I got a reply for my last post “Quebecois” from a friend of mine; he raised some very good points so I felt I had to respond. Kudo’s Andrew!
The metaphor that Quebec is a colicky child is an apt one. Every time the question of sovereignty is defeated by referendum it is put on the back burner until politicians both old and young can viably resurrect it. The difference in opinion that you and I have on this issue is I am a realist and you are admittedly an idealist. You speak of us (the French and the Anglos) as Canadians collectively, that have to tough it out and find some sort of compromise. Well I tell you that the only one doing the bending is the Anglos. Case is point: When the Charter of rights and Freedoms was voted on and enacted in 1982 under the Constitution Act, all the provinces and territories voted except one. Quebec abstained. Interestingly enough, the only two times in history that the notwithstanding clause from section 33 of the Charter was used since the enactment was once by Saskatchewan (to prevent third party picketing, I believe) and once by Quebec (to support their language police and French first policies), this notwithstanding clause has a time limit of 5 years, yet every time the limit has expired it has been renewed. Quebec didn’t want the Charter, yet it uses the Charter to further it’s own ends. Quebec has a history of using Canada to further it’s own ends.
If the rest of Canada treats Quebec irrationally, then I say it is because Quebec treats us irrationally. It is our reaction to playing the exhaustive game of diplomacy. If you examine the situation, there is only one party that is actively seeking to undermine the relationship between Canada and Quebec and that is Quebec. The rest of Canada has already swallowed much of its pride in an effort to appease the French. I ask you, what is your second language? Indeed what is the second language of any Canadian outside of Quebec? If your native born to Canada, chances are your second language is French. The only ego left in this country resides in the Quebecois and it is their agenda that drives this country.
That being said, I don’t resent having to have learned French when I was in school, indeed I pursued it of my own accord after I left. I think the French have a lot to offer in the way of culture and we Canadians have definitely benefited from having a more European slant on the world. What I do resent is having made the gesture, as all Anglos have, is to have it spit back in our face. Like what we are doing is not good enough. That is disrespect plain and simple. Work with the French I will, work for the French I will not.