4) Despite having perhaps the strongest organization, Ignatieff has run perhaps the worst campaign this side of Joe Volpe, and all of the problems have been his own making. This is a disatrous combination for leader of our great party.

In summary, the only "myth" that needs to be dispelled is the belief that Ignatieff should be our next leader. Non, merci.

10/30/2006 7:36 a.m.  
Blogger [JTF6.0]Undecided a dit...

On another point, it want to take mythology just take a look at your previous posts on the "Night of the Long Knives" and the entire construction of the Quebec nation. See "Une crise de la conscience historique: Anciens et nouveaux mythes fondateurs dans l'imaginaire quebecoise" by Gerard Bouchard (yes, brother of Lucien) for his analysis of the founding myths of Quebec identity. See also Quebec Identity by Jocelyn Maclure where he criticizes the melancholy nationalism of Quebec nationalists and argues that "it is becoming increasing obvious that if the nation remains for many a vital structure for disclosure and recognition, a plethora of other identity sites are challenging its monopoly” (Maclure 2003: 132).

10/30/2006 8:05 a.m.  
Blogger Manitoba Liberal a dit...

I like the threats from the Iggy people. "If Canada does not recognize Quebec as a nation (even though we don't really know what we want with this recognition) than Quebec will leave.

Myself and most Westerners invite you to leave and be your own nation, but advise you to remember that the other "nations" in Quebec are more than welcome to stay in Canada.

Withj Quebec gone, at the very least we would be rid of annoying Liberals like Frulla and Lapierre.

10/30/2006 10:12 a.m.  
Blogger Skip a dit...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/30/2006 10:20 a.m.  
Blogger anybody but iggy a dit...

I am laughing out loud at this post and a new one from Cerebrus.
You guys are just terrified because you candidate is finished, and are desperately trying to smear everyone else as Iggy sinks deeper into the mud.
Nothing lame you say here can change the fact that Iggy himself, under heavy pressure from caucus and the national exec, is scrambling to diffuse this issue. Just another "flip-flop" from your moronic candidate.

In a funny aside, the family of the man whose name Iggy likes to invoke everytime he refuses to be labelled a pro-torturer has spoken out about just how offensive they find him.

10/30/2006 11:07 a.m.  
Blogger propatria a dit...

It would be nice for ignatieff to explain what the heck exactly IN NO UNCERTAIN WORDS the quebec nation is , since hes supporting the resolution. I think hes trying to have it both ways. He wants to appear sympathetic to francophones, telling them he believes in recognizing the quebec nation, but hes not saying what exactly that means. It can mean absolutly anything to anybody. For seperatists it could mean more recognition of their right to secede. Before giving them that kind ammunition, You have to say WHAT EXACTLY YOU MEAN.

10/30/2006 11:30 a.m.  
Blogger big gay al's big gay liberal sanctuary a dit...

Don't you get it? It's alright to be vague about important issues!

Sarcasm aside, the Iggy camp shows the same arrogance that the Martin camp showed.

Thanks Iggy-team! You guys are successfully further dividing the party. Your half-assed brown-nosing (looking at you Antonio) won't save you guys, because your candidate has a huge aura of negativity associated with him.

On a side note, all the other candidates do as well, but Iggy's is bigger, thanks in part to the nation-issue-fiasco, immature booing of Antonio and friends, and questionable past comments.

Also, I sure do hope Antonio is pushing all the important issues that face the Abitibi constituents. I'm sure Antonio holds his Abitibi friends close to his heart.

Anyway, feel free to boo this!

10/30/2006 11:42 a.m.  
Blogger canuckistanian a dit...

obfuscate, equivocate, back-pedal, flip-flop...great signs of leadership coming out of iggy hq. far too much bullshit to even begin to comment on.

10/30/2006 12:24 p.m.  
Blogger canuckistanian a dit...

obfuscate, equivocate, back-pedal, and flip-flop....great signs of leadership coming out of iggy hq. too much bullshit to begin to comment on.

10/30/2006 12:25 p.m.  
Blogger canuckistanian a dit...

is there an echo in here...hehe.

10/30/2006 12:25 p.m.  
Blogger canuckistanian a dit...

i propose we amend the constitution to recognize the historical and social reality of the Iggy Nation. this cannot be a merely symbolic event. if we do not make efforts to recognize the Iggy Nation they may separate and return to Boston. this recognition must confer new powers on the Iggy Nation. most obviously, it should include a clause that stipulates that only members of the Iggy Nation be allowed to vote in the liberal leadership race and the canadian election. this is required b/c only members of the Iggy Nation possess the magical glasses to see Michael Ignatieff for the competent, steadfast, intelligent, deliberative leader and visionary that he clearly is.

again, let me reiterate, we must recognize and officialize the Iggy Nation in the Constitution. the status quo is not an option. indeed, it is irresponsible to play games with this issue, for it threatens the very unity of the country.

