Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Surprise! The ADQ is a nationalist party

Nice to see the media finally paying some attention to the ADQ platform. It's not at all what it's been portrayed to be. The assumption that has been bandied about is that since Dumont was against holding a referendum on separation, he must be a federalist or at least seeking to play nicely in Canada. Well, something along those lines. And it turns out, that's not really true. The ADQ platform is highly nationalist:
Adopted by the party in 2004, the policy is a strongly nationalist document that calls for Quebec to adopt its own constitution, create its own citizenship and even disregard some federal laws when they are judged to be infringing on areas of provincial jurisdiction.

"Our first fidelity, our passion and our loyalty are toward Quebec," the platform says. It adds: "The development of Quebec as a distinct nation flows naturally from an increase in our autonomy." Canadians outside Quebec are considered "privileged partners," not countrymen. It proposes having the province's name officially changed to the "Autonomist State of Quebec."

The document is heavy on rhetoric about rejecting "submission to Canada" and affirming Quebec's "sovereign rights."

The Canada Health Act, which sets national standards for healthcare delivery and limits private sector involvement, is considered an unacceptable intrusion. (emphasis added)
And Dumont views Harper and his vague hints of "open federalism" as an ally in achieving such goals:
"We have said many times that we are autonomous. Mr. Charest said that it doesn't exist or that it shouldn't exist. That will be up to the people to decide. But more autonomy for Quebec within Canada, that is well appreciated," Mr. Dumont said yesterday.

"As far as I am concerned even the Prime Minister of Canada seems to understand what we mean. He has used the word autonomy in many of his speeches in Quebec, which is appreciated by the people of Quebec. In Western Canada also, people want to hear about more provincial autonomy." (emphasis added)
See? Mini Bush has been viewed as an ally in the cause of "autonomy," the until now much under-scrutinized yet hip new Quebec political orientation. It'll be interesting to see how far Mini Bush is willing to go in his dance with the autonomists.

For good measure, Dumont confirmed his nationalist bona fides after the election:
Speaking to reporters in Quebec City yesterday, Mr. Dumont said Canadians should not label him a federalist. "I hope that is not how they perceive me. That would be a mistake," he said.

He said Monday's results show many Quebecers have been won over by the concept of autonomy, and he plans to deliver.

"Talking about the future of Quebec has been for years, for decades, a matter of dividing people between the 'Yes' and the 'No.' Uniting people behind an option that is modern, yes, I think it is a position of strength," he said.

"All the positions that we will take, all the proposals we will make, will be based on that philosophy that we want Quebec to gain more autonomy."
This is cautionary information for all those heralding a cakewalk for Harper's Conservatives in Quebec. To gain the support of Mario, there will be a price. Watch for it.