Some Irish Are More Equal Than Others

Forgive the “Animal Farm” paraphrase in the title above but it seemed appropriate when contemplating some recent articles written on linguistic equality by Anglophone journalists in Ireland and Canada. The first comes from the newspaper columnist Catherine O’Mahony in the Sunday Business Post where in two pieces she both praises and criticises the Irish language … Continue reading

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The Partition Of Québec

The one thing that stands out when you examine the ideological underpinnings of British nationalism (or Unionism) and Canadian nationalism (or Federalism) is the commonalities they share when it comes to dealing with those territories Britain and Canada “acquired” in times past. For the British (or rather the English) the island nation of Ireland – … Continue reading

The Self-Determination Spring

Despite (or perhaps because of) all the controversy surrounding the proposals by the Parti Québécois to restrict the display of overtly religious symbols in public workplaces the formerly lacklustre PQ government in Québec is now riding high in the polls. Unsurprisingly rumours of a snap election are circulating in both the Francophone and Anglophone media, albeit … Continue reading

I’m Not A Racist But…

One of the more amusing spectator sports of recent months has been derived from watching the seething antipathy expressed by the anglophone and federalist media in Canada towards the governing Parti Québécois in the province of Québec. It goes far beyond mere political animus and into the realms of existential angst as many “Unionist” Canadians … Continue reading

The Winds Of Change – Catalonia And Québec

The drive for autonomy seems to be in the air. We begin with news from the resurgent Iberian nation of Catalonia where the leaders of the main Nationalist parties have agreed on a date for the upcoming independence referendum (albeit with a two-part question to quell the nerves of the conservative CiU government in Barcelona). … Continue reading

Québécois Secularism Rattles Canadian Unionism

The debate in Québec over Bill 60 or the proposed Charter of Values, secularist legislation being advocated by the ruling Parti Québécois (or PQ), is throwing up all sorts of interesting political phenomena. On one hand it is reviled by Canada’s Anglophone news media and federalist (“unionist”) establishment, as seen in a controversial opinion piece … Continue reading

If It Is Good Enough For Canada

Justin Trudeau is probably the nearest thing Canadians have to some home-grown royalty of their own (as opposed to the Germano-English variety). The photogenic son of the influential former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, who led an English Canada kicking and screaming into the policy of official bilingualism in the late 1960s, he became the leader … Continue reading

Is The PQ’s Secular Charter A Vote-Winner?

Following on from my post here about the controversy surrounding suggested new regulations in Québec promoting greater secularism in the public workplace this is a surprise. From The Star in Canada: “Québec’s proposed ban on the wearing of religious symbols has drawn criticism from across the country, but a new poll suggests it has strong … Continue reading

Québec: Polls And Secularism

Mixed polling news from Québec where Pauline Marois’ ruling Parti Québécois has recorded a slight rise in popularity but is still well behind the opposition Liberal Party, a Canadian federalist or “Unionist” party. From the survey by Le Presse-CROP: 40% Québec Liberal Party – Parti libéral du Québec 29% Parti Québécois 20% Coalition Avenir Québec 7% … Continue reading

Parti Québécois, Power For Power’s Sake?

Hard to disagree with this description of the Parti Québécois by Jean-Martin Aussant, former PQ politician and disillusioned ex-leader of the rival Option Nationale, in an interview from Canada’s National Post newspaper: “Mr. Aussant, 43, was first elected under the Parti Québécois banner in 2008, but he soon lost patience with what he saw as … Continue reading

Catalonia, Scotland And Québec

Couple of articles looking at the faltering fortunes of the sovereignty movements in Scotland and Québec when compared to the dynamism readily observable in their Catalan equivalents. The first comes from Patrick West in the contrarian Spiked and reflects a broadly British Unionist Nationalist viewpoint: “On the face of it, Spain and the United Kingdom … Continue reading

Sinn Féin, The SDLP And The Québec Comparison

Several commentators, including myself, have recently speculated about the possibility of Sinn Féin and the SDLP maximising the regional Nationalist vote in the north-east of Ireland through the fielding of agreed or joint-candidates in a number of marginal constituencies at the next Stormont Assembly elections (and possibly Westminster). This has come about as a response … Continue reading

