Monday, November 27, 2006

Is Michaelle Jean Quebecois? or Why Kennedy is Right

I have thus far decided against posting on the nation issue. Frankly, I think its a debate for 19th century sociologists. But since the majority of the country disagrees with me, I've given it some thought. I agree that 'Pur Laine' Quebecois constitute a nation. The problem is Quebec is a lot more than pur laine these days. It used to be fairly easy. Quebeckers who spoke French were Quebecois. Nowadays, however, with an influx of immigrants from Haiti, Lebanon, Cote D'Ivoire and other parts of the Francophonie, the distinction is less clear. Thus, the question arises is our Governor General Quebecois? If yes, then 'Quebecois' is not a national distinction, in the academic sense, since there is no shared history and culture and in the case of Lebanese Muslims, religion. If no, we have a problem.

Actually two problems. The first problem is what good is a distinction of a Quebecois nation if not even the entire Bloc caucus is included in the definition. The second is that it runs contrary to the very nature of the country Canadians love. This kind of racially defined distinction runs contrary to Canadian traditions of multi-culturalism and diversity. The Liberal Party prides itself on being the party for new Canadians. Immigrants have a place in our party and our country and should not be made to feel excluded no matter where they live. When we start dividing up our country along racial lines we destroy the greatness of this country. Stephen Harper's resolution divides this country along 19th century European lines. Lines that are not relevant in today's Canada.

This is why I say Gerard Kennedy is right in his assessment of the nation question. That said I think it was an incredibly stupid thing for Kennedy to say. In this situation, the right position is also the one most likely to cost you votes. This is true both at the convention and in a future general election. The sentiment in the country (with the possible exception of Alberta) is that we should recognize the Quebecois nation. Going against the grain on this issue is politically dangerous. I respect Kennedy's decision. I think he's right. However, this may cost him the leadership.

P.S. I'll get on with my convention questions later today.

1 comment:

Steve said...

I believe Gerard that he did this for principled rather than political reasons. Isn't that what the Liberal party needs now more than ever?

All views expressed in this blog are those of the author and the author alone. They do not represent the views of any organization, regardless of the author's involvement in any organizations.

All comments are the views of the individual writer. The administrator reserves the right to remove commentary which is offensive.

The author is not responsible for nor does he support any of the advertisements displayed on the page