“The connection between France and Quebec calls us together”
We cannot say that French men and women are very interested in Quebec, despite their linguistic affinity. The opposite is not true. Last week, Yves-François Blanchet, Quebec member of the Canadian House of Commons, was in Paris. The latter is also the leader of the Bloc Québécois (32 out of 78 deputies in Quebec) party, which is fighting for Quebec’s independence from the Canadian Parliament. Close 20 minuteshe explains the importance of the relationship between France and Quebec and the defense of the French language.
How to explain to the French the idea of the independence of Quebec, which is supported by a large part of the population of Quebec?
The sovereignist movement It gained momentum in the 1960s, during what we call the “Quiet Revolution.” It was driven by the recognition of a Quebec society distinct from the rest of Canada and a desire to restore the rights that Quebec granted to the Canadian federation when it was created. [au XIXe siècle]. Our role in the Bloc Québécois is primarily to represent and defend the interests of Quebecers in the Parliament of Canada. But we will never give up the idea of sovereignty, it is our main mission to remain the bearers of the idea of independence.
Why is passing through Paris important to you?
This helps to pursue what I call “independence diplomacy”.This desire of the Quebec sovereignty movement must be recognized. First of all, in France, our friendly and natural base. This has been neglected by the government, including the sovereignist movement, for at least the last two decades. Despite the free trade agreement with Europe [de 2017], Initiated by Quebec, relations were limited to ceremonial or purely commercial relations, whereas the Franco-Quebec friendship has a mutual duty to go beyond this. The historical connection between France and Quebec calls us together.
Quebec and French societies are different, but topics sometimes cross the ocean, such as secularism. Discussions have been going on in your country since the end of the 2000s. How can it be explained?
Debates about secularism are defined very differently. This has a lot to do with the immigration debate in France and to some extent in Quebec. Now, there isn Quebec, the immigration debate is primarily linguistic. At issue is Quebec’s ability to maintain its linguistic identity with a population of 8.5 million. Also, a number of values derived from the “Quiet Revolution”, including getting rid of power or the interference of religion in state affairs.
how do you look Emmanuel Macron ?
I find it difficult to pass judgment on a foreign government, however kind. All I can say is that Quebecers would greatly appreciate it if the French government showed more interest in Quebec. Visits of French heads of state to Quebec are generally a source of great pride for us. We were a little disappointed that Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the National Assembly of Quebec was canceleda few years ago [en 2018]. Frankly, we were irritated by Nicolas Sarkozy’s speech in the same Assembly [dix ans plus tôt], Which equates the concept of Quebec sovereignty with the concept of hatred. It’s still in our throats.
Quebec is often at the forefront of defending the French language and the “French fact” in North America, often more so than France. Does it disappoint you?
I think The best defense of the French language is to enhance and promote its beauty, grandeur, history and poetry. I like to say that I would never have cheated on my wife if I hadn’t done it in French. He said that the French in Quebec need the Quebeckers dangerously do it it is the means of their pride. It saddens me to see English words appearing in France that have no French enrichment and never will.
Should France do more?
France is one of the necessary nations be the proudest The role of their civilization in the history of the West. This pride should be seen in affiliation, in the transmission of a language this trace in history. We feel the distant post-war effect, where the United States is still a rarefied myth, which perhaps leads people from many countries to ascribe exaggerated virtues to the English language.
The question of the youth vote arises for all parties in all major Western democracies. Perhaps more acutely for the Quebec sovereignty movement. How can we succeed in bringing the younger generations together?
The recent elections in Quebec produced a very disappointing result for the sovereigns in the National Assembly of Quebec. [seulement 3 députés sur 125 pour le Parti Québécois, indépendantiste]. But the Parti Québécois has managed to completely renew its list of candidates with its incredible youth and rejuvenation of ideas. For example, linking the idea of sovereignty to a more ecological model. Which is completely inconsistent with the Canadian model.
Regardless of Justin Trudeau’s bluster and histrionics, Canada is an oil nation, has the second largest oil reserves in the world and intends to exploit them. So much so that Canada is the second most subsidized country in the world, per inhabitant, its oil industry is absolutely disgusting. Quebec has no merits, but it has a geography that allows it to be exemplary in terms of environmentally friendly economic development. And this is a discourse that makes it possible to reach younger generations.
But the latter are also seduced by a more multicultural discourse. Is there an inconsistency with this type of discourse and a sovereignist approach?
Multiculturalism is essentially a denial of the Nation, especially in Canada. Therefore, trying to reconcile multiculturalism and independence seems difficult. Now we can be very leftist, very progressive, very ecological, we can only express it better when we have these issues: multiculturalism axis to Quebec values and the French language and of course federalist versus sovereignty. The emergence of new countries in a completely democratic way, and a country that can be a beacon in many ways, is not a revolution. This is a development whose basis is mainly administrative.