2003 April 01 Tuesday
Quebec Votes Drive Chretien To Oppose Iraq War

Why is Canada not supporting the US in its war in Iraq? Barry Cooper and Ted Morton argue that Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien is attempting to boost the Liberal Party's fortunes in French-speaking Quebec.

Liberal strategists read the same polls as the separatists, and they have decided to prevent the PQ and BQ from reaping the political benefits of anti-war, anti-American sentiment in Quebec. Chrétien's refusal to support the coalition denies Bernard Landry any spark to ignite fading separatist sentiment in the provincial electorate. From where Chrétien sits, it is far better to elect 50 or 60 MPs in next year's election than to stand shoulder to shoulder with the world's other three English-speaking democracies.

The affects of Quebec politics on the national Canadian government is a demonstration of the power of a linguistic minority to make a national consensus hard to achieve. The European Union is faced with similar problems but on a larger scale. Unless a population speaks a common language there will be no shared political debate that can arrive at a consensus that has legitimacy.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 April 01 08:52 AM  Politics Anglosphere


Comments
xavier said at April 1, 2003 11:34 AM:

Randall:
As someone who lives in the province, I find the present anti-Americanism to be quite surprising. For many years, polls had shown the Quebecois to be more pro American than the rest of Canada. The Quebecois were- and still are positively more fascinated by Americans. I suspect that the anti Americanism manifests leftist's tendency to demonize American politics while admiring the people, its culture
Also, it's unfortunate that Chrétien is PM. He carries with him a lot of baggage; worse, most Quebecois- whether nationalist or soft federalist loathe the man ver intensely. Chretien tries to imitate Trudeau but doesn't have the finesse to pull it off. SO I'm snot surprised that Chrétine reacts the way he does.

Bob said at April 1, 2003 5:46 PM:

Chretien is an unprincipled, cynical opportunist who frankly nauseates me. Words do not suffice to express the disgusted revulsion I feel when I think of the man.

Sadly, rabid anti-americanism is not isolated to Quebec. I have recently encountered it with all too great frequency in both Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Having been born in Canada, raised in Canada, educated in Canada, and having worked in both Canada and the United States, I have concluded that a majority of Canadians suffer from a deluded, ignorant chauvinism with respect to Americans. Canadians delude themselves into believing that Americans are ignorant of anything but the United States and that Americans are brainwashed by propaganda. It is inconceivable to most Canadians that an educated person might actually study systems of governance and legitimately conclude that the American system of governance is superior to any other--let alone superior to the Canadian system. I not only recognize the superiority of the American system, but I can articulate why it is superior. I can start by describing the specific checks and balances that make it superior, and I can point to 200-year-old documents that articulate it better than I ever could.

I have yet to meet a single Canadian who can do better than spout jingoistic platitudes or deluded denials in defense of the Canadian system. In fact, I can safely predict that the majority of Canadians reading this commentary will unthinkingly and ignorantly dismiss my opinion as that of "someone brainwashed by spending too much time in the US."

I have been exposed to both Canadian media and American media my whole life--as have the vast majority of Canadians. Clearly, there is a striking difference between Canadian news coverage and American news coverage. Canadians smugly remark on the differences with a wink and a nod and the often unspoken sub-text that American news media keep the American populace ignorant with propaganda. However, I have observed that American media provide relatively accurate and balanced news reports that omit fewer important details, that focus on the important issues, that encourage open debate and that even highlight areas of real controversy. At the same time, I have observed Canadian news media using the most blatant propaganda techniques--straight from the Goebbels playbook, in fact--to make opposition to America and to the war seem larger that it is. The Canadian media distort the news by omitting important details, by distracting Canadians from the important issues, by discouraging open debate and "shouting down" important viewpoints and by inventing controversy where none exists. (Can anyone credibly deny that Saddam violated every one of the UN's resolutions?)

Ironically, I find Canadians markedly ignorant of Americans and frankly brainwashed by propaganda. I find Canadian attitudes toward Americans ignorant, arrogant and frankly stupid. However, I am really outraged by the whining ingratitude of most Canadians.

Canadians have refused to fund their own defense for the last half-century and have smugly judged Americans for funding it for them. The United States and Britain--historically, culturally and economically our closest friends and allies--along with a whole host of smaller contributors are risking the precious lives--THE LIVES--of their youth to take effective action that might conceivably save millions of Canadian lives and that will undoubtedly protect the economic infrastructure upon which all of Canada depends. (Can you imagine Canada without international trade?) And how do we respond to our call to duty? We spit in their faces. We boo American hockey teams. We make petulant distinctions between the war against terror and the current campaign in that war.

If anyone doubts the inferiority of the Canadian system of governance, the Liberal backbenchers proved it recently by passing Chretien's wholly immoral bill relinquishing Canadian sovereignty to a band of illegitimate thugs at the UN. They had a moral responsibility to their constituents to break caucus solidarity and to call Chretien on his vote of confidence. Instead, they "were just following orders." Sickening.

Shame on Canada. Shame on Canadians--every stinking last one of us.

Joe Turcotte said at May 21, 2003 10:12 PM:

Bravo! Bravo! You have put the word in my mouth. At last, we are too few people who think this way. I am canadian and, i am ashamed to be.
In fact, about 15 years ago, i could not take it any longer (our mediocrity as a country) and i left in disgust.
Bye
Joe

Jack Ellis said at May 31, 2003 11:53 PM:

You Canadians and ex-Canadians don't get it. You're all idiots, including the ones who mouthed off on this site. Suck-ups! Go back to Canada, we got enough foreigners here as it is. And they all claim to love America and hate where they came from. Losers. Nothing worse than a traitor.

Zvonimir Bebic said at November 19, 2003 2:57 PM:

I would personally like to excuse all Canadians from the rude, ill-informed, ignorant comments made by the previous writer. Although I don't agree with opinions made by one "Bob" who clearly needs to develop a backbone and a sense of patriotism for ones country, that doesn't forgive the needless actions comitted by Canadians towards Americans, as Bob alluded to before. I hope, for his sake, that Mr. Jack Ellis goes back to high school and finishes English 12, so that maybe the next time he tries to put forth an arguement, it might be taken with a little more credibility.


Sincerely,

Another foreighner you already have too many of


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