Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An anglophone 'pur laine' considers voting Parti Québecois

For those unaware, I moved to Québec City back in October of 2011, and I am about as English Canadian as you can get, given that my ancestors came from the four corners of Great Britain. And yes, I am considering voting PQ in the September 4th election here.

Why?  I will explain.

Firstly, I am staunchly Federalist and would not vote for Québec to remove itself from Canadian confederation.  Yes I am aware that the PQ is a separatist party and that their ultimate goal is for an independent Québec.  However in the immediate term that is off the table, and even if it were  on the table conditions here are not currently conducive to the separatists winning in a referendum.

So then...Why?

Because I have been in love with Québec's language and culture for a long time, and because I do not want to see this province assimilated into the Anglo-Canadian mainstream.  Some might rail against the language laws that are currently on the books, and bristle at Pauline Marois' promise to strengthen them.  

I do not.

I wanted to move here, and when the opportunity arose I jumped at it.  I believe that 'when in Rome you do as the Romans do'.  By extension 'when in Québec, do as Québecers do', and Québec is French speaking with its own unique culture.  

Stephen Harper's Conservative government introduced legislation that recognizes Québec as a unique nation within Canada, and I agree.  Cent pour cent.  Canada is not a dictatorship, I was not forced to move here, and I have yet to meet anyone who was.  I'm not a fan of the 'love it or leave it argument', however common civility in my opinion dictates that you don't move somewhere and then try to change or adapt it to YOUR liking.

I held the same opinions when living in Ontario about those emigrating to that province.  Fortunately in my experience, most new Canadians are eager to adapt to their new home and work hard at learning the language and the ins and outs of Canadian culture and nuance.

But in Québec, a lot of Anglos do not.  There are plenty of English speakers here who don't even make a pretense to learning and using the French language.  No doubt they have their reasons, but I disagree.  

Now, with all that being said, my mind is not yet made up.  I have a soft spot for John Charest.  I like the man, or at least his public persona.  Québec's current Prime Minister in my eyes looks like a man who listens, like someone who does not demonstrate the usual arrogance, which is all too common among the political breed.

And although it doesn't factor much into the equation, I prefer the PLQ's slogan of 'Pour le Québrec' to the PQ's 'A nous de choisir'.  I detect an underlying xenophobia to that 'nous' (us) and I'm not sure whether I'm included in it.

As for the CAQ (Coalition Avenir Québec), they're not on my radar. François Legault's party rubs this voter the wrong way.  I'll write more on that later.  

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