Friday, November 24, 2006

Four little words

In my meandering stream of conscious opus the other day where I tried to figure out this nation thing, I was hung up on whether the original BQ motion referred to the geographic "Quebecers" or the sociological "Quebecois." It has been widely been reported as the former, but today it's confirmed that it is indeed the latter: both the BQ and Harper referred to the sociological Quebecois.

From the Globe:

He and his staff drafted a motion identical to the one to be put forward by the Bloc Québécois but for four critical words added on to the end, reading: “That this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada.”

The spin has been the Harper motion was different because it referred to the sociological Quebecois whereas the BQ wanted nation recognition for the wider geographic region of Quebec.

As I suspected, that's not true. The only thing Harper changed in the BQ motion was to tack on four little words: within a united Canada. Other then that, this is exactly the motion the BQ wanted, and now they're guaranteed to get it.

Clearly the BQ doesn't care if it's Quebecers or Quebecois. Let the federalists argue sociological vs. political definitions until their heads explode. All they care is this is official recognition, for the first time, they're some sort of nation. Harper's addition is meaningless. You can't ONLY be a nation within a united Canada. You're a nation or you aren't. We've said they are.

And now that we're recognizing next the demands will come. Don't meet them and there's your excuse for referendum III. Anyone who says they won't is hopelessly naïve and just plain ignorant of Canadian history.

Harper's four little words don't change anything. This is what the BQ wanted, and we're giving it to them. Bravo guys.

UPDATE: And it turns out the BQ is supporting the Harper motion (h/t A View from the Left). Just as I said, this motion is what the Duceppe wanted. The four little words change nothing, and Harper's supposedly brilliant masterstroke just hands the separatists a victory. Nice freakin work everyone.

UPDATE II: Olaf asked a question in the comments and I've decided to answer here, as I'm not an HTML person so putting links in the comments section is beyond my limited skills, and it's a touch long.

As I said earlier, the media have been confusing Quebecers and Quebecois here. Ironically, as a journalists they teach us to go to primary sources, so that's what I've done.

*Here's the PMO release on Harper's motion, including the text of the Harper motion, en Francais:

« Que cette Chambre reconnaisse que les Québécoises et les Québécois forment une nation au sein d'un Canada uni. »

*As above, but in English:

"That this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada."

*Now here's the original BQ motion, from their press release two days earlier, en Francais:

« Que cette Chambre reconnaisse que les Québécoises et les Québécois forment une nation. »

As you can see, when you compare the original BQ motion in French with the official Harper motion in French and the only difference is Harper has added the words "au sein d'un Canada uni"

Otherwise, this text in both motions is identical:

Que cette Chambre reconnaisse que les Québécoises et les Québécois forment une nation

And as I showed this text is translated into English by the Prime Minister's Office as:

That this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers

6 comments:

WestmountLiberal said...

Jeff
I'm of the opinion that the recognition of something which is inherent in a people means nothing.

That said, the Bloc look really really stupid today in Quebec.

The media are attacking Boisclair for saying nothing for 24 hours and Duceppe for being outsmarted by the Federalists. There is no way the Bloc could have voted against the motion.

Olaf said...

Jeff,

I think you're wrong.

The spin has been the Harper motion was different because it referred to the sociological Quebecois whereas the BQ wanted nation recognition for the wider geographic region of Quebec.

Despite what the Globe says (who have failed to make the distinction from day one), from everything I've seen is that the Bloc said "Quebecers" where as the government resolution said "Quebecois"...

Did you ever wonder why the Bloc would used the anglicized term "Quebecers", while the Conservatives would use the term Quebecois?

Probably because the latter refers to the sociological/ethnic group, where as the former refers to the political/civic group.

I suppose I could go on a rant from here, but I'll spare you... this time.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Westmount, time will tell. Long run here, I feel nervous.

Olaf, I know where you're coming from. I know all about the sociological vs. civic thing. And about the media constantly getting it wrong. That's why I went back to read the original BQ motion en Francais, I think you should too:

Que cette Chambre reconnaisse que les Québécoises et les Québécois forment une nation.

The media have been getting this one wrong in English too. As you see, the BQ used Quebecois, just like Harper. English or French, Harper just tacked on the four little words. The original BQ motion WAS the sociological meaning, not the civic meaning.

bigcitylib said...

We could argue about this all day, but I'll just say one thing. You don't turn the shade of red Duceppe did when Harper announced his motion if you think things are working out as planned. You turn that shade of red when you're having heart problems.

Duceppe got cleaned. Libs got saved. Stop Iggy before he "leads" again.

Olaf said...

Jeff,

I had it on good currency (Don Newman's Politics/National Post), who both supposedly reproduced the resolutions, that the Bloc used Quebecers, and the government Quebecois. I figured that the media may fail to make the distinction in a news story, but not if they claim to be reproducing the resolutions.

I mean what the hell? And where did you find the original Bloc motion? And why the hell hasn't the government added their resolution, or even a press release or something with the official text of Harper's resolution, on their website?

As you can see from all my questions, you sure have a LOT to answer for here Jeff.

A BCer in Toronto said...

And answered in an update to the post Olaf.