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Louis-Jean Cormier – A politically charged singer (#317)

Here is a more-than-interesting experience I had last night in Dundas Square which demonstrates a couple of things:
(1) the two solitudes which exist between some (but not all) Francophones inside Québec and some Francophones outside Québec, and
(2) the awkwardness which can occur when sovereignists and federalists meet on the field of culture.
I wish the following had not happened, and that everyone could have just behaved without people having to score political points in public like this.
To battle out ideological differences in the written press and on internet is one thing (I do so in my own blog, but people can chose to not read).  Yet to do so in a public square and / or concert?   For crying out loud.  Not cool.
Fortunately, these sorts of “hiccups” occur less and less frequently, so I do believe the situation is much better than it used to be (and indications are that it will continue in that direction).

A snapshot of the de-politicization of young artists in Québec:

If we were to describe Québec’s artists’ “public political” involvement 20 years ago compared to today, the story would be very different.

40, 30 or 20 years ago we would have been able to classify large swaths of Québec’s artists in a category named “the politically involved” — which, by default, would have meant lending their public support towards nationalist and sovereignist movements.

Yet something has happened over the last 20 years.  A new generation of “artists”, and a new generation of “fans” has come along (a generation which was not even born at the time of the 1995 referendum, or at the very least, was quite young in 1995).  These new generations tend to be “indifferent” towards patriotic politics, or at the very minimum, they are un-engaged towards the subject.

What I am saying is not new news.

Many in the Parti Québécois have been openly complaining about this situation (Jean-François Lisée has been the most vocal, but PKP, Alexandre Cloutier and Bernard Drainville have also said they need to do more to try to capture this new and “lost” generation).

The Federalist parties (provincially and federally) also publicly talk about this phenomenon, usually with the tone that Québec’s youth “are just not interested in sovereignist politics” (without mentioning they’re equally unengaged towards federalist positions).

I think that the Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, may have most aptly summed up the reasons “why” youth are detached from “local” nationalist questions.  A few days ago at the Premiers’ Counsel of the Federation she stated that she believes the PQ will no longer succeed in its goal for Québec independence because

“Québecers are no different from British Columbians… There is a generation of people who are forward looking global citizens who are interested in creating wealth, building their lives, being able to be a part of the world — not just a part of Quebec or a part of Canada.”

The above statement is also not new.  Others have drawn similar parallels (I too have made similar statements elsewhere in this blog).  Yet Christy Clark’s wording is perhaps the most “concise” I have seen yet.

In addition to how she views the “average” person, she also added emphasis on the younger generations.

Will this new trend be a lasting trend?  I don’t know.

The PQ believes things are going so bad for them that they have nowhere else to go but up; slowly wooing the younger generation simply by way of the vacuum effect (or even more if the PQ makes an extra effort — which they are trying to do).

Yet there are others who say that this is a lasting trend owing to the fact that the world is a different, more global, more connected place compared to 20 years ago.  They argue that starting now, future generations will remain in this “detached-from-sovereignty” mindset, regardless if the Federalist side seeks to woo these generations or not (unless some major constitutional crisis or major economic shake-up comes along).

How does this fit in with Louis-Jean Cormier?

Louis-Jean Cormier is a very popular singer in Québec, especially with younger people.   Cormier (born in 1980) has become a chart-topping pop-singer (I have written a few posts which provided top chart music listings – and Cormier has appeared in those lists).

Corm1

Yet, despite the fact that his fan-base is not politically engaged, he is one of the most politically, pro-sovereignty engaged artists of his generation.

With the exception of a very small handful of other young artists, you would be hard-pressed to find other singers in Québec who are his age or younger and who are as politically engaged as Louis-Jean Cormier.  He is now a rare-breed, and perhaps part of what will continue to be a dying breed ??  Only time will tell (I don’t know any more than the next person).

This past winter, he became heavily involved in Parti Québécois politics, going so far as to write rallying poetry for them.  He publicly supported Alexandre Cloutier for PQ leader, he appeared on the popular television program Tout le monde en parle (in front of a million people), asking the public to take out PQ memberships and to support the cause.

He even described how his first name “Louis” was actually given to him by his parents to signify “OUI” (yes), in support of sovereignty (Louis).

Fast-forward to 8:25 in the video below.

His concert yesterday in Toronto

Louis-Jean Cormier is a very talented singer.  He is very popular and very well known in Québec (and most Francophone music enthusiasts elsewhere in Canada also know who he is – particularly younger people).  I like his music, even if I do not agree with his politics.

He was invited to Toronto to perform at Franco-Fête.

Here is a Radio-Canada interview with Cormier not long before his concert in Toronto:  http://ici.radio-canada.ca/widgets/mediaconsole/medianet/7318918##

Considering the degree of his very vocal politics, I was initially a bit surprised he was invited to Franco-Fête.  After all, he advocates for the demantalment of Canada – a country which Francophones outside Québec tend to be profoundly attached to and engaged towards.

