Wednesday, November 29, 2006

BELOW(30) - November 29, 2006

Joe Hueglin wrote:


        You will be more knowledgeable by far than most should you read the thoughts that have been contributed to this BELOW(30).

        In that you can not agree with all that is written you must weigh the views expressed and arrive at that which to you is most valid.

        That the wherewithal for you to do so is provided through this post is the highest reason for the existence and continuance of the Digest.

Jason Hickman

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer


Assuming that you supported Meech and C-town in the 80's / 90's (if that assumption's wrong, please correct me), do you - and other DD readers who claim to be "progressive conservatives" - still think that Quebec is a "distinct society"?
I'll be interested in the response to that question, as well as responses to the motion intro'd yesterday, once the DD resumes its regular broadcast special.
        - Jason.


To address the overarching point you raise first.  A progressive-conservative is one who (unlike those who are variously classified as social-cons, neo-cons, fiscal-cons) approaches challenges without a predetermined view as to what constitutes "The Way, The Truth and The Light".  A progressive-conservative seeks to apply the words of Edmund Burke, "A disposition to preserve and an ability to improve" - but this is a subject for another day.  I thank you for raising it for there are many DD readers who will face the choice of following  their progressive-conservative nature or their party's directions.

Is Quebec a "distinct society"? Yes - compared with the one I've been raised in.  No one from Ontario ever kissed me on both cheeks,  no hotel I know of in Ontario serves beans for breakfast, I go to a corner store or variety store in my neighbourhood not a depanier.  There are in Canada many distinct societies.

The motion the House recognizes "`that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada." could have easily read and to me means no more nor less than "That the Acadien form a nation within a united Canada", or the Newfoundlanders or, or, or . . .

The land area presently the political-nation, the country of Canada, has always been populated by differing cultural-nations as witnessed by the numerous First Nations recognized as such.

My belief is our countries primary cultural-nations are linguistic based:  English-speakers and French-speakers. Both being composed of sub-groups some whose mother tongue is English or French, others who, while speaking another language within their own cultural-nation, speak English or French in general social intercourse.

Early last week following up on the concept of nation I phoned the Lheidli T’enneh nation.  The conversation was in English.

This is taken from the website :

The Lheidli T’enneh are Carrier people who speak a dialect of the Carrier language and who assert our heritage, history and culture, including our language and religion, are tied to the lands and waters surrounding the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako rivers.

There are currently 319 people on the Lheidli T’enneh band list. There are approximately 120 people living on reserve with a further 100 people living in Prince George. The bulk of the remaining people live in various communities within British Columbia (there are other community members living throughout  Canada).

This may be re-written:

The Québécois are Romance people who speak a dialect of the French language and who assert our heritage, history and culture, including our language and religion, are tied to the lands and waters surrounding the Lower St. Lawrence River Basin

There are currently millions of Québécois . The vast majority living as did our forefathers in the St. Lawrence Basin with other community members living throughout  Canada.

The term Quebec, the Canadian Province as presently constituted, OUGHT NOT TO BE EVER USED IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE MOTION PASSED BY THE COMMONS

The Province of Quebec is the home of many nations as this website elaborates and the map below illustrates.

The Nations

John Dowson

Joe: Michael Chong did two things for Canada. One the Canadian people discovered that they had an Interprovincial Minister, and second he stood up for what he believed in. Its easy to believe in what you stand for, but it's difficult to stand up for what you believe in. John Dowson

Brian Graff

Subject: RE: The term NATION: A Primer

no, quebec is not a nation... i read something that noted that calling some group a nation gives them the right to "self-determination" instead of just minority rights if they are an ethnic group. but who exactly is this nation? anglo quebecers too? haitian-quebecers? aboriginal quebecers?
but what also occurs to me is that saying it is within a "united canada" says little - the real issue here is that, no matter what, canada be recognised as "indivisible" under all circumstances - and that quebecers, western separatists and aboriginal groups accept this.

Suan H.Booiman

Subject: Quebec

Glad Harper showed his colour, next move will be to move Ottawa to Quebec City,
no constitutional change, so they don't have to ask for equalization but have it all,
it is an insult to the WEST. As Bouchard said "Canada is not a country".

