There’s no such thing as Victoria Day in Quebec. Fondness for the monarchy doesn’t exactly run deep and you’d be hard-pressed to find any self-respecting politician willing to celebrate ol’ Vicky in public. So Monday’s holiday is actually known as the “Journée nationale des Patriotes” (Bernard Landry had it changed from Dollard Day back in 2001).
Despite the thoroughly crappy weather, about 200 people showed up at a rally in Montreal to mark the occasion. (If there’s a civic holiday in Quebec and no one rallies under the fleur-de-lys to celebrate it, does it really happen? The answer: not really.) But you have to wonder if organizers weren’t wishing some of the attendees had stayed home instead of dropping by. According to a report in La Presse, skinheads and a bunch of other undesirables joined in the celebrations, though they didn’t seem to cause much of a stir:
“When I first saw them coming, I thought they were a bunch of neonazis and I’m sure I wasn’t alone,” said Virginie Tremblay, a devout sovereignist. “When you talk with them, you realize they’re not fascists, but they do look like them.”
Among the the low-rent, browshirt-wannabe groups that turned up was the Milice Patriotique Québécoise (the Patriotic Militia of Quebec). A statement on the milita’s website insists they’re not a bunch trigger-happy nutjobs; they’re just interested in “self defense”:
We want to be prepared to defend Quebec, its language, its population, its natural resources, its environment. We want to defend Quebec against its adversaries, against the politicians who spend our tax dollars all wrong, against those who once again want to parcel our land, against those who think they’ve “won the war against the separatists,” and who think it’s all over, that Quebec will never be independent. Nothing is over.
Here’s a link to their membership application form. (It even includes a hilarious attempt at an English translation!) But be warned: if you want to sign up, you’ll need to send in $100 and four passport-sized photos, as well as get someone to vouch for you. They’ll also want you to have hunting and gun licenses, and they’ll probably make you shell out for a whole whack of goofy army surplus gear. But if it’s any consolation, even in the MPQ’s eyes, Quebec doesn’t seem to have any enemies (political or otherwise) who can’t be defeated by some fancy paintball guns. So the whole ‘combat’ part of it might turn out to be kinda fun.