A Nation of Who?

For a long time it has weirded me out that the media reports on politics as though it were a sport rather than the actual governance of our country. We here about polls and speeches and tactics, but very little about the actual bills being passed or the thinking behind them. We hear about budgets in terms of who will be pleased and what they will mean in different regions. It seems, as of late, that politicians have gotten the message and given up on actually governing. The US congress has been reduced to a bizzarre contest to see who can sneak the most pork for their own constituents into utterly unrelated bills and things aren't much better in Canada. Perhaps the most disgusting example of politicking before governance came in Harper's recent recognition of Quebec as a nation.

First, having been out of the country for year's, Ignatieff brought up the idea as a way to score points in Quebec for his bid for the Liberal leadership, without caring too much if he was stirring up seperatists who had finally fallen quiet. Next the Bloc Quebecois picked up the idea and ran with it too the House of Commons, so as not to be outplayed by the liberals, and then Stephen Harper, who is more willing than anyone else to give massive handouts in order to retain power, decided that his government would write the bill themselves. Everyone was so quick to try to win votes in Quebec that they didn't even bother to define Quebecois before passing the motion.

The Globe and Mail observed, "that motion, which recognized the “Québécois” as a nation, was passed with a heavy majority in the Commons. Since then, however, politicians of all stripes have been weighing in on what they think it means."

The idea that you could pass a bill, without anyone bothering to define the most important terms within it is mind-boggling. It is really beginning to seem as though politicians have forgotten that their actions have consequences not only in the media, but in reality as well. They have become so obsessed with watching their reflection on television and in the newspapers that they have forgotten that the exist bodily as well.

As an aside, I would like to say that I was offended by how quickly and thoughtlessly this motion was ratified. It is opposed by a majority of Canadians. It is even opposed by the majority of francophones living outside of Quebec. Perhaps there are definitions of nation which would include the Quebecois. I am more than willing to accept that. But I cannot see how it is possible that the Quebecois are a nation but aboriginal tribes are not. They also have their own languages and cultures and goals. There own governance and geographical locations. And more than that they were nations before we came and created Canada. (The same is true of Quebec in a way, although they were a colony of France rather than an independent and indigenous nation.) If the Quebecois are a nation so are the Inuit and the Cree and the Ojibway and the Haida, and probably Chinese-Canadians as well, and people from Woodbridge, Hip-Hop Heads, bicycle couriers, leaf fans, snowboarders, swingers, trekkies, Hindus, Tamils, Jews, goths and people who still drive SUVs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweet! I'm a nation.


9:22 a.m.  

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