Arnold Kwok

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer

Dear Joe:
I found William Johnson's essay instructive, "Recognizing the elephant in Confederation," (Thursday, 23 November, 2006, Globe and Mail); I included the link and excerpts.  Paul Well's blog quoted Scott Reid, M.P., in Hansard in 2003; it appeared Reid's speech was used in both the motions by the Bloc Quebecois and the Prime Minister of Canada.  Enjoy.
Arnold Kwok
"Recognizing the elephant in Confederation"

"Now there's a turnaround. It was only on June 23, the eve of the Fete Nationale, there on the battlements of Quebec's Citadel overlooking the St. Lawrence River, that Stephen Harper stumbled when asked whether he recognized that Quebec was a nation. He would only go so far as to recognize that the National Assembly had declared that Quebec was a nation. As for himself, he chose not to pronounce himself on what he considered was only a question of semantics...."
< >

"It was a statement that Mr. Harper was conscience-bound to make, sooner or later. As a conservative by conviction, he could not indefinitely allow Quebec politicians -- such as the Bloc's Gilles Duceppe, the PQ's André Boisclair and Premier Jean Charest -- to speak and act as though a mere majority in a future referendum would authorize Quebec to secede from Canada. The rule of law is a bedrock conservative principle and Mr. Harper had made crystal clear before and after the 1995 referendum on secession that there could be no secession without an amendment to the Constitution of Canada -- one that would require the consent of the other provinces. He had even introduced a private member's bill to that effect. In 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada, in its response to the reference on secession, confirmed precisely the position taken by Mr. Harper, as opposed to the laissez-faire response of Jean Chrétien and the Liberals, whether in Ottawa or Quebec...."

"By his action, Mr. Harper differentiates himself from the muddling Liberals, who yesterday morning had still been searching for a way out of their own lobster trap. Now the Liberals, and especially Michael Ignatieff, can breathe more freely. Given the context the Prime Minister has created, the Liberals can go ahead and adopt their resolution on recognizing Quebec as a nation: It has ceased to be threatening."
Posted by Paul Wells at 03:27 PM 11/23/2006

Very curious

Canadian Alliance MP Scott Reid, during debate on a Bloc motion proposing that Quebec be recognized as a nation and given the right to opt out of federal spending programs with full compensation, 27 Oct., 2003:

Finally, I also must talk a little about the idea that Quebec constitutes a nation, as is worded here. Here I will read again the motion that was proposed by my Bloc Quebecois friend, but now I will read it in English as opposed to French to make the point about the distinctions between the French and English texts. The motion is:

That the House acknowledge that Quebec constitutes a nation, and accordingly, as it is not a signatory to the social union framework agreement of 1999, the said nation of Quebec has the right to opt out of any federal initiative encroaching upon Quebec jurisdictions, with full financial compensation.

The thing to observe here is “a nation”. If they were to say “que les Quebecois forment une nation”, or “les Quebecois forme un peuple”, if they were to say something that refers to people somehow being linked together by a mystical bond, to be connected by something that is deep within their nature, their psyche, the way that their synapses fire in their brains that makes them have something in common that the rest of world does not have in common, I could see some validity to that. However they are not talking that. It is very distinct. They are saying that Quebec forms a nation. That is, there is a conflation between whatever nation might exist, whatever people might exist and a state. The attempt here is to create a nation state.

Andy Rutherford

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer

Hi Joe I can't see what Good or harm has been done with Harper's recognition of
Quebec as a nation. It is quite sometime since we recognized,either formally or
 informally the aboriginal people as first nations. I am not sure whether singular
 or plural but first nation people in any event. How much good or bad has come
from the appellation. Perhaps he should have called the French province the second
 nation and all of us together the Last Nation.

                                                  Andy R.

David E Code

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer

Re the Nation matter: there are the United Nations, composed of self-governing nations, and there is the Metis nation, not to mention the language and cultural groupings of francophones in every Province of Canada. The word Nation can seem loose or meaningful, according to the person using the term.
The separatists can say what they want, play with words, and play at demanding independence. But it is all a sham battle. And just think: if Quebec were ever to separate; wow! think of all the money we would save on equalization paymments!
David E. Code

R. Gagne

Subject: Nation as concept


On November 22nd you asked for comment on the initiative by the Prime Minister to formally recognize Quebec as "a nation within a united Canada."