Language Wars – Coming To A Sign Near You Soon

More new from the Pax Anglia, via the Dunfermline Press: “… councillor Dave Dempsey is proposing that road signs in Fife be in English-only. His motion, “Council agrees that there is no need, point or advantage in road signs in Fife being in any other language or languages than English” went before fellow councillors yesterday … Continue reading

The Journey of Nishiyuu – Indigenous Rights In Canada And Québec

Some more news on the continuing protests by the indigenous peoples of Canada as they seek to build on the momentum created by the Idle No More movement and the recent hunger strike by the Theresa Spence. From the Star: “On the frozen shores of Hudson’s Bay in January, a small group of Great Whale Cree strapped on their mukluks, pulled on their parkas and … Continue reading

The Rising Stars Of Québec Nationalism

Interesting article on the two rising stars of political nationalism in Québec both of which have begun to challenge the traditional dominance of the Parti Québécois (PQ) when it comes to eliciting support from the province’s separatist-minded voters. The first is the left-wing Option nationale, led by Jean-Martin Aussant, a party that is attracting a … Continue reading

Support For Hunger Striker Theresa Spence Grows

More news from Canada and beyond in relation to the hunger strike by Theresa Spence, leader of the Attawapiskat First Nation (one of the indigenous peoples of Canada), and the protests by Idle No More, the aboriginal rights’ movement. From the BBC: “Protesters supporting a Native Canadian chief’s 23-day hunger strike have blocked a rail line in eastern Quebec. While the Attawapiskat leader has continued her fast, … Continue reading

The NDP – A Separatist In Federalist Clothing?

Interesting article in the Toronto Sun on the phenomenon of a party-within-a-party represented by the separatist inclinations of some Québec-based members of the ostensibly federalist New Democratic Party (NDP) in Canada. Since the party’s electoral landslide in Québec during 2011’s federal elections across Canada (which effectively knocked out the once dominant nationalist Bloc Québécois) accusations … Continue reading

PQ Electoral Victory In Québec Sparks Political Violence

A quick post to note the results of the election in Québec where the nationalist Parti Québécois (or PQ) under leader Pauline Marois has had a narrow victory over the incumbent Liberal Party led by veteran politician Jean Charest. However the PQ celebrations were soon interrupted by news of a lone-terrorist attack by an Anglophone extremist on a PC rally … Continue reading

On The Hustings In Québec

A guest article for An Sionnach Fionn by Jean François Joubert on the National Assembly election campaign in Québec:  Pauline Marois, leader of the Parti Québécois (the PQ), has had a rough week. In fact the party’s apparatchiks couldn’t be blamed for wanting to hide her until election day, September 4th. This is quite a paradox as … Continue reading

The Election Campaign In Québec – The Expected And Unexpected

Last Wednesday Jean Charest, the head of the beleaguered Liberal Party government in Québec, called early provincial elections for September 4th amid a series of political crisis sparked by a slow drip of corruption scandals, unprecedented student protests and rising polling numbers for the opposition nationalist Parti Quebecois (PQ) and the centre-right regionalists of the Coalition Avenir Québec or CAQ. Charest has been … Continue reading

PQ Back In Power In Québec?

With new elections to the provincial assembly in Québec expected soon the Globe and Mail carries what it claims will be the agenda of the nationalist Parti Québécois (PQ) should it regain power: “With an election expected to be called this week, the PQ refuses to lay out a timetable for a third referendum on … Continue reading

No Democracy, Now!

Right-wing Canadian journalist Andrew Coyne expresses a view in the National Post on Québec independence that I suspect many Canadians will agree with. For readers aware of Ireland’s historic relations with the so-called United Kingdom, not to mention any contemporary Scots striving to sever their relationship with the UK , the contempt for democracy and … Continue reading

Better Apart

Quick post on two articles. One is an interview in the British left-wing magazine Red Pepper with Plaid Cymru’s progressive new leader Leanne Wood. She gets a fair degree of space to discuss her vision for Plaid and Wales. Normally the British Left is every bit as nationalistic as its right-wing opponents and quite dismissive … Continue reading

A Québec Spring?

