Free counter and web stats


..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Thursday, November 23, 2006

An amazing 'coup de main' by Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper's announcement to Parliament that 'Quebec is a nation within an united Canada..'
Harper's motion was made in anticipation of a vote next week on a motion by the Bloc Quebecois to recognize the Quebecois form a nation, with no reference to their place in Canada.
The motion distinguishes between the Quebecois as people and Quebec itself. It reflects similar previous recognitions such as those for Acadians and First Nations.
Harper said his motion recognizes the Quebec people's historic position in Canada, while the Bloc's motion is about separation. .. While recent public opinion polls show such recognition will prove popular in Quebec, it is equally as unpopular across the rest of Canada.
It also comes as a potential lifeline for Liberals, who reignited the nation debate earlier this fall when the party's Quebec wing voted overwhelmingly to recognize Quebec as a nation and look for ways to "officialize" the status. It has become a divisive issue for the party on the eve of crowning a new leader next week because the race's frontrunner, Michael Ignatieff, said it would eventually need to be recognized in the Constitution.
Liberal interim leader Bill Graham said he was confident his party will support Harper's motion when his caucus meets to discuss the issue today.
Ignatieff said he saluted the PM for his action. ..

It's worth re-printing Harper's statement to the Commons here.. Might be a prototype for a similar speech in these United Kingdoms..

"Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the Bloc Quebecois will present the House with an unusual request that we here at the federal Parliament define the Quebecois nation.
"As a consequence, with the support of the government and with the support of our party, I will be putting on the Notice Paper later today the following motion:
"That this House recognize that the Quebecois form a nation within a united Canada.
"Once again, the leader of the Bloc and his separatist friends are not concerned with defining who Quebecers are but rather what they want them to become, a separate country.
"The separatists do not need the Parliament of Canada to define what is meant by the sociological termination. My preference has been well known. I believe that this is not the job of the federal Parliament. It is the job of the legislature of Quebec, but the Bloc Quebecois has asked us to define this and perhaps that is a good thing, because it reminds us that all Canadians have a say in the future of this country.
"Having been asked by the Bloc to define the Quebecois, we must take a position. Our position is clear. Do the Quebecois form a nation within Canada? The answer is yes. Do the Quebecois form an independent nation? The answer is no and the answer will always be no, because Quebecers of all political persuasions, from Cartier and Laurier to Mulroney and Trudeau, have led this country and millions like them of all political persuasions have helped to build it.
"With their English- and French-speaking fellow citizens and people drawn from all nationalities of this earth, they have been part of making this country what it is, the greatest country in the world.
"To millions more who live in a dangerous and dividing world, this country is a shining example of the harmony and unity to which all peoples are capable and to which all humanity should aspire.
"I say to my federalist colleagues and I also say to the separatist side that we here will do what we must, what our forefathers have always done to preserve this country, Canada, strong, united, independent and free."
A bold move in an accutely sensitive time..
While one is of the personal opinion that Canada itself might be better off without the weight of Quebec, preserving Confederation must be the prime concern of the Federal Government.
The Pequiste in Quebec could be compared with the Repubicans, or indeed the Loyalists, in Northern Ireland.. or equally with the Scottish Nationalists..
One would think there was at least one economist among these extremist groups, who is not swayed by 'nationalist fervour'..
But then again, while the world works consistently towards breaking down barriers, it is only natural, human nature, that there would be those who would try to build more walls..

No comments:

Search This Blog

Blog Archive