for more information contact skot@penguinstorm.com

current
On Trump
Bob Dylan - Wisdom is Thrown Into Jail
Bob Dylan: Tempest
Adam West voices the Dark Knight
Apple's Calendar Inconsistency
Is Pono Dead?
Inbox Zero is Old News: Welcome to Inbox Negative One
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Effects Reel
Evolution of Stop Motion Photography
7 Story Cycling Centric Apartments


recent
What Happened to Jai Alai?
Greatest Text Conversation Ever
Quarry Rock in the Rain
Careless Reckless Love
Electricity, Heights and Women
Daniel Lanois and his AC30
How Can You Just Leave Me Standing Alone in a World So Cold
Today Was a Tough Day
The Resonant Frequency of Love - Rocco DeLuca with Daniel Lanois
Dan Mangan - Forgetery
Birch Tree: Toronto, 2016
Japan's Disposable Workers
Jeff Tweedy Plays Charades with Ewan McGregor
Steph Cameron at the Railway Club (February 1, 2016)
Wilco at the CityFolk Festival, Ottawa (September 20, 2015)
Rice Lake, North Vancouver
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Running Away
Stanley Rohatinski: 1925 - 2015
Chewie...we're home!


archives
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
October 2015
April 2015
March 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
August 2014
May 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
July 2003
June 2003
January 2003
November 2002
October 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
May 2001
April 2001
January 2001
October 1999


categories
America
Books
Camera
Canada
Cycling
Design
Entertainment
Family
Food
Friends
Inanities
Marketing
Music
Narcicism
Nature
Penguins
Politics
Quebec
Science
Sports
Technology
Travel
Tweets
Vancouver
Words


randomness
your blue hood
Thin Systems
Listen to the Bell, Mr. Premier...It Tolls for Thee
Gordon Campbell Won't Run Again?
Bike Maintenance Lessons: Disc Brake Pads
Cycling is Mainstream Transportation
Brave New World: The Musical
Perennial Also Ran?
Daniel Lanois and his AC30
Dan Mangan - Forgetery

I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
And the eyes they were / a colour I can't remember / which says more / from verse to verse
— A.C. Newman, There are Maybe 10 or 12
March 20, 2008
The Two Canadas

From Foreign Policy, Number 81, Winter 1990—1991 published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Written by Jeffrey Simpson. It’s interesting how much this post-Meech pre-Charlottetown paranoia has simply evaporated from the political system, despite the fact that Quebe politics continues to be dominated by le Bloc Québébois

Twenty-five years ago, a royal commission investigating relations between English and French-speaking Canadians warned that “Canada, without being fully conscious of the fact, is passing through the greatest crisis in its history.”…

Today, despite myriad institutional and policy changes over the past two and a half decades designed to smooth relations between French and English-speaking Canadians, the commission’s words still aptly describe Canadian reality…in the aftermath of the June 1990 collapse of a constitutional accord desired by the French-speaking province of Quebec.

The failure of the so-called Meech Lake accord…and especially the bitter debate outside Quebec has pushed support for Quebec independence, or at least increased sovereignty, to its highest levels ever.

…today many Canadians—and certainly a majority of the English-seaking ones—have not fully grasped how and why the Meech Lake trauma left Canada so badly shaken.

…Quebec is slightly over-represented in the Conservative party government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, himself a Quebecker. No policies of the national government are considered so iniquitous or injurious in Quebec that the province should leave the country on their account.

And yet the threat to Canadian unity has never been more severe than in the aftermath of the collapse of Meech Lake…It is a crisis that envenoms further what the French observer André Siefgried…called in 1907 the “fears and jealousies” between English- and French-speaking Canadians. it is a crisis of confidence about whether Canada, after 123 years as a federal state, is still worth the effort.

The Meech Lake Accord was both cause and victim of these “fears and jealousies.”….

Meech Lake…crystallized a debate between two fundamentally incompatible views of Canadian federalism that Canadian politicians of every stripe had frequently attempted to fudge: the view in Quebec that the province deserved special recognition and particular powers because of its French-speaking identity; and the view elsewhere that all provinces must be constitutionally equal…This outdated idea left behind both multicultural Canadians, who now represent nearly a third of the population, and Canada’s aboriginal peoples, who felt excluded from the debate.

A poll by the Globe and Mail or Toronto and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation taken four months before the collapse of Meech Lake showed that 71 per cent of respondents knew little or nothing about the accord, yet a similar number professed strong or very strong views about it. A poll by the same organizations just after the accord’s demise showed that, despite months of media saturation, 62 per cent still knew little or nothing about the accord but a similar number had strong or very strong views about it.

Meech Lake had its political roots in a 1984 campaign speech given by [Brian] Mulroney…He promised to bring Quebeckers into the Canadian constitution with “honor and enthusiasm,”…

…For more than 20 years before the referendum Quebeckers had been debating their role in Canada; the referendum seemed to clinch their adherence to federalism. Mulroney perceived that if certain modest constitutional changes were made, moderate French-Canadian nationalists, including many who had campaigned for sovereignty-association, could be reconciled to federalism for a very long time.

…By promising to offer Quebec constitutional changes, he made the conservatives the preferred party for almost all French-Canadian nationalists.