10/30/2006 2:03 p.m.  
Blogger big gay al's big gay liberal sanctuary a dit...

I second Canukistanian's motion.

Although, I think it might get harshly booed if Iggy Nation youth members didn't take their afternoon naps and have their milk and cookies.

10/30/2006 2:08 p.m.  
Blogger ottlib a dit...

Antonio is correct, this resolution is hugely popular amongst Quebec Liberals.

So looking at this thing from a strickly political standpoint, if Dr. Ignatieff is the only candidate that champions the resolution at the convention you will probably see him virtually sweep the Quebec delegates on the second ballot.

That will put him in the position of winning on the third.

A few weeks ago, I stated on my own blog that Dr. Ignatieff would win this thing because there is no clear champion for the anti-Iggy crowd to rally around.

For them to succeed one of the other contenders bunched up behind him would have to stand out as that champion. Here was a perfect opportunity and they blew it. Although they all said it differently they have all come out against this resolution making themselves all look the same once again.

Dr. Ignatieff is the clear frontrunner and his support of this resolution has will pretty much give him a lock on a key battleground, giving him a great deal of growth potential and setting up the situation where he will appear to have momentum after the second round. Which would probably bring over more support from those who may have future ambitions and would see Iggy as the one who could facilitate their realization.

So unless the anti-Iggy crowd can get their shit together over the next month they had better get used to idea of the Liberal Party being lead by Dr. Ignatieff.

10/30/2006 2:45 p.m.  
Blogger canuckistanian a dit...

cogent analysis, i must concede. nevertheless, it is predicated upon a tenuous premise...namely, that iggy's support for this resolution will win him delegates in quebec, but not lose him delegates in the ROC.

I do not think he will gain a stranglehold on quebec delegates, as you contend. moreover, I strongly believe that this will cost him delegates in the ROC. indeed, i know of numerous delegates who must support him on the first ballot, but are eagerly awaiting fleeing on the second.

regardless, i stand by my statement made on cerberus' blog today: iggy still has a hope in hell of winning the leadership, however he doesn't have a hope in hell of winning an election. so a vote for iggy is really a vote for the PQ, Bloc, NDP and Conservatives,

10/30/2006 3:24 p.m.  
Blogger anybody but iggy a dit...

The resolution does NOT have overwhelming support in QC, especaially amongst Anglos and Allophones who feel discriminated against by this bill (a large part of the Liberal vote in QC), and also by Aboriginal peoples, who are insulted that they are all lumped together under Iggy-logic.

10/30/2006 4:33 p.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Antonio, jobs in Abitibi should be your number one priority at convention. Even Bombardier jobs in Montreal for that matter, not this crap. My family is from Montreal for five generations, much more than yours. My family helped build Quebec. You and your definition of nation would exclude me. That's ok. I am Canadian and I know my history. Jobs and workers rights and the living conditions of Quebec workers were always my family's first priority. My grandfathers worked along side French Canadians to further the rights of all workers in Quebec and Canada. That should be your priority too, especially for Abitibi.

10/30/2006 5:34 p.m.  
Blogger Kyle Carruthers a dit...

The biggest problem with Antonio's approach to the nation question is that he somehow thinks that ROC will agree to consittutional recognition of a Quebec "Nation" without remedying the grievances of other provinces. Antonio is under the impression that since other provinces signed the constitution in 1982 they will quote "have to wait". Yeah right. Try selling that west of Kenora.

10/30/2006 7:57 p.m.  
Blogger ottlib a dit...

Anybody but Iggy:

The resolution was supported by more than 2/3 of Quebec Liberals. I would say that is hugely popular.


Perhaps you are correct but you are overestimating the anti-Iggy vote, there is still the fact that it is split into three parts and I do not believe there is as big an "Anybody but Iggy" movement as his opponents believe wish for.

Unless, the forces arrayed against him can rally around a champion he will probably win.

As for predicting electibility that is a useless game to play. No one know if a given candidate is electable until he or she is put to the test. Before that it is all speculation and speculation I might add that is heavily influenced by partisan bias.

I would also remind you that until about 9 months ago many pundits stated Stephen Harper was unelectable and we all know how that turned out.

