Something to be Learned from Quebec?
On October 1, 2018, our nation of Canada was either shocked by or completely oblivious to the fact that a Nationalist government was elected in Quebec. It is worth noting that this was a very different trend from the Liberals loosing their majority in Newfoundland, the PC government elected in PEI, Ford’s PC government in Ontario, or even the United Conservative Party government recently elected in Alberta.
What Quebec has is a government with a party that has campaigned on reducing the number of immigrants into Quebec to 40,000 (a 20% reduction from the previous figure) in comparison with the nation’s quota of 350,000+, a party that has campaigned on banning burkas, hijabs, and kippas, a party that has campaigned on the ethnic heritage of the Quebecois, and a party that explicitly identifies as “Nationalist” before “Conservative”.
So what was key to the success of the CAQ?
The first thing is that the Quebecois, like the Irish, have always had a very strong sense of ethnic identity. In Quebec, the sense of identity may even be stronger because it has been repressed by softer measures of power for a longer time than Ireland. As opposed to exhausting their desire for identity, it has only built up in a part of Canada that is so passive-aggressively semi-separated.
Certainly Canada was confronted with the October Crisis in the 1960’s, but this was hardly comparable to Irish Civil War and the Irish War of Independence, which actually did result in Northern Ireland being granted sovereignty.
Perhaps one could make the case that there has been armed conflict for Quebec with the Battle on the Plains of Abraham, but we know how that was settled…
One could also say that Quebec has continued the Catholic and even slightly Libertarian tradition of Lower Canada, in which case the Lower Canadian Rebellion and the eventual attempted establishment of the Republic of Canada would be two instances of armed conflict that apply to this legacy. Unfortunately, when William Lyon Mackenzie took 200 armed men to Navy Island in 1837, they were forced to flee only to either face arrest by the US (for violating neutrality laws between the UK and US) while some continued to operate in secret cells.
Roman Catholicism is something that can also be noted as a common factor in Quebec, Poland, Hungary, and Italy (all of which are countries experiencing a rise in National-Populism). With that being said, Israel (previously mentioned in the last “Something to be Learned from…” article) is obviously Jewish. The U.S., which saw the rise of Trump, is protestant. There is also a longstanding history of Protestantism and Nationalism, whether one looks to Ireland or Prussia. Russia is Orthodox Christian. Belarus is Orthodox. Chechnya is Muslim. And the list goes on… What one could really say is that, regardless of which religion is practiced, the strength to which that religion is reinforced by a militant state is a greater determinant of success than the religion itself.
One thing that is comparable with the UCP in Alberta is that the CAQ was able to facilitate a network between the ADQ (Action démocratique du Québec) and former members of the Party Quebecois (the PQ) similar to how the UCP facilitated a merger between the Wildrose Party and the PC Party. The CAQ actually came about because former PQ members facilitated a merger between the CAQ and the ADQ. In addition to party alliances, another factor for success was a network of politicians with Nationalist leanings within the the National Assembly of Quebec.
Applying the things that can be observed from this trend on a macro-level, it’s looking like the best thing for Canadian Nationalism might be for a National-Populist element in the CPC to facilitate a coalition government between themselves and the PPC, NCA, and the CNP. With that being said, there is a fragmentation on the Left between the Liberals and NDP, and there is a growing fragmentation on the Right between the CPC and the PPC. If the latter reaches the same point as the former, we could see an opportune moment that would be ideal for fringe alliances and coalition governments.
While Quebec does have a strong sense of ethnic identity and a strong desire for liberty, the rest of Canada does not share this in the same way. In this respect, Canadians cannot campaign on their ethnic heritage or their struggle against the Federal Government like the Quebecois can. No doubt Canada does have a Euro-Canadian ethnic heritage, but this isn’t something that the entire nation feels compelled by. Instead, Canadians, by and large, have a sense of Federalism and even some degree of Progressive Socialism. This means that if Canadian Nationalists hope to inspire the sense of tradition in Alberta or the sense of ethnic heritage in Quebec and apply these qualities to the rest of Canada, they need to be prepared to compromise with what is popular in order to be Populist. The ultimate conclusion that can be draw from this is that a Canadian Nationalist movement, unlike a Quebecois Nationalist movement, must be prepared to be more Socialist and less Segregationist.
In many ways, the Libertarian nature of the CAQ is something to be concerned about. Wherever a “Nationalist” talks about PRIVATIZATION over NATIONALIZATION, you should be concerned. This is primarily because PRIVATIZATION is one of the chief means of GLOBALIZATION. If one wonders why Preston Manning’s Reform Party went on to become Harper’s Globalist, Conservative Party, one should look no further than here. In this respect, there is much to be concerned with when it comes to many parties of this nature, may they be the PPC, UKIP, Brexit Party, PVP, AfD, APP, etc… There is much more to be learned from more economically nationalist movements like the Front National in France, Law and Justice in Poland, Fidesz in Hungary, Smer-SD in Slovakia, etc. Perhaps Italy is the most interesting case, because it played off of neither economic nationalism or libertarianism, but instead, a regionalist and provincialist Populism that much of Europe and the West does not share to the same degree. Whether or not this is concerning depends on where it will go from here and whether it will be co-opted by Libertarianism…
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