Monday, March 26, 2007

citizenship

This is what I'm talking about. I've been going a little apeshit lately because a provincial election is coming up in my province. This means that yet again I have to listen to at least one party leader, in this case two, talk about sovereignty as though it is some sort of solution to the problems that apparently plague the province of Quebec. Each time this happens my ears start to burn and I honestly feel like I'm living in the Canadian version of Slaughterhouse 5. I was in high school for the Meech Lake Accord, for the Charlottetown Accord, all of that. I was living it in my nation's capital day in and day out. We discussed at length what would happen to Quebec and the country itself while across the bridge, literally a 5 minute drive made daily by people living in hull (now called Gatineau due to gentrification) who are wondering if they are going to have to apply for separate citizenship in order to keep their jobs in Ottawa. It was so schizophrenic, and the whole point behind making it a referendum within the entire country was because it affects the entire country. Then we had three referendums just in the province and it was tight. Not just because the question was deliberately worded poorly, but because there are people here divided on the issue.

We came through. I went through both of those things and I'm not dealing with it again. We are rich, we are free, we have health-care, and Canada needs us. As a province we have the best environmental policy in the country, our secondary education (world renowned for quality) is quarter the price of the rest of the country, we have subsidized day-care and included in our provincial health plan is drug coverage. If you are a single-mother and your child gets sick, you can see a doctor, get medicine and day-care while you go to work. This is who we are. We are the conscience of the country and now we are having this nonsense discussion again. As though we have at all the resources to set up a citizenship infrastructure and a military infrastructure. As though the rest of the world would not lose total confidence in Quebec and the rest of Canada as a result. As if the current cultural assimilation of America would not move more rapidly North on every inch of the border, as though it wouldn't matter. This is the greatest city in the greatest province of the greatest country in the world and dicking around with nationalism is a dangerous and unworthy distraction from truly important issues like our mission in Afghanistan (it's gotta stop) our level of blue-helmet missions worldwide (diminishing by the hour), our failure to commit true resources to improving the lives of First Nations people, the gutting of the Office of the Status of Women, what other country has a federal office with a mandate to monitor and improve the status of Women? Go Canada! These issues merit attention but instead our leaders discuss revenue transfer and how best to go it alone. The Atlantic provinces have far more reason to do so, and if they're in, so the fuck are we.

I have long held the opinion that the Merry Harper does not care about this country, only the political and economic gain to be made as it's "leader". The last budget came down and I swear the transfer of so much unmandated money into Quebec, no oversight, no earmarking, no mention of this much for healthcare, that much for poverty relief, etc, looked nakedly to me like funding the separatist movement. This was reinforcing my surety that he would enjoy a separation of our country, the method of which was shown when Cheney skipped meeting the PM at the time when he visited the Alberta oil fields. This is our home. We are who we are because we are so diverse and compartmentalizing our nation will do nothing to improve the quality of life of us, our neighbors or anyone on earth who looks to Canada for inspiration and leadership.

The latest discovery is thousands of Canadians who have lost their citizenship in the bureaucracy of the federal government. There are clauses from the forties that include such archaic document submission as absentee birth forms for people born on army bases and children born out of wedlock to non-Canadian mothers. Most of the people affected had no idea there was such an issue and are only now finding it because the US has insisted we use passports to travel to their country or as I call it, across the street.

Who are we now? Are we the people who stripped our own of their part in this nation? Are we the people who have left First Nations tribes on a boiled-water notice for three consecutive years? Are we the people who willingly closed 11 out of sixteen offices of the status of women? Are we the ones who slashed arts grants and tourism funding? What is happening to us? How in the wake of such nonsense, such un-Canadian behaviour can we focus on separating from the country as a whole? We can't leave them at a time like this. The government is not governing. We are failing to pressure the US to care for it's own people in the Gulf States, we are failing to relieve the Sudan from genocide, we are failing to lead the rest of the world in arresting global warming, we are failing to care for our own people. This is not the time to seceed. This is the time for Quebec to stand for Canada. To show how simple it can be to care for it's own. To demonstrate willingness to uphold our own values within a greater whole.

I am not voting for the PQ, the ADQ or the Quebec Solidaire. I am not agreeing to withholding our values from those who need it. I am not mandating anyone to take me away from my country. Quebec needs Canada, and Canada desperately needs Quebec.

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