The Canadian question


Michael Ignatieff talks to the Sun.

“I didn’t write the book as a defensive response to anticipated attack. I started this thing long before I was even in politics — and I would have finished it whatever happened — but there’s no doubt that it has the consequence of being a response to that.

“I’ve never seen a contradiction between loving your country and being outside it … sometimes you actually have to get out of your country to see it for what it is.”

The Star, meanwhile, spends a few days with Ignatieff in Southwestern Ontario and reports back.


The Canadian question

  1. Why doesn’t MacLean’s promote Stephen Harper’s writing more often?

    This bias is unacceptable.

    • lol

    • You mean ‘The great works of John Howard’?
      Or, ‘Hockey Books I’ve Read in Research of One I Tell People I’m Writing.’ That one’s out of stock, apparently…

  2. Great tidbit. It’s so easy to change history by just leaving out one tiny detail, isn’t it? But he wouldn’t have taken a steamer, so maybe that has to do with it, too.

  3. Dear Mr. Ignatieff, Given you (nor any of the other party ‘Leaders) have not replied to this letter – perhaps you will here.

    I am an Anglo in Quebec. One of ‘les autres’ that have been and are literally being starved out of the workforce and life force in my belle province.

    We have been forced to endure bigotry, discrimination and a forced exodus of more than 600,000, (mainly non francophones) , out of their home province. An exodus not witnessed in North America or the free world, since WWII!.

    We have been forced to become citizens without RIGHTS in Canada. And not ONE politician other than Clifford Lincoln and a small group of his colleagues in Quebec, have denounced this incredible and ugly violation of our supposed Charter of Rights.

    There ARE over 2 million of us left in Quebec… (Stats Canada’s numbers are totally mind numbing)… that have no rights… or should I say.. are unable to have access to their (supposed rights) in this province. Top that off with nowhere to turn for help, because our continued and repeated pleas for help and justice are totally ignored. There is nowhere to go for help!

    We’ve endured decades of useless committees, & highly funded Federal -do nothing- English rights STUDY groups – that most Anglophones are not even aware of – that ‘claim’ to be dedicated to protecting the English face of Quebec. Their ‘efforts’ and results are plain to see. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

    The rest of Canada has been fed a bill of goods that we are happy here, and that there are hardly any Anglos left in Quebec! That of course is a huge LIE. For example: Montreal’s population is approx: 1 million. 600,000 of that million are Anglophones! That does NOT include the Allophones (2nd. Language English!!) and yet, OUR English language is denied as an Official language!

    We are suffering and have been suffering ever since the ILLEGAL language laws came into effect in our Quebec. We’ve been here as long as our francophone Quebecers! We helped build Quebec and Canada! And yet our Leaders, have not only allowed and endorsed, our language, culture, schools, institutions, our community, to be systematically ERASED; They continue to look the other way while we are being ‘ethnically cleansed’ and say nothing!

    So WHO will be the LEADER who stands up and does what’s right? Who will be the LEADER to re-instates our rights, and language. Who will be the LEADER who deserves that title? Who will be the LEADER we can believe and trust?

    Looking forward to your reply,
    PS: I’ve written Mr. Ignatieff and ALL the Party Leaders – and some of their MP’s etc..countless letters — Facebook etc.. asking the same question , NOT ONE HAS REPLIED… EVER! NOTHING.

    • I just find it completely demoralising that shrieking juveniles like our friend “LF” are allowed to pollute the information commons with their snide remarks, unsubstantiated assertions, assertions passing as argument, etc. etc. This assault against informed citizenship is celebrated as an expression of freedom when it’s actually an attempt to eliminate one’s ability to come to an informed decision. ;-)

      • Hello jack,

        What do you mean my “off topic response” ? I was responding to Mr. ignatieff’s comment:

        “I’ve never seen a contradiction between loving your country and being outside it … sometimes you actually have to get out of your country to see it for what it is.”

        And given he is back in the country.. I am asking if he’s a man of his word.. and sees Quebec’s ethnic cleansing as it is!

        Also, you may dislike Americans, but please don’t speak suggest you are speaking on behalf of all Quebeckers !

