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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

President Sarkozy on Quebec Independence

Charles-de-gaulle-montrealIt was the most dramatic diplomatic disaster in Canadian history. Charles de Gaulle, the great founder of the modern French state, stood up to make a speech at the 1967 World Expo in Montreal. He declared out to the crowd, "vive le Quebec libre" "long live a free Quebec."

Since that day, and really before it too, France has been encouraging Quebec to become independent, with various degrees of enthusiasm. As a result Canada's relationship with France has traditionally been worse than our relationship with Cuba.

 French President Sarkozy changed that. He has made the occasional musings that a united Canada might be a good thing, and relations with France has never been better.

Now in case anyone still doubted President Sarkozy's position, (according to Globe & Mail)

In an improvised monologue this week, Mr. Sarkozy stressed the need for unity in the face of hateful, narrow-minded, sectarianism.

He never mentioned Quebec by name — but he made the remarks during a Paris ceremony where he presented Premier Jean Charest with the French legion of honour.

Of course the seperatists are outraged. They have lost their most important ally on the world stage. All they can do is jump up and down and call Sarkozy ignorant. After all, if you don't agree with their position you must either be an Anglo oppressor or you simply don't understand.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on February 4, 2009 | Permalink


"Si je suis Président aujourd'hui, c'est un peu à cause de Paul Desmarais".

-Nicolas Sarkozy

Posted by: Marc | 2009-02-04 1:06:25 PM


Mais oui. It always is somebody else's fault when somebody points out the obvious truth that separatists are fools.

Posted by: set you free | 2009-02-04 1:47:08 PM

I would say Canada has had a very good relationship with France. Having been to France many times, most people there could care less about the Quebec Sovereignty issue. They respect Quebec's democratic right to choose. I'm a Quebecker but almost everybody there referred to me as Canadien. I'm only a quarter french but they called both my anglo and franco friends "Canadien" aussi.

If you actually listened to De Gaulle's speech, you would hear that he is not calling for a separate Quebec. He is calling for freedom in Quebec as well as for francophone Canadians. Here's some of what he said:

Vive Montréal ! Vive le Québec ! (ovation)

Vive le Québec libre ! (très longue ovation)

Vive le Canada français ! Et vive la France !

I believe it was the time of Expo 67 and he wanted to celebrate achievements by Francophone Canadians. I always thought De Gaulle was kind of a nut and that he shouldn't have been taken so seriously.

Posted by: Tim Trudeau | 2009-02-08 9:54:37 PM

Tim, I agree that simply taking the text of his speech you could interpret what he said that way. But this was not a stand alone incident. De Gaulle also called Canada an abomonation.

That being said, you are right that there is no bad blood on the person to person relationship between Canada and France. I would be surprised if Quebec seperation was a hot issue there. But still the state to state relation has often suffered.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2009-02-08 10:01:23 PM

France has nuclear weapons. They will probably be the first Islamic state with nuclear capability.

Posted by: dp | 2009-02-08 10:42:28 PM

Pakistan has nukes, but maybe they are 'officially' secular.

Posted by: DJ | 2009-02-08 11:51:34 PM

To say that Charles de Gualle was kind of a nut and shouldn't have been taken so seriously seems a bit insulting. He risked a lot by standing up against Vichy France. I think he just lived to see enough oppression as well as the threat to French Culture that he wanted to try and mend any wounds between France and Québec.

Posted by: Ashley | 2009-02-15 5:23:42 PM

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