TORONTO SUN

TORONTO SUN
Un chroniqueur juif du Toronto Sun dénonce l’hypocrisie de l’Assemblée
nationale du Québec. (Texte en anglais)

(Le texte suivant est extrait de l’édition du 28 décembre 2000 du Toronto
Sun)

An honest separatist
By GEORGE JONAS — Toronto Sun

Many people are troubled by certain expressions of French-Canadian
nationalism, such as Yves Michaud’s recent remarks on a Quebec radio show.
In answer to Liberal Senator Leo Kolber’s banter in a barber shop: "Are you
still a separatist, Yves?" Michaud said he replied: "Yes, yes, I am a
separatist, just as you are a Jew."

Variously characterized as "anti-Semitic" and "odious,"
Michaud was
censured for his comment by a resolution of the Quebec National Assembly.

Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Bloc Quebecois, while finding the
National Assembly’s reprimand "unfortunate," was quick to dissociate
himself
from Michaud. "Mr. Michaud made a mistake," as Duceppe put it in a
letter to
the newspapers, "in ethnicizing the results of the 1995 referendum."

Shades of poor Jacques Parizeau! I thought five years ago that the
former Quebec premier was the only honest politician in Canada. "If honesty
were a virtue in politics," I wrote in 1995, "Parizeau should have got
the
best press. As it is, he got the worst."

Parizeau was honest, because the 1995 referendum didn’t really pose a
question to Quebec’s entire population. No one expected Anglos or most
immigrants to say Yes to the question: "Do you want to mandate your
provincial government to negotiate separation from Canada?" Sure, the
charade had to be played. The vote had to be extended to all Quebecers, and
it had to be stipulated that the majority’s answer would be binding. But the
answer that interested Parizeau – or most sovereignists, whether they
admitted it or not – was the answer from "nous," the family of
francophones.

The sovereignists didn’t expect to persuade English or ethnic
Canadians. They campaigned solely to convince fellow francophones that they
should express a desire for their own country – and 59% did so.

This was the sovereignists’ battle and triumph. The rest was just the
"ethnic vote," as Parizeau put it, honestly and accurately, though not
very
wisely.

Quebec separatism is ethnically based. What else? If Quebec were
inhabited by an English majority, it would never occur to it to separate
from Canada.

Of course, only an IQ-challenged person thinks ethnicity wholly
defines people. Nothing defines people wholly; what defines an individual
best (with apologies for wasting ink on the obvious) is character, probably
followed by intellect, education, citizenship, language, religion, culture,
political ideas and maybe looks. This puts ethnicity way down the list –
except for one other possibility.

It’s possible for one’s ethnicity to coincide with one’s citizenship,
language and culture. It usually does in nation-states, i.e., ethnically
based, unicultural countries such as Denmark or Japan. Canada happens not to
be such a country – neither are India, Australia, nor the United States –
but there’s nothing wrong with countries that are. Nor is there anything
wrong with entities that aspire to be nation-states – such as, possibly,
Quebec.

Sometimes it’s part and parcel of one’s politics to define oneself by
one’s ethnicity. It wouldn’t be my choice, but it has been the choice of
others, and they’re entitled to it. Some Jews do it; so do some Irishmen, as
well as some French-Canadians. For all I know, Michaud is one of them.
Whatever I think of his choice, it’s his fundamental right.

Michaud’s remark seems neither odious nor anti-Semitic to me. Insofar
as it expresses the view that a Jew in Quebec is unlikely to be a
separatist, I find it factual.

To suggest a person’s ethnicity plays no part in his or her being is
to stubbornly or obtusely deny the self-evident. Left-libbers tend to be
selectively obtuse: they deny ethnicity when it’s politically unsuitable,
but insist on it when it coincides with their social engineering notions –
say, in affirmative action. U.S. liberals will say with a straight face that
ethnicity is unimportant, then applaud a "Hispanic appointment" to the
cabinet. Having it both ways is their specialty.

Michaud seems less anxious to have it both ways. I find his stance
more realistic than Duceppe’s hypocritical insistence that "the Bloc
Quebecois wishes the sovereignty project to remain inclusive and uniting."

Multicultural "inclusivity" has become ingrained in the Canadian
psyche as the sole legitimate model for nationhood. By now we look at ethnic
nationalism the way Victorians looked at sex. Even some separatists are
shocked when one of their own lets the ethnic cat out of the bag. It doesn’t
shock me As a Jew, I find Michaud’s frankness refreshing.