      • Hi Didi. Sorry, that was a throwaway line of mine. You have to admit it’s a bit of a stretch to go from “seeing your country for what it is” to the plight of the anglophone community in Montreal.

        I don’t dislike Americans at all; about half my close friends are American. The other half contains many good Montrealers (I lived in Montreal for five years). While I’m sympathetic to the anglophone community there, and to the anxieties its minority status, I think you overstate how dire the situation is. According to Statistics Canada,

        In Montréal, the decline in the anglophone population continued between 1996 and 2001. Its proportion went down from 13.7% in 1996 to 12.8% in 2001.

        So it may be dwindling but it’s not collapsing or being “ethnically cleansed.” Your figure of 600 000 anglophones is too high: Montreal’s total population is 1.6 million, so there should be about 200 000 anglophones there. Which is not to say that things are perfectly wonderful for Montreal anglophones, but I can see why their situation need not be at the top of Ignatieff’s priority list.

  4. Mr. Harper hasn’t replied to my letter either. Why do you think that is? Also why on earth did he grant Quebec nation status? There are multi millions of Quebecers who would never have voted for that… but he didn’t ask us. How come?

  5. 01000110 01110101 01100011 01101011 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01001100 01101001 01100010 01100101 01110010 01100001 01101100 01110011 00100001

    • Bella Coola

      Nice bum.

  6. You mean you aren’t an American with no culture? I hate to say it but maybe the Quebeckers you talk to aren’t . . . generalising.

  7. Jack, you wearing that Kick me sign again?

  8. Whoops, to be fair to Mitchell, he did recently add incitements of violence to his schtick, so it’s not just insults, my bad.

  9. Oh, LF, do you really want to spend this lovely afternoon embarrassing yourself? I guess I could oblige . . .

  10. Your lack of self-awareness if breathtaking. For the record, I put in a little witty snark (hardly an insult; anyway it’s impossible to insult someone lurking behind a new nickname every day) in response to your response to Didi’s off-topic response to a rather ordinary post of Mr. Wherry’s. Apparently that makes me the devil incarnate. Your skin is so thin, you must be the lost claimant to the Hapsburg throne. I’m not hyperpartisan at all, I rarely discuss anything in Liberal/Conservative terms, and I’ve had a good deal to say in favour of Harper this last month. What I can’t resist — well, what I have a hard time resisting — is needling semi-lunatics like yourself who give all politics a bad name. I try and remember that your parents didn’t love you or something like that, but you respond so amusingly at every pin-prickle that it’s hard to remember to be compassionate.

  11. Hey, we’re not the ones who go crying to HRCs and shriek RACISM!!!! in every thread, crybaby, and frankly your commentary is boring and predictable enough that I usually don’t see the need to comment on it. You, stalker, however, insist on stalking conservatives, stalker. I guess we can’t help it, stalker, that we’re far more interesting than you, stalker, nevertheless I shall have to insist, stalker, that you shut your flanhole when adults are talking politics, mmm-kay?

  12. Jack’s far too fair-minded, merely labelling the man with no identity as ” semi-lunatic.” I woundn’t call a junk yard dog semi anything myself!

    • Hi Jack,

      Please note: living on the island of Montreal… That does not include the West Island etc… Here’s a portion of a study published in 2008 by:

      Bourhis, R.Y., Landry, R. (2008). Group Vitality, Cultural Autonomy and the Wellness of Language Minorities. In R.Y. Bourhis (Ed.) The Vitality of the English-Speaking Communities of Quebec: From Community Decline to Revival. Montreal, Quebec: CEETUM, Université de Montréal.

      page 205….. “With this approach in mind, we can situate
      Anglophones living on the island of Montreal within
      Quadrant 1 of our model: recovering to full
      wellness, but obviously with less wellness than the
      Quebec Francophone majority also situated in this
      quadrant. In Montreal, Anglophones with English as
      first official language spoken numbered close to
      600,000 individuals in 2001, and benefited from the
      greatest concentration of institutional support in
      the province. However, we know that institutional
      support for Anglophones in Montreal is declining
      (school and hospital closures), while community
      mobilization is recovering following the demise of….”
      ….. Anglophones in the Eastern townships constitute the second
      largest English-speaking population base in the
      province. Though it is home to over 150,000
      individuals with English as first official language
      spoken, the region lost 8000 Anglophones between
      the 1996 and 2001 censuses…..