What you have described as a political-nation is what I would call a nation-state, but that is perhaps no more than a semantic difference.

We both agree, I think, that a nation-state is one which is self-supporting and which enjoys sovereign control over a defined land area.  As you rightly point out, Canada is a nation-state and Quebec is not.

I am, however, not at all certain that the concepts of 'nation' and 'cultural' fit comfortably together.  We have, in Canada, two official cultures and languages (English and French) and a host of native and immigrant cultures and languages in use, most of which are widely distributed geographically.  But these are cultural attributes, not political ones.

Although the Prime Minister's initiative last week to recognize Quebec as 'a nation within a united Canada' has been applauded by virtually every talking head on TV as well as by the rest of the chattering classes, in my view he has blundered badly with this proposal.  As I see it, this is the first step on an extremely slippery slope whose ultimate result is quite likely to fracture the Canadian nation-state more than it is now.  With Quebec being officially recognized as a nation, can the native communities be denied the same privilege, all six hundred or so of them?  Moreover, having gained this much, does anyone really believe that the Quebec nationalists will be satisfied with only this symbolic gesture?  I don't for a minute think so.  I believe that the Prime Minister has put the interests of his party ahead of those of the nation as a whole on this one.


Alex McGregor(Hootie @VIANET>ca

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer

joE. tHE CONFUSION STARTED WITH THAT oLD wHIg rADIcal Jack Durham Who wrote "Two nations warring in the bosom of a single state. What he ought to have written  was two tribes sharing the same territory" Now we have  multi tribal groups demanding equal rights from the otHer tribes with the QuebEcois tribe temporarily best positioned to survive.  Alex McGregor(Hootie @VIANET>ca

Ed James

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer

    Joe , Your comments re CTV 's " Today's Question " is no great mistake.

I am of the opinion they are not blind to the question and knew exactly the " Hornets Nest " they were creating. And it continues with the media " stirring the pot " giving a platform to Separatists. Keep up the great work !

                           Sincerely ......EJ

Eugene Parks

Subject: When a family dispute goes public - it still just a family dispute!

So what of the claim, “The Quebecois are a nation”? Historically, England and France warred for hundreds of years to determine if England was a province of France or if France was a province of England. Ironically, royalty of both jurisdictions were related - as were many citizens - and the two kingdoms regularly conducted business. In North American there was some separation between the two groups. But notably, in Upper and Lower Canada many English and French continued to intermingle.

Consequently, many have dual ancestries. My father’s ancestors hailed from English-French Norman ancestors who lived 400 years in England before continuing in British North American for 350 years and becoming United Empire Loyalists. My mother’s ancestry was also Norman, but from Normandy France, before continuing in New France for 350 years – pur-laine Quebecois.  Some of us “English” are also “French”  because we are in fact one English-French (Norman) clan. The Canadian English-French “We are a nation” debate from an insider’s perspective is a family affair. And unfortunately like the wars of the past, we tend to draw others into our family clan conflict.

Nevertheless, everyone should remember that Canada is a place founded on northern courage by all those willing to say *we* are in life *together* for each other through good and bad.  We should not be beguiled by the false claims that English-French is a monumental historical Canadian divide. In fact, for many of us French-English is one and the same millennium old family history.

Eugene Parks


Subject: Re:  Not for the DD

Hi Joe,   Good to have you back, and I hope you had a great time. 
    I have a couple of comments about the nation within a united country,  but only for you, because I really don't know much about it.... just a few thoughts.  For one thing, I've never understood the fuss made over Quebec.  Yes, the buildings are different from many other places (but there are same elsewhere), there are more French speaking people (that's been worked at and many speak it because they have to, not because they want to), and (the important thing) there are the agitators wanting fame for themselves not le bien de Quebec. Despite two solitudes, every citizen of Quebec is as important as any other, as in every other province. I know next to nothing about the Accord.
    Since there appears to be so much opposition, what I would like to "hear" from others is what they think a good alternative would be to what Mr. Harper decided. Judging from the reaction to Mr. Harper's response, I feel the Members of the House in general were glad they hadn't had to make it.  As a "nation within a united country" Quebec can make their "provincial" decisions and if they want to participate in any capacity on the international scene, the expense is theirs.  The cost of those activities will be over and above what the Federal entitlements are for every other province. And I don't believe that they will gain anything from those decisions, including respect from other countries. All it would do is give an hour of glory to the few.  Also, in his speech in the House, I think Mr. Harper said something about any decision beyond what he had stated  (i.e. re "separation" as a nation implied?) would be the responsibility of the Quebec Parliament to make....something I haven't heard anyone comment on, which makes me wonder if I misunderstood since it's an important point to make.

