Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weak cultures should die!

In their latest attempt at propaganda, the Anglo-supremacist Facebook group Put Canadian Flag Back In Quebec Assembly makes the point that other ethnic groups like the Chinese or Italians do not require government assistance in order to protect their culture or language. So, why do “French-Canadians” need this type of protection? The followers of this group provide us with an answer: It’s a weak culture that deserves to die and the government has no business in propping it up!

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Cultural protectionism

One obvious problem with this argument is that it can be applied to Canada as well. Canada, of course, also engages in cultural protectionism. Canadians have legislated to protect their culture and their cultural institutions; they have used public funds to subsidize artists and artistic endeavors in every domain of cultural activity.

The federal government of Canada has always seen a role for itself:
  • in direct support to artists and artistic endeavors (via the Canada Council and other federally-funded granting programs such as book publishing).
  • in the creation of national cultural institutions like the CBC, the National Arts Centre, and the Canada Council.
  • in law and regulation (e.g., the Canadian content rules on radio, the cultural property export review law, the laws on ownership of newspapers and TV/radio).

In 1972 the CRTC introduced Radio Regulations which stipulated that commercial radio stations had to ensure that at least 30% of their broadcasted popular music selections were Canadian. The primary objective of these regulations was to encourage increased exposure of Canadian musical performers to Canadian audiences and to strengthen the Canadian music industry. These regulations had a direct impact on the availability of Canadian musical selections. The CRTC‘s Commercial Radio Policy, revised in 1998, increased the Canadian content to at least 35%. Basically, the Canadian government stepped into the cultural marketplace and regulated a place for Canadians.

The CBC's current funding is roughly $750 million annually and it's estimated that the Canadian government spends a total of $4.2 billion on culture. Why does Canada spend so much tax-payers' money on culture? Americans don't need to invest this kind of money and effort protecting and promoting their culture. Does Canada have a weak culture which would die without government support?

The fact is, with a thinly scattered population, Canada needs to overcome vast geographical distances. Sharing a common language with the Americans and living within easy reach of the border, Canadians could easily begin to identify more closely with their neighbors directly to the south of them than with people living thousands of miles away. Therefore, both transportation and telecommunications have been prioritized in order to provide Canadians with a sense of unity and identity, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Canadian cultural protectionism is in essence a form of Nation-building which is the process of constructing or structuring a national identity using the power of the state.

You would think that a nation that engages in its own cultural protectionism against a bigger, more dominant culture could understand Quebec's need to protect its culture from the overwhelming dominance of English on this continent. You would think that, but you would be wrong. Anglophones in Quebec and in Canada routinely go into hysterical convulsions whenever the application of Quebec's language laws seems frivolous. They hold up these incidents as proof that this protectionism is unnecessary, petty or oppressive. However, if we applied the same level of scrutiny to Canada's cultural protectionism, we could also find cases to make it all seem unnecessary, petty or oppressive.

For example, the CRTC recently cracked down on a number of porn channels for not showing enough Canadian content. Does anyone really care if 35% of their porn is made in Canada? Will the national identity of Canadians really be threatened if 35% of the people having sex on their screens aren't Canadian? See, it's not hard to do...

Conflicting visions of Quebec

We have gone from being one of the founding nations of Canada (at least, that's how we saw it) to an ethnic minority similar to groups of recent immigrants. Oh! So you think you're more special than Chinese-Canadians or Italian-Canadians, do you? No, it's not that... But let's be honest, Italian culture is not being created in Canada. Italian culture is a living, evolving culture in Italy, not in Canada. Immigrant communities are simply holding on to the culture of the old country and then trying to pass it down to the next generation like some kind of family heirloom. But despite these efforts, each generation usually becomes more and more assimilated into the dominant culture of the host country.

