IS QUÉBEC DOOMED AS A CANADIAN PROVINCE?
The more I monitor the French-language media in this province, the more I see storm clouds gathering on the horizon. The other day I was giving a tour in Old Québec and as I brought my group by the Ursulines private school and the girls, all of whom were of primary school age, were milling about the entrance to the school, and waiting for their parents to pick them up.
As I came closer, I heard some of the girls chanting : ‘Charest resign’!!! And, ‘So so so, solidarity’!!! I couldn’t believe my ears, these kids weren’t even teenagers yet, and they had already imbibed enough anti-government rhetoric , obviously at home, that they were already chanting anti-government slogans in an almost militant Marxist way, seemingly oblivious to any other point of view offered by anybody else.
What bothers me about all of this student strike business are the very thinly-veiled secessionist undertones to all of it, which pervades the whole discourse. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the spokesperson for the CLASSE student association, has well-known links to Anarchist and Communist organizations, all of which is in the public domain. He was educated in private schools in our province, not exactly an example of someone who is a product of a well-funded public system, but rather someone who chose to take the elitist approach to education.
Mr. Nadeau-Dubois himself, in a speech he made to a group of students in Québec city, was quoted as saying that the student strikes are not as such about tuition hikes, but rather part of a wider movement of protest against the Québec and Canadian government’s right-wing agenda. This may sound noble in theory, but it hides a more sinister motive for Canada, in that any left-wing Communist-inspired militant groups in this province, which are linked to unions of any sort, are invariably linked to the secessionist cause, which is patently bad news for Canada.
What’s worse is that the federal government is doing nothing to help the situation, in that it has been taking an actively anti-Québec position on most issues since day one, and is essentially implementing the old Reform Party agenda of western-Canadian domination of the country and its explicitly anti-Québec and anti-French, and overall anti-central Canada bias. This has caused support for the federal government in Québec to plummet in recent years. Coupled with PM Harper’s radical cutbacks in the size of the federal government, and you have a recipe for the Canadian ‘brand’ disappearing even more from Québec than it already has since the Mulroney years.
PM Chrétien tried in vain to re-establish a federal presence in Québec with an aggressive sponsorship program after the near-death experience of the 1995 secession vote, but it soon led to the Sponsorship Scandal, which has since wiped out the Liberal Party’s fortunes in Québec and made it almost impossible to get any traction for that party’s candidates in our province.
Overall, the student strikes seem to be re-igniting the secessionist bugaboo again. Guy A. Lepage, the iconic media personality and host of the Sunday evening talk show ‘Tout le monde en parle’ has been hired to be the host of this year’s ‘Fête Nationale’, formerly known as the St. Jean Baptiste Party on the evening of June 23-24. He’s a well-known advocate of secession and has vowed to use the occasion to talk openly about the links between the student protests and the renewed groundswell in favour of secession.
He’s hoping to get the youth of the province re-politicized so as to create the same mood of militancy which existed in the late 1960s, when the student protest movement was intimately linked to the secessionist movement, and its leaders would go on to become the leading lights of the province’s secessionist-leaning unions and avowedly secessionist PQ party. People such as Bernard Landry, Gilles Duceppe and Louise Harel all cut their teeth in the student protest movement and were to go on to become secessionist politicians.
So it’s not a stretch to imagine that we’ll soon see Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois as a newly-minted PQ politician , assuming he and the rest of the students ever finish their strikes and actually go back to class and get their diplomas!