Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Resistance a la Canadienne

I really must be brief because I'm on a bit of writing roll in some studies I'm doing about parallels between Canada's continuing colonization of indigenous peoples and the life of one Gitskan ex-offender. That study zeroes in on the idea of resistance and how, within the well-laid strictures of Canadian society, individuals can find the elbow room to resist.

Along comes this preposterous brouhaha about the remarks Bloc Quebecois leader, Gilles Duceppe, made to the separatist faithful. The now oft-translated text was exactly this:

"For now, we're members of a resistance movement. But members of today's resistance movement are tomorrow's victors. Long live a sovereign Quebec!"

It's not that complicated a statement and utterly consistent both with the lengthy history of separatiste conviction and, more broadly, historic and worldwide independence movements. Fact is, the land that is now Quebec was invaded and conquered by a different cultural-linguistic nationality 250 years ago. Organized opposition to the outcome of this conquest is what resistance means.

However, the combination of Canada's mediocre journalistic mainstream -- who haven't had a figure skater with a dead mother to blather about for a few weeks -- and the no less mediocre morass of federal politicians in government and opposition who need to distract us from their own incapacities -- these social groups have combined to extrapolate wildly from Duceppe's quite legitimate statement of aspirations.

As if the word "resistance" have never had any other connotation, the first step in their dumb and transparent elision was to hold forth that Duceppe was comparing himself to the famed French resistance of World War II. Notwithstanding that Duceppe has validly pointed out the broader usage of the term "resistance" in social change movements and, specifically, his inspiration from writings of Pierre Vadeboncoeur, the late Quebec union activist, bleating MPs continued their duplicity inferring that if Duceppe saw himself as a French resistor, he was saying the Canadian Government were like the Nazis.

Blowhards like Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon and the vastly disappointing Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff, seized upon this nonsense no doubt to divert us from their own obvious shortcomings. Internal email memos puffed up with righteous indignation with statements such as “It seems that Gilles Duceppe has forgotten that Canadians, including Quebeckers, bravely fought Nazism during World War II.” Good grief!

What this is all symptomatic of is the utter shallowness of what federalist populations understand about Quebec sovereigntist agenda and, really, about sources of pride in this thing called Canada. It is as if, no longer having torch-toting Olympic propaganda to cheer about, the masses need an even more ridiculous focus for waning pseudo-nationalism. Let's create an enemy that we can all be offended by as a distraction from a government, indeed a parliament that's nothing to be proud of.

Brings to my mind another far-fetched (maybe) analogy such as when Hitler's thugs burned down to the Reichstag and then blamed it on Jews and Communists. That's how false claims can bolster up an otherwise morally bankrupt regime. As I now return to my essay about internal colonialism, especially recalling Mr. Harper's erasure of Canada's shameful history of colonial suppression of Natives, I'm thinking that perhaps the analogy Duceppe never intended about Nazis and the Canadian government, fits not all that badly.