Separatist goose, federalist gander


When, in 2001, Bernard Landry referred to the Canadian flag as des bouts de chiffon rouge (‘pieces of red rag’), the entire country was up in arms. Critics on either side of the language barrier were incensed at the then-Deputy Premier’s bon mots, forcing the man himself to apologize.

Yesterday, Education, Sport and Leisure minister (one hope she governs in that order) Michelle Courchesne called out PQ leader Pauline Marois’ (vacuous and cynically cloying) complaints about Quebec Olympians not being allowed to carry the fleur-de-lys at the games. Courchesne said she didn’t want to get into a chicane de guenilles (‘war of the rags’) with her colleague from across the floor. Marois seethed with rage and anger, yet the rest of the country was mum. One wonders why: Is it because Courchesne is a federalist? Is it because she degraded the Quebec flag and the Canadian flag as well, if only by inference?

Or is it possible we’ve moved on from such petty little skirmishes that pass for the national unity debate these days?

Just kidding. That’ll never happen.


Separatist goose, federalist gander

  1. The PQ’s nationalistic rhetoric always heats up when they are low in the polls. It’s a path that the ADQ has chosen as well, which unfortunately works. The ADQ’s popularity skyrocketed last year when Mario Dumont criticized the government for being too accommodating towards immigrants.

    It’s sad to see 2 political leaders use a nationalistic dialogue that only divides people. It’s the kind of “us versus them” rhetoric one expects from a politician from a balkan state. The strategy is simple, but effective – stir up national fervor in order to get votes.

    It’s no coincidence that the PQ and ADQ are strongest in the rural regions, where xenophobia is also at its worst.

  2. In June 1964 the Toronto Telegram wrote “Let Mr. Pearson ask the people by referendum whether they want to replace the banner that carries the symbals of our nationhood by one that is mounted on the colour of surrender and would be most suitable for an arboretum”. The vancouver Province wrote “We suspect Mr. Pearson has done a little nose – counting in the house of commons… But he has not been able to count the noses of Canadians who are outraged at the thought of abandoning a flag sanctified by the lives and blood of thousands of our countrymen in two great wars- a flag of colour and charactor in every way superior to the glorified dish towel that Mr. Pearson seeks single handedly to impose on this country” It would be wise and only fair to make sure that it becomes common knowledge that with the passage of time the true perspective on the creation of the current national flag of Canada and the great emotion and sadness that accompanied the moment has in many ways been purposely hidden, lied about, overlooked and in many cases forgotten.

  3. This is very informative.Sir J.G. Bourinot wrote in 1895 in “How Canada is Governed” under “Executive Power” of the Dominion government regarding the “National Flag” Quote”The Dominion of Canada has also authority to display on all national occasions a national flag, vis., the red or blue ensign… The Red Ensign is displayed at the opening and closeing of parliament, and on all national occasions. The blue ensign is a distinguishing flag of the government vessals of Canada; the mercantile marine of the Dominion has a right to use the Red Ensign.” End of quote.

  4. Sir John George Bourinot, 1837-1902, Canadian historian and political scientist is remembered as an authority on the Canadian constitution and government. His “Local government in Canada (1887)” Manual of the constitutional history of Canada(1888, rev.ed. 1901) How Canada is governed (1895, rev.ed. 1918), and other books are still authoritative.

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