10/30/2006 10:20 p.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

"In the heat of a national election campaign, Mr. Harper's cookie jar would prevail over Mr. Ignatieff's can of worms."

It's perfect from today's globe. Can of Worms Ignatieff. Perfect.

10/31/2006 8:52 a.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Ottlib 2/3 of a stacked meeting isnot the majority of Quebec Liberals.

10/31/2006 8:52 a.m.  
Blogger Sinestra a dit...

Sb, don't even bother telling them about the clearly stacked room. They've all had their Kool-Aid. They'll see how popular this resolution really is among 'Quebec Liberals' when they get spanked on the floor.

10/31/2006 9:19 a.m.  
Blogger Sinestra a dit...

Sb, don't even bother telling them about the clearly stacked room. They've all had their Kool-Aid. They'll see how popular this resolution really is among 'Quebec Liberals' when they get spanked on the floor.

10/31/2006 9:19 a.m.  
Blogger propatria a dit...

Wonder how many of those quebec liberals who supported the resolution agree on what the hell it means. Saying "quebec is a nation" is meaningless unless you actually define what that means, because it can have so many meanings.

10/31/2006 9:32 a.m.  
Blogger ottlib a dit...


I did not drink the Koolaid. I do not support Iggy I just think he will win.

My reasons are as I stated here and in my own blog.

SB: I have heard the room was stacked and I have heard it was not. Who to believe. Well it will not be you as you have been very vocal in your visceral hatred of Dr. Ignatifeff from the beginning so I am pretty certain anything you say about him or anything he is involved with is coloured by that hatred.

What I will say is I have found the Quebec Nation Resolution has resonated with all of my Quebec work colleagues, of which two are members of the Liberal Party. Not one has expressed any opposition to it with all but one expressing support. The one who did not express support essentially said "Well d'uh. You guys are just figuring that out now?"

That pretty much sums it up for me.

And remember folks that I live next to West Quebec, one of the most Federalist regions of Quebec. If this resolution is resonating there it is resonating elsewhere in the province.

10/31/2006 11:28 a.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Au contrare, I don't hate igs at all. He is just wholly unqualified for the job and has made nothing but arrogant mistakes since the beginning of his campaign, has denied everything he has ever said was what he meant, and is now trying to rip our country apart. But I don't hate him, I'm just very pleased that it now seems more than clear, which it always was to me, that he will not be Liberal leader.

10/31/2006 11:35 a.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Oh yeah I do make fun of him a lot because well, his candidacy is risible and that's another quote from the globe. In any other developed nation in the world no one who has not primarily resided in a country for 37 years and it is 37 years, or 1969, would have a chance of being entertained for leadership. Hatered no, laughter yep. He's a joke more and more everyday.

10/31/2006 11:38 a.m.  
Blogger ottlib a dit...

Call it whatever you like Shoshana I still will not take anything you say about him seriously.

Personally, I would prefer that he did not become Liberal leader and there is still time for one of his opponents to get their act together and present themselves as THE alternative to him.

However, if that does not happen Dr. Ignatieff will probably win. So Liberals better start getting used to the idea now because it will be much too late to do so during the election in March.

10/31/2006 11:50 a.m.  
Blogger canuckistanian a dit...


i never estimated the size of the anti-iggy movement, i merely said that this resolution will cost him delegates in the ROC. moreover, your comment to sb that he will win and we should get used to it now b4 the election is based on the premise of blind partisanship. i put country b4 party, and as it stands, it doesn't look like i could support iggy in an election.

10/31/2006 12:43 p.m.  
Blogger ottlib a dit...


As I have been saying for a few days now the ROC is going to have to come to grips with the perception in Quebec that Quebec is a nation. For them it is fact, full stop, end of story. No amount of whining by the ROC will change that.

It so happens the Conservatives have stumbled upon a solution. They would gut the Federal Government and have a wholesale devolution of its powers to the provinces.

I , like most Liberals, do not find that option appealing and for me that is a more real threat than acknowledging what has become a fact in Canadian politics. If you consider that blind partisanship then sobeit. However, I would be interested in knowing if you would find the Conservative solution acceptable.

11/01/2006 12:15 p.m.  
Blogger NappyGuy a dit...

Ottlib, if most people in Quebec feel that Quebec is a nation, why the heck do they need the ROC to say so?
Just like most people in the blogosphere have the perception that Antonio is a divisive idiot, I don't feel we need to open up the constitution for a formal statement of such to validate my perception.

11/01/2006 6:19 p.m.  

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