quebec and the federation 2

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Wilf Day
quebec and the federation 2

Good discussion.

Winston

Who is "flight from alan smithee"?  Wink

lagatta

Rebecca, as per other post asking me not to swear at someone, in principle I certainly agree. However, unfortunately the moderators do not deal with anti-QuébécoisE comments as severely as they do other bigoted comments. This is, of course, extremely frustrating.

flight from kamakura

quite droll that, i should say.

Wilf Day

[quote=flight from kamakura]the pro-independence forces have to be somewhat disappointed that albertans didn't immediately confirm that they were the insane francophobic troglodyte maniacs that we all assume them to be.[/quote]

[quote=alan smithee]Look at Alberta..It's hopelessly right wing . . .The provinces are much too polarized in public opinion and politics, uniting this country is an impossible task.[/quote]

Which is one reason I keep posting (do the French media ever notice this point?) that, if every vote counted equally, Alberta voters would have elected 19 Conservative MPs, 5 NDP, 3 Liberals and a Green: a second NDP from Edmonton such as Ray Martin, an NDP from Calgary such as past Labour Council president Collin Anderson, and a couple more NDP from the rest of Alberta such as Lethbridge professor Mark Sandilands and Metis lawyer Jennifer Villebrun from Peace River. A Liberal from Calgary such as lawyer (and past school board chair) Jennifer Pollock, a Liberal from Edmonton such as Mary McDonald (a lawyer and university professor like her old boss Anne McLellan), and a Liberal from the rest of Alberta such as Norm Boucher, Mayor of Medicine Hat. And a Green from Calgary such as democracy and human rights expert Heather MacIntosh. The real face of Alberta!

[quote=alan smithee]Without drifting from the thread,I'd like to know what we have learned from our current first takes all electoral system.

There's something wrong when a government is elected with less than 40% of the vote is given absolute power.

No more majority governments without atl east 51% of the vote.

Coalition governments where as all the parties have a say...as well as a law that states MP's cannot cross the floor after elections...

The Harper government has proven that the system is broken and it needs to be fixed.  

[/quote]

Well said.

Wilf Day

[quote=Winston]

Who is "flight from alan smithee"?  Wink

[/quote]

Oops. Corrected.

6079_Smith_W

@ lagatta

Really? I don't think I have ever seen anyone reprimanded for making gross generalizations or  bashing Ontario or any other part of Canada. 

I think many people  believe issues that concern them are not given the same respect and defense as other issues.

Whether or not there might be some truth to it, taking it to the level of comparing notes is a pointless exercise, IMO. For one thing, it might be a bit galling for people who have a slightly different perspective on things.

 

 

 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Well, I've always hoped that the right to self-determination would become one of babble's fundamental principles, which of course would include accepting Quebec's sovereignty as an assumed starting point. This is incredibly hard to enforce, since I remain baffled at the rest of Canada's hardwired inability to respect this very simple claim, inextricable from basic progressive ideology (not to mention the prospects of the NDP's long-term success in the province). In that sense I absolutely sympathize with lagatta's frustration--there are few posters I can think of with so long and determined a history of standing up for Quebec's rights and educating those willing to listen on babble. She certainly predates me, and when she writes on Quebec I always make a point to listen. It would be nice if everyone here gave her the same respect.

lagatta

I do apologise for swearing - I try to be polite and poised when posting - just lost my temper at one of those "Québec is nothing special" posters.

Wilf Day

[quote=Catchfire]In that sense I absolutely sympathize with lagatta's frustration--there are few posters I can think of with so long and determined a history of standing up for Quebec's rights and educating those willing to listen on babble. She certainly predates me, and when she writes on Quebec I always make a point to listen. It would be nice if everyone here gave her the same respect.[/quote]

Agreed 110%. It would also be nice if she posted more often; we need her.

6079_Smith_W

Who has said anything about not accepting Quebec sovreignty? 

And for that matter in what way have you moderators not taken enforcement of those principles as seriously as other forms of discrimination?

Never mind that bringing up that the issue of unfair application of principles has absolutely no relation to telling someone to fuck off. 

