A Missive to Québec


Dear Québec:

I am half French-Canadian, half English-Canadian; but I am writing to you as whole-Canadian.

Ma mère was the best person I have ever known; mes tantes et mon oncle I always esteemed with love and admiration. They were born and raised in Québec. They came from a poor family. They had to grow up with nothing and sometimes at boarding schools. For all of that, they were the best parents to us kids that anyone could ever be.

Mom seemed to know what was important in life and in people; she took the good along with the bad, focusing on the good. As children, having her for a mom, though we were not wealthy, we never wanted for anything. Ever.

I am telling you this because I have seen the recent rise in popularity of the Bloq, and I know what that means to the chances of returning the PM to government: Yves-François Blanchette is a fine orator, relaxed, very much appearing like the Québec ‘everyman,’ appealing to most Francophone Québecers.

But the Bloq’s newly recovered popularity could come at great cost to Québec and to Canada, for two reasons:

  1. The Conservative support is static and firmly ensconced in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. It does not appear to be changing. The Liberal support nationwide is sliding, thanks to the erosion of Liberal support in Québec by the Bloq.
  2. The installation of a Conservative government nationwide will almost certainly invite another referendum in Québec, and this time the separatist side could win, and Canada would lose a third of its soul.

What would remain of Canada would not be the Canada of Lester B. Pearson or Pierre Elliot Trudeau, but the Canada of ‘big-oil’ – this being the ‘national vision’ of the Western Alliance, now called ‘Conservatives.’ This is the biggest con of all: they are not conserving anything but the wealth of the few out west, and this they care more for than they do about the nation built by the Indigenous, the French, and the English nearly two centuries ago and for which many young Canadians gave their lives and futures only a half-century ago. They will pay lip service, however, to anyone or anything which will provide them more votes, because that makes ‘business sense’ to them.

A Québec-less Canada is unimaginable. The Québécois culture existed before we did as a nation and contributed as much to the Spirit of Canada as the English and the Indigenous.

So much of how we identify as Canadian has come to us from our Québécois brothers and sisters:

It is Québecers we have to thank for our Maple Syrup. It is a souvenir staple for visitors from around the world. The only thing about snow I can look forward too (the Maple Leafs having been so dismal for so long) is pouring maple syrup on the snow to make toffee.

The Beaver was first popularized during the fur trade between the Indigenous folks and the coureur des bois; providing this nation with its first ‘economy.’

Both the Maple Leaf and the Beaver we venerate to the level of national symbols.

Both have a special connection with Quebec and Québécois.

Québec and Québecers have never been afraid to speak their minds, or to walk to the beat of their own drum, even if everyone else appears to be heading in the opposite direction. That’s what has helped to make Canada, Canada, since the rest of the world, going by what’s happening in the U.S. and in the Middle East, is given to going off the rails now and then, while Canada has been able to provide some grounding for the world. Where the Trumps of the world call for more bombs, violence, and misery to settle their affairs, Canada’s Liberal Prime Ministers call for peacekeeping and stand up for humanity’s rights, regardless of where they live or the colour of their skin. The latest example is when we opened our doors to migrants coming from all over, attempting to find safe haven from war for their children. Those on the right look upon this as a migrantocalypse, that is, if they cannot take advantage of their coming from poverty to underpay them.

Forming a third of Canada’s aspirational mix, Québec profoundly influences how Canada interacts with the world and how the world views Canada. Right now, were you to ask around, you would soon see that the Canada led by Justin Trudeau (a francophone Canadian, by the way ) is revered and respected, whereas the most powerful and influential nation in the world under Donald Trump is currently the object of ridicule and alarm among folks overseas.

Andrew Scheer is going to continue the harperesque initiative of making Canada un-great—Americanesque in a Trump-ish way.

My life and the lives of my father, siblings, and children have not been the same since my mother died. Even though she’s been gone for 12 years, I talk to her every day. My father says he dreams about her every night. Though we are each our own person, something of each of us left along with mom.

As a Canadian, were Québec to leave our family and leave us to fend for ourselves against the rightwing movement-conservative agenda, which continues with its eastward migration from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba after coming north from the U.S., the pain of loss, the kind one feels when mom dies, the kind of loss that goes right to your soul, your ‘holy of holies,’ would be more than I can bear.

From 1812 onward, we have managed to go our own way and keep above the fray of global chess; preferring things like peacekeeping missions and foreign aid contingents to dropping bombs on folks.

These are examples of the sanity Canada is blessed with and freely offers without quota to the world. It is a sanity formed of the alliance of three cultures which may be fairly described as one culture, immigrant-Canadian (for we all came from somewhere else in search of means to feed and care for our families), with three traditional facets(Indigenous, Québecois, and European-English), more recently incorporating a fourth (African), a fifth(Asian), and a sixth(Middle Eastern). We are all immigrants that call Canada, ‘home.’ We are all global citizens.

Canada is fast becoming a beacon of progress for the World. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is continuing a mission begun not by his father, but by Lester B. Pearson (the Peace Keeper PM and Nobel Laureate), who selected Justin’s father as his successor, and for good reason.

But we will become the nadir of the world’s hopes (and the hopes of its children) by electing a mindset that is taking the world into an abyss it will not be able to crawl out of. Ever again.

If we reject Justin Trudeau’s Liberals now, we will add Canada’s weight to the anchor that is going to drag the world of humanity down into a Fantasia-style black hole. Our ‘Never Ending Story’ and the world’s, will not end so happily as things did in the movie. We have our own Atreyu. Let’s give him  more time.