  Miriam Smith present’s a good analysis on examining the influences behind the current turmoil in Québec as students face off against the country’s centre-right provincial government under the federalist Québec Liberal Party and its leader Jean Charest:   “Another important ‘big picture’ factor in the current crisis is the role of Quebec nationalism. Quebecers tend to have … Continue reading

Turbulence In Québec A Sign Of Radical Political Change?

So, it seems that the governing (and as we would say over here, “unionist”) Liberal Party in Québec is set on throwing away its chances of re-election in the upcoming provincial elections expected later this year or in early 2013. From the National Post: “Montreal police brought the hammer down on student demonstrators Tuesday night, enforcing … Continue reading

Polling The Future

Following on from yesterday’s post about the effects of the right-wing policies of Canada’s Tory-led federal government on the separatist-inclined province (or should it now be nation?) of Québec, some more news on recent polls there. With provincial elections in Québec expected before the end of 2013 or earlier, the province’s government, currently in the hands of … Continue reading

The Canadian Right Pushes Away The Québécois Left

There’s a recent article in the Global Post examining the actions of the Conservative Party government in Canada and the fallout from its increasingly unpopular policies, particularly in the autonomous province Québec.  This time last year the nationalist movement in Québec looked like it had taken a major step backwards with the collapse in the … Continue reading

Québec Independence – Only A Matter Of Time?

Two fascinating reports today on the independence movements in Québec and Scotland and the effect both are having on each other. The first article is from The National Post: “Former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says Quebec “eventually” will become an independent country and that a victory for Scottish separatists in an expected 2014 referendum will launch a new effort by … Continue reading

Québec Nationalism On The Rise Again?

Canada’s centrist New Democratic Party (the NDP) has elected a new leader, Thomas Mulcair, following the premature passing of the previous incumbent, Jack Layton. Mulcair, who won through from a field of several candidates, is seen as a controversial choice by some journalists and commentators. Until relatively recently a member of the Liberal Party and generally considered more right-wing than the party has a … Continue reading

Some French Lessons

Bilingual versus monolingual? And it’s not Ireland! Two articles from the National Post newspaper in Canada: one celebrating the nation’s dual French- and English-speaking character, the other condemning it. First to wade in, Professor Antonia Maioni: “The meaning of Canada has changed since 1867, but a basic fact endures: The country was designed to allow the … Continue reading

Speaking In Two Tongues

Do you know that you live in an officially bilingual Ireland? Believe it or not but the Government of Ireland committed itself to a policy of “official bilingualism” across the country way back in 2006. In a statement issued six years ago, and supported by all the major parties in Oireachtas Éireann, the government pledged itself to … Continue reading

More Parallels Between Québec, Scotland And Beyond

Some more lessons for Scotland and the SNP from the history of the independence movement in Québec? A Reuters report in the Chicago Tribune: “Bernard Landry, who as deputy Quebec premier in 1995 helped prepare for independence, sees a strong parallel between Scotland and Quebec. “It’s not the same case, but the fundamentals are the same. Scotland … Continue reading

Aboriginal Sensitivities

In May 2011 the New Democratic Party (NDP), the perennial also-rans of Canadian politics, shocked the body politic and much of the Commentariat in Canada by scoring its highest ever vote at a federal election. In the traditionally separatist province of Québec it all but demolished the establishment nationalist party of the Bloc Québécois (BQ) sparking … Continue reading

État de Louisiane – French America

English, English, English! The language of modernity. The language of technology, the media and business (always business). The language of the “West”. Yet, even in the heart of the “West” the English language is not the only spoken tongue or the sole definer of identity. From the southern US state of Louisiana (or La Louisiane) comes an … Continue reading

Taking Back “Our Territory”

Following on from yesterday’s piece on Québec and Canada, some potentially important developments for the indigenous peoples of La belle provence, as reported by the National Post: “A group of Algonquins in West Quebec is preparing to launch what could be the largest land claim in Canada’s history — for a swath of territory covering … Continue reading

  • blog awards ireland Nominated: Best Politics Blog 2013, Best Personal Blog 2013, Best Blog Post 2013
  • blog awards ireland

    Nominated: Best News/Current Affairs/Political Blog 2014, Best Mobile Blog 2014, Best Blog Post 2014