November 6, 2006

I Have Emerged from the Undisclosed Location to ask the Boobers Blog Team a Question

I have been away for awhile. Papers and Midterms have completely bogged me down. My personal life not helping any, it leaves blogging for the end. While I see John Lennard and the Boobers Blog team have turned their sights on Ted Betts in my absence, I would like to take this time to discuss how Bob Rae is trying to have his cake and eat it too. Either you support a group of experts who want to look into how to determine Quebec’s nationhood, or you wanna kill the issue by voting against the resolution. Give Dion credit here, at least he has been clear.

Why is a Quebec a founding people of Canada? Even Lord Durham, yes THAT Lord Durham, from Justin Trudeau’s favorite century, said of the Upper and Lower Canada “Two nations warring in the bosom of a single state.” The recommended union and assimilation but at least his original observation was correct. This concept is hardly new, but it has evolved considerably. Sorry Justin, it is still vibrant today.

Can we all agree that distinct society and nation is pretty much the same thing? Nobody will say that I am not part of the distinct society but I am part of the Quebec nation. That would be ludicrous. Many people recognize Quebec’s distinctiveness. Even Trudeau, and his many followers, at one point, would have had no problem if distinct society was put in the preamble because then, it would mean absolutely nothing in the legal sense. With Meech, thanks to Brian Mulroney, an inequality would be enshrined in the constitution, because courts would have to use distinct society in making their decisions. No wonder Trudeau went nuts. I would have never supported Meech myself. Either way, Bob and Stephane supported it back then...go figure. Michael doesn’t gain any points here either…he was on the cover of British GQ at the time.

Ok, I am gonna quote somebody on distinct society. This person has also said Quebec is a nation.

“The distinctiveness of Quebec is not just about a legal and constitutional formula. It is a fact of life, recognized in 1867, and accepted as a reality of our Canadian experience.”

Ok to Call Me Bob Nation, explain that one for me. It is in Bob Rae’s book Canada in the Balance p.124. Explain why Bob Rae still will say no to a group of working experts but says that Quebec’s distinctiveness is a fact of life and accepted as a reality of our Canadian experience. Leave Ted alone but answer me this question please.

In the mean time, I will deal with Newfoundland.

Despite the fact that Bob’s statement above does not apply to Newfoundland, nothing prevents Newfoundlanders and Labradorians from identifying themselves to a Newfoundland nation, just like nothing prevents me from identifying myself to the Quebec nation. Recognizing the “fact of life” that Quebec is a nation would take nothing away from anybody else. It would not remove something from the Canadian fabric.

I will identify myself to the Quebec nation whether it is recognized or not. The fact that many English Canadians and Liberals still refuse to recognize this “reality of our Canadian experience” is the real reason why many Quebecers are quite upset and why some Quebec delegates are turning away from Dion at the moment to be honest.

While the same cultural differences that are the reasoning behind Quebec’s nation status are not there between Newfoundland and the rest of Canada, the beauty of Canada is that you can identify to yourself to whatever group you want to. I would argue against saying Newfoundland is a nation, but if there was consensus among the other provinces that the people of Newfoundland were a nation and that they wanted this status in the constitution, they are more than welcome to ask, although I do think Danny Williams will have to do more than take down the flag to accomplish this.

After all, is Newfoundland’s distinctiveness a “fact of life, recognized in 1867, and accepted as a reality of our Canadian experience”? We can ask Bob Rae but I bet you he would be much harder pressed to prove that for Newfoundland then he can prove it for Quebec. Thanks Bob!

10 Commentaires:

Blogger propatria a dit...

You neither define what "distinct society" or "nation" means exactly. Does it refer to a territory or a group of people or both or something else? Who exactly makes up that group of people? What is the territory and is that territory divisible? And thats just the tip of the iceburg.

Before you state "quebec is a nation" in a political platform, you have to define exactly what that means. To do otherwise is dangerous when you have disagreement on what the statement means between federalists and seperatists.

11/06/2006 11:14 AM  
Blogger Skip a dit...

Do I believe that Quebec is a distinct society? Yes.

Do I support "officializing" Quebec as a nation? No.

Why? Because nation, in English, has several different connotations, but the one most readily understood, is that nation means sovereign political entity, as in, the United Nations...

Is that too complicated?

11/06/2006 12:40 PM  
Blogger Ed King a dit...

Even Lord Durham, yes THAT Lord Durham, from Justin Trudeau’s favorite century, said of the Upper and Lower Canada “Two nations warring in the bosom of a single state.”

Once again you have distorted Canadian history to defend your 'nation' position. There was no warring between Upper and Lower Canada! The two colonies peacefully coexisted side by side. Durham was referring to two nations within Quebec, the French Canadians and the English. Quebec was in the 19th century what it is today: a province home to many nations.

11/06/2006 12:56 PM  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Bob Rae has won the Liberal LEadership. Its over and 60% of Liberals are voting against the Nation resolution. There isn't even 2/3 support for the Resolution among Iggy delegates. It's over Antonio, you can move on to other things now.

