Monday, November 16, 2009

14 Years Later-It's Still about Anglos and Ethnics

Its been 14 years ago, almost to the day that Jacques Parizeau, in the aftermath of the razor-thin referendum defeat, uttered those fateful words that cast the blame for the crushing defeat.
"Money and the ethnic vote"

Once again we're hearing complaints in the nationalist camp that the Anglos and Ethnics caused Louise Harel to lose the Montreal mayoral election.

The Montreal daily Le Devoir went so far as to hire two experts to analysis the Anglo and ethnic vote to in order to determine if this was true.

I could have saved them the money. Of course it's true.
Back in March I wrote a piece explaining why Louise Harel couldn't win the race to become Montreal's next mayor. It's the perception that she's anti-English and anti-immigrant.

Ever since the merger that fused several Montreal suburbs with Montreal, the city shifted to a non-francophone majority and became manifestly federalist. It's ironic that it was Harel herself who masterminded this merger while serving in the PQ government.

One of the major complaints by nationalists is that ethnics and Anglos tend to vote as a block, which they  somehow perceive as unfair.

This subtle racism was best evinced by blow-hard Yves Michaud, who complained many years ago that ethnics voted 'No' in the referendum as a block, while Francophones split their vote.
He viewed this as inherently undemocratic.
While everyone is free to vote as they wish, it seems that democracy must rest on a balance of forces and opinions that underpin the public debate. Districts where there was French-speaking majority showed a balance by voting 60% for "Yes" and 40% for "No".....

In some voting stations in the cities of Hampstead, Montreal West, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, it's the same thing, where with over two hundred votes cast, there wasn't a single vote in favour of  "Yes".....

......This is not the best example of democracy.
So ethnics and Anglos must vote as Francophones do.
This opinion has become a nationalist talking point. Here's a fresh take on the subject by Sylvain Maréchal writing in Tribune libre de Vigile

We can indeed take comfort in that we voted "normally." The francophone vote, unlike the English vote, was widely distributed among the three candidates, so we escape with dignity, escaping the "ethnic vote" At the end of it, what do we take out of this election- that we grew.
It seems that the idea that people vote their conscious and in their own best interest doesn't apply to Anglos and Ethnics. Voting as a block is 'undemocratic.'
That is the racist under-tone of those who complain about block voting.

Francophones are used to having split opinions about sovereignty. In most families there are members both for and against, it's no big deal. On many occasions, especially in local elections sovereignist vote for federalists and vice versa.

In Anglo and Ethnic families, it's pretty much the opposite. Everyone is a federalist and here, sovereignty is the only issue that counts in an election. Every other issue pales by comparison and it's likely that if Angel Gabriel came down from Heaven and ran for mayor as a sovereignists, he'd lose as well.

For these nationalists it's just another example of Anglos and ethnics frustrating the will of the legitimate majority.
For them, nothing has changed.


  1. Hello,

    Where can I find Yves Michaud's opinion that you quoted?

  2. The original quote is from Mr. Michaud's book, "Paroles d’un homme libre"
    You can view the original French quote at the wonderful Quebec History site at Marianopolis College.

  3. Le Devoir already has its 'bent' so to speak,..Louise Harel was looked upon as the mother of the forced mergers, irregardless of how one spins it, she lost. We should stop trying to play into the hands of the media trying to constantly drive a wedge and decide who is 'Quebecer' and who is not.

  4. At the federal level Quebec's voting cohesiveness kept the Liberlas in power for many years while they did not enjoy much support outside the province. A prime example would be the 1972 election.