      For the full report: here’s the link –


      • Ah, thanks, that’s interesting. I didn’t realise the anglo population was so high.

        Well, granted that there might be a problem (and frankly I don’t know enough about the situation to tell if you’re telling it like it is or going off on a limb), what could Ignatieff or any federal politician do about it? If there’s one thing that gets old-stock francophone Quebeckers really jumpy, it’s the federal government intervening in Quebec’s language debate. It seems to me that any intervention — what it would look like I can’t guess — would open the door to another referendum, potentially one that the separatists would win. Wouldn’t that make things even worse for Montreal’s anglo community? It’s sad, but in the end I don’t see how language equality can ever happen in Quebec: the majority is just too intractable on that issue, and they can’t be forced to change their minds. On the plus side, 600 000 is a lot of people, so I don’t see how the anglophone community in Montreal is in danger of disappearing any time soon.

        • Hi Jack,

          The reason the anglophone population is in danger, is because their language is being erased from view and from the workforce. The PQ, recently called for an ammendment to the language law, that would make it law to force employers with more than 10 employees to conduct all business in French only. As I’m sure you’ve read, that is the essence and mandate of the language law… to ensure all business is conducted in French only.

          I hope you have an opportunity to read the entire document I sent you, and it explains why the removal of a language, results in the erasure of the culture, community etc.. Too long to go in here.

          But, the most important thing is; every Prime Minister has the ability and responsibility to protect ALL Canadians rights. They have chosen to sell us for their 40 pieces of silver , believing they would garner a good portion of the 75 Quebec seats – they believe they need. Of course – the last 40 have shown that that is a pipe dream. Look at what happened to poor Harper – after he gave them Nation status!

          Quebecois have been ‘blackmailing’ Canada – with the threat of separation and have been extraordinarily successful. Believe me, they will NEVER separate, because all they’ve wanted all along is total control over Montreal. and Montreal and the Federal Government have made it very clear, that partition is on the table… if they chose to separate. That means the very portion of the Province they’ve coveted… will chose to stay in Canada.

          There are many other reasons our politicians have allowed this to continue. One being – it’s a good cop – bad cop – scenario that’s allowed the old boys club – to stay in power and control of the population- both in Quebec and outside Quebec. Ever wondered why the players rarely seem to change? Ignatieff notwithstanding. When you keep people divided you own them.

          Most importantly….. what kind of country has Canada become, when over 2,000,000 of its citizens are denied their rights and ability to make a living? How on earth can that be allowed?

          Let the Separatists make all the noise and threats they want! How dare my country sell my rights, my children’s rights, or ANYONES’ rights to appease terrorists like the FLQ – or anyone threatening violence!

          Do you think the Federal government would dare do that in Ontario? And if they did… wouldn’t you expect them to arrest them – and put them in jail and protect you and your family and your English language and culture? How would you feel if the rest of Canada just turned the other way?

          What they have done and in my opinion it’s horrific… is allow the myth…. and “very few English left in Quebec MISPERCEPTION to take root in the Canadian psyche – instead!

          Enough said for now…. other than, thanks to the internet … the muzzling of the truth is coming to an end; and we can call on our fellow Canadians to help us right this ugly wrong.

          Appeasement NEVER ever works! It’s never enough.. Take a look at Germany – the whole world tried to appease Hitler… the end result of that was . the near extinction of the Jewish population .in Europe and . over 60 million dead in WWII.

  13. Looks like I’m not the only one, here’s Michael Ignatieff in 1995 after the referendum flat out saying he doubts Canada can continue as a political entity. I agree.

    “…30 years of political instability and I don’t see any end to it.”


    He gets asked if Canada has “failed”, he doesn’t answer in the negative and is pessimistic to say the least.

    • Yeah, well, obviously the country has major problems. I think almost everybody would agree on that, even if diagnoses and prescriptions differ. On the other hand, it’s had major problems ever since 1870. In any case there’s no call to say that “I do not support Canada as a viable state.” I know you don’t mean most of what you say, but that’s really crossing the line.

  14. I do love it when you use that line, it’s one of your very funniest.

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