Today is the Fete Nationale du Quebec. So, happy feast everybody. The day is especially significant this year because Quebec City is celebrating the 400th anniversary of its founding.
Quebec is a smiling pleasant place these days — at peace, prosperous and readying for a summer of fun festivals of which the Montreal Jazz festival is the most famous attracting thousands of visitors including many Americans. Today, my wife Catharine and I will go to the Atwater Market to obtain a basket of ruby red juicy Quebecois strawberries.
And there is more good news on the political front. A new nationwide poll suggests that a strong majority (71 per cent of English-speaking respondents and 78 per cent of allophones) of Canadians – including most of the country’s French-speaking population – believes Quebec is “destined” to remain part of Canada. Only a third of Quebec residents believe the province will one day become a country.
These results suggest the limited appeal of the historical narrative long promoted by Quebec separatists – that “accidents of history” such as the British victory on the Plains of Abraham, have merely delayed Quebec’s inevitable emergence as an independent state.
Instead, most Canadians including Quebecers, appear to find the classic federalist story line – which emphasizes inexorable progress toward reconcilation of the French-English conflict at the heart of Canadian history – more compelling.
Furthermore, all the political polls show that the strongly federalist government of Jean Charest would win a majority were an election to be held today.
So deck the halls, blow the trumpets and ring the bells. Quebec’s heart is beating strongly at the centre of the federation. And we are off tonight to celebrate at a Quebecois concert in the Old Port.
What about you?
And do you agree with the large majority of Canadians who believe Quebec will remain in Canada?