Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Canada is from Mars, Quebec is from Venus

One thing I learned in my totally serious scholarly degree is that conflict is normal in relationships. The odd disagreement here or there is actually a sign of healthy interaction. But when there's a little too much conflict, and not quite enough...well, non-conflict, what do you do? When do you cut that person off? When do you say, "Alright, it's been a blast, but we're clearly different and it's just not going to work it's not you it's me well it's both of us have a nice life"?

How about when they start talking about divorcing you for a third time?

I don't want to name names but it rhymes with "Trebek teparation tovement" and it needs to stop being such a pissy little drama queen.

I'm speaking, of course, of the much ado about the 54% of Quebecers who supposedly want sovereignty for their home province. 'Course, if you read farther down the article, it tells you that 56% of people in the same poll wanted Quebec to stay in Canada, as long as there was "renewed federalism" which, according to the last 30 seconds I spent on Google, would consist of a broad redistribution of powers to be negotiated between the federal government and the province.

Long and short story? Quebec's not happy with the relationship. It wants big changes, or it wants out. Simple enough, right?

How about a little history. Very little, because I haven't been around that long and I don't feel like researching beyond my own memory. I was in 9th grade during the last referendum and spent the evening glued to the TV with my friend Erica as we watched to see if Canada was about to be given the old heave ho. For weeks, if not months, leading up to it there was an outpouring of anglo and non-quebec-francophone love for our second largest province. Don't go! We love you! We'll change! We'll try to be interested in your interests! We'll respect your unique and special aspects! Don't leave us!

And it worked - barely. A tenth of a percent of a vote meant the marriage was saved. But for how long?

Maybe not much longer, if the wet dreams of the Bloc and the PQ come true. With all this Gomery shite playing out like a soap opera in Quebec, the residents of that province are rushing, disillusioned, from the arms of their partner in federalism to the back door lover that is sovereignty. And with a referendum as early as three years away, it's time for Canada to decided - how much longer are we willing to put up with the drama?

I can't help but feel like Quebec is (warning - blatant stereotyping ahead) is the sexy foreign trophy wife - let's call her Fifi - who feels misunderstood and unnapreciated by her kind of dopey, workaholic husband - let's call him Fred - and neither of them really know what to do about it.

Fifi: Mais non, tu ne me comprends pas! Je suis unique!
Fred: Oui...tu es...really special. Uh, beaucoup de unique.
Fifi: Listen, we don't even speak the same language.
Fred: I know, sweetheart, but I'm trying! I even made FSL obligatory for everyone!
Fifi: Non, I don't want to listen to crappy non-Quebecois accents! I want to make my own decisions!
Fred: Sure, you get to decide how to spend your allowance.
Fifi: It's not big enough! You make much more than me - you should give me more! We should have equal funds.
Fred: Well, you could always make your own money.
Fifi: Non! I do not want anything to change in my lifestyle, only the amount of money you give me.
Fred: Look, we've been over this. If you want access to the chequing account, you've got to promise to keep it under budget. I'm not made of money, you know.
Fifi: Unacceptable! You should support me, no matter what. Give me a credit card, or I'm out of here!
Fred: Alright, fine. Fine! You want to leave me? Go! Get going. It's not so easy out there, you know. You know our neighbours, the ones you think are ignorant, classless boors? Well, now you're going to have to deal with them directly. Maybe you should have spent a little time being nicer to other people on the block, too, not rubbing your "uniqueness" in their noses all the time. You haven't exactly tried to fit in around here, you know.
Fifi: I'll be fine! I've planned it exactly. I will continue to live here and use this house and all its amenities, but you will takeover my part of the mortgage - it's not like I would have paid it off anyway. I will continue to use your name and your credit rating in order to further my independence. And you will not have any say in anything whatsoever.
George W.: Hey neighbour! You and the missus having a spat? There's plenty of room under my roof! Better yet, why don't I just invite myself right in?

Anyway...I suppose I'm being a little over-the-top (not to mention offensive) but I can't help but feel like Quebec wants to take the house, the car, the dog, the bank accounts, and still expect their ex to be civil. Yes, you're different. You're special. You know what? So is BC. So is PEI. You want a distinct culture? It doesn't get much more fucking distinct than the North! And they're only territories, not even full provinces, let alone on the road to governing themselves!

The bottom line is, we'd all love to live in a province with universal daycare and rock-bottom tuition, but we can't because somebody has to pay for Quebec's and they sure as hell don't want it to be them if the Bloc's incessant whining about "fiscal imbalance" is any indication. What really pisses me off is that there is so much I love about Quebec and Quebecers - their ability to be both baptised Catholics and tree-hugging socialist free-loving fashionable hippies; the fact that they retain a cultural identity in the face of the Wal-Martization of the free world; their love of good food, strong beer and heavy metal; the way les Quebecoises of a certain age dye their hair bright red and take to wearing leather; the fact that they give a damn about politics - but separatists wanting to fuck me up the ass and then have me say "thank you, sir, may I have another?" is not one of them.

Living in Ottawa has really made me appreciate Quebec and, on a larger scale, french culture. And quite honestly, other than the part where their whole purpose of being is to break up my country, I quite often agree with Bloc policies. So c'mon guys - we're doing our best! Give us another chance - you quit nagging for hand-outs, we start paying attention in FSL, and Canada lives long and prosper until the inevitable US invasion for our natural resources.

1 comment:

Erica said...

Oo Laura! I got to be part of this weeks Blog entry - don't I feel special! I read your Blog out loud to my boyfriend tonight and it was quite entertaining. Perhaps we will start a ritual of gathering around ye 'ol computer to listen to the political savvy and wit that is Ms. Floyd! Rock on sister!