We are no more French immigrants than Brazilians are Portuguese immigrants. Our culture is a 400 year old French-speaking, North American culture. It (or remnants of it) can be found all over this continent. Today, however, it is only in Quebec that it is a living culture that can evolve and integrate newcomers. The name of this culture and of the people who belong to it was for a long time Canadien but since that name was hijacked by another nation we decided to go with Québécois or Quebecers in English. But regardless of what we call ourselves, we are a distinct nation, not just an ethnic group in an Anglo dominated Canada.

According to Trudeau's vision, Canada is just that, a single nation-state with a multicultural mosaic of ethnic groups, each one making up a piece of the whole. What is meant to bind this mosaic together isn't very clear. You'll often hear nonsense like "shared values". In reality multicultural Canada does have a dominant culture. It's simply a local variation of American culture (which seems to need a lot of government protection). And this culture has a dominant language: English! Canadians feel that Quebercers should accept their place as a piece of this mosaic, in other words, accept to be just another ethnic group in their nation. The Canadian Flag group are essentially expressing their frustration at our refusal to go along with this vision.

The old French-Canadian nationalism of the days when Canada was seen as a "bi-national" country has largely been replaced by a Québécois nationalism which sees Quebec as a separate and distinct nation that is open and democratic. Unlike Canada, we cannot pretend that there is no dominant culture and language, we don't have that luxury. We have to manage our situation and go against the current. We have to put some effort into making a French-speaking society in North America viable. It is a collective effort. Many immigrants to Quebec have understood this and have joined us in building this nation. But until Quebec becomes an independent country, these two opposing visions of Quebec will always be a source of conflict and for an immigrant to join our side will be seen by some as a subversive act.

Quebec nationalists like myself obviously consider people like Amir Khadir and Maka Kotto as being far more Québécois than Jean Chrétien or Stéphane Dion. However, to the people of the Canadian Flag group, they are the worst kind of traitors because they have chosen the Québécois nation over the Canadian one.

Exhibit C:

Amir Khadir recently spoke about free education in front of a school which caused an uproar on the Canadian flag page. He was called everything from a traitor to a terrorist. Why a terrorist? Because he's from Iran. Racism is OK in Canada when it is directed at us and Mr Khadir is one of us by choice.

Foreign terrorist destroying Canada

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Quebec and its Territory

Canada's annexation of the Sudetenland

The integrity of Québec's territory has never been a particular subject of debate, either here or in the rest of Canada. Until recently, it was accepted that if Quebecers were to democratically decide their accession to sovereignty, Québec would keep its present territory and would be recognized within its existing borders.

This assumption was buttressed by the cases of dozens of countries that have come into existence since the creation of the United Nations in 1945. 

Now, suddenly, a strange debate has erupted over carving up or dividing the territory of a sovereign Québec. Québec's borders would no longer be based on geography but rather on ethnic or linguistic considerations. This is what the “partitionists” are proposing. What first appeared a ludicrous idea, a sort of utopia of the desperate, has spread like wildfire, fed by misinformation and exaggeration. 

Yet the partitionists' claims have no basis in law or historical precedent. The idea that parts of Québec's territory could remain under the administration of the federal government or another province after Québec achieves sovereignty is contradicted both by international law and by recent history. 

We must resume a more level-headed discussion. Citizens of good will may sometimes allow themselves to be swept along unconsidered directions, inevitably without any possible positive outcome. There are excesses in which responsible men and women should not indulge and which they must not encourage. The debate on Québec's future must be conducted on the basis of reason, truth and fact. 

To be sure, one may defend or oppose sovereignty with passion and conviction, but it is vital that we continue to uphold the democratic values we all cherish. Whatever the result of the next referendum may be, Quebecers will continue to maintain civilized and cordial relations with each other and with their Canadian neighbours.

In response to the partitionists' arguments, the government of Québec must set the record straight and explain, on the basis of objective, internationally-recognized information, why it would be impossible to carve up Québec's territory.

As we shall see, the argument that if Canada is divisible so is Québec is without legal basis. Québec is a State with a distinct people, political institutions and a precise territory; it existed well before the creation of the Canadian federation, of which it is a member. Québec represents one of the two peoples who created this federation, the founding principles of which have, regrettably, been modified without Québec's agreement and despite Québec's formal opposition.