In all honesty, I was not all that keen on attending his concert.  I suspected that it would be filled with nationalist speeches, remarks on giving “us” (outside Québec) lessons on how we should think and act, and I wasn’t sure that the crowd would be very big, nor was I sure if they would be enthusiastic (after all, who wants to attend a concert when the crowd is not enthusiastic?).

Regardless, all said and done, just before the end of the day I decided that if the organizers of Franco-Fête could take the moral high road and place themselves above petty politics by inviting Louis-Jean Cormier in the name of culture and music, AND if Cormier could do the same by accepting an invitation to come to Toronto, then I too should do the same and attend his concert.

If anything, I thought that perhaps a strong and enthusiastic “Québec friendly” crowd may actually send a message to Louis-Jean Cormier that Canada is actually a pretty cool country which holds a special place in its heart for Canada’s and Québec’s Francophone culture and music.

I showed up 20 minutes before the concert, and just as I predicted, hardly anyone was there.  The other Franco-Fête concerts I attended were packed with waiting crowds long in advance.  I thought to myself that perhaps Cormier’s performance wouldn’t fly owing to his political affirmations.

But a few minutes before the concert, people began to arrive.  This crowd was much younger than previous Franco-Fête concerts I attended (mostly an under 30 crowd).   The crowd did not become as big as the other Franco-Fête concerts, it was not as enthusiastic, but Dundas Square (Canada’s equivalent of Times Square) was full of fans by the time the concert started (Dundas Square is not very small, so that says something).

Error 1:  When Cormier was introduced, Franco-Fête’s M.C. not once, but twice introduced him as one of “Canada’s” great singers (or something of the like).  Yes, fine – technically correct — but I think it may have rubbed Cormier and his political complex the wrong way (setting the tone for what you’re about to read).

If it had been any other singer, that would have been fine to say.  But Cormier this past spring was “PQ Darling #1”.   Would you also introduce Mario Beaulieu one of the countries “greatest Canadians” if he were in Toronto (his head would explode).

Granted — we’re all proud of our country despite any issues it may sometimes have.  And granted, if I thought he would be receptive to being called one of “Canada’s” greatest singers, then by all means, do so.

But this is Louis-Jean Cormier.  For crying out loud, don’t rub the “great Canadian” title in his face seconds before you give him a microphone on a stage in front of a crowd he doesn’t necessarily understand or identify with.

Did you seriously think he would take the title of “greatest Canadian” sitting down? 

Because of Cormier’s advocacy, the Franco-Fête should have known such an introduction could have wound him up and ready to fire back – especially in what he may perceive as the Anglo-heartland epicentre of Toronto.

And fire back he did with a couple of shots of his own.

The M.C. should have just kept the peace and should have simply introduced him as “a” great singer who they were happy to have travel from Québec for our entertainment.  If they had done that, then Cormier perhaps may have not felt provoked (regardless if no harm or ill-will were intended).

Error 2:  As I predicted, Cormier spared no time in quickly uttering several “nationalist” words to the crowd with a theme of what could be interpreted by some as preaching morals to Francophones outside of Québec (For cripes sake!  sigh).

He said something to the effect he was going to sing a song about taking political action, and that perhaps it would inspire Francophones in the crowd and outside Québec to rise up and not put up with their situation (am paraphrasing, but it could be interpreted by some as such).

IF this was his intention (and again, it’s open to interpretation), it could be considered condescending and ignorant — as if Francophones outside Québec are “colonized” victims or something.

They’re as engaged as the rest of the lot in the country:  citizens who care about their country and who are working hand-in-hand with their Anglophone compatriots to make it a better place in a better world.

I mean, seriously – who does he think he is and what does he expect people to do?   Take pitch-forks and chase everyone we live with, grow up with, and care about down the street if they’re Anglophone?

Such an approach is a sure-fire way to get people’s backs up.

I believe he must have also been completely oblivious to the fact that around 1/3 of the crowd seemed to be composed of Anglophones who are standing side-by-side with their Francophone compatriots and embracing Canada’s Francophone fact – a trend I have noticed from one Franco-Fête concert to another.  Franco-Fête is not the Fête nationale au parc Maisonneuve.  Francophones and Anglophones in Canada’s other provinces are proud to mix and share in each other’s cultures… Just as there are many in Québec who are also doing so.   His shots were a direct insult to that fan base who came out to see him.

Cormier also said he was happy to be in Toronto and performing a concert in “Canada” with extra intonation when he said “Canada” (inferring he is not in Canada when he performs in Québec).  Again, an insult to the many Québécois in the crowd who have transplanted themselves to Toronto, or others like myself whose lives have much to do with Québec (and for whom Canada would not be the same without).

Error 3:  Of course, the next song was one which contained a line which could be interpreted as a veiled reference to the nasty Anglophones who oppress French, and that you have to fight until you are free (sigh x 10).

A number of us in the crowd couldn’t help but exchange looks, sigh, shake our heads, and shrug our shoulders.  These are Francophones I am talking about.