Robert Ede

Divide and Conquer - Quebecois as a nation within the Dominion of Canada.
Canada is no longer a country of individuals, we're group-members fighting to get our group moved higher up the pecking order.  We're 10+3+31million solitudes warring in the bosom of a debt-besotted, social-welfare state.
For that we can thank the elite-think behind the Charter of group-rights, conditional freedoms and retro-active ameliorations.

(1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability (or sexual proclivities -read in)

(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability, (or sexual proclivities -read in). (83)

I cannot imagine why "the smartest guy in the room" would open this nation within a nation can of worms unless he intended to further de-stabilize the thinking of Canadians and thereby nudge ahead the aims and objectives of the elites hoping to integrate Canada into the USA.
The PQ/BQ will take this as a partial, albeit imperfect victory - why not, it was handed to them on a silver platter and the whole trained-seal, bunch of fools in the Commons voted to support it.
The Rest of Canada (ie Ontario) will simmer and pout and then allow the spinmeisters to convince them to put it behind them as 'meaningless and symbolic' while they go Christmas shopping (Holiday shopping for the Secular Humanists, Canada's anything-goes, State-Religion that dares not speak its name).
The West is a different matter. Alberta is tired of this crap and is tired of Prime Ministers basing their electoral plans on the 75 seats in Quebec.
Alberta has a Plan 'B' .... it's called "Or Else".
Alberta (assuming oil stays above $45-50) could easily secede (where in reality, Quebec could not, particularly in the post-1985 Aboriginal Rights & Treaty Rights legal environment).
Alberta in addition to assembling the 5 components of the Alberta Agenda (Pension Plan, collect its own Personal Income tax, Alberta Police force, its own Health plan, restored role in immigration) is integrating itself with BC (other way around actually) with agreements to minimize labour & regulation differences & trade barriers.
BC & Alberta would make a very nice 'new Texas' - the only state that joined the USA after being a sovereign entity (aside Texas retains the right to split into 5 states if it wants)
Re:nation within a nation, the only questions in Canadians minds should be:
Is this furthering the creation of 10+3+31million solitudes warring in the bosom of my country?
If it is, do I want Canada to be divided and (so easily) conquered?
If I don't want that, why is it on the national agenda? Who/what thinks it's a good idea?
If I think it's a bad idea, what am I going to do about it?
Whose Dominion is it anyway?
Am I a subject-of-the-Crown resident here that just accepts what is offered, hoping the ill-effects won't affect me too greatly, or am I a citizen-shareholder with real rights to object and duties to defend what is mine?

Robert Ede
bruised, but not beaten
Direct 416.819.7333
Glenn Harewood

Subject:Nation = sovereign state = a community of ALL citizens/individuals, whatever their origins, enjoying equal and the same political equal rights."


"Nation" = a “community of all citizens enjoying equal rights”, a community of individuals enjoying the same political rights, whatever their origins.
(Do the Quebecois/Oise not enjoy the same political rights, whatever their origins, as all other Canadian peoples-- whatever their origins
 I do not know if your links  on  "who/what is a "nation" include this one from the Council of Europe, but here is an exhaustive,  balanced view of the semantics. I have highlighted in
red font the contrasting French and German views because here is where the clash between the views of the BQ/PQ and the Canadian Federal nationalists occurs. You will also note that the French Revolutionists considered themselves as a nation that was trying to shed absolutist monarchical  rule. Neither the  French Huguenots nor the Jacobites   considered themselves a "nation"  separate and  apart from the rest of French peoples.
It is fairly obvious that PM Harper and his research staff did NOT read this Council of Europe's report before formulating their motion which was voted on in the
H of C on Monday, November 27th/06.

 Had they read the report,a link to which is cited below, they would have been able to come up with a far fuller, stronger and more complete motion-statement:  the French concept of "nation," which I have highlighted in
red font below.