Jacques Brassard (Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs), 1997

A Sovereign Québec Will Keep Its Borders

Before Sovereignty

As long as Québec is part of Canada, its territory cannot be modified without the consent of the National Assembly. The Canadian constitution is very clear on this point: this guarantee was enshrined in the Constitutional Act of 1871 and has never been challenged since.

This guarantee would obviously continue to hold during the transition period following a “Yes” victory in a referendum, while the Québec government would seek to reach a partnership agreement with Canada. During this negotiation phase, Québec would still be part of Canada and the Canadian constitution would apply as before.

After Sovereignty

At the end of the transition period set by the National Assembly, when Québec would become sovereign, the Canadian constitution would cease to apply within Québec's territory. Québec's territorial integrity would then be guaranteed by well-established principles of international law.

According to these principles, Québec's borders as they were before it became sovereign would be the borders of the new state. The established rule in international law is uti possidetis juris, which basically means “You keep what you already have.

This rule has been rigorously applied in all recent cases in which states have attained sovereignty. For example, when the republics of the former Soviet Union became sovereign states, they kept their territory; indeed, respect for established borders was one of the international community's main criteria for recognizing the new states.

In short, neither the other provinces nor the federal government could use the opportunity to reduce or modify Québec's territory without its consent.

Québec Is Indivisible

Could parts of Québec decide to remain in Canada?

There is no rule of international law that supports this possibility. The idea that, once Québec becomes sovereign, foreign enclaves could be created or parts of its territory could be attached to another country, against Québec's will, is contradicted by international law. This would be equivalent to modifying Québec's boundaries, which is entirely contrary to the rules that have been applied on numerous occasions in comparable situations.

Québec will become a country embracing all its citizens within its present territory or remain a province of Canada. There can be no in-between situation.

Would a municipality or group of municipalities have the right to remain in Canada?

This is totally impossible.

The partition resolutions passed by some municipalities have no legal force. Cities and towns are administrative entities that exist by the will of the National Assembly and the Québec government. They have no power to decide whether they want to be part of Québec or not. The Québec State exercises its sovereignty over the entirety of its territory. Québec's borders are geographical, not linguistic or ethnic.

The question of the rights of Aboriginal peoples

Given their recognized rights, could the aboriginal peoples of Québec decide to remain in Canada?

Aboriginal peoples have rights which are recognized by the international community and under international law.

All international legal texts agree that the rights of aboriginal peoples are exercised within sovereign states. The recognized rights of aboriginal peoples do not in any way call into question a country's territorial integrity, whether the case in question is Québec, Canada or any other State. According to experts on international law, whatever the exact scope of these rights, which are still being defined in various countries and by the United Nations, may be, they cannot be interpreted as including a right to sovereignty.

However, aboriginal peoples must be given an explicit guarantee that their existing rights will be entrenched in the constitution of a sovereign Québec and that these rights could not be modified without their consent. The bill on the future of Québec published before the October 1995 referendum contained a provision to this effect.

As far as Québec's northern regions are concerned, it should be recalled that those lands which were not already recognized as part of Québec under the Québec Act of 1774 were annexed to Québec by constitutional amendments in 1898 and 1912.

Moreover, Section 2.1 of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement stipulates that “In consideration of the rights and benefits herein set forth in favour of the James Bay Crees and the Inuit of Québec, the James Bay Crees and the Inuit of Québec hereby cede, release, surrender and convey all their Native claims, rights, titles and interests, whatever they may be, in and to land in the Territory and in Québec, and Québec and Canada accept such surrender”. The Northeastern Québec Agreement contains a similar provision.

These agreements were approved by Acts of the federal Parliament and the Québec National Assembly. Consequently, Québec has full jurisdiction over northern Québec.

