The rise of Quebecistan

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The Article

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Barbara Kay has also written a followup to this editorial.

MONTREAL – In his Montreal Gazette column yesterday, Don MacPherson projected a worrying Quebec trend with startling candour: “It’s finally becoming respectable again to express support for terrorists.”

So it has. On Sunday, 15,000 Quebecers, mostly Lebanese-Canadians, marched for “justice and peace” in Lebanon. That sounds benign, but in fact the march was a virulently anti-Israel rally, and scattered amongst the crowd were a number of Hezbollah flags and placards. Leading the parade were Bloc Quebecois chief Gilles Duceppe, Liberal MP Denis Coderre, PQ chief Andre Boisclair, and Amir Khadir, spokesman for the new far-left provincial party, Solidarite Quebec.

All four politicians had signed a statement by the organizers the day before the march, in which Israel is lambasted for its depredations in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank—but the word “terrorism” is never mentioned, nor Hezbollah assigned any blame for the war.

In their speeches at the conclusion of the march, Messrs. Coderre and Duceppe did not condemn terrorism, did not mention Israel’s right to defend itself, and spoke only of Lebanese civilian suffering. As a sop to the Quebec-Israel Committee, which had taken out full-page ads calling on the march’s leaders to condemn terrorism, however, they called for the disarming of Hezbollah as part of a negotiated ceasefire.

For this, they were roundly booed by the crowd.

These politicians are playing a dangerous game. They have no political support from Jews (who are all federalists), so have nothing to lose in courting anti-Israel Arab groups. There are at least 50,000 Lebanese-Canadians in the Montreal area. We can expect those numbers to swell as Hezbollah-supporting residents of southern Lebanon cash in on their Canadian citizenship and flee to the safety of Quebec. Under the circumstances, it may be politically convenient for some left-wing Quebec politicians to stoke fires of enthusiasm for Hezbollah—an organization officially classified as a terrorist group by the Canadian government. Yet it would be disastrous for the future of the province.

But after the thumping they took from the Conservatives in the last federal election, Quebec separatists are desperate for votes, and apparently not too morally fussy about how they get them. Their official endorsement of last week’s one-sided document and their prominent presence at the march was a calculated appeal to dangerous elements in Quebec society. As MacPherson also pointed out in his column, “if [their support for the statement and the march] did not invite Hezbollah sympathizers to participate, it also contained nothing to discourage them from doing so.”

Left-wing Quebec intellectuals and politicians (Pierre Trudeau being an obvious example) have always enjoyed flirtations with causes that wrap themselves in the mantle of “liberation” from colonialist oppressors—including their very own home-grown Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ), which gave them a frisson of pleasure as it sowed terror throughout Canada in the late ‘60s with mailbox bombs, kidnappings and a murder. Their cultural and historical sympathy for Arab countries from the francophonie—Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon—joined with reflexive anti-Americanism and a fat streak of anti-Semitism that has marbled the intellectual discourse of Quebec throughout its history, has made Quebec the most anti-Israel of the provinces, and therefore the most vulnerable to tolerance for Islamist terrorist sympathizers.

Think about what this would mean if Quebec ever were to become independent, and detached from the leadership of politicians who know the difference between a democracy and a gang of fanatical exterminationists. You can bet that Hezbollah would be off the official terrorism list by Day two of the Republic of Quebec’s existence. By Day three, word would go out to the Islamosphere that Quebec was the new “Londonistan,” to cite the title of a riveting new book by British journalist Melanie Phillips, chronicling the rise of militant Islam in her country.

Complacent Canadians think it can’t happen here. It won’t if our political class takes its cue from the principled Stephen Harper rather than the shameless Quebec politicians who led that pro-terrorist rally. Harper needs Quebec votes every bit as much as Messrs. Duceppe and Boisclair if he expects to achieve a majority government in the next federal election, but unlike them, he isn’t willing to sell his soul.

The devil is always on the lookout for the moral relativism that signals a latter-day Faust, and it seems he has found some eager recruits amongst Quebec’s most prominent spokespeople.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Barbara Kay has also written a followup to this editorial.

Barbara Kay
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