12.03.2008

demonizing the bloc quebecois

Letters in today's Globe and Mail are interesting in more ways than one.

The pro-Conservative, anti-Coalition letters sound exactly like what we've been hearing from Tories in the House of Commons, and what's on their website. The Conservative faithful have downloaded their marching orders and are dutifully regurgitating the party line. The pro-Coalition letters, on the other hand, are diverse and thoughtful.

The G&M is doing what the G&M does. In ordinary times, they are tough on Harper and the Conservatives - moderate, to be sure, but tough. Until the election is called, at which time they fall into line and salute. In news stories, they're now describing the Bloc Québécois as "separatist Bloc Québécois".

Today they ran three letters about the Bloc Québécois. The first letter writer expresses "horror" at a coalition government that includes a party whose "sole agenda is to break up the country".

I have watched Gilles Duceppe with great interest during eleciton debates, and I see how the party votes. I find Duceppe very intelligent and credible, and the party reasonably progressive. Here is an English translation of the Bloc's platform. Their "sole agenda" is not to break up the country.

Here are two more letters on the same subject.
Concerns have been expressed about the participation of "a separatist party with the singular goal of advancing the interests of Quebec, and not of Canada" in the newly formed coalition (Harper, Dion Put Politics Before National Interest - editorial, Dec. 2). I find this unease both interesting and misplaced. I wonder what gave root to the Alliance Party and the Reform Party if it was not for the purpose of advancing the interests of Alberta.

Moreover, a fair number, if not all, of the policies of Stephen Harper have been crafted to meet the interests of his Alberta constituents.

Long before the Bloc, Alberta was on the road to the exclusive promotion of its interests. It has yet to be overt about its separatist inclinations, but its actions have the singular goal of advancing the interests of Alberta, and not of Canada.

Nicole Ferguson, Dartmouth, NS

*

During the past few days, Canadians have been warned about the dangers of "collaborating" with the Bloc Québécois, as though it were akin to treason. But the true antidote to separatism has always been to provide Quebeckers with a real voice in Ottawa.

Don Pyper, Toronto

16 comments:

Sarah O. said...

As well as the points that the letters you quoted raise, I think this anti-separatist, anti-Quebec talk is ridiculous because it automatically assumes that what is good for Quebec would not be good for Canada. Hasn't Quebec proved to be very good at promoting community, culture, protecting their media from the US media juggernaut (I'm thinking ownership, but they also have profitable programming), and attempting to shore up their manufacturing? Quebec and Canada's interests are not so divergent.

L-girl said...

Excellent point, thank you, Sarah.

M@ said...

What's more, a coalition government that included a regional voice for Quebec would be a truly representative government for Canada, and would do plenty to increase the cohesion of Canada.

I wonder if a federalist government were to include the BQ in its governing coalition (instead of using the adversarial stance used to date), the BQ would reciprocate by officially dropping separatism from its platform. I doubt it's possible, at least in this political generation, but what a step forward it would be.

The demonization of Duceppe, of course, is an easy sell to people who aren't particularly engaged politically.

redsock said...

And as was pointed out several times yesterday, Harper would have been pleased as punch to enter into a coalition with Duceppe three years ago.

...

Hey you! With the Fisher Price hair -- yer goin' down!

Nikolas said...

How very very sad. I too have seen the anti-Bloc comments and it has shaken me to my core. They are a Federally recognized party, with duly elected seats in Parliament and receive Federal Funding. They are the party Quebeckers chose to represent them. Now suddenly I hear people saying how they don't count.

Really?

The peopel who voted for the Bloc in Quebec don't count? Which part of them doesn't count? Are they not Canadian? Should we take away their passports and give back their taxes? Who decides what's a legitimate party?

The minute we go around squashing other parties and trying to institute one party rule...um, that's communism.

Or a Republican

Nikolas said...

Fisher Price hair!!!!! I love it!

I always call him Perp eyes...cause he looks like a child molester

impudent strumpet said...

Or eight years ago

L-girl said...

Nick, I so agree. It's been disgraceful.

The silver lining is the Conservatives can kiss Quebec goodbye. Who in that province could ever vote for them again? Bloc supporter or no, the Cons are running down all Quebeckers and all francophones.

L-girl said...

What is it with neocons and their Fisher Price hair? The Globe & Mail TV columnist John Doyle calls Harper Hair In The Fridge.

I always call him Perp eyes...cause he looks like a child molester

You oughta know. :/

(PS: Nick is a social worker, works with victims of child sexual abuse.)

Kim_in_TO said...

And as was pointed out several times yesterday, Harper would have been pleased as punch to enter into a coalition with Duceppe three years ago.

Hey! I was going to post that!

:)

The point is - we shouldn't be legitimizing Harper's arguments beyond this point by responding to them. Separatism? Threatening democracy? You don't get to use these claims, Stephen, since you were willing to do the same thing four years ago, you fucking hypocrite.

impudent strumpet said...

And in all the fuss to demonize the coalition, they've kind of neglected to do anything to increase the likelihood of the economic update passing. (Yes, they withdrew the funding thing and the strike thing, but it's still no more likely to pass.)

Demonizing the other parties instead of working on getting the confidence motion passed is really more Opposition-like behaviour...

dogsled_stacie said...

Wow, it's all mind-boggling!! I was arguing with my dad (staunch Harper-loving, Quebec-hating Albertan) about it tonight, and he was throwing out the whole thing about Quebec separating (and has been ever since I can remember), but then in the next breath, tells me that "yeah, well, Alberta just might be doing the same thing soon!!" He is soooo mad right now.

And, he was mortified to hear I was elated that Harper might get the boot!!! I might get disowned at Christmas!!! hahhahhaahaha

L-girl said...

The point is - we shouldn't be legitimizing Harper's arguments beyond this point by responding to them. Separatism? Threatening democracy? You don't get to use these claims, Stephen, since you were willing to do the same thing four years ago, you fucking hypocrite.

I think we have to respond to them, to help educate people who actually believe this is an undemocratic overturning of an election.

It's completely true that he's a hypocrite, but "you did it too" isn't enough of an argument. I think it's "you did it too - and why shouldn't the parties form alliances? why not talk to the Bloc?"

L-girl said...

he was throwing out the whole thing about Quebec separating (and has been ever since I can remember), but then in the next breath, tells me that "yeah, well, Alberta just might be doing the same thing soon!!"

Excellent example of Tory hypocrisy right there!!!

Demonizing the other parties instead of working on getting the confidence motion passed is really more Opposition-like behaviour...

With any luck, soon they will be the official Opposition and it will all make a lot more sense.

Kim_in_TO said...

I think we have to respond to them, to help educate people who actually believe this is an undemocratic overturning of an election.

Oh, I agree. I'm just mad because so many people are letting him off scot-free on the hypocrisy.

L-girl said...

I know you agree. :)