Québec nationalists reaching out

Sovereigntists never took good care of their image outside the French speaking world. Wait... there's one word too many... allow me to rephrase. Sovereigntists never took care of their image outside the French speaking world. I always thought they needed to build bridges (click here for more on the topic) and letting others do what they want with your publicity is definitely not a good way to do it.

Stating that explaining the rationale for separatism to an Anglo crowd is a though sell is a euphemism. Somehow, the current péquiste government seems to give it some credit and named Jean-François Lisée in charge of building bridges with the English-speaking community. Even if some didn't like it, the péquistes have taken several steps in that direction and seem determine to establish a dialog.

The government is introducing changes to Bill 101 today. And Diane De Courcy, the minister in charge of these changes, is taking a shot at explaining them to the English community."The Quebec identity is multi-faceted. It hinges on our singular situation in North America, a world view that stems from our experience as a minority and, at the same time, a feeling of our originality. It comprises the values in which we recognize ourselves and a culture that is simultaneously European and North American. Above all, Quebecers of all origins share a language that is now a rallying point for them.Barely 40 years ago, the vast majority of immigrants sent their children to English-language schools and integrated naturally into the English-speaking community. We have made considerable progress in the integration of immigrants into the French-speaking community and can be proud of it, although much remains to be done to foster their integration into the labour market and increase the proportion of newcomers who settle outside the Montreal area. Today, we can more confidently welcome those who want to build Quebec with us."I know some people won't like her words (click here for the whole letter), but at least, someone's talking.


The Ununited States of Canada

Stephen Harper once said that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada (read about it here). The "united" part of that statement always felt awkward to me... more like wishful thinking than reality. Apparently, I'm not the only one.

A week from today, Canal D [in French only] will present Les états-désunis du Canada [Google translation], a documentary that sheds a light on separatism outside Québec.  A trailer has been creating a buzz on the web for the past two weeks.  Click below to see it.

I heard before that "the Québécois are whiners", but isn't it ironic that the only ones whining in this clip are from Alberta?
"We keep hearing that you can get daycare for $7 a day.  We can't get daycare for $7 an hour!... here in Alberta.  You have cheaper, even free, university tuition.  Our students are paying up to $9,000 a semester I think.  In Québec, they have an advantageous proportion of medical personnel to  population that they care for, compared to us.  How do they do it?  Well... they take our money!"Of course, not all Albertans are alike. I wish those complaining would realize that if they were willing to pay the same amount of taxes we do as a society, they could very easily afford all the programs they envy us.