Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Does Anyone Listen to Pauline Marois?

Catalonia is a Spanish province that shares many political similarities with Quebec. Of its seven million inhabitants about 40% speak an indigenous language similar, but not the same as Spanish (Catalan) and profess a separate culture from Spain, which was repressed up until the end of the Second World War (under Fascist dictator Francisco Franco,) after which the re-emergence of Catalonia as a distinct element of Spain was established.

Of course there is the obligatory secessionist movement, but it isn't violent and has much less support then that of the independence movement in Quebec. In the latest survey only about 20% of locals are in favour of outright independence. Reference
It should be noted that all this has unfolded peacefully and should not be confused with the independence movement farther North in the Basque region which has seen decades of various levels of terrorism by the ETA.

Most Catalans are content to remain in Spain under semi-autonomous conditions which were agreed to in 2006, under the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, but recently, that law has been dealt a setback by Spain's Supreme Court, ruling that some of its provisions were unconstitutional (ring any bells?)

On June 10 Catalans held a giant demonstration in Barcelona to protest the decision.

All this,  of course, is of supreme interest to the Parti Quebecois, who view the independence movement in Catalonia as a parallel struggle to that of the independence of Quebec.

Upon hearing the news of the Supreme court setback Pauline Marois took it upon herself to write a letter of commiseration to the president of Catalonia. LINK

Here is a translation of that letter which was originally written in French;
 Most Honourable Señore José Montilla i Aguilera
President of the government of Catalonia
Mr. President,
With great attention I read about the recent 'decsion' of the Constitutional Court that declared unconstitutional several important  provisions of the Organic Law on the reform of Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia.
I also, like many Quebeckers, noted the strength of the Catalonian nation during the demonstration on 10 July in Barcelona.
This gathering of over one million of Catalans last Saturday under the banner of "We are One Nation - We'll Decide for Ourselves,"  illustrates the extraordinary vitality and commitment to the nation's destiny.

The Quebec nation remains, as the Catalan nation, committed to its right to decide its own future. Despite court decisions, the Catalan nation has the right to protect and promote its language, its culture and its institutions. The political struggle to advance our nations, often against the established constitutional straitjacket, requires much effort and energy. Also, know that in Quebec you will always find attentive friends and allies for your engagement towards Catalonia.

On behalf of the Parti Quebecois, I want to express to you today our solidarity.
We believe that  it is up to our peoples to ultimately decide our own destiny, to choose our political status and exercise the right to self-determination and not the courts, to mark their future.

Please accept, Mr. President, my highest consideration. 
Chef du Parti Québécois
Chef de l'opposition officielle»    

For elected officials, interfering in the internal affairs of another country is an international taboo, especially when it comes to supporting independence movements.

The classic example was Charles de Gaulle's "VIVE LA QUEBEC LIBRE" speech that he gave in Montreal in 1967. The angry reaction of the Canadian government at the French president's meddling over the issue of Quebec sovereignty sent De Gaulle scurrying home amidst a diplomatic row.

Perhaps Madame Marois deserves to be declared personna non grata by the Spanish government for her act of interference, but it doesn't appear so.

The letter hasn't caused much of a splash and there's zero mention of it in the Spanish press.

I guess Madame Marois lacks a certain gravitas....

Or to paraphrase.....

"Pauline, you're no Charles De Gaulle." ... 

At any rate Madame Marois seems to prattle on without anyone listening. She is prone to make endless policy shifts depending on the prevailing mood of her party or the electorate.

At a certain point as leader she declared there would likely be another referendum during the next PQ mandate. Then her position shifted and the referendum became a maybe. Now, with the PQ facing a realistic chance of winning the next election, a referendum, has been officially ruled out. Ho hum.

Her latest demand that the Loyola College court decision (allowing the school to teach the ECR course according to Catholic point of view) be appealed is so strident, that it would be safe to assume that she has always been a supporter of separation of Church and school. See my post
"It is up to parents and the church to pass along faith," Marois said. "Schools must pass along knowledge."
No mincing words there, a secularist through and through. Or so it appears.

In an article in Republique de Bananes, Pauline Marois is quoted as making the following statements in the 'Assemblée nationale (Parliament) back in  March 1997.
"Public schools must respect the free choice or free rejection of religion, it is part of democratic freedoms."
 "The choice between moral education or religious education, Catholic and Protestant, shall continue to be offered in accordance with the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms. "

 "Schools must be able to offer free choice to parents who attend ... that is to say, to parents of children who attend, of the possibility of a  Catholic, Protestant or moral training. "

"I repeat, Mr. Speaker,  public schools must respect the free choice as well as free rejection of religion as expressed by parents. 
Quite a flip-flop.

