Monday, March 23, 2009

Despite Sovereignists Best Efforts, Federalism Lives On

Nicolas Sarkozy, a watermark was present that ...Image via Wikipedia

In a letter to the editor written March 21, to the Quebec daily le Soleil, a reader wrote;

"Many sovereignists protest the fact that Michael Sabia, an Ontarian by birth, was named as the head of the Caisse de dépôt et de placement. Nevertheless, six weeks ago, these same sovereignists complained that Nicolas Sarkozy accused them of practising a sort of national sectarianism. Well, the cat is out of the bag; their intolerance towards Mr. Sabia proves that Mr. Sarkozy was right. Mr. Sabia has lived in Quebec for over sixteen years and has made the effort to learn our language. How many years of effort does it take to satisfy the the bone fides of a Quebecker, for these supposedly non-sectarian sovereignists? In 2005, the PQ itself chose a leader who was an Ontarian and who had previously lived in the United States. No federalist complained that Andre Boisclair wasn't Quebecker enough to occupy the job. Federalists are inclusive. Instead of complaining, every time they are served up the truth, sovereignists should follow the federalists' example and stop being intolerant"
-Bruno Pelletier, Rimouski

Quite a letter, considering that it's not easy for a francophone Quebecker to be a federalist or to support inclusiveness.

The intellectuals, the artists, the civil service, and most importantly the education system and television are almost exclusively sovereignist. From early childhood, Quebeckers are taught that Canada represents a threat to their language and culture.

So the real question is this; In the face of so much pressure, why do federalists persist in Quebec?

Why do letter writers like Mr. Pelletier, who hails from the Gaspe region of the province (an area of Quebec not renowned for being a hotbed of federalism,) buck the trend and speak out about the intolerance of the sovereignty movement?

Canadians, who live outside Quebec, tend to see Quebeckers as one single political group and it's an unfortunate characterization.

It is a fact that there are more fedaralists living in Quebec than there are living in Alberta, or Manitoba, or Saskatchewan, or the entire Maritimes and territories combined. It is a fact often unknown or forgotten by Canadians, but not by sovereignists, who remain confounded by the strength of the Canadian ideal in Quebec.

The fact that sovereignists cannot convince a majority of Quebeckers to support them, is a continuing source of frustration and a painful reminder that in Quebec, inclusiveness remains more popular than sectarianism, in spite of the overwhelming sovereignist pressure and that the Canadian model remains a more popular choice.
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