I think general claims that one is more hard-done-by than others are usually pointless and counter-productive.

Believe it or not CF, I was, among other things, defending the moderators.

 

6079_Smith_W

@ lagatta

Cross posted with you. Actually, I couldn't tell who you were talking to with that comment in the last thread, but I am interested in hearing what offended you, and what you mean by "Quebec is nothing special".

 

Unionist Unionist's picture

Contrary to Wilf's enthusiasm for this discussion, I don't think we're ready for it. Nothing good will come of this. The NDP has at long last given at least lip-service to the principles expressed in the Sherbrooke Declaration - and even Stephen Harper, smarter than most, sponsored a motion saying the "Québécois" (whom he refused to define) are a nation. Until babblers, or babble policy, are prepared to do at least this much, profanity will be inevitable.

lagatta

Wilf, if I don't post more often, it is simply because I can't really access rabble (get logged off all the time) and certainly can't participate, from my home computer. I'm posting from a local library. I'll have a new computer soon, and then will be able to post more often.

 

6079_Smith-W, I know we shouldn't use strong language on web boards, and apologised. But I strongly disagree with what you say, as a sense of endemic unfairness can and often does cause people on boards and in real life to lose their tempers!

 

And finally, I agree with the comment by Unionist. This does not necessarily mean favouring an independent Québec, or not being able to argue that staying in Confederation would be a better choice for all concerned - it does mean recognising that we are a nation, and not merely one among many distinct or distinctive regions.

flight from kamakura

more than that, i feel like a lot of the people posting are basically just winging it, intuiting the fantasy quebec that anglo canada has developed as a sort of foil for their own 'serious' views.  western canadians are, by far, the worst for this, but they have plenty of support in the non-nonsense media.  even today, there's an opinion piece on quebec's student movement calling them "spoiled brats".  they're just offensively clueless about basic quebec - the social contract that orders party competition and political discourse, the axis around which issues are contested and resolutions sought, the broad consensus on political aspirations and fundamental communal values.  when i first started the thread on quebec and the federation, i was hoping that we could discuss quebec's federal profile within that context, a thread both edifying and gratifying.  instead, i'm finding that it's people talking at each other, a depressing call-and-response loop virtually devoid of information, chasing away posters who might contribute something interesting (sean in ottawa, excepted, somehow).

the die cast (that is, thread started), one hopes that we kick it up a notch for this one.

flight from kamakura

that said, i'm off to get drunk on mint juleps and eat cold fried chicken in the park, cinco de derby.  so take that for whatever it's worth.

lagatta

That sounds like fun!

Unionist Unionist's picture

[quote=flight from kamakura]

that said, i'm off to get drunk on mint juleps and eat cold fried chicken in the park, cinco de derby.  so take that for whatever it's worth.

[/quote]

¡¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!!

6079_Smith_W

[quote=lagatta]

6079_Smith-W, I know we shouldn't use strong language on web boards, and apologised. But I strongly disagree with what you say, as a sense of endemic unfairness can and often does cause people on boards and in real life to lose their tempers!

[/quote]

Please tell me what you mean then, lagatta. 

Truth is, there are things in this conversation which bothered me from the start, some which I did not mention (like calling people troglodytes, even in jest, because really, it is half-jest), and equating other parts of Canada with the actions of our federal government, and other mistaken assumptions about political awareness and outcomes of elections  which I did point out. 

I'm not surprised at all that a conversation like this is going to see us pushing each others' buttons because in some things we have very different perspectives in different parts of this country.

But I disagree with unionist that we are not ready for anything. If not now, when? 

And again, had I not cross posted I would not have mentioned the swearing again. It was not my intention to rub it in.

(edit)

And regarding endemic unfairness I don't mean to say that it does not exist. We all know it does, and I am not trying to belittle what you consider unfair.

But I don't think presenting it in a general way is going to do much. You could ask 10 people here about how things are unfair, and who gets special consideration, and you would get 10 different answers. 

