Unfortunately, such is not the case, the government in all its wisdom handed the organization of the festivities to radical sovereigntists. In Montreal, Mario Beaulieu (president of the Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste, of Montreal) is president of the organizing committee, the Comité de la Fête nationale du Québec à Montréal and so, it should come as no surprise that the festivities have a separatist bent.
In this regard the government has only itself to blame.
The real problem is not that anglos and ethnics are not welcome per se, it is that federalists are not welcome and as a result of that reality, Anglos and Ethnics become excluded.
I took a bit of heat in the comments section last week for telling Anglo and Ethnic readers that we are not welcome and we are not wanted at these festivities. I stand by that assertion and offer a critique of the parade as rebuttal to those pretending that the parade and the celebration of the St. Jean Baptist Day, aka the 'Fete Nationale,' is something other than a separatist manifestation.
It's a bit of fantasy, akin to Photoshopping a divorced partner out of the family album.
The parade centers around twenty or so "giants,' ten to fifteen foot high representations of famous Quebec historical figures. These garish floats look as if they were conceived in an amateur art class, ugly and fearsome. I never knew that Jacques Cartier suffered from acute acne and that he was bug-eyed!
I've no clue as to what it represents, but it seems that some Quebec ancestors must have arrived from ORK, which obviously must be a French-speaking planet!
Of all the 'giants' paraded, there was not even one representing an Anglo, Scot or Irishman, apparently we don't rate.
Considering that Montreal was largely built by these three English-speaking groups, it is an unpardonable re-writing of history.
Shame! It is an unconscionable travesty to pretend that Quebec's history is devoid of anglos contributors.
So thank you very much, but we'll have no more platitudes about the inclusiveness of the parade from organizers.
To paraphrase OJ Simpson's lawyer- "If you are not French, Sit on the bench!"
Last year, the patron saint of the Quebec, John the Baptist, was present, but curiously even he was absent this year (according to the TV version of the parade.)
A curious public wants to know.....
The first clue that this was a separatist celebration was Chantale Trottier president of the Mouvement national des Québécoises et Québécois waving merrily to the crowd from one of the convertibles filled with Quebecois 'notables'
Her organization is dedicated to four principles;
- Quebec sovereignty
- Protection and promotion of French
- Promotion of national pride
- Coordination of the Fête nationale du Québec
So much for patriotic zeal. Pitiful.
As is the tradition, notable politicians march together to signal the end of the parade. This year several personalities were notorious by their absence.
Last year I published a photo of Jack Layton and Uncle Tom Mulcair marching arm in arm with the likes of Amir Khadir and Mario Bealieu.
I've heard through the grapevine, that the publication of that photo, memorializing that association did not sit well with the powers that be in the NDP.
This year both leaders were nowhere to be seen. Mulcair made it a point to tell a Radio-Canada reporter that he was too busy in Ottawa to attend!
|Last year(top) Layton, Mulcair and Khadir front and center. This year, Khadir alone, banished to the sidelines.|
Gilles Duceppe was there, giving credence to a news report that he's interested in a political comeback.
As final proof of the separatist bent to the parade I offer these pictures. You be the judge.
Now compare this sad parade to that of the St. Patrick's Day parade, which interestingly uses the same optic as the St. Jean Baptiste parade, that is, the idea that everyone is Irish on St. Paddy's Day.
This camaraderie and honest inclusiveness makes the Irish parade the most successful parade in Canada, with sponsors and groups lining up to participate to the point that there is a waiting list. Marching bands, military groups, community groups, corporations, small business, bars and restaurants, media and politicians of all stripes from Quebec, Ontario and the Northern American states are welcomed to participate, whether Irish or not.
When I see the colonial Yankee fife and drum corps, march down St. Catherine street,carrying the American flag, playing a historic chord, it sends chills down my spine. Not because I'm a Yankee, but because these are our valued neighbours, who have proudly honoured us with their presence!
What a fine parade!
Everyone is welcome! Hurray!
It this open and non-political attitude that makes the difference!
The message of the Fete St. Jean parade is not a celebration of Quebec culture. It is not a celebration of the French fact or the French language.
It is a celebration of Francophone separatists and as such enjoys the exact success it deserves.
Shame on the provincial government in abdicating its responsibility by allowing a separatist lobby group to hijack the holiday.
It is indecent.