Opinions of Five International Experts

In 1991, a special commission of the National Assembly solicited the opinions of five international experts on issues related to Québec's accession to sovereignty. The opinion written by these experts, entitled The Territorial Integrity of Quebec in the Event of the Attainment of Sovereignty. These eminent jurists, who are experts on international law, unanimously agreed that:
  • As long as Québec is part of Canada, the integrity of its territory is guaranteed by Canadian constitutional law;
  • Québec's accession to sovereignty would immediately bring the principles of international law into play and would not lead to any change in Québec's borders;
  • The Québec people could not base its claim to sovereignty on its right to self determination, but neither would it be prevented by law from achieving sovereignty. Accession to sovereignty is a de facto situation of which international law neither approves nor disapproves: it simply recognizes its existence;
  • The extensive rights recognized to aboriginal peoples cannot be interpreted as including a right to sovereignty;
  • The protection provided to the anglophone minority under international law has no territorial effect;
  • Residents of Québec's border regions do not, as such, enjoy any special protection under international law.

The five experts

Thomas M. FRANCK, Becker Professor and Director of the Centre for International Studies at the New York University School of Law (United States);

Rosalyn HIGGINS, Q.C., Professor, London School of Economics (Great Britain), member of the United Nations Committee on Human Rights;

Alain PELLET, Associate Professor of public law at the Université de Paris X-Nanterre and the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (France), member of the United Nations International Law Commission;

Malcolm N. SHAW, Professor, Faculty of Law, Leicester University (Great Britain);

Christian TOMUSCHAT, Professor, Institute of International Law, University of Bonn (Germany), Chair of the United Nations International Law Commission.

This is an edited version of a statement by the Government of Québec made in 1997 on the question of partition.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Some call it democracy

The other day, at lunch, a rather silly colleague of mine seemed exasperated by all the anti-Harper talk she was hearing around the lunch table. She then declared "Well, if everyone hates Harper so much, why did he get a majority at the last election?". I had to point out that Harper barely got 40% of the vote which is in no way a majority. This left her rather baffled but she assured me that she would look it up and get back to me.

Get back to me she did. The next day, she announced that Stephen Harper had achieved the biggest majority in 20 years in 2011 with 166 seats. I explained to her that the Conservative vote went from 37.65% in 2008 to 39.62% in 2011. An increase of 1.96% which allowed the Conservatives to go from a 143 seat minority to a 166 seat majority. That 1.96% somehow represented 23 seats. Those must have been some very important people for their votes to carry so much weight.

What really happened is that a lot of Liberal voters defected to the NDP, therefore giving the victory to the Conservatives in many ridings even though over 60% of the electorate voted against them. This happened all over Ontario which allowed the Conservatives to pick up all those new seats. Democracy is generally understood as meaning "rule with the consent of the majority" but in this system it is "rule by the biggest minority" which is simply not democracy. I tried to explain to this woman how undemocratic this system was but her answer was to say "well, that's our system!". In reality, it's not our system at all. It's the system of our conquerors. It's the British system. It is imbued with their history and their archaic institutions which really have nothing to do with us.

One obvious clue that this system isn't ours is that our head of state is a foreign monarch. Not only is our head of state a throwback from an earlier age but it is a foreign throwback. The Queen of England is also the Queen of Canada and therefore the Queen of Quebec. This fact embarrasses and disgusts me to no end. I find it offensive that Quebec's MNAs are forced to take an oath of loyalty to the British monarch and that reciting this same oath is also the first act asked of new immigrants. It should be remembered that the Queen of England is also the head of the Church of England. I don't understand why there isn't more resistance to having to swear allegiance to this person. It's like swearing allegiance to the Pope when you aren't even Catholic.
How to end monarchy the French way!
I hate the Queen's face on our money and stamps. I find it idiotic that all this "Crown" nonsense infests our judicial system. It gets to the point where I sometimes feel like we are some kind of primitive tribe aping our colonial masters. But there it is, in Canada’s system of government, the power to govern is vested in the Crown but is entrusted to the government to use on behalf of the people. The Crown reminds the government of the day that the source of the power to govern rests elsewhere and that it is only given to them for a limited duration. In a democracy, the people are sovereign—they are the highest form of political authority. In this ridiculous system, which we inherited from the British, the Crown is sovereign.

