Philipe Couillard, Liberal contender for Quebec premiere, has hit on a key secret truth, as quoted here in the Montreal Gazette.
From the Gazette article:
“They (the PQ) say that Quebec is weak and besieged, that everyone is against us,” Couillard said at a stop at another seniors’ residence in Laval earlier in the day.
“They say that the rest of Canada is against us, the federal government is against us, that foreigners are out to get us, too. So (they say) we have to create barriers, we have to fold in upon ourselves, We can’t be open. That is not the type of nationalism we want. For us, it is the opposite. We want a nationalism that is open and confident.”
Asked whether the 1982 repatriation of the Constitution without Quebec was an insult to Quebec, Couillard said it was “regrettable.”
“It is regrettable episode. . . . That said, we are not crying. We are not sad. We are not oppressed. We are not besieged. We are not humiliated, despite what the Parti Québécois tries to make us think.”
Preach it. We are not sad and oppressed. Is that so difficult to say? We practice too much the politics of losers, in Quebec and in Canada. One segment or another is always complaining of how bad they have it and how unfair it is.*
It’s not good for us. It’s not healthy to systematically paint oneself as a victim, so that the solutions are always someone else’s responsibility. It’s also not true. Some Quebecers may not like our status as a province, they may believe they will feel more personally fulfilled as part of a Quebec nation, but separation is not going to be any cure for the real problems that ail Quebec: economic stagnation, mass corruption, the country’s highest drop-out rate. I want to be part of a project that tries to solve these problems, and feels pride in that, rather than chasing shadows and teaching ourselves that we are shamed. Reciting grievances from battles two hundred years ago will not solve the problems we face today. (Nor will a ban on hijabs).
Too often, our federalist leaders in Quebec have been too eager to play this game, to show that, although they think separation or sovereignty is too much solution that there are still battles that must be fought against Ottawa. They have to show that they too are tough on Ottawa. Does anyone really believe this is the most productive way to build our province in the long term? Couillard has teased us with the victim card too, as recently as a few days ago. I’m glad to hear him speaking some brave truths now. I hope he keeps saying it. If we want to be masters in our house, we should start by adopting the posture of masters, not aggrieved peasants.
*The self-shaming cries that ‘we can’t support ourselves without demanding more of our neighbours’ may be a byproduct of socialism and wealth redistribution: the more we expect to be supported through government intervention, the more we are in competition with each other, the more we all become squeaky wheels. You see it in every level of our politics, and in every region. It’s not a fatal flaw, but it should be taken into account as a social cost when we discuss social programs. Maybe I’m wrong and this is a function of politics itself; I’d be open to debating this!