Such a motion-statement would have deterred the Bloc Quebecois from accepting Harper's motion -- a motion which the
BQ intends to use, in the future, as leverage for advancing their separatist cause.  This is why they, the  BQ,  decided to insert and then withdraw the adverb "currently" from their amendment. They suddenly saw that they are currently in a united Canada, but in the future, they could try to force themselves OUT of  this united Canada-- a  Canada which they, themselves do not consider to be united. After all they could and will argue that  Levesque/Quebec did not sign the 1982 Constitutional Charter.
 One would be naive to believe that the
BQ will not now and later say: "well you have recognized us as a nation ( double meaning -- the German concept)  of the Quebecois in a united Canada. But this "nation" now wants to separate  (through a referendum) from the united Canada; and we have a right to pursue such separation."

It may open a Pandora's box from which the other "nation peoples, including the first nations," of provinces such as Alberta, B.C., QUE, NB., MAN., NFLND, and ONT., may claim their rights to recognition as "nations;"  and who knows what the future may bring? They may  also want to separate from a "united Canada"  IF they are not conceded fiscal and other powers by the Federal government.

 Of course, Harper is not opposed to giving away federal powers to the provinces!!

To read the report in English, clic here.

Glenn Harewood

Doc. 10762, 13 December 2005:The concept of “nation”Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights;Rapporteur: Mr György Frunda, Romania, Group of the European People's Party.

Excerpts from the above cited document ...

"... 14. It was undoubtedly the late 18th century that saw the emergence of the concept of nation, thanks to the 1776 Declaration of Independence of the United States and the 1787 American Constitution, which begins with the words “We, the people of the United States”, and the French Revolution, which drew inspiration from the ideas of Rousseau and Abbé Sieyès.
It was Enlightenment France which, by coining the concept of the nation-state, gave substance to the concept of nation. The French conception of nation is that of the “community of all citizens enjoying equal rights”, a community of individuals enjoying the same political rights, whatever their origins. It is a legal concept expressing the unity of the social basis of the state, which is viewed as a given, not a construct. In adopting their founding text, the United States did not consider the question of who the people were, and whether the Indians or the Blacks were included or excluded. In France, the nation was a concept of struggle – the struggle for freedom and against divine-right monarchy. The nation was the new concept on which the Revolution built the democratic legitimacy of the new regime, the new political system: the nation was seen as a unified and uniform community of citizens. The French conception led to recognition of the right of self-determination; a nation exists only when it succeeds in throwing off the yoke of oppression, despotism and absolute monarchy, when it becomes an independent state based on the common political will of the people. The French conception maintained the idea that the state was the legal personification of the nation, of all its citizens.

15. At the end of the 18th century, however, this approach was of interest only to the few states which had thrown off the yoke of monarchy. It was of no concern to most European countries, which belonged to the great dynastic empires – Austro-Hungarian, German or Russian – and were multinational.

16. This period therefore saw the emergence of a very different conception,
the German concept of nation, that of Herder, a kind of patriotic German reaction to French domination. In this view, the nation was not a sum of individuals but a collective entity with a specific language and culture and specific historical traditions. This concept, that of the linguistic nation, confers legitimacy on the aspirations to political unity of a distinct linguistic community divided by frontiers whose members are bound together by the feeling of belonging to the same national community, by a common destiny and a common will to belong to a real

linguistic nation. The term “linguistic nation” accordingly denotes the totality of individuals belonging to the same nation by virtue of the fact that they speak the same language and share the same culture and traditions.

17. Alongside the French conception of nation, the different idea of a cultural nation was gaining ground. These two conceptions emerged in a particular political context, and were determined by political considerations, but they were not mutually exclusive and existed in parallel."
Glenn Harewood, Ph.D. KC.

Stratos Psarianos

Hi, Joe. Great to see you're back ...