Wilf Day

[quote=lagatta]This does not necessarily mean favouring an independent Québec, or not being able to argue that staying in Confederation would be a better choice for all concerned - it does mean recognising that we are a nation, and not merely one among many distinct or distinctive regions.[/quote]

[quote=flight from kamakura]

when i first started the thread on quebec and the federation, i was hoping that we could discuss quebec's federal profile within that context, a thread both edifying and gratifying.

[/quote]

I go back too far, I guess. I remember when Pearson took great pride in 1965 in recruiting the "Three Wise Men" -- Marchand, Pelletier and Trudeau -- (les trois colombes (three doves) in French) -- and the English-Canadian media told the ROC all about them, educating us all about the Asbestos strike and many other things.

I contrast that to the Orange Crush of May 2, 2011, when the English-language media introduced us to the "McGill Four" and "Vegas." At the time, practically nothing about comparable stars like Romeo Saganash, Françoise Boivin, Alexandre Boulerice, Nycole Turmel, Guy Caron, Anne-Marie Day, or Pierre Nantel, let alone the famous Alexandrine Latendresse or the remarkable Sadia Groguhé, Hoang Mai, Djaouida Sellah, Anne Minh-Thu Quach, and Pauline Ayala.

What did our incredible PR team do about this, after pulling off a brilliant election campaign? Nada. Nichts. Bugger-all. Don't just blame people in the ROC if they don't understand what's going on in Quebec. The NDP isn't doing enough to help them understand.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

@Unionist: Agreed!

Winston, I was responding to lagatta, not you or your post. Apologies for not making that clear. 

6079_Smith_W

@ CF

No problem, and sorry for being hypersensitive.

I do think it is worth it to take a deep breath and keep talking, though.

 

 

 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

With the students agreeing to end the strike,what's next?

Will the Occupy demonstrations take centre stage?

Or will the marijuana march become a daily event? (I wish)

Will Charest dodge a bullet or will the PQ pick up the ball and claim victory next election?

Will the student's agreement mean the PLQ will be ready for an election this Fall?

Hopefully something will follow up from the student demos.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

CBC reported there was a demo today outside the PLQ meeting against proposed 'fracking' - and demos against Plan Nord continue, and of course the Innu and Alliance Romaine continue the struggle against Hydro Quebec and the Romaine River hydro project. So whether the student demos end or not, there are still going to be a lot of anti-government protests in Quebec.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I think the student protests have shown that wide spread daily protests can work.

I don't know the terms of the agreement but at the very least,the protests must have been somewhat successful.

There's a myriad of issues to protest but annual protests or protests that take place once in a while clearly do not work.

I hope the Quebec Liberals don't take the student agreement as a victory they can pat themselves on the back for.

I hope this is just the first round of many fights ahead.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

There's a lot of complaints to go around. I'm not sure why Quebec gets special treatment?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

And this is very important for the NDP to discuss. They got "lucky" in Quebec.

How will they reconcile this in the "rest of canada"?

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Seeing that  the NDP is still enjoying success in Quebec hardly makes them 'Lucky'

And why would they have to 'reconcile' this fact with the ROC?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Sure it does. The Big Q is gonna come up. What is the NDP answer? I'm no slave to Quebec demands. The ROC NDP needs to represent. And this is a big political game my friends.

You know the narrative is coming...

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Maybe the ROC should 'reconcile' with Quebec for the Tories success.

Wilf Day

[quote=RevolutionPlease]Sure it does. The Big Q is gonna come up. What is the NDP answer? I'm no slave to Quebec demands. The ROC NDP needs to represent. And this is a big political game my friends. You know the narrative is coming...[/quote]

What on earth are you on about? Are you drunk? Please get off this site until you can talk sense.

Sean in Ottawa

RP- I know many have said that the NDP got lucky in Quebec- so it is not you.

Trouble is this denies the efforts the NDP made in Quebec over a long time and the strong commonness in values and positions. Worse it assumes Québec votes by accident or does not know what it is doing when it votes. I don't like the implication.

WD- I won't go after the PR team of the NDP-- I accept that we would not know what they would have done if Jack had not become ill and died but it is safe to say that more than complicated things especially as two candidates from Québec ran in the leadership race.

