Saturday, August 18, 2012

Option Sucketh

For some reason, an advocate of the Option Nationale Party engaged in me a twitter conversation this evening.  He argued that independence would help un-freeze the currently lousy status quo.  Certainly.  But a quick look at the program of the party, which he said I should consider, tells me that the Option Nationale is no option at all for the Anglophones and other minorities in Quebec.

It would do much of what the PQ promises to do without the hedging.  CEGEPS would be restricted to French for Francophones and immigrants.  Funding of universities would be more proportionate, which would mean cutting McGill, Concordia and Bishop's.  Those who partook of free education would have to contribute back to society--suggesting prevention of emigration to Canada/elsewhere, right?  Free higher ed?  How to pay for that?  Who gets it?

The program is quite clearly not interested in making non-Francophones feel comfortable or even equal, so why bother appeal to them?  Yes, Anglophones are sick of the Liberals who have been in power for ten years and are quite corrupt.  But this platform of the O.N. is not about public service and good governance.  It is about inflicting nationalism on all institutions--why would a minority want that.  Is there anything in this that would make a minority feel as if they have a stake in the system?  That their rights would be protected and their interests influential?  No.

Yes, the nationalist discourse is a tremendous distraction from focusing on good governance, but it not clear how a nationalist party would be the right choice.  And, yes, I have full confidence that an independent Quebec would still have parties competing with each other about how best to deprive the minorities rather than focus on good governance.

Thus, I am only confused by one thing--why should a sovereigntist like this engage me?  I am absolutely everything that such folks stand against.  Except I left.   Hmmm.

The nationalist did ask me the right question: what is the resolution?  My answer is demographic change.  The more the old nationalists fade away, the more immigrants gain citizenship, the less relevance the nationalist cause will have at election time.  Some party may eventually emerge and promise good governance. The CAQ might be it.  The NDP farm team might be it.  The Liberals might find defeat to be what they need to reconstitute.  But much of Quebec is tired of the nationalist discourse.  The Francophones have won every battle except independence.  And if they become independent, Quebec will lose.  It will lose the subsidies that Canada provides, it will lose cache in the rest of the world, since no one really cares about Quebec that much besides some old nationalists in France.  It will be marginal, except for producing some electricity for NY and New England.  Oh, and asbestos for India.

Perhaps that is wishful thinking on my part.  I do expect Quebec to be stuck in this rut for quite a while.  But eventually a party/leader will emerge that will persuade enough people to focus on good governance rather than on identity divisions.  Hopefully, that will not take too long and that non-nationalist will be the best thing for the distinct society.


DJ said...

The more of your posts I read on Quebec the more glad I am that there's no language or real cultural clash in Scotland.

"Yes, the nationalist discourse is a tremendous distraction from focusing on good governance" < This certainly applies though.

Why focus on effective policy making when it can be more fruitful to attempt to place the blame at the door of

Unknown said...

Oh please DJ, do read more than this horrible little man, he proves his incomprehension and profound disdain for Québec on every line.

In fact, Option Nationale wants to open up and reach out to other linguistic groups and protect the rights fo the historical english community in an independant french Québec.

It is just ignorance to say new immigrants are not supporting independance, we have one of the best integration policy in Montréal and many first, and even more second, generation immigrants support independance, especially amongst the latin community which is quite numerous in Montréal. (Italians, Portuguese, South Americans, especially South Americans) They see the clash in values between English and French Canada and understand that a government elected in Québec represents them better than one elected in Canada, which was more than obvious with the election of the Harper Government last year.

Less than 20% of voters in Québec voted for him, and still, he imposes laws on us that strongly go against our values such as his recent criminal bill.

Anonymous said...

"since no one really cares about Quebec that much besides some old nationalists in France" So eloquent. Your little "text" reeks of ignorance and prejudice. You call yourself a "political scientist", yet you allow yourself to spew such biased and unfounded arguments? What amazing insight you have..

Anonymous said...

Wow, Steve! Your blog got interest from the ultra-nationalists! LOL
See what happens when you leave the potholed roads of Quebec to the high heavens of Carleton U.
Keep on the good work and provide your insight on things - Nice reading about someone calling "a spade a spade" - even if we do not always agree what type of spade would be best.