No surprise really that I am a bad nationalist. My post on Yoda and nationalism has gotten a couple of angry responses from the Anglophone nationalist community. I apparently stumbled upon the angry hornet's nest of the anti-Bill 101 movement. My first reaction to this is: have they not read other posts in my blog? A quick search on Quebec or separatism or secession will show a multitude of posts where I am rather critical of Quebec separatism, that I am not pleased by efforts to extend Bill 101 rules to higher education (or day care) or to private school.
But such opposition to changes in the status quo are not sufficient for these folks: they want to roll back Bill 101 itself. I understand their frustration and their desires, and I agree with many of their views about Bill 101 and the notwithstanding clause. Yet I am hardly sure that this would be the best thing for the Anglophone community in Quebec. The passage of Bill 101 and its various implementations has meant that those who are concerned about the survival of French as a language and Quebec as a distinct society do not have to fight for independence. Bill 101 was a defeat for the sovereigntist movement as it has taken much of the wind out of the sails. Yes, the Bill has been harmful to the Anglophone community, especially the school system. But I am pretty sure the status quo is better than being in an independent Quebec. Without Bill 101, the 1995 referendum might have gone the other way. A reversal of Bill 101 now would energize a movement that has been flailing along.
But nationalists do not consider tradeoffs--their way or the highway, more or less. What would replace Bill 101? A stronger separatist movement. Lovely. So, I see their point, but wonder if pushing for rollback helps or hurts the cause of preventing Bill 101 from being applied beyond where it applies today. Maybe their mobilization would be better aimed at issues where Francophones and Anglophones largely agree--like continuing to allow students to choose freely their CEGEP (the two year semi-junior college unique to Quebec).
I have often said that the separatists should give up their fight, since they have lost twice, and focus on improving the lives of those who live in a Quebec that remains in Canada. The same is true for the Anglophones--they should focus on the same. Fighting a lost battle that will not be won anytime in the foreseeable future is a waste of time and energy that could have been spent on something more productive.
But my willingness to cut my losses and be practical makes me a sucky nationalist.