I am somewhat torn when it comes to how to respond to those saying Québec is just like the rest of Canada or trying to understand sovereignty. First there is a lot of propaganda to this effect and many people across the political spectrum in the ROC believe it-- sincerely and not to be mean. Perhaps there should be a sticky thread on the topic that we could have out there to explain this and then refer people to it as it comes up. The trouble with some starting point discussions is you can give up the learning/teaching opportunities when you do that. Since this is so core to the basis of what Canada and Québec are then it could be a huge missed opportunity since I find a lot of people appreciate the explanation and are prepared to accept it once this explanation has been made.

I fairness to many who hold this view-- I think many of them have never heard the argument. As correct and as compelling as it is if a person has never heard it and wants to I'd rather do the education thing than beat them up about it. I recognize that for those of the Québec nation this is harder to accept. It is sad that they live inside a state that simply does not talk enough rationally about basic things like who we are.

ilha formosa

[quote=lagatta]
This does not necessarily mean favouring an independent Québec, or not being able to argue that staying in Confederation would be a better choice for all concerned - it does mean recognising that we are a nation, and not merely one among many distinct or distinctive regions.
[/quote]
[quote=Sean in Ottawa]
[from 1st thread] no person -- and no nation -- is an island--
[/quote]

I think I will always have some discomfort with the word 'nation.' I feel the term attempts to draw a sharp line through broad grey zones. While some may see recognition of a nation as a protective measure, it could just as well have an exclusionary and isolating effect.

My feeling is, as far as semantics go, that 'un peuple' and even 'distinct society' are more innocuous terms, while the word 'nation' is more susceptible to hijack by demagogues. I am wary of the idea of official recognition of Quebec nationhood, even the limited 'soft' recognition given by Harper.

I recognize and admire the fact that a distinct culture exists in Quebec and I wish to see it thrive, most preferably as a part of Canada. And I recognize the francophone presence (which goes beyond Quebec both eastward and westward) not as one group among many, but as a founding group of the entity called Canada.

I have to echo PET: Why should francophone culture in Canada, if it is confident, need special protection?

(A note on the term 'nation' in 'First Nations' that I'm sure someone else could expound: My guess is the word nation in this context was adopted to give first peoples an equal footing with the colonizing powers and their gun-backed Westphalian notions of nationhood, sovereignty and diplomacy, in contrast to indigenous concepts of group membership.)

 

 

6079_Smith_W

ilha formosa

It hardly matters what you or I or anyone thinks, because some aspects of this have been ruled on by the highest court in the land. That is - if the people of Quebec decide in a referendum that they want to leave the nation of Canada then our govenrment is compelled to recognize that decision and begin negotiations. 

There is nothing grey whatsoever about that. 

There are certainly different opinions about the meaning of "nation" as a cultural concept as opposed to a political one, Or sovreignty, or the overlap of francophone culture in Canada and Quebec. And even differences of opinion regarding clarity.

And regarding First Nations, I am no expert, but I know there are some people who see themseives as a separate and sovreign political entity, and refuse to participate in Canadian politics for that reason. While that feeling isn't universal, I see them (and the Metis nation, and for that matter the provisional government of Red River, which negotiated entry into Canada) as real nations, not just pretend ones.

But regarding the political power of the people of Quebec to leave Canada if they choose, and their distinct status on a number of political and legal fronts,  that is clear.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Quite a while ago, and in another thread, I (and others) suggested that Harper wants Quebec to separate, because that would take the focus off what his government is doing elsewhere. On the other hand, does Harper really want to be remembered as the Prime Minister who lost Quebec?

JeffWells

[quote=Boom Boom]

Quite a while ago, and in another thread, I (and others) suggested that Harper wants Quebec to separate, because that would take the focus off what his government is doing elsewhere. On the other hand, does Harper really want to be remembered as the Prime Minister who lost Quebec?

[/quote]

He's going to be remembered poorly by many even if Quebec remains in Canada. As for Conservative Canada, if he provokes the exit of Quebec he will seal his legacy as the Greatest Prime Minister Ever.

That's what is so disturbing here. While Harper alienates Quebec he is cheered on by his base. It's not that they don't know the threat to the country. To them, the threat is a promise.