Recently, in reference to that Loyola court decision, Marois was quoted as saying; 
"I'm the one who worked to secularize the school system."  Link

Nobody has called her out on the apparent contradiction in positions, probably because nobody is paying much attention to her.


  1. When Groucho Marx said: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them, well,I have others." he became the spiritual leader of politicians everywhere.
    I always found it interesting that De Gaulle supported Quebec independence since, if the decision to help France had been left up to Quebec in the second World War, the French would now be wearing lederhosen and singing the Horst Wessel song on the Champs Elysees. I guess it comes from being an ornery, ungrateful a-hole.

  2. Thanks for the article. Pauline Marois will say whatever she thinks the Quebecois people want to hear. She has no focus and will never forge an inclusive vision for all Quebecers. She serves the Quebecois and the Quebecois only. She is a power hungry wannabe despot. Nothing she says is real. She is the enemy of truth and equal rights for all citizens of Quebec.
    I think Pauline Marois is a wack job who should be dismissed by all, but never ignored. She cannot be trusted and could become a potentially dangerous politician if she ever gains sufficient power. Every step she takes should be closely monitored.

  3. Que dire de plus ? Vive le Québec libre !

  4. Take a look to this article http://www.josephfacal.org/vive-la-catalogne-libre/- It seem that the Catalans just voted ''Près de 95 % de voix se sont exprimées en faveur de l’indépendance. Le taux de participation était d’un peu plus de 30 %''

  5. Re: DeGaulle

    He was a hypocrite at many levels.

    1. His Anglophobia manifested in his successive vetoes to Britain's application to the EEC and stirring up tensions in English speaking countries contrasted with the fact that it was the Anglos (US, Canada, UK) that liberated his country.

    2. He claimed to promote Quebec's (and other countries’) "independence" at exactly the same time as his army was fighting a brutal war of colonization in Algeria and occupied other African countries.

    Re: Facal

    He's lying about the turnout. The turnout was 10% (not 30%), with 90% of the population staying home and ignoring this referendum. The Spanish government acted swiftly to call this referendum an act of propaganda, which it certainly was.


    The 10% of Catalan nationalists who turned out to vote voted overwhelmingly for the secession of Catalonia. However, they forgot to mention that they were the only ones who turned up to vote. 9 in 10 Catalan residents opted to stay out of it and enjoy the siesta.

    This brings me to an important point - can these Quebec separatist twits stop lying every single day? I mean, every politician lies once in a while, but these guys are surely pushing the envelope. This movement seems to be all about lies, distortions, manipulation, and contrivance.

  6. Vive l'indépendance du Québec !!

  7. I would mention that ETA offered to suspend all acts of terrorism permanently after 9/11 if the Spanish government would allow a free referendum on independence for the Basque country. The government in Madrid refused. Under Franco, Basques suffered terribly. What if the feds had refused to allow a referendum in 80 and 95? Would we still have the FLQ? And wouldn't we deserve it? The Toronto guy.

  8. Aside from the nincompoop indépendentiste who throws in his one-line drivel, the above comments suit me fine. I tend to write long, wordy essays, but right now I'm in Montreal mourning the loss of an aunt to whom I was very close. She was able to die in Quebec in her own language as an «anglophone de souche». Too bad my son and life partner's two children will not get that opportunity.

    Those youngsters were all born post-Bill 101 and would therefore not be recognized as being able to die in their own language. They would be expected to integrate, or else. My life partner's two children attended English schools and both now live in Ontario. My son was born in Ontario, but would be entitled to an English language education in Quebec thanks to my having cut a path for him in that manner, under the original section 73 of Bill 101 (for every day of my elementary education was in English, in Quebec).

    Everything about Pauline Marois is trash and drivel. SHE is Pepsi-drinking and May-West-eating piece of trash. I envision her as skank that hung out at the câsse-croutes of Quebec in her youth.

  9. ''Those youngsters were all born post-Bill 101 and would therefore not be recognized as being able to die in their own language. They would be expected to integrate, or else. My life partner's two children attended English schools and both now live in Ontario. My son was born in Ontario, but would be entitled to an English language education in Quebec thanks to my having cut a path for him in that manner, under the original section 73 of Bill 101 (for every day of my elementary education was in English, in Quebec).'' Attendez, je vais verser une larme... je vous envoie une boîte de Jos-Louis pour vous réconforter (dixit: Maxime Bernier)

  10. I'll bet Pauline Marois dips her May-West and Jos-Louis cakes in poutine and pea soup too. I won't repeat what she does with the Pepsi bottles...