Another obvious sign that this system is not ours is that it is a carbon copy of the Westminster system in Great Britain. We have an unelected Senate which is based on their House of Lords, a medieval relic from a time when land ownership was a major source of political power, and just as ownership of land moved from generation to generation so did the titles. Basically, it was a safeguard for the nobility. It allowed them to veto any foolish decisions made by the plebes in the house of commons. In Canada, an appointment to the Senate is usually a gift to a political crony. It's a complete waste of tax-payers' money. In fact, the only time we seem to hear about the Senate is when there are scandals.

Since our head of state is more of a figurehead who does not exercise direct power, the real power to govern lies with the Prime Minister. This, in fact, merges the executive with the legislative branches of government, thereby removing important checks and balances. The Prime Minister, therefore, becomes all powerful, particularly if he/she has a majority of seats which is often achieved without the support of the majority of voters. The main undemocratic and even dictatorial feature of the Canadian federal system is the unilateral power of the Prime Minister:
  1. To appoint the Governor General of Canada (through whom the PM technically exercises most of his/her powers, some of which are listed below)
  2. To appoint Senators to the Canadian Senate
  3. To appoint Supreme Court justices and other federal justices
  4. To appoint all members of the Cabinet
  5. To appoint the entire board of the Bank of Canada
  6. To appoint the heads of the military, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and other government agencies
  7. To appoint CEO's and Chairs of crown corporations such as CBC
  8. To dissolve Parliament and choose the time of the next federal election (within a 5 year limit)
  9. To run for re-election indefinitely (no term limits)
  10. To remove Members of Parliament (MPs) from the ruling party's caucus
  11. To deny any MP the right to participate in parliamentary debate or run for re-election
  12. To dismiss individuals or groups of representatives from serving in Parliament
  13. To ratify treaties
  14. To declare war
So, we have a system that gives far too much power to a single person but it gets worse. You can't even directly vote for or against this person unless you live in their ridding. You can only vote for your local representative who will most likely just sit in the House of Commons like some potted plant and vote the way they're told to. Basically it's a package deal. Who you want as your local representative, the party you'd like to see control Parliament and the chief executive cannot be chosen separately.

Most people choose based on the leader of each party and usually it is a vote against the person they hate most. You see, we have a first-past-the-post system. You don't need the support of the majority to win. You just need more than the next guy. The media will tell you which candidates have a chance of winning and which don't. You don't want to waste your vote on someone who can't win and you don't want THAT guy to win so you'll just have to hold your nose and vote for the other guy who you're told has got a shot but does not really represent you on many issues.

Of course it doesn't need to be this way. There is a very simple and effective way to make sure that the person elected has the consent of the majority. It's called Alternative voting or Instant runoff voting. Here's a nice and clear explanation of how it works:

This system eliminates the need for strategic voting. You can vote your conscience first and vote strategic second, if you want. The person who wins in this system has the support of 50% + 1 and you can't argue with that (unless you are Justin Trudeau or Stéphane Dion). In other words, you can vote for the candidate or party that represents you the most without the fear of handing the victory to the party you hate most.

In the end, my biggest problem with this system is that I am not the subject of a monarch and I never will be.  I am a citizen of a republic. It's a republic with a meaningful democracy, not a mockery of it. It's a republic that is free and diverse. It's a republic that proudly asserts its difference in an ocean of homogeneity. It's a republic that does not exist yet but one that must exist. Of course, I'm talking about la République du Québec.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Morbid vanity and moral corrosion