Former Reform MP Lee Morrison, from a [url=http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/05/01/todays-letters-former-mp-... to the editor[/url] a couple of weeks ago: "Canada can no longer afford our relationship so, I say to the PQ and my old parliamentary colleagues in the BQ, please hold another referendum and win. In negotiating terms of separation, the government of Canada should be generous because, whatever the cost, Canada will be well rid of this sick society."

Another thing: the subtraction of Quebec from Canada eliminates 70+ anti-Conservative votes from the electoral equation. I think it's naive to believe the alienation is accidental or inept. Harper knows what he's doing. I don't think we've fully woken up to it yet.

 

On edit: [url=http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/canada/120508/s... Harper Splitting Up Canada?[/url] Though no allowance that it may be on purpose.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Quebec has the right to decide its own future. I never said anything different and no one else has either.  Quebec has had the most progressive parliamentarians over the last 25 years. They were primarily PQ and BQ.  The federalist Quebec politicians have been less than progressive like Trudeau of the send in the  tanks and lock up peaceful separatists fame, or Mulroney of the NAFTA fame (which many "progressives" in Quebec supported).  Then we got Chretien and Martin. This progressive has little use for the federalist PM's Quebec voters have foisted on us although I admire the provincial PQ's legacies. I hope Mulcair turns out to be better than his predecessors but I do note he seems to really like free trade and I fear he will try and succeed where Trudeau and Mulroney failed and he too will fail.

I still note that no one has taken up my offer of drafting a proposal that will pass in Quebec and in other provinces as well.  I have no problem with Quebec seceding I just don't believe it is my place to make any offers to prevent that because I am not from Quebec. If the people of Quebec can come to a consensus on what they think the constitution should look like I am willing to listen and might even vote for it but I'll be damned if I want a federal party getting into the middle of your nations debate over your place either in or out of the confederation.

My view of the constitutional issue is Trudeau tried and failed, Mulroney tried and failed and the PQ tired and failed twice.  So tell me what do you think will pass the referendum test?

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

[quote=kropotkin1951]

.

My view of the constitutional issue is Trudeau tried and failed, Mulroney tried and failed and the PQ tired and failed twice.  So tell me what do you think will pass the referendum test?

[/quote]

 

Sovereignty-association

6079_Smith_W

Not to take any blame away from Trudeau (I don't, since he is the one who used it) but the initial demand came from Bourassa, no? 

And if anything, his failure was a partial one.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Robert Bourassa demanded the Armed Forces from Trudeau.

6079_Smith_W
kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

[quote=alan smithee]

[quote=kropotkin1951]

.

My view of the constitutional issue is Trudeau tried and failed, Mulroney tried and failed and the PQ tired and failed twice.  So tell me what do you think will pass the referendum test?

[/quote]

 

Sovereignty-association

[/quote]

Please define. The devil is in the details.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Nationhood....Full power over the feds on everything from domestic and social policies,taxation,immigration etc...while still remaining in Canada.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I am not sure what the point of "remaining" in Canada would be if Quebec has full power over everything.  Do you envision still electing MP's to help decide what the policy for the mythical ROC would be?  Quebec gets full powers and seats in the House of Commons?  I am not sure if you will find a majority in 6 other provinces for that proposal.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Once Quebec is a nation,it doesn't need federal MP's...Quebec would have it's own constitution and be in control of its destiny and its will.

We'd share the same currency,military and border.

At the moment,technically,we don't need a referendum to distinguish ourselves as a nation...That fact has been resolved,most recently by King Stephen.

And acting as a sovereign nation can be accomplished within Canada.

For example,Quebec wants its own gun registry..Who's to stop us?...It doesn't matter what Canada thinks or says....We are a nation.

Sean in Ottawa

Alan, SA did not pass the referendum test before. I don't think SA is any better bet than the status quo in a referendum. I'd argue most people are looking for something else.

To some degree as well much has been achieved. And much is still wanting.

Québec wants (in my opinion) not only an admission that it is a nation but a culture in Canada of acceptance of that fact. By that I mean not only rhetoric but a reflection in policy. In some cases that means opting out with full funding, the creation of parallel but different program delivery. In other cases it means not being so stupid as they were with the long gun registry.

