Tuesday, October 31, 2006

IGNATIEFF'S NOTION OF THE NATION

A lot has been written about Iggy's Quebec national recognition proposal over the past week. If you haven't been keeping up, excerpts of mainstream political opinion are here compiled by Coyne. A very small sample of blogosphere opinion is here and here.

I do not feel I have anything new to add at the moment, but I'm not going to let that stop me from expressing my opinion.

Quebec is not a nation. At least as the largely arbitrarily defined political jurisdiction of the province of Quebec goes, it is not a nation. It can no more be a nation than Alberta, or Yukon, or Calgary or Toronto. The attempt by separatists to declare the entire province of Quebec as a distinct nation ignores the many Canadians who live in Quebec who do not agree with them.

Nevertheless, that a French speaking, culturally distinct, Quebecois nation exists, is difficult to dispute. There are certainly a very large number of people within Quebec who consider themselves to form a nation, and to tell a group of people who think of themselves as a nation that they are not is next to impossible.

However, this does not mean that Quebec or any of the people whithin Quebec should, or need to, have recognition as a distinct nation within the Canadian constitution. Such recognition would be disasterous for Canada and would only advance the cause of the separatists.

Posted by Matthew @ 10:35 AM