A Québécois reader objects to my characterization of Quebeckers as Canada’s Sunnis and also to my dismissal of the “separatist movement” as one almighty bluff:
As a French Canadian fan of the Corner, I must say I was a very disappointed by your post. I really think you should rethink some of it (Although the idea of separatists who have no interest in separating is funny).
Quebec separatism is mostly one almighty bluff, a giant racket by which the francophone minority screws out of English Canada a hugely disproportionate share of the spoils. The Bloc Quebecois are separatists who have no interest in separating: no matter how wide you open the stable door, the flea-bitten old nag refuses to bolt.
You can very well argue that the main effect of the separatism movement in Quebec is to give the province a hugely disproportionate share of the spoils. Or that the majority of Quebec will never vote for the separation. Those are, I think, valid points even if I don’t completely disagree with them. But claiming that the Quebec separatism is a racket design by francophone to screws out of English Canada is insulting (even for those of us who are not for the Quebec Separation). Furthermore suggesting that the separatism leaders are just bluffing is, I think, delusional. As somebody, who heard and is still hearing form his mother (who is involve in the Bloc Quebecois at a high level), I can assure you that most, if not all, of them are real believers.
In that case, why does the soi-disant “separatist” Parti Québécois never use the word “separatism”? For 30 years they’ve run on weasel words like “sovereignty” or “sovereignty-association”? In the last Quebec referendum, the then “separatist” leader, M Parizeau, ran on a platform by which Quebec would become a separate country but would continue to use the Canadian dollar, the Canadian armed forces and Canadian passports. M Parizeau would get to call himself Président de la république, but, to gain admission to the UN building, M le Président would use a passport saying he was a subject of Her Majesty The Queen. And, when you put all that to one side, you’re left with a party that wants to leave the country it’s presently in to set up one exactly like it. It would make more sense for the rest of Canada to secede from Canada and leave Quebec to get on with it.
Real secessionist movements would rightly recognize this as a lot of bunk. That’s why since the Parti Québécois came along, everywhere on the planet has seceded – Slovenia, Slovakia, even Montenegro – but Quebec remains a province of Canada. Don’t get me wrong, I love Quebec, and all the more so since I became wanted for hate crimes in English Canada. But I could run a better separatist movement in my sleep. That’s because (and if you don’t like the Sunni comparison stand well back), just as the PLO was a terrorist operation masquerading as a nationalist movement, so the PQ/BQ is a shakedown operation masquerading as a nationalist movement.
On the other hand, as a shakedown operation, it’s undeniably effective.