*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

I, Québécois Séparatist.

I cannot believe I just wrote that title.

Québec, insofar as a few million autonomous voters can be defined, has always shown impressive self-awareness in its voting patterns.  Both in provincial and in federal Québec results, they have created results which required the ROC to pander to them.  They tried to do it again, throwing their weight to the NDP, who have similar progressive views to the mainstream of that province: progressive views which are not mainstream outside of the urban areas in most of ROC.  Though the 'Conservatives' won a majority government with only 40% of the vote, subtract French and urban Canada*, and you have a very right-wing country.  Québec does not fit in it, and neither do I.  They may soon see they have to leave: to keep paid daycare, separation of religion from education, out of American wars, reproductive choice...  This is an opportunity for separatists, and I would vote with them.  It is no longer a language issue: it is a social and political one.

I live in Tokyo now, and assumed I would go back to Ontario, as my teaching career is established there.  However, I can see that I poorly beheld the future while at Montreal's McGill University in the 90s.  At that time, Montreal was in a long recession due in part to non-French money leaving a nationalist province.  Anglo-French politics within Québec were acrimonious.  The Québec separatists were plainly bigoted; however, there has been much change, opportunistic and thoughtful, to include others within the PQ fold.  Sure, the 'pure-laine' in the party knew they had to do it as the demographics did not support a traditional nationalist referendum win: losing twice proved that.  I believe the change is real.  I sense the difference when I visit.

I could live there, if I could transfer my teaching career there (or stay in Tokyo).  As I have learned Japanese, I could perfect my French.  At the very least, my son will go to French immersion in Ontario.  My 'left-wing' political beliefs are eccentric in Ontario: unexceptional in Québec.  Montreal is a more liveable city, the skiing and cycling are better, and the women sexier.  I teach in a 'Conservative' riding in S.Ontario, and used to live in a rare NDP riding in Toronto.  What do I have to go back to?  A 'Conservative' country; a right-wing Toronto mayoralty; and soon, a 'Conservative' province?  Another unthinking Anglo-protectorate of the moribund Imperium? Fuck that.

* Québec, Newfoundland, Cape Breton, and the urban areas of Southern Ontario, Vancouver, Victoria, Halifax, and a few isolates.  Suburban ROC Canada is the most right wing of all.


  1. I was born in north NB, in a French majority town, but also raised in Sudbury, St. John's and Halifax. Currently in Nagoya, I have often debated with myself on where to live when I return to Canada. Quebec, for its clean and cheap energy, emphasis on education, and left of center politics, seems like the best choice for me too.

    Many years ago when in Canada I voted NDP. I am completely ignorant to the current world of Canadian politics though.

  2. If you look at the election results map, all of the places you have lived did not vote blue.

    My teaching degree in Ontario is not transferable, even to other school boards within Ontario (too high up the pay scale after 10y). I am stuck in the 905, or have to chuck that 'iron rice bowl' away to stay in Tokyo. If I did not have that blessing/curse I would stay in Tokyo, or move my family to Montreal. However, I would have to convince my Japanese wife to live through Montreal winters, and figure out if my kid gets to go to English schools.