Quebec presented five basic demands…Meech Lake was duly signed by the prime minister and the ten provincial premiers in the early spring of 1987….When Quebec’s National Assembly became the first legislature to approve Meech Lake on June 23, 1987, the three-year time clock began ticking.

At the time of Meech Lake’s negotiation and for some time thereafter, the accord scarcely touched the nation’s consciousness.

The first blow against Meech Lake was delivered by the father of the 1982 constitutional changes, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In a series of scathing public criticisms, he tore into the accord, claiming it would eventually grant Quebec special status…

Subsequent provincial elections in Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland brought to power premiers who had not signed the original Meech Lake accord…Attempts were made for a year to find a solution to the impasse through public debate and federal provincial meetings culminating in a marathon six-day, closed-door meeting in June 1990.

…Nothing was more damaging in English-speaking Canada than a decision by the Quebec government in December 1988 to ban outdoor signs with advertising in both English and French…the Supreme court hinted that a law that gave French a predominant position on outdoor signs with another language less-prominently displayed, was acceptable.

…[Quebec Premier] Bourassa, worried about an upsurge of nationalist sentiment, invoked the “notwithstanding clause”…

The premier’s decision brought about the resignation of three respected English-speaking cabinet ministers…To [moderate English-speaking Canadians] the decision signaled Quebec’s apparent indifference to attitudes elsewhere in Canada, an indifference that hardened attitudes against what Quebec was seeking: the Meech Lake accord.

With Meech Lake the focus of Canadian attention, old grievances toward Quebec where aroused. In Manitoba citizens bitterly recalled a decision of the Mulroney government to grant aircraft maintenance contract to a Montreal company, despite a less costly and technically superior bid from a Winnipeg firm. In Newfoundland, citizens remembered a reprehensible hydroelectric deal by which Hydro Quebec took power from the rivers of Labrador for a pittance then resold it at a huge profit to the United States…

Since 1968, with two very brief exceptions, prime ministers have come from Quebec…The next election will also be between parties led by Quebeckers: Mulroney and Jean Chrétien, the new leader of the opposition Liberal party. Some of the popular resentment in English Canada can be explained by imagining the reaction in America if every president since 1968 had come from the northeastern part of the country.

…the more interesting and difficult question is, What does English Canada want?

The mutual misunderstanding that often bedevils relations between French- and English- speaking Canadians reflects the traditional, and quite erroneous, view in Quebec that the rest of Canada…resembles Quebec: a relatively homogeneous bloc of people that can easily come to a national consensus…English-speaking Canada is nothing of the sort…Approximately 50 per cent of the children in the Vancouver elementary school system are of Asian descent; in Toronto white Angl-Saxon Protestants are now a minority.

…Canadians face three concerns that have plunged English-speaking Canada into a crisis of identity…First, the Mulroney government has pursued an agenda of deficit-reduction, privatization and trimming of social programs….

Second, the free-trade agreement with the United States severely divided English-speaking Canadians…A slim majority of English-speaking Canadians opposed free trade, many of the bitterly and passionately…the French-speaking population harbored no fears of cultural assimilation or loss of political sovereignty…

Third, Meech Lake once again forced English Canadians…to accomodate themselves to proposed constitutional changes beneficial to a province whose chronic restlessness and indifference toward the rest of Canada made it a source of profound irritation…If Meech Lake passed, many English Canadians concluded, Quebec would simply use the accord to demand even more powers and gradually achieve soverignty-association.

…In Manitoba…One politician—Elijah Harper, the only aboriginal politician in the legislature—used procedural tactics to prevent debate…

The defeat of Meech Lake has changed Canada’s future. The constitutional status quo is finished, though no one knows what will take its place…

In Quebec…Eight members of parliament—six Conservatives and two Liberals—resigned from their parties to for le Block Québécois in the House of Commons and a candidate from the new block trounced the old-line parties in a summer by-election in Quebec…

A year may pass before the political battle lines are formed in Quebec…During the referendum campaign of 1980, the overwhelming majority of business leaders in Quebe were hostile to sovereignty. Many are now willing to accept whatever political option Quebec chooses…

The free-trade agreement has encouraged Quebeckers to believe they are no longer dependent on the existing Canadian federal system for economic prosperity….Quebeckers assume that if they opt for independence, they could easily negotiate a similar deal with Washington…

…After nearly 15 years of deficit-financing, the country’s national debt consumes about one-third of every tax dollar sent to Ottawa…

Canada’s prospects after Meech Lake are complicated by the erosion of the national arties’ ability to build bridges between the two major language groups and among far-flung regions…as le Bloc Québécois is grabbing natinoalist votes in Quebec, a new formation called the Reform party is making important gains in Alberta and British Columbia…

Canada, in its own modest way, has represented a noble political experiment that a country could be formed in defiance of the enormous economic and cultural pull of the United States…

At the core of that distinctiveness lay an accommodation between French- and English- speaking Canadians and a mixed economy in which government plays a more interventionist role in society than it does in the United States…the Meech Lake accord shattered, probably irrevocably, the possibility of a harmonious accommodation between French- and English-speaking Canadians.

Posted by skooter at 4:41 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics, Quebec.
This entry is tagged: Jacques Parizeau, Pierre Trudeau. Separatism, Referendum

blog comments powered by Disqus