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Friday, November 24, 2006

Quebecker or Quebecois?

As a follow-up to my well-commented-upon posting of a few days ago, on the issue of Quebecois nationhood, please allow me to point out an interesting discrepancy in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's official statements on the issue.

In his Nov. 22 statement in the House of Commons, Harper used the terms "Quebecois" or "Quebeckers" a total of 14 times. He seemed to use the terms interchangeably in English. The terms also appear in roughly equal number in the parts of the speech that were translated from French to English.

However, in the text of the statement that appears on the PM's official Web site (a statement that, confusingly, is dated Nov. 23), the term Quebecois is used exclusively all 14 times.

This is interesting, because I think the term Quebecois better reflects what Mr. Harper was actually meaning to say when he talked about the sociological reality of Quebecois nationhood. To my way of thinking, the description of a person as a Quebecois is similar, but not the quite the same, as describing him or her as a French Canadian, whereas using the term Quebecker to describe someone ends up directly rooting that person in Quebec. A Quebecois, on the other hand, may live in northern Ontario or St. Boniface, Manitoba, for example.

It is quite possible that Harper's use of the term Quebecois is a deliberate attempt to make a clear distinction between the ethnic identity of the Quebecois and the political jurisdiction in which the majority of people of that heritage are living, thus further diffusing the separatist initiative.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on November 24, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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Why do you sound so surprised?

All you had to do was listen to what he said about the Quebecois as a social entity, not read the MSM reports that it was about Quebec the province.

That fundamental misrepresentation is still being made in today's news reports.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-11-24 10:53:40 AM

Which is why the term Canadian should be rejected in favour of more definitive ethnic cognomens.

For example Angelcynn (ie people of the English race) is far more appropriate for 'Canada's' founding race and serves as a distinct ethnic identifier wherever in Canada they may live.

Posted by: DJ | 2006-11-24 10:57:16 AM


The very site you link to states:

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to the House of Commons concerning the motion tabled in respect of Quebec as a nation:

"That this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada."

Perhaps his Webmaster needs to make a slight change to the word Quebec in the first paragraph??

Posted by: Brent Weston | 2006-11-24 11:27:08 AM

I feel discriminated against. I strongly urge the PM to table the following motion:

"That this House recognize that the Swedes form a nation within a united Canada."

And then I want to have manadatory Swedish labeling in cereal boxes etc.

And I want transfer payments to my nation from Alberta.

So there.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-11-24 11:56:25 AM

Jeez, I don't know enough French to appreciate the difference. But I'm sure Uncle Stephen and his country bumpkins will explain in one of Canada's
Official Languages. New Brunswick from where I write this is supposed to be "Bi-Lingual", but it really ain't. The Irvings who own NB prefer English. MacLeod

Posted by: Jack MacLeod | 2006-11-24 12:18:21 PM

Creating the Nations’
By Stephen Gray

As you all know we created a new nation the other day in the House of Power. All of us in the House were unanimous in the creation of this new nation. Then we all gave each other a standing ovation for our own ingenuity. Though some people are saying, “self praise is no praise.” But hey, who else will praise us if we don’t do it ourselves? But, I digress.

Still, it has come to our attention (we do pay attention at times) that there are some grumbling and dissent in the land from those who elected us. They do not believe that special status should be given to just one province, albeit the motive is impugned to be for votes. We would not do that, would we? Don’t answer that question unless it is in the negative.

Anyway to dispense any negative thoughts about our motives for this nation creating act we have decided to make all the other nine provinces’ nations as well. This was done after much soul searching and the vote gathering potential of this move. We do not like to lose votes as we are all very happy in the House of Power and we did not want to endanger our privileged status come the next election. But, I digress again.

As you all know we are a land ruled by the Charter, (which you the people did not get to vote on individually, the Charter was imposed upon you) and it was felt that under the Equality section of the Charter leaving out the other nine provinces’ as non-nations would be discriminatory. We are a caring, tolerant, non-judgmental, non-discriminatory society and no way did we want to be hurtful of the feelings of any of the other provinces. Therefore, as I said earlier we are making each of these other nine provinces’ a nation as well.

We are also bearing in mind that in all these nation provinces there are communities within these nations who might also wish to be given nation status.( It’s all about votes)
Therefore in the search for equality for those who might feel they are a nation within a nation of this nation, we are setting up a Post Office Box for Nation applications.
The address is: Make Me a Nation
At the Hill, c/o Parly. Bldgs.
No Postal Code is needed and no postage is needed either. It’s all free courtesy of your tax dollars. If you do not wish to write us, our email address is: [email protected] All applications will be considered for their vote supporting potential.

Here are some examples for those who wish to apply for nation status. Remember these are examples only. Examples; you could have are, “ Queer Nation” in your title or “Straight Nation” in your title just as long as the word Nation is used. The only title you cannot have is “First Nations” as this has already been taken and rightfully so.

