Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Anti-secessionist voices in Francophone Quebec

La Presse's chief editorialist André Pratte must take a lot of flack in intellectual/media circles in Quebec. A "yes" voter in the 1980 referendum, he has since turned his back on the secessionist movement. Moreover, as he does in his blog today (in French), he has opted not to simply withdraw from active participation in debates over secession, but to tackle them head-on, puncturing various myths as he goes.

As Pratte mentions, to engage in these debates honestly as a federalist is to be labelled "irresponsible". To speak of the possible partition of an independent Quebec, to talk about the possibility that investment in the province might drop off after secession, to raise the spectre of an end to equalization payments in the transition period is to speak the unspeakable. And so, he praises Charest for being honest enough to even consider these possibilities when asked about them by journalists, rather than glibly denying these real possibilities. It's not just Charest who should be thanked for a bit of honesty on this front, Pratte deserves a heap of credit for being willing to put his own beliefs in print, into what can be a very chilly intellectual atmosphere, especially for a francophone - as Stéphane Dion found out in the mid-90s (and for which he continues to pay the price.

Quebec needs more of these eloquent francophone voices to oppose separatism, particularly at a time when neither major federalist federal party is held in high esteem.

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At 9:09 pm, Blogger Altavistagoogle said...

Um, Pratte has his job because of "his" views. LaPresse is a federalist paper because of the owners. Just like the Ottawa Citizen veered to the right thanks to Conrad Black and anything written in New Brunswick reaks of Irving.

Being a federalist is simply more lucrative at the moment. The courageous people are the sovereignist social democrats. Very few places for them to work.

At 9:16 pm, Blogger Matt said...

I don't deny that La Presse is certainly a federalist organ - but I still maintain that it is not popular to be a strong federalist (as opposed to whatever Mario Dumont is at the moment) in academic or media circles in francophone Quebec (or even in certain anglophone university departments).

The courageous people are the sovereignist social democrats. Very few places for them to work.

Oh, I don't know whether that's completely true... I suspect there's a certain third party in Quebec that will be looking for a particularly thick-skinned leader sometime soon, and I don't think they'll go for a conservative type this time. ;)


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