Why I am not a « Québécois »
*** The following is a translation of my previous blog post. Having many american friends, I would like them to be able to read this particular post, which explains a lot about how I identify myself as a Canadian.***
Any resident of Quebec knows this well: for the past 40 years, the political debate in this province took place on a different axis than the rest of the West.
While the USA, France, Germany and other Western nations campaigned for Left or Right wing issues, Quebec, was focusing on what is now called « The National Question « , which boils down to this: » Should Quebec secede from Canada and form an independent nation. »
But all this is ancient history and I am not teaching anyone anything, especially since the vast majority of my readers are residents of the Province of Quebec.
I want to clarify one thing:
I am not a Québécois, although I was born in Quebec and I have lived here all my life.
Before your jump over the barricades and call me a traitor, let me explain.
I’m French-Canadian, like my ancestors who grew up before the separatist movement became the political force it is today.
The fact that I was born on Jesus Island (Laval) does not differentiate me from any French-Canadian born in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, or in a Francophone community on the edge of the 417 on the road to Ottawa .
But according to the Nationalists, whether separatist or not, there is a difference. The « Québécois » must have additional rights because it is part of a distinct « nation » and must be advantaged over other provinces by Ottawa in decisions affecting them.
It seems that these rights are not to be granted to other French-Canadians – those living outside Quebec – because the Nationalists argue that Quebec should be favored, not the Francophone population, regardless of their place of residence.
This has been confirmed to me by Mathieu Bock-Côté (a separatist blogger and highly-regarded young intellectual), who bailed out from that same debate when I forced him into a corner to face this truth, under the pretext that he needed to write his next newspaper commentary. It’s not the only time I’ve noticed this, but it was a clear example that hundreds have witnessed and was worth mentioning here.
This is why I refuse to use the term « Québécois » when I identify myself. I am a French-Canadian living in the province of Quebec. I am not « special » because I had the luck to be born in this province with a francophone majority. I am a citizen like any other and I find it insulting that our provincial government, regardless of the party running it, believes that the Québécois is a being superior to French Canadians – or at least, promotes favoritism that would penalize the latter while he claims to defend « the french civilization in North America. »