11/06/2006 6:20 PM  
Blogger canuckistanian a dit...

you ask: "can we all agree that distinct society and nation is pretty much the same thing?"

i would say that some will agree that the two are interchangeable. however, there are clearly large demographics who will not agree on this definition. indeed, many will use this term to promote separatism, while others will never accept the term. accordingly, it is clear that engaing in such a semantic debate, is dangerous for the unity of the canadian nation.

moreover, it will never be officializd in the constitution. it isn't feasible. the other provinces will not support it. so why would we waste our breathe on it? and if we tried, we would not focus on the REAL issues facing the ENTIRE country.

i'm a federalist, i believe in canada, i believe in multiculturalism, and i believe this is an insane idea. you can continue to brush your detractors aside, but, in so doing, you will not gain support for this resolution or your chosen leadership candidate. you will only further alienate people from your cause and your candidate.

do michael ignatieff a favour and stop posting on this divisive issue. the more airtime this issue receives the more difficult for iggy to win the leadership, let alone a general election. if iggy is intent on pursuing this crazed idea as leader, we will all have to suffer through a couple of conservative majorities.

11/06/2006 6:36 PM  
Blogger Ed King a dit...

Explain why Bob Rae still will say no to a group of working experts but says that Quebec’s distinctiveness is a fact of life and accepted as a reality of our Canadian experience.

If "group of working experts" refers to those who drafted the LPC(Q) 'nation' resolution, that resolution and Quebec's distinctiveness are two separate issues.

I don't know why Bob Rae opposed the LPC(Q) resolution, but I can think of a few good reasons why any Liberal would. For example, the resolution promotes a flawed view of Canadian history by stating that Canada was founded by three peoples: French, English, and aboriginal. Canada was founded by provinces, colonies, which were each home to several peoples. Furthermore, there is no "aboriginal people"; there are dozens upon dozens of aboriginal peoples, and to lump them all in as one people is wrong. The resolution might as well say that there were two founding peoples: Europeans and aboriginals.

Quebec's distinctiveness has historically been derived from three facts: Quebec is the only province where a majority of inhabitants speak French, Quebec uses of the civil code, and Quebec is the 'cradle' of the French Canadian race. I have never heard anyone deny that most Quebecers speak French, or that the civil code is used in that province. Quebec's distinctiveness is recognized by the Constitution and the Canadian population.

I will identify myself to the Quebec nation whether it is recognized or not. The fact that many English Canadians and Liberals still refuse to recognize this “reality of our Canadian experience” is the real reason why many Quebecers are quite upset and why some Quebec delegates are turning away from Dion at the moment to be honest.

You are confusing nationhood with distinctiveness. You may think the difference is trivial, but others do not. The concept of a Quebec nation flies in the face of hundreds of years of Canadian history, as your misinterpretation of Durham's quotation perfectly illustrates. In my opinion, it is also at odds with Liberal values and traditions.

To suggest that opposing the recognition of a Quebec nation is akin to denying the province's distinctiveness is preposterous and insulting.

11/06/2006 7:09 PM  
Blogger Andrea a dit...

Antonio, a pandora's box has been opened that most don't want to jump into now (or ever). Ignatieff won't win the convention because of this, because a MAJORITY of people do not support the whole nation stupidity or don't want to start another constitutional debate.

It is interesting that this nation debate has played into the hands of the separatists... On the one hand, if the nation status is denied they can claim that Canada does not want to recognize them. On the other hand, if nation status is granted, they can claim that the next logical step is full independance.

Thanks Ignatieff for your insightfull take on the nation notion. He's a good guy, and a decent candidate, but this nation thing shows me that he definitely not leadership material. If he were, he would have not tryed to pander to his Quebec base while alienating the rest of Canada, and he would have known that separatists could use this new nation debate to invigorate their cause, as the Quebec provincial election nears.

11/06/2006 8:34 PM  
Blogger WestmountLiberal a dit...

"Liberals still refuse to recognize this “reality of our Canadian experience” is the real reason why many Quebecers are quite upset and why some Quebec delegates are turning away from Dion at the moment to be honest."

I'm a Quebec delegate supporting Dion. I know of NO other Quebec delegate turning away from Dion at the moment to be honest.
The same however cannot be said of Iggy.

11/07/2006 3:38 AM  
Blogger Loraine Lamontagne a dit...

If we were to go back in time, how much importance was given to the recognition of Quebec as a nation in the political discourse, say a year ago? It still seems to me that this resolution is about branding politics and not about the will of the peoples of Québec. Charest says he won't get into this negociation while his minister Pelletier thinks it's high time (d'actualité). The Quebec government is split on this. I don't think it's Monsieur Boisclair's ultimate ambition to sign the Constitution on those terms! Hopefully, the resolution will fail. It may be the ambition of some politicos to open up the Constitution for this but I don't think it is the will of the peoples of Quebec.

11/07/2006 6:37 AM  
Blogger Cable a dit...

As others have mentioned, without proper definitions of 'distinct society' and 'nation' this debate is almost meaningless.

Before anything else I will say that I do believe that French-Canadians in Quebec (and across the country) live in a very different political, religious and cultural context than myself.

Canada is full of 'nations' (peoples with shared history, shared values, perhaps shared language and shared religion).

Quebec has many nations within it, if we want to recognize 'Quebec' as a 'nation' then we're ignoring all the anglophones and innumerable other 'nation' groups within la belle province.

If we want to recognize 'French-Canadians' as a 'nation' then we have to look outside Quebec to all francophone communities across the paie.

Quebec's 'distinctiveness' is already recognized through language and civil law protection. No other province gets this, so you're distinct, be proud of it.

Want to be called a 'nation'? Kick everyone who isn't part of your 'nation' group (notice the above definition has no territorial attributes) out of your province.

Are you comfortable with that? I'm not.

11/07/2006 1:41 PM  

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