In closing, we hope all this information is helpful to all you people out there. After all, where would we without you? You are our voters and come election time we depend on you to put us back into power in this great nation of nations within this nation. As the old saying goes: “We do it all to you.” Oops, I mean: “We do it all for you.”

Respectfully submitted by your Nation Creators.

Stephen Gray
Nov. 24, 2006.
[email protected] website: http://www.geocities.com/graysinfo

Posted by: Stephen Gray | 2006-11-24 12:28:31 PM

Good one, Stephen.

I'm sure that a lot of Left leaning Goths out there applying for DamNation.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-24 12:36:22 PM

This whole thing is tiresome but the Quebec issue must be addressed at some point if Canada is to continue with its current borders. I remember Harper playing with the idea of the Belgian model. I think he's got something there. Having said that, this current statement is strictly intended to shore up support in Quebec for the next election. Iggy is already twisting himself into a pretzel trying to backtrack on his position. Score another one for Steve.

Posted by: Howard Roark | 2006-11-24 12:49:26 PM

Nation provinces?

That's not the point of national origin.

The Quebecois is an identifiable cultural group with a finite national origin.

Quebec is an administrative area, much larger than the original area first settled by the Quebecois, which was a narrow strip of land along the St. Lawrence River.

The Quebecois, like the Swedes, Ukrainians, German, Dutch, etc., etc. all have national origins formed through centuries of defending themselves against barbaric forces.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-11-24 12:49:37 PM



Our time is gonna come.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-11-24 1:04:40 PM

William Watson in today's National Post:

For men not blessed with eloquence, both Stephen Harper and Bill Graham gave surprisingly stirring speeches about Canada on Wednesday. But the speech I liked best was Gilles Duceppe's. "We are what we are, period," echoing the show-stopping "I am what I am," from -- what could be more appropriate? -- La Cage aux Folles.

When our own cage aux folles reconvenes next week, I hope MPs will consider the following philosophically impeccable substitute for Mr. Harper's motion: "Resolved, that this House recognize that Quebecers are what they are, period, and so is everyone else in the Canadian nation."

Posted by: JR | 2006-11-24 2:06:32 PM

There is a positive aspect to this affair. It makes us laugh all! Laughing is good for you and it is free.

In my point of view, Québecois are an endangered species. It should be protected. Please call Green Peace right now!

We were very prolific until 1960. But came the cultural revolution and poof! Now it is hard to find a family with more than two children.

As an example, my sisters have 2 children, one one. In my family, we were 5. In my mother's family they were 10! Myself, I'm still on the market. When I get married, I hope for two children.

Maybe André Boisclair will contribute. He is not married yet but must be looking for another qeer. It is still a mystery how they are going to procreate a child, but we will see.

On occasion of the Thanksgiving (in my best loved country, USA), let me finish with a joke.

A parrot was yelling at the man who was his master. He was telling all kinds of dirty words, insults and obscenities. Even if the man was menacing the bird, it kept doing it and even increased by calling him qeer, french canadian pea soup, bloke. The man tried to sqeeze the bird hard enough but to no avail. Finally the man out of exasperation, opened the door of the freezer and threw the parrot in and closed the door. Silence. After a minute, he opened the door again and the parrot came out very silent.

Very surprised, the man asked the bird why he completely changed his behavior. The bird answered: Is this what happened to the turkey?

Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2006-11-24 4:10:07 PM

And now comes the news that the Bloc Quebecois will support the Conservative that the Quebecois are a nation within a united Canada.

This is comedy at its best. Duceppe said he understands Quebecois to be the individuals and Quebec its political entity.

OK. When Quebec entered Confederation, what was the extent of its actual administrative district?

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-11-24 4:19:23 PM

OK, let me answer my own question.

I looked up:


On it is a map which shows the territories at Confederation.

More than half the current area of Quebec was part of Ruperts Land, which was divided for administrative purposes at the time of Manitoba's entry into Confederation (1869 or thereabouts).

The shaded area on the map is the actual ancestral land of the French-Canadian peasant, the ancestors of the Quebecois.

That sliver of land, not the entire land mass of Quebec, is the land of the Quebecois. Take it or leave it.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-11-24 4:27:49 PM

Hang on now.

Quebec was not granted it current territory until 1912.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-11-24 4:30:24 PM

Remember the old simple days when racism was when you were politically incorrect by distinguishing black skin people from white skin people. Now racism in Canada has become so polished and refined in certain people that they can actually see the differences between some people with white skin and other people with white skin. And their kids do not have to go to school with these inferior cultures. This is explained by the Heirs of Lord Durham.

