Op-ed in the Guardian: Well done, Britain, for a fair referendum – it’s a shame Canada didn’t manage it

(Voici le texte d’opinion que m’a demandé le quotidien The Guardian, de Londres. En ligne ici.)

Boy, would I have loved to have had the Scottish referendum before the one we had in Quebec in 1995, for which I was strategist for the yes campaign. I am sure those who are for an independent Scotland have lots to say against the tactics and arguments of Better Together, but we in Quebec would have given an arm and a leg for the fair play and adult behaviour displayed so far by the British government. This is why:

1. The UK recognised that it was for the Scottish parliament to decide on the referendum question, but both parties chose an independent, agreed upon third party to pass judgment on its fairness. Not so in Canada, where Ottawa refused the Quebec parliament’s legitimacy in the matter.

If I were Anglo, I’d worry about this guy Couillard

I know most Anglo-Quebecers look at this election with a measure of unease with some of the policies of my party, the Parti québécois. I get that.

But I’ve talked with enough Anglo-Quebecers these past 18 months to know that they often give credit to the PQ for good government and that they resent being taken for granted by the Liberal Party. I know, also, that they loathed the climate of corruption and collusion that was prevalent under the previous Liberal government. And they surely don’t want it to come back.

These past weeks, a lot of allegations have been thrown around. a Tax haven for Couillard, leadership financing for Marois. Shadows of facts.

But this should not mean that integrity is not a foremost issue at this point of Québec’s political history. So let’s focus on the absolute certainties we have and ask this question:

The Economist: Canada « Uncool »? Québec « Cool »!

L’influent magazine britannique The Economist écrivait cet automne que le Canada devenait assurément, « Uncool ».

Soucieux de ne pas faire souffrir le Québec de cette mauvaise presse anti-canadienne, j’ai envoyé une brève lettre au magazine pour souligner notre différence.

Et en voici la traduction :

Gens du pays, c’est votre tour

SIR – Si The Economist estime que le Canada est moins « cool » (« Uncool Canada », The World In 2014), ne devrait-il pas estimer que le Québec, lui, est « cool »? Là où Ottawa promeut les sables bitumineux, Québec lance le premier marché du carbone du continent (avec la Californie) et fait de l’électrification des transports le cœur de sa politique industrielle. Là où Ottawa détruit son registre des armes à feu, Québec porte l’affaire devant les tribunaux afin de maintenir le registre en place, du moins sur son territoire. Là où Ottawa dépense davantage sur les prisons, Québec met en œuvre un système universel de garderie et l’équité salariale entre les hommes et les femmes. Là où Ottawa recule sur les questions autochtones, Québec multiplie ses propres ententes. Là où Ottawa réduit l’aide envoyée à l’étranger, Québec planifie mettre sur pied son propre organisme d’aide internationale.

«Notre Home» : Renforcer l’identité québécoise des anglophones

Le 5 octobre dernier, je vous faisais part de mon grand intérêt pour l’aperçu du clip «Notre Home», vidéo de promotion à venir d’un projet éponyme qui vise à « promouvoir le sentiment d’appartenance auprès des jeunes Québécois d’expression anglaise et tisser des liens avec leurs homologues francophones.

Aujourd’hui, le Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) lance la version complète du vidéo:

J’en profite aussi pour annoncer que le Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) recevra une aide financière de 20 000$ du Gouvernement du Québec pour financer la Tournée de sensibilisation « Notre Home » qui sera menée par l’artiste montréalais David Hodges qui ira à la rencontre des jeunes Québécois anglophones pour favoriser leur sentiment d’attachement au Québec.

Notre Home: Bilingual hip-hop anthem and provincial tour to foster a sense of belonging among young Anglo-Quebecers

Press release from Notre Home :

The Government of Quebec is contributing $20,000 to this innovative approach towards building bridges between French and English-speaking Quebecers.

Montreal, January 17, 2013 – Over the next few months, Montreal singer-songwriter David Hodges will be touring the province to meet young people and promote bridge building between French- and English-speaking Quebecers through his song Notre Home.

Written by David Hodges and performed by The Honest Family, a collective of Montreal artists fusing hip-hop, rock and soul, Notre Home nurtures Quebec’s social fabric by conveying themes of engagement, leadership, as well as cultural and linguistic identity.

“When QCGN approached me in February 2012 to compose and perform the song, I was immediately taken by the social aspect of the project,” enthused David Hodges. “I believe that the younger generation, whatever their origins, are ready to move on to other things and invest in their future.”

Francophones, anglophones have much on which to agree

My answer to Celine Cooper’s Monday open letter, published this Wednesday, December 19, 2012, p. A21

Dear Celine Cooper, I read with interest your piece in Monday’s Gazette (Opinion, Dec. 17, « Minister Lisée: I share your optimism about the future of Montreal, but not your vision of how to get there »).

I wholeheartedly agree with every point on which you agree with me, including what you wrote about my recent speech to the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal: « Lisée’s approach was both grounded and exhilarating. His argument that we are witnessing the dawn of a golden era for our city showed how he acquired his reputation as a political visionary and master elocutionist. »

Thanks for that. But then I must disagree with the fact that you claim to disagree with me on the part about « how to get there. »