Saturday, November 25, 2006

Genocide and the noation of Quebec

The recent announcement of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the vote to recognize the Quebecois as a nation, while declaring that the Province of Quebec will never be a nation, reminded me of a vote in the House of Commons in 2003 to recognize the Armenian genocide.

It struck me as odd that the House of Commons would be voting on such a thing. I felt that whether something was a genocide was something that should be discussed and debated by historians, and perhaps legal scholars, and not decided by parliamentarians. What practical implications does it have, other than to put Canada on the record as having voiced its own thoughts on the matter? Offhand, I can't think of anything, but this is well outside the realm of my expertise.

Recognizing Quebec as as nation, in the sense that Prime Minister Harper is using it, strikes me as odd as well, and for the same reasons. The sense he is using it is in an ethnocultural sense. I feel that the national status of the Quebecois in this sense is something that should be discussed and debated by somebody--I'm not sure who--but again not decided by parliamentarians.

Much else has been written on the matter. See Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells.

It is important, as another Andrew points out in the comment section of his blog, to take careful note of the wording. The motion is recognizing the Quebecois, not the people of the Province of Quebec.

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