                 Whose view of what was accepted last night is your view, that of Lawrence Cannon or the other person?;

Two versions. The short one: "Yeah, stick it to 'em, Stephen!". The long one follows.
Despite what anyone says, the "nation" declaration was a stroke of genius. A cynical one, for sure, but a justified one in that it's:
   - re-shuffled the cards in that the positions of the issue's "holders" have been disrupted;
   - revealed the fundamental weakness of the separatist / autonomist stance;
First, the holders. To date, the current political holders have been the Bloc, the succeeding government(s) of Quebec, and more recently the Liberals (what with Mr. Ignatieff bringing up recognition as part of his platform). The thing is, the implicit scope of the positions they held had to do not with a sociological grouping (francophone Quebecers of old-stock "French" origin) but rather with a political and territorial entity ("Quebec"). But the truth is that Quebec isn't a uniformly Quebecois (as in old-stock French Canadians) entity ... just ask most residents of Westmount (a rich enclave on Montreal island) how Quebecois they are in that sense. By expressing federal "recognition" of Quebecois, Mr. Harper has neutralized the Bloc and the government(s) of Quebec in that he's fundamentally undermined their argument that political QUEBEC is a distinct entity, as opposed to ethnic-sociological QUEBECOIS being the distinctive factor. In brief, it'S not the political-territorial dominated by Quebecois that's distinct, it's the Quebecois themselves.
So, in what way is this a big deal (and it is .. .witness the Bloc's initial reaction to its announcement). When the Parti Quebecois (PQ) held its first referendum in 1980 (to grant Quebec's government a mandate to "negotiate" a political re-adjustment), no one was under the illusion that the thing wasn't being driven by Quebecois for Quebecois. After the referendun went against the PQ's aims, discussion about how solid Quebec itself was started to crop up. In particular:
   - if Canada could be broken up, why couldn't Quebec?
   - what about Quebec's aboriginals, many of whose groupings expressed their desire to stay in Canada; would they be able to leave with "their land", which would mean possibly stripping Quebec of vast territories? (One particular worry was that the Crees in Northern Quebec would make off with Hydro-Quebec's big power dams in Quebec's north).
Hence a re-framing of the separatist position. The rhetoric changed so that it was no longer the Quebecois who were seeking separation but rather the Quebecois people (in French, an ambiguous definition ... it can mean either the Quebecois proper as defined above or the "populace" of Quebec, which includes everyone) and eventually Quebec itself. For years now, everyone's been talking about Quebec's promotion of its identity, which had become a habit until Mr. Harper re-shuffled the cards and neutralized the Bloc and Quebec's governments (including the "federalist" provincial Liberals). Also, Mr. Harper politically cleaved Quebec in that he's identified the politically dominant Quebecois as being "distinctive", with non-Quebecois not being omitted from "Quebecois distinction" even if they live in Quebec. Thus, the Quebecois, the primary drivers of separatism, are identified as being the ones who are distinct and who are at the root of Quebec's push for independence/autonomy DESPITE THE PASSIVITY OF THE REST. So, by making Quebecois distinct from "other" Canadians, Mr. Harper has succeeded in  making them distinct ... of other Quebecers. He's made explicit the psychological-sociological dividing line. And it's not where the Bloc and Quebec's governments had been setting it (i.e. at Quebec's borders) through their framing of the issue ... IT'S WITHIN QUEBEC ITSELF.
Just to give you an idea of how this disrupts the Bloc and Quebec government positions ... over the past few days, the "federalist" provincial Liberals have been finessing their position in the newspapers by having ministers discuss "identity" issues with a Quebec slant, as opposed to a Quebecois one. For example, Quebec's Culture Minister said something about the Quebec government's ongoing support for Quebec's identity through its culture sponsorships, etc. These statements aren't explicitly aimed at taking on Mr. Harper's position but they are aimed at re-framing the mental space so as to cover all of Quebec instead of just the Quebecois.
Tactically speaking, recognition has been a master stroke in that it's redefined the protagonists and antagonists, as well as the political-sociological boundaries in Quebec's independence/autonomy debate. Strategically speaking, it's also a success in the sense that the Bloc, and Quebec's governments (the Liberals AND the PQ) will have a lot of 'splaining to do re. are all Quebecers (not Quebecois) really all in it together when it comes to independence/autonomy. So Bravo!, Mr. Harper ... one couldn't have done better in your situation.
Stratos Psarianos
Montreal, QC
P.S. I'm interested to see if this will lead to debate about what it is to be Canadian. So far, in the large sense, I believe that the defining pillar of "English Canadian" identity (which, strictly speaking is actually the identity of residents in "English-speaking Canada") has been "we're not Americans". In addition to that, "we're not Quebecois" applies to non-Quebecois residents in Quebec, including French-speaking ones. This echoes the Quebecois "we're not like the others (in Canada)", in my mind.