Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Defending Michael Chong

The author of this column is certainly not a warm supporter of the Conservative Party of Canada led by Stephen Harper. Nonetheless, in the House of Commons, when 266 votes vs 16 approved the motion that recognizes "Québécois" as a nation "within an united Canada", Michael Chong, the former Intergovernmental Affairs minister, did the right thing by repudiating this weird motion that wouldn't make Quebeckers' house more beautiful.

Michael Chong, who is now replaced by Peter Van Loan, is certainly one of the rare MPs who gave his opinion. Is he right when he says that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's motion about Quebec is an "ethnic recognition"? The answer is yes. However, what many people don't know is that Stephen Harper, although he says that he's not racist, has a "nativism" (an expression that belongs to Larry Zolf) that is rooted deeply into his individual mentality.

Besides, Chong is probably one of the few MPs on the Parliament Hill who saw that this useless semantic debate started by the Bloc Québécois (BQ) is just a pure manipulation of Quebecker voters. In fact, as far as Chong probably knows, the BQ didn't dare to use the word "country" in its orginal motion. In fact, a nation, in its modern sense, is a political unit of citizens who, besides sharing a common culture and history, inhabits in a country that is controlled by a sovereign central government that maintains the law and order. Is Quebec a nation? If Quebeckers want Quebec to be a nation, they just have to separate.

Therefore, Chong definitely knows that a nation is the community of people who inhabits in a country. Furthermore, Stephen Harper, who is now playing the separatists' game, probably used the term "Québécois" to subtlely trap the BQ and the separatists. In English, the word "Québécois" is normally used by English-speaking Canadians to refer to the French Canadians living in Quebec.

After all, a little bit of historical education can make us learn that in the 1960s, French-speaking Quebeckers gradually stopped to refer to themselves by using the word French Canadians. However, one can really wonder why the BQ, the Quebecker separatist federal party, and the Parti Québécois (PQ), one of Quebec's provincial party, both supported this motion, albeit with reluctance...

Now, let's get back to the Quebec nation thing. As opposed to the BQ and the Quebecker separatists, Michael Chong also saw that the motion doesn't define what on earth a Quebecker, or rather a "Québécois", is. Chong also added that ethnic-based nationalism is something that shouldn't be tolerated. Hats off to Michael Chong! Canada finally has a MP who dares to talk openly about ethnic-based nationalism.

However, what many people don't know is that ethnic-based nationalism is well tolerated in Canada. Very strange, indeed for a country that pretends to be so open-minded in an immigration brochure that can be found in Canadian ambassies... Obviously, ethnic-based nationalism is being talked about in the Canadian mainstream media since a few years ago. This column aims to defend a MP who took his courage with both of his hands and exposed two taboos: recognizing "Québécois" as a nation "within an united Canada" (even though Quebeckers don't have a central government!) and ethnic-based nationalism. Two thumbs up for Chong!

PS: Did you know that Transportation minister Lawrence Cannon contradicted himself by accusing the members of the BQ of being ethnic nationalists after he said that ethnic minorities and anglophones are not Quebeckers? Cannon is not better than some separatists as far as we know...

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