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Date: Tue, 26 Sep 1995 21:17:14 -0400
Sender: Progressive News & Views List <PNEWS-L@SJUVM.STJOHNS.EDU>
Subject: Re: Quebec Independence
From: Eric Mills <Eric_Mills@tvo.org>

Quebec Independence

By Eric Mills <Eric_Mills@tvo.org> 26 September 1995

Evidence of the Parti quebecois's indifference or hostility towards native rights was shockingly documented about 15 years ago in a National Film Board film by Alanis Obomsawin called "Incident at Restigouche." The PQ hasn't changed its policy much since then, though it's a bit more diplomatic these days.

About the PQ and socialism: When Rene Levesque died, it seems he took a lot of the progressive currents of the PQ with him (and his governments were by no means consistently friendly to unions, natives, environmentalists, etc.) The PQ that Jacques Parizeau heads is little different from a centrist party in western Europe or elsewhere.

A bill introduced regarding the referendum last spring stated that an independent Quebec would not only retain economic and monetary ties with Canada, but also keep membership in the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, NAFTA (add Mexico and ...), NATO, NORAD ... and even the Commonwealth (headed by the Queen of England)!

The unions still back the PQ, but I'm not sure why. Some progressive unionists occasionally consider starting a socialist party, but it never seems to go anywhere.

Nonetheless, the historical grievances of Quebec cannot be denied, and there's lots of racism and bigotry in the rest of Canada to feed the fires. The Canadian left still strongly supports self-determination for Quebec, but unlike in the 1980 referendum, I'm not sure most anglophone leftists would vote Yes if they lived in Quebec.