I feel pretty! Oh so pretty!
We concur in considering the government of England as totally without morality, insolent beyond bearing, inflated with vanity and ambition, (…) lost in corruption, of deep-rooted hatred towards us, hostile to liberty wherever it endeavors to show its head (…).
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Thomas Leiper, 12 june 1815.
Replace ‘England’ with ‘Canada’ and that pretty much covers it.
In this essay, I intend to continue my exploration of the Canadian psyche. After my examination of Canadian imperialism and selective historical amnesia as evidenced in The Murdoch Mysteries, I will now embark on a metaphorical PT boat and sail up the Ottawa River into the heart of Canadian darkness. In fact, the title of this piece comes from two snippets that I only half remember. “Morbid vanity” is how an American revolutionary (I can’t remember who or the exact quote) described England. He said something to effect that England suffers from morbid vanity because she sees herself as the most glorious nation on earth in spite of all the questionable things she does to keep the American colonies. British imperialism caused a kind of cognitive dissonance in the British people where they were the ‘good guys’ and therefore they could do bad things. It seemed to me that this also describes Canada, particularly as Canadian imperialism is directly related to the British variety. The second part comes from a documentary I once saw about the Vietnam War. An American veteran was saying that there was something “morally corrosive” about how American strategy focused on enemy body-count rather than on territory taken. This has nothing much to do with Canada, but the expression stuck in my mind because it describes perfectly Canadian strategy in its war against Quebec. Specifically, Canada’s recourse to threats, dirty tricks, false promises and overall perfidy is more likely to breed resentment rather than loyalty. This sets the stage for the next confrontation with Quebec, but Canadian vanity prevents them from seeing it. Instead, they are constantly declaring separatism to be dead and express surprise and dismay when it comes back to life.
All this goes back to Canada’s inception, not in 1867 but its real creation in 1763 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The French king signed over New France to the British after they invaded, conquered and occupied it. The War of the Conquest devastated New France. It killed one in seven inhabitants, a per capita loss comparable to that of the Soviet Union during the Second World War1. Quebec City was thoroughly bombed by the British fleet and the countryside on the south shore was burnt to the ground by British troops who had nothing better to do. And yet, some Canadians still like to downplay the Conquest, or even pretend it never really happened. To them, Louis XV abandoned New France in favor of Guadeloupe and they use the Treaty of Paris as a deed to the land and the people living on it. But that treaty is also the heart of the problem. The French king handed us over to the English king as though we were cattle. To Canadians, this marks us as eternal losers and they have a paper to prove it. And yet, it is clear that if Queen Elizabeth II gave away Canada to the Americans in exchange for one of the Hawaiian Islands (a nice one, not one with a leper colony), Canadians would be outraged. True, this sort of thing was done back in the eighteenth century and not so much now, but I suspect there is more to it than that. Canadians need to see us as losers. They need to feel superior to us. It’s part of their identity and their way of dealing with feelings of inferiority with respect to Americans.
It’s also because of this that even apparent acts of kindness on their part can be cynically self-serving. When Lord Durham arrived in Canada after the Rebellions of 1837-38, he issued an ordinance releasing the political prisoners held in jail at the time2. This was both very generous and also avoided embarrassing trials where the bogus charges against the defendants and the crimes committed by British forces would have been exposed. A certain Louis-Marie Viger, on the other hand, wanted to stay in jail until he got his day in court. Viger wanted to prove in court that he was arrested simply because he was one of the managers of the Banque du Peuple, a financial institution that struck fear in the heart of the Anglo establishment. Of course, he never got his day in court, and of course, he eventually left the unheated jail on account of his health.

