The bitter, nasty, and bigoted campaign run by the Parti Québécois has ended in complete and abject failure.
It says something that Quebeckers, when faced with a PQ party that offered the religious cleansing of the civil service (just for starters), opted instead to run into the arms of a party so deep in charges of corruption it makes the expulsatory end of a sewer rat smell like a spring daisy.
Quebeckers chose a party corrupt with money and influence over a party corrupt in its very soul. We should be grateful: the rumours of Quebec as a place that's lost its soul are highly exaggerated, and God bless them for it.
The PQ is dead, long live the Québécois!
Last week, Comment author David Koyzis criticized the PQ's "effort to suppress societal diversity":
Drawing the line between legitimate national consciousness and idolatrous nationalism is not easy to do. Is the Québécois quest for sovereignty a properly modest aspiration fuelled by evident injustices of Canadian federalism or a spiritually distorted effort likely to exacerbate injustice? A plausible case can be made for either, but, among other things, the provincial government's Ethics and Religious Culture Programme and its recently-proposed Charter of Quebec Values strongly suggest an improper totalizing effort to suppress societal diversity. Indeed many, if not most, nationalist movements around the world owe much less to the principle of subsidiarity than to the Hegelian conviction that the unifying and homogenizing state is the march of God through the world. In short, flesh and blood nationalists have all too often tried to extinguish the very societal and human diversity Gay defends.
Koyzis notes that modern nationalism, by adopting the coercive state as its tool for realization, actually sows the seeds of its own demise. Why? Because, "national identity at its best is grounded in the universal preference for the local and familiar."
Anyone who's ever had any dealings with the state knows that it is almost never "familiar". Indeed, real Quebec nationalists might take a bit of advice from the great poet W.H. Auden, who had a thing or two to say about the state and identity:
If a poet meets an illiterate peasant, they may not be able to say much to each other, but if they both meet a public official, they share the same feeling of suspicion; neither will trust one further than he can throw a grand piano. If they enter a government building, both share the same feeling of apprehension; perhaps they will never get out again. Whatever the cultural differences between them, they both sniff in any official world the smell of an unreality in which persons are treated as statistics.
And so, the two greatest heroes of most nationalist movements—the peasant and the poet—both share a deep and abiding sense that the modern state is not real. And they feel that way because it is not familiar, it is not local. We do not know our states. We cannot know our states.
Here's a word of advice to all the Péquistes who are sucking the fingers that just got slapped by the Quebec electorate: Give up on the dream of an independent state of Quebec. Pauline Marois, Bernard Drainville and their ilk promised to make your dreams come true. Dreams can come true, but sometimes they're actually nightmares. Turn your back to them.
Go make friends with those people with crosses, hijabs, turbans, and kippahs; meet their families. You might find that there's more Quebec—more familiar Quebec—in their homes than you'll ever find in the National Assembly.