Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Why are so many young Quebecers still sovereigntists? It's cooler

Andre Pratte of La Presse:
For the past 30 years, support for independence has been remarkably stable at 40 per cent, except for two brief periods (after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord and in the last weeks of the 1995 referendum campaign). That stability has frustrated separatists, whose constant efforts to convince Quebecers to follow them has fallen on a majority of deaf ears. It also confuses Canadians outside the province, who wonder why on Earth so many Quebecers still believe that separation would be good for Quebec. Hasn't the province become one of the most prosperous regions on Earth (Statistics Canada announced yesterday that Quebec's unemployment rate had gone down to 7.3 per cent, significantly lower than Ontario's)? Aren't French-speaking Quebecers in control of their province's political and economic affairs? Doesn't Quebec receive billions in equalization payments, thanks to which Quebec taxpayers can afford very generous social programs?

For older separatists, these facts do not compensate for the historical wrongs – their list is endless – suffered by French Canadians since the 1763 conquest. Theirs is generally an emotional nationalism, although rationalized by political and economic arguments.

Younger separatists' reasons for supporting independence are different. They are full of confidence in themselves and therefore do not fear separation. They travel all over the world to study, work and visit but have never found a reason to go to Toronto or Vancouver, let alone St. John's or Regina. To them, the rest of Canada is a foreign country, with a different culture and different values. They see the election of a majority Harper government and Quebecers' massive vote for the NDP as the latest demonstration of the unbridgeable canyon between Quebec and English Canada. They believe the federal system is inefficient and that Quebec could better tackle the challenges it faces if it had all the tools of government in its possession.

1 comment:

  1. The most significant thing I have noticed since moving to Quebec is the stunning difference in information being given to the population of french speaking Quebec in schools and news. Not only is propoganda intense, but the numbers are presented bizarrely. Particularily news and interpretation of numbers, which are all that matter here. English Canada does not realize that ego- flattery, title, attention, etc, matters more than numbers of facts. To present a practical budget or even a payout and NOT address imagined associations or meanings will fail to have a positive effect on french voters- it may even be seen as a slight if not given an emotional, flattering context. If given no context, an imagined slight or politically expediant 'hidden meaning' will be applied, and one can be sure it will not be flattering.

    To address bald facts and not sweeping emotion and ego in politics is to fail with french voters. They will vote for a hero on a quest, or 'against' an evil overlord, but just dont give a damn about the details that do not qualify as social. The difficulty is in how the stories in french media effect the population and the storytelling habit. I have been informed of the following by many, many, adent french youth : Quebec is a poverty stricken provence, destitute, oppressed by the west and the evil British Queen. They are all poor because of the taxes that are ripped from honest french folk to pay the Queen. Quebec needs to be independent because the provincial government is the only honest one and all those facts and figures from Ottowa are evil subversive lies to oppress the french. No stats or studies done in the west are true. There are many movements to oppress the french in the west, which should be shunned at all costs, as they are a threat and deeply ignorant, uneducated, and incompetent. The Provincial govt is noble and attempting to free them from lies and overwhelming abuse. It is the utmost importance for new generations to defend kith and kin against the hateful usurpers. No English person has a right to be on Canadian soil, this country was founded by the french and stolen by the British by evil trickery. We are at civil war.

    There is power in having near total control of french television and newspaper content in Quebec. For this generation- it isolates them on a different planet.