This brings us to our next topic: how Canadians use noble principles as weapons. Canadians are filled with them. They have noble principles oozing out of their ears. They have a noble principle for every day of the week and every occasion. But having too many principles is the same as having no principles, which, in truth, they don’t. Their morbid vanity prevents them from seeing this. Instead, they are stupid enough to buy their own press. This, in turn, creates a kind of moral anesthesia where they feel a perverse sense of pride every time Quebec is put in its place, no matter how many dirty tricks, or outright crimes, were committed in the process.
Historical examples of this abound. Staying within relatively recent history, consider the 1995 Referendum,3,4 where the federal government and the NO side spent an amount of money far in excess of the limit allowed by Quebec law, all thanks to the highly secretive group Option Canada. The federal government also accelerated the naturalization process for immigrants in Quebec a few months prior to the Referendum. This was contrary to federal law, but no matter. All that mattered was to flood Quebec with brand new Canadian citizens who will very likely vote NO. When all this got out, the Anglo media expressed disapproval, but not much more. Nothing like the shrill hysteria and moral outrage that is expressed whenever the topic of Quebec’s language laws comes up. It’s as though the Anglo media were more disappointed that the perpetrators got caught, not that they did it.
All this is nothing compared to Canada’s reaction to its slim (and fraudulent) victory in that referendum. Scared witless, the Canadian government asked the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of secession. I should point out that I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, depending on how it’s done. If Quebec and Canada were both allowed to ask questions to a neutral court (say an international tribunal of some sort), then the exercise might be valid. Instead, the Canadian government asked the Supreme Court of Canada, filled with judges named by the Prime Minister. Canada asked leading questions that referred to the Canadian constitution only, not to constitutional texts or customs. Quebec was invited to participate, but could not ask questions of its own. When the Supreme Court delivered a ruling that was not nearly as favorable to the Canadian government as it had hoped (despite putting all the odds in its favor), it cooked up the infamous anti-democracy bill C-205. Strangely called the “Clarity act”, bill C-20 is anything but. Demanding a “clear” question, but not defining this clarity, and demanding a “clear” majority that is greater than 50+1, but not spelling out how much greater, the Act leaves it to the federal government to decide after the vote if either of these conditions were fulfilled.
And yet, a surprising number of Canadians see this patently unfair, arbitrary and anti-democratic Bill as an ironclad guarantee of Canadian unity in perpetuity. A surprising number of them see it as a great victory against the separatist, in spite of the fact that all the odds were in their favor. Their unjustified pride in this ‘achievement’ blinds them to the fact that it makes them morally repugnant to Quebecers, and leaves Quebec patriots (a.k.a 'the separatists') feeling more justified than ever in their convictions. Indeed, just recently Justin Trudeau, the Liberal party's latest Canadian unity action figure and son of the late Canadian autocrat and lost twin of C. Montgomery Burns (see figure above) Pierre Trudeau, declared that Quebec could only separate if the YES side got two thirds of the vote. While “clear,” this majority is highly problematic since Newfoundland joined the Canadian Empire in 1949 after the pro-Canada side obtained only 52% of the vote in a referendum. The 50+1 rule is fine to join Canada, but not to leave it. Canada, it seems, is a roach motel.
Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, examples of Canadian hypocrisy, oppression and immorality are plentiful, and I cannot go into all of them here. It will suffice to remind the reader, as Frank Capra would say, “why we fight.” Ours is basically an existential struggle, a struggle for survival. Ever since the English arrived the French language has been a source of friction. This is because the Anglos know, instinctively if not consciously, that the French language and culture is our 'centre of gravity.' If we lose that, we lose everything and the Canadian Empire will be secure. Canadians know this, and it explains their hatred towards us (as their comments about us in the blogosphere demonstrate). It explains their hypocrisy and their ongoing campaign of cultural genocide. It explains Canada's highly autocratic form of government, where the Prime Minister of Canada has broad powers, even greater influence (he appoints virtually everybody), and with precious little checks or balances. It also explains why Quebec patriots don't quit. We can't. We know that it would lead to the eventual annihilation of our language, culture and national identity and to the triumph of a sordid little empire of lies and shopping malls.

1 – René Boulanger, La bataille de la mémoire, Éditions du Québécois, 2007.
2 – Jacques Lacoursière, Histoire populaire du Québec, Tome 2, Septentrion, 1996.
3 – Robin Philpot, Le référendum volé, Les Intouchables, 2005.
4 – Normand Lester and Robin Philpot, Les secrets d’Option Canada, Les Intouchables, 2006.
5 – Michel Seymour, Le pari de la démesure, L’hexagone, 2001.