Thursday, January 25, 2007

De Gaulle, she ain't

I think that Chantal Hebert has hit the nail on the head with her analysis of Segolene Royal's recent comments about Quebec sovereignty. Reading the initial quotes from Royal, I got the sense that she was making reassuring platitudes to a guest, about an issue that really didn't matter all that much to her. Her recent backtracking and inept efforts to clarify her position reinforce this impression. This is not like the cold calculated manoeuvring of Charles de Gaulle to get Quebec separate invitations to meetings of la Francophonie, to be sure.

That being said, it really is tiresome to see French politicians, whose country traded away New France so that they could hold on to Guadeloupe and Martinique, playing the French solidarity card and, yes, meddling in Canadian politics. You can bet that the day that a Canadian Prime Minister calls on France to grant official language recognition to the Basque language will be the day that the French government condemns Canada for meddling - and that wouldn't even be about calls for recognition of an independent Basque state!

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At 5:41 pm, Blogger Julien Morissette said...

Ségolène Royal showed her inexperience with Quebec-France issues. She used rather equivocal language, probably not knowing how it would be interpreted in Canada. This is surprising given that she knew full well she had just met with a separatist politician...

I much preferred the clear language of another former Parti Socialiste politician and Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin:
"Nous accompagnerons le Québec, mais nous ne le précederons pas."
I voted for Lionel Jospin in 2002, what happened with Le Pen is a shame...

In any case, I'm not terribly concerned with comments such as these. French politicians love colonialist rhetoric, but they are unwilling to act on it. I still have to figure out how I'll vote this time, but it'll probably be Royal - I just can't stomach Sarkozy.

Great blog, Matt! I especially like your book reviews. I added a link to yours on mine. Cheers!


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