Volume 91, Issue 23

Wednesday, October 8, 1997

glass houses


Ban of French products

Catherine Blake
Montreal, P.Q.

In the Oct. 3 issue of The Montreal Gazette Premier Bouchard makes no bones about the fact that his underlying objective in going to "la Francophonie" summit in Hanoi on Nov. 14-16 is to promote secession. He even has the gall to state he supports Canada's desire to remain a member of "la Francophonie" after Quebec separates. The implicit message being that without the province of Quebec, we cease to be an eligible member.

The Director General for the upcoming summit is quoted as saying he would personally support Quebec's sovereignty but will let each member country of "la Francophonie" decide for themselves. These countries may decide to support Quebec's unilateral declaration of independence. And why not? The Government of Canada makes no reprimands and imposes no sanctions when France acts impudently in this area.

Since Ottawa refuses to make a big deal out of a big deal, the Canadian people need to decide whether or not they care to be heard. The separatist logic is simple enough. The secessionists intend to use international support to force their will on Canada. They officially consider Quebec to be a Francophone nation and want a seat of their own at the United Nations.

Personally, I think federalists (loyalists) need to organize protests outside the French Embassy in Ottawa, the French Consulate in Quebec City and elsewhere throughout the country. This needs to be done soon, before the international meeting in Hanoi in November. A meeting which coincidentally convenes just after the province of Quebec, a non-country, celebrates its own Quebec Citizenship Week and hands out its own Quebec Citizenship Awards.

The purpose of the protests is to let the people of France and those of the other Francophone nations, know that we don't take kindly to foreign meddling in our internal affairs. Otherwise the smaller nations will do as France has done for decades. They will overtly and covertly support the destruction of Canada as we know it.

Money talks. In addition to pickets and protests, let's actively organize a country-wide boycott of French products and services, in addition to no more visits to France until they cease supporting those who seek to partition our country.

In 1986, the Conservative Government, possibly in collusion with the Liberals, gave the provinces of Quebec and of New Brunswick independent status as "government members" at the "Francophonie" summits. The two provinces are not going to Hanoi to represent the interests of Canada, but rather their own regional interests.

Does France have an arrangement with the Basques, so they too can be an "independent" member at "la Francophonie" summits? Does Spain have an arrangement with the Corsicans, so they too can send an independent representative to the international summits of Francophone nations?

Since Foreign Affairs is an exclusive federal jurisdiction, under Canada's Constitution Act of 1867, I imagine the bilateral accords of 1986 could be successfully challenged in a court of law. Especially since Premier Bouchard deliberately uses the province's membership in "la Francophonie" to gain international support for a unilateral declaration of independence by Quebec

It is one thing for Ottawa to allow provincial premiers to represent Canada at international summits. It is quite another for our Ministry for "la Francophonie" to tell us Quebec has as much right to be at this meeting of nations as does Canada. A province is neither a country nor a nation!

Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children lined English streets with flowers in a farewell gesture to their beloved Princess Diana. Might we also ask Canadians to consider bringing their French products with them, to the French Embassy in Ottawa, to the Consulate in Quebec and elsewhere throughout the country in a fare-the-well gesture.

The words "loyalty, duty, nation, citizen, country" have meaning for me. The anthem "The Maple Leaf Forever" moves me. It's a catchy tune full of noble feelings. I'd like for Canada to stretch from sea to sea, for myself, for you and for Canadians not yet born. For that to happen, however, me thinks that Canadians (myself included) need to put an end to our apathy. If the Brits can individually come together in a heartfelt display of loyalty, can't we?

To Contact The Letters Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997