Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Unconvincing Conversion

Up until yesterday, Justin Trudeau has always upheld that Quebec doesn't need to be recognized "as a distinct society in the Constitution or [...] as a nation". Obviously, while he said that Quebec is a "nation", Trudeau still looks unconvincing.


Justin Trudeau's new declaration implies that he now understands the legitimacy of nationalism in this society. However, nobody will be convinced of such a radical change of stance.

As someone who blindly defends his late father's legacy, Justin Trudeau never showed any sympathy for the concept of nationalism. In fact, it's hard to believe him, because he has always accused nationalists (Canadian and Quebecker, as well) of displaying a "smallness of thoughts". In short, insulting people who are advocating nationalism is Justin Trudeau's favourite sport.

In the end, it is Trudeau who displays a "smallness of thoughts", because he believes that nationalism is inextricably related to racism in all circumstances. What a strange way to understand Quebec, and by extension the rest of Canada! The son of former Prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau may try to be in touch with reality, but he's just out of sync with it.

Moreover, saying that Quebec is a "nation" won't make Quebeckers like him. Indeed, nobody knows how Trudeau conceives the ideal practise of Canadian federalism. Secondly, he'll never be able to get rid of his image of someone who's closed to any demands from Quebec (if not any other provinces) to practise an asymmetrical federalism.

With that being said, Justin Trudeau just recognizes Quebec as a nation, because he wants to follow the Liberal Party of Canada's (LPC) discipline. That's it. That's all. Since he'll be in the Montrealer riding of Papineau in the next federal election, he probably doesn't want the Quebecker wing of the LPC to kick him out. Of course, such a thing is done, because Trudeau wants to look more presentable to most Quebeckers.

Justin Trudeau may want to change his image, but what makes it even less convincing are two things. First of all, he changed his opinion at the light of the pressure he saw from the LPC's Quebecker wing. Secondly, while he showed his sympathy to the Harper motion during a conference in Toronto, he didn't even want to talk about it to any French-speaking Quebecker journalist.

If Justin Trudeau really wanted to confirm his conversion to this new idea about recognizing Quebec as a "nation", he'd talk to a French-speaking Quebecker journalist. Instead, he gives us the feeling that he has something to hide or he's too ashamed to pander to most Quebeckers. All in all, Trudeau's official message changed, but his inner thoughts probably didn't.

***

Those who know me are aware that I've never been warm to the idea of recognizing Quebec as a "nation", even "within an united Canada". However, I'll do my best to tolerate the Harper motion just the same way former American president Dwight Eisenhower (who was quite pro-business) tolerated the New Deal policies.

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