A key aspect of the development of a nation must also be the ability to negotiate if not outright control its financial destiny. This means that the federal government must be especially sensitive to the economic policy of Canada when it comes to Québec. That does not mean unfairness in terms of getting more as some suggest in English Canada. But it does mean compromises in economic direction at times to accommodate difference and priorities of Québec. Québec is not asking for more than the other provinces- it does not worry about what other provinces have or do. It is asserting the right to be different. It expects Canadians through the federal government to respect its institutions, language, culture and national identity.

The notion of asymmetry is confusing for many. It is not that Québec is expecting more or needs to be different so much as the ability to make its way with accommodation in those areas. There is no presumption at all that Québec would not respect any other province or region of Canada to do the same. It would expect in that case that both sit down with the feds and work out how each could achieve those stated objectives and still work together in the federation. Failing that it preserves the right to leave-- which also preserves the right to be here -- by choice rather than anything else.

If you imagine Canada as a cooperative that works as much as possible by consensus but where a part could do something different, with its institutions and identity respected, I see no reason to presume that Québec could not remain within Canada and function quite well. In this case there are many functions of the federal government that Québec would work with without any real issue. You only start to have a problem if you imagine all provinces must function the same way in a centralized structure that lacks the cultural capacity to recognize difference  in choice, reality and identity. Once you recognize that Québec is not owned as the sovereign territory of Ottawa and Canada is not an empire but a state that we choice to be part of based on a series of arrangements then you are much of the way there. The idea of fairness is not in dispute either. Québec is not asking for anything unfair and is not seeking to define who else is or is not entitled to whatever it has. and it is not asking for more than it's share of the wealth of the nation-- although as other provinces do as well, at times it may not agree with everyone else on what that is. This is the key.

Sean in Ottawa

Kropotkin -- Alan does not want to be part of Canada. Perhaps he is not the best person to negotiate with if that is your objective. However, there are those who want to have a place for Québec in Canada and perhaps if you address what they are looking for they can be satisfied even if Alan, respectfully, is beyond reach. Much of this is not about dislike for Canada but a feeling that Canada cannot ever meet the minimum requirements for happy cohabitation. If you desire Canadian unity, as I do, then exploring those may be more rewarding than exploring a point of view that does not desire the same objective as you.

While Québec certainly has the right to self determination not everyone feels the same way as Alan. I have been trying to explore some of the ideas that could make living in the same state possible. I don't presume that Alan has any obligation to agree with me or work to the same goal I might have and I won't measure the merits of my words only against the opinion of a person who doe snot share that objective. There are many other things I can agree on with Alan so that would be where I would focus my attention in discussions with him...

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

You do realize your proposal requires a complete rewrite of the constitution.  If you don't need federal MP's then it might fly.  Who do you envision controlling the policy decisions that would effect the shared currency?  The military doesn't much matter since the Canadian Forces are under the command of the White House anyways and if we tried to change that relationship they would likely instigate a coup.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Fair enough,Sean.

But part of being a nation is functioning as a nation.

I don't see policies becoming the exact reverse of Canadian policies but there are some differences in philosophy.

There's something to be said when the Charest government challenges the feds..It shows that there are some real deep seeded differences.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

[quote=kropotkin1951]

You do realize your proposal requires a complete rewrite of the constitution.  If you don't need federal MP's then it might fly.  Who do you envision controlling the policy decisions that would effect the shared currency?  The military doesn't much matter since the Canadian Forces are under the command of the White House anyways and if we tried to change that relationship they would likely instigate a coup.

[/quote]

I think the constitution should be re-written or atleast revised to recognize Quebec as a nation.

As for the Armed Forces,I never suggested a Quebec Army.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Speaking of "Quebec and the federation"  equalization payments ought to figure in the mix. Are we happy with the formula? With Alberta earning gazillions from the tar sands that pollutes the planet and especially Canada, should Quebec and the provinces be asking for more since we have to deal with the consequences of Alberta's pollution and contribution to climate change - not to mention the damage done by the petrodollar economy?

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