Saw a snippet on TV of a comic I didn’t really know who was performing in Montreal. He said, “So, here I am in Quebec, or ‘Practice France’ as I like to call it.”
And in all of this I am reminded of the old Kinks song, “Here we Go Round Again.” Because it seems that the premier of Quebec, one Pauline Marois – you may have heard of her, she’s the one accused of being an ethnic bigot and even things less polite – of the Parti Quebecois (don’t expect accents from me, my computer doesn’t do default accents and I can’t be bothered sticking them in, OK? — has trotted out that tired old hobbyhorse of separatism once again. Quel yawn.
No, at one time Canadians in the ‘rest of Canada’ used to buy into this as a threat. They saw old chain-smoking Rene as a kind of ogre, and then there was the one-legged pirate who seemed pretty darn threatening and we all soiled our little knickers rallying to the cause of national unity and doing whatever we could to keep La Belle Province mollified. “Oh, please don’t go. We’ll try harder. Really we will. We’ll stick all our kids in French Immersion schools and we won’t wince too much when we make a call to an Ottawa number and invariably get a Quebec accent on the other end of the line. Do any Anglo-Canadians actually get jobs in a place that is purportedly the capital of Canada?
But this time Mme Marois may be misreading the tone of the situation west of her province, and certainly in the western part of Canada as in, and I am not sure what the French translation would be, but it comes across as: “We should give a shit?”
Well, in truth, I do give a shit – a little bit of a shit. And that is mainly because I have friends, both Anglo and Franco in Quebec, and many French-Canadian friends here – but I, like many others, am a tad weary of being nationally blackmailed by one province. It’s like all the family making concessions for the one kid that causes trouble in the household. This is my household so stop disrupting it, and if you hate it so much, maybe you should leave.
I must say I have not spent any appreciable time in Quebec. But, I did spend a few days in Montreal years ago and I profess it is the classiest and most sophisticated city in the country, with the best looking women too, I might add. Vancouver may be the prettiest city in the land, but Montreal has a truly unique flavor. I loved it.
So, let’s say in terms of vain hope they win their referendum, where are they going to go? France doesn’t want them. The French (who generally hate everybody non-French) regard the folk from Quebec as hicks from the sticks and are as rude to them as they are to everybody else who visits that otherwise beautiful country. Our friend Alain in Grenoble was treated like ‘merde’ when he was there because he came from the city of Quebec (the province’s capital) and they laughed at his accent.
So, if France doesn’t want them, you can be sure the US might be interested in terms of an investment. But the US don’t hold no truck with furrin languages so forget bilingualism if they tuck into bed with them.
Mme Marois attests they want no borders and would keep Canadian currency. Oh yeah, I can imagine the Canadian prime minister who tries to sell that bill of goods to the rest of the country. Ain’t gonna happen. Meanwhile, the Native Innu and Inuit of northern Quebec have no connection with Franco Quebec and have already stated they’d pull out if separation should happen. That’s a pretty big chunk of the province that they inhabit.
At the end of it, Quebec would be a very insignificant blot on the landscape without a great deal of economic potential so the Quebecois would have to accept a diminished standard of living, maybe like Honduras or somesuch but without the nice climate.
All things considered, I’d advise them to stay and just regard this whole issue as a bit of a spat.