The actual purpose of official bilingualism is to allow French Canadians to live anywhere in English Canada without ever having to learn a single word of English, thanks to a totally bilingual civil service, financed by English Canada. This is another example of Trudeau's petty vindictiveness because the Quebecois in Quebec, and Trudeau in particular, absolutely hated the English who lived in Quebec for a hundred years without ever learning French. So now turn-about is fair play.
If I had a dollar for every lie told about official bilingualism in Canada, I'd be a billionaire.

Posted by: rockyt | 2006-11-24 5:07:28 PM

Set You Free, precisely, something that the amphibians of that Province should keep in mind.

Posted by: Canadian plus | 2006-11-24 5:12:22 PM

I'm sick to death of the whole f*cking mess.

When does the ROC get a say in special status' for ethnic groups?Personally,I'd prefer they separated.

Indians...French Canadians...who's next?

The multicultural mentality of this country is destroying us,led by a gang of self serving politicians.(Yes folks,all parties)

My father fought 5 LONG YEARS(alongside Quebecers)defending this country and our very freedom.He'd be f*cking enraged if he could see what we've since done with it.(or maybe he would simply weep)

Posted by: Canadian Observer | 2006-11-24 6:03:46 PM

Folks, this is great news. This territory thing sets up the whole issue. With that in mind, nothing to gain for separatists.

Careful folks. The enemy wants us to fight each other. That's called confusion. During that time, we loose our focus on the true enemy.

WWIII is in progress. Look what's happening in Lebanon. Murder of Pierre Gemayel. Hizbollah trying to take control of the government.

Can you measure the number of weapons transferred into Lebanon since the end of the war with Israel?

As an example, when Hitler was invading Europe, we stopped bickering among us. We fought side by side. Myself, I was in the Forces for 2 years at the beginning of my adult life. I heard great stories by people who had fought the nazis.

Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2006-11-25 7:13:32 PM

We could use a few more Remi Houles in this debate.
Thanks Remi.

Posted by: Liz J | 2006-11-25 7:30:01 PM

Terry, I think (and hope) you are right. The nation that we recognized is a cultural one: the descendants of the French settlers. BTW, if this is the nation, then it is concentrated in the province of Quebec; but the people of Quebec are not only Quebequois and the Quebequois are not only in Quebec. This perspective,once noticed, strikes me as undeniable.

Note that if Quebec nationalists buy into this perspective, the separation debate is over. Separation would divide the Quebequois of Quebec from the Quebequois of Ontario, New Brunswick, Edmonton, etc. What's more, it would leave Quebequois compatriots voiceless within Canada.

Posted by: Pete E | 2006-11-25 11:47:28 PM

Well except for one thing... while in English he used the word Quebecois, in French he also used the word Quebecois which is more inclusive, synomynous to Quebeckers. He did not say "Quebecois de souche or pure laine" in French. Am I supposed to tell my separatist Haitian friend that she is not part of the Quebecois Nation of Harper because only the members of Das Volk are in it according to some interpretation of the English texts? Come on guys... no way. This motion will eventually be interpreted universally in Quebec to mean the "civic nation" of the separatists. Otherwise Quebec federalists would end up defending a narrow ethnic version of Quebec. No way in a million years. The fact is that French Canadians form a social nation and Harper has narrowed it artificially to the Quebec members of that nation . Harper has fallen in the trap of giving credance to the civic nation of Levesque. It took Duceppe 24 hours to realize what Boisclair realized immediately. One comforting thought from my point of view: Trudeau's Canada has received its final nail on the coffin.

Posted by: Etienne Forest | 2006-11-26 8:34:54 PM

I am an amphibian from the nation within a nation who thinks one of the best things about Canada is that everyone here can be what they are and still live side by side and agree on a multitude of issues, despite the fact we might disagree on others.
French Canadians live everywhere in this country. Quebecois were born and live in Quebec. Franco-Ontarians are born and live in Ontario. Acadians are born and live in New Brunswick. Nobody can tell me Newfoundlanders aren't a distinct society and a nation within a nation. The same applies to every region of this country. The sooner we all accept that and move on, the better. In the end, we all belong to the human nation.

Posted by: humanation | 2006-11-26 9:09:47 PM

Coyne has a fuller discussion, and points out just how disastrous Harper's choice of words is:

Not only is Quebecois, vague; but he uses "Quebecers", which is clearly NOT only the ethnic French speaking portion of the province of Quebec.

Posted by: bob | 2006-11-27 3:20:20 AM

Witness the confusion reign in this article on Campbell's appeal to have Native Nation's equally recognized -- the term Quebecer is used 4 times, while Quebecois is not mentioned.

Harper needs to clarify this in a big, big way, before the nation status is entrenched in the popular imagination of the entire province rather than a subset of the population of the province.

Posted by: bob | 2006-11-27 5:28:56 AM

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