Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Quiet Restoration

Back in my university days, I counted among my friends an ardent, full-on left wing Quebec separatist. We tended not to talk about that particular leaning of his, because we knew it was a point of fervent, angry disagreement, and we weren't going to convince each other. However, we talked about it a little, because I was genuinely curious to understand the attraction of Quebec nationalism. He was certainly a believer that as "masters in their own house", Quebec would not have to play along with the right-wing-leaning Rest Of Canada he perceived the rest of us to be.

I think it's fair to say that the lie of that was readily exposed last night. Until now, the face of separatism has been the BQ and PQ, parties far enough to the left that the NDP don't seem to have the heart to really work against them, or (much to my disappointment) seriously contest the things they say and do. But while the ADQ might be willing to put away separation as a party plank (and who can't agree that it's good for the country that the only Quebec party outwardly advocating separatism was reduced to third party status?), they are built from a side of Quebec nationalism that my old university friend called a rump, or denied completely. Private health care, private schooling (read Catholic), "autonomy" (An independent Quebec within a united Canada, as the Quebec comedian Yvon Deschamps liked to say) - these hearken back to the Union Nationale.

The new ADQ caucus is unknown and untried. It's a new party, it's a "populist" party, and it's an ideological party, and those three facts in combination almost certainly guarantee that they'll have more flakes and nuts than a box of Muslix. For too many years now, the ROC's left has shied away from confronting Quebec nationalism head-on (witness Jack Layton wanting to tear up Clarity, check national unions not attempting to spread into Quebec, for fear of stepping on nationalist toes). Perhaps some inopportune words here and there from the new ADQ members, and we can finally mix it up.

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