The Aim of Bashing Quebec and Alberta
– Normand Chouinard –
Through their continued use of Quebec- and Alberta-bashing as a preferred weapon, the ruling circles have two specific aims in mind. The first is to sow division and discord between the workers of Quebec and those of the rest of Canada, in particular the workers of Alberta and Western Canada. They will do everything in their power to smash the unity of the Canadian working class to maintain their control over political power and to disrupt any attempt on the part of workers to organize Canada-wide on the basis of their own social and class interests. This stereotyping of what people stand for is one of the main disorganizing tools that has been used since Confederation to impose a vision of Canada in the image of the propertied classes. Quebec- and Alberta-bashing are used to sow maximum confusion on the origin of the factional fighting within the ruling circles. Quebec workers are accused of being narrow-minded and Alberta workers are accused of being rednecks who will have nothing to do with “Quebec” or even Canadian values and vice-versa. What these values are and the fact that imposing values on people is anti-democratic in the first place is not even to be considered.
Secondly, stereotyping Canadians and Quebeckers on the basis of the values they allegedly espouse has the aim of using the anachronistic democratic institutions to sow even more divisions within the Quebec nation itself. The defenders of the colonial constitutional arrangements since 1867 are predictably vindictive, as once again Quebec has created an imbalance they do not like because it deprives them of full control over the political power. It is already being said that those who voted for the Bloc did so not to block the two major cartel parties, but because they are anti-immigrant separatists who want to break up Canada, and so on.
In the coming days and weeks, we must engage our peers in discussion on the results of the October 21 election, dig deeper to inform ourselves of the actual forces that influenced the vote and make sure the working people speak in their own voice. The people are facing dangerous times and they cannot afford to be made the targets of the power grab within the ranks of the rulers.
But what we must do as a starting point is to take an unequivocal stand in support of the fraternal unity of the working class across the country and explain that it is the ruling circles who are divided and that it is their anachronistic obsolete institutions which are at the heart of so-called divisions and electoral disparities. The minority government will be used to take measures which do not favour the people, but workers, women, seniors and youth can use it to advance their own agenda. They must speak in their own name and not worry that they are unable to persuade those who are not their peers to represent what they stand for.
Normand Chouinard is a member of the Executive of the Workers’ Centre of CPC(M-L).