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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Watchmaker steadies his delicate hand / I want you / For barbeque parties on blood red sands
— Peter Gabriel, And Through the Wire
March 15, 2008
For An Independent Quebec

For An Independent Quebec appeared in Volume 54 of Foreign Affairs in 1976. It was authored by René Lévésque.

Launced in 1967—68, the Parti Québécois, whose platform is based on political sovereignty, now fills the role of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition in the National Assembly—as we nostalgically designate our provincial legislature.

The next election might come any time now; this year in the fall, just after the Montréal Olympics, or at the latest in the fall of 1977…The present provincial government, a branch of the same Liberal Party which also holds power at the federal level under Pierre Elliott Trudeau, is obviously on the way out. It has been in power for six years, and ever since its send and Pyrrhic victor in 1973 (102 seats) it has been doing steadily downhill.

Throughout the next hundred years…French Québec…held on obstinately, according to its lights and as much as its humble means made it possible, to those two major ingredients of national identity—land and language.

Small and impotent though it was, French Québec never quite forgot the potential nation it had once been…Now and then, there were stirrings: a writer here, a small political coterie there; a great upsurge of nationalist emotions, in the 1880s around the Riel affair…

Inevitably there had to be a spillover into politics. More than half of our public revenue and most of the decisions that count were and are in outside hands, in a federal establishment which was basically instituted not by or for us…about 80 percent of Québec savings and potential investment capital ends up in banks and insurance companies whose operations are none of our business.

…while this dialogue of the deaf was going on and on, the idea of political independence reappeared as it had to. Not as a dream this time, but as a project, and very quickly as a serious one…and finally to a full-fledged national party in 1967-68. These were the same two years during which, by pure coincidence, Mr. Trudeau was just as rapidly being elevated to the heights as a new federalist champion from Québec.

…Our aim is simply full equality by the only means through which a smaller nation can reasonably expect to achieve it with a large one: self-government.

We do not accept the simplistic domino there, where Québec’s departure is presented as the beginning of a fatal dislocation…

Either-Ottawa-or is very simply inspired by prejudice, the origin of this nonsense mostly to be found inspired by prejudice, the origin of this nonsense mostly to be found in the tragic month of October 1970 and the great “crises” which our political establishments, under the astutely calculating Mr. Trudeau, managed to make out of a couple of dozen young terrorists, whose ideology was a hopeless hodgepodge of anarcho-nationalism and kindergarten Marxism, which ad no chance of having any kind of serious impact…A great spectacle produce in order to terrorize the Québécois forever back into unquestioning submissiveness, and, outside, to feed the mill of scary propaganda about how dangerous this tame animal could nevertheless be!

In brief Québec’s most privileged links, aside from its most essential relationship with the Canadian partner, would be first with the United States—where there is no imaginable reason to frown on such a tardy but natural and healthy development…The Québec would look to other Francophone or “Latin” countries as cultural respondents, and to France herself—who would certainly not be indifferent to the fact that this new nation would constitute the second most important French-speaking country in the world. In brief, such is the peaceful and, we confidently hope, fruitfully progressive state which may very well appear on the map of North America before the end of the decade.

Posted by skooter at 4:44 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics, Quebec.
This entry is tagged: Pierre Trudeau, Quebec, Rene Levesque, Separatism

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