As far as the Anglophones in the crowd, they simply stayed stone-faced when he sang it – I mean seriously, I wonder what they were thinking.  After all, Anglophones are NOT the devil in disguise, and the proof is that a large part of the audience was Anglophone — who expressively came to watch Cormier perform (It was completely uncalled for to sing insults to them).

Error 4:  One older guy in the crowd with a very noticeable Montréal East-End French accent (perhaps in his late 50’s) standing not far from me pulled out a large enough Québec flag and started to shout pro-sovereignty affirmations in response to the song (I have to ask myself why a guy like that would even be in Toronto if such a place is enough of hell-on-earth that he needs borders to feel secure, but whatever – free country).

Error 5:  A couple of younger people with Ontario French accents and another with a Montréal French accent (all in their late 20s or 30s) standing beside the yelling guy with the flag “took him to task” and quickly put him in his place (I’ll leave it to you to interpret what that means).

That put a bit of a damper on part of the crowd’s enthusiasm for the concert (and it also demonstrates the generational difference involved in these issues).

There are a couple of lessons in all of this unnecessary madness:

LESSON ONE:

If you are famous, especially within cultural circles, and you have already made a name for yourself owing to highly controversial or divisive political actions, you can consider yourself to be forever walking on eggshells in the eyes of one segment of the population or another (regardless of your political stripes).

Thus, people will have pre-conceived notions that you could be entering the stage with an ulterior-motive, and everyone around you will be looking for the slightest message from you (regardless of how subtle it may be).

Thus you can chose to do one of two things:

  1. You can either continue to send messages, regardless how strong or weak they are, or
  2. You can be on your best behaviour, a pleasure for everyone, and you can make an effort to keep things on an even keel by not rocking the boat.  This means remaining politically neutral and choosing your words wisely.

It’s not for me to decide which one of the two choices a person elects to pursue.  But if you do chose the first option, be prepared for a backlash in one form or another (and live with the consequences when they occur – because there more than likely will be a backlash).

LESSON TWO:  

If you provoke someone (ie: you label someone something you know they will react to — such as calling Louis-Jean Cormier one of the greatest “Canadians” out there), then yeah, you’re going to get a reaction.

Even if the intentions were innocent and pure, still, what was the M.C. thinking ??

Had it been Arianne Moffatt, Kevin Parent, Lisa Leblanc, Marc Duprès or Garou or dozens and dozens or other singers, I am more than sure they would have been flattered (even Robert Charlebois would likely be flattered considering he views the nationalist questions from a distance now).

But Louis-Jean Cormier?  C’mon!  He just finished being one of the biggest and most public cheerleaders for the PQ leadership race and recruitment campaigns.

Who is Louis-Jean Cormier’s fan-base?

I asked a Francophone group of younger people beside me if they also understood what was happening (they were perhaps in their early 20s).  I was simply curious to know if they were aware of Cormier’s political activism (I wasn’t telling them anything… I simply asked a couple of questions to see if people in their age bracket were aware or following these issues).

They told me they did not know anything about Cormier’s politics.  I asked why they attended the concert.  They said that Cormier’s music is top of the charts, and they really like his music (the same reasons why I also attended).

That probably sums up his fan base.  It is generally non-political, despite Cormier’s own political affirmations.

But more importantly, it likely sums up young people’s sentiments across the country; they are more interested in their daily activities, relations, global connectiveness, and the welfare of those around them than they are with nationalist politics.

And the concert itself?

Cormier ceased the political rhetoric for the rest of the concert and simply concentrated on his performance. He thanked the crowd and Toronto numerous times for attending.

He seemed to loosen up and have more fun with the crowd as the night went on, and the crowd loosened up too.

All-in-all, with the exception of the one “hiccup” I mentioned above, the rest of the concert was non-political and the crowd eventually got into it.  (These sorts of “hiccups” are fewer and fewer as the years go on, even in Québec.  It is a very noticeable change).

The concert may not have started on the best note, but it ended well.  I think we all had a relatively good time.

Here is a video of various clips I made.

If you fast-forward to the end of the video I made below, the lack of enthusiasm on my face after attending this concert is quite evident when you contrast it to the videos I made for the previous two concerts (especially with the last one in which I was super excited to meet Lisa Leblanc!)

Nonetheless, I was happy to have gone, and Louis-Jean Cormier is an extraordinarily talented singer.  I’m grateful he made the gesture to come to Toronto and play to his fans here.  Sometimes gestures count more than anything.

And one last note:

When I got home, a friend gave me a call and asked how the concert was.

I told him that it went well and Cormier’s performance was very enjoyable.   I also mentioned the little political hiccup which occurred.  My buddy’s reaction: “Câlique!  Y en a encore de ces vieilles chicanes?  Pas croyable!” (For crying out loud, these old muck-ups are still happening?  Unbelievable!).  My buddy is from Québec, he doesn’t speak much English, and he also was turned off by what happened.

When he said that, my response was “Ouais, ça reflète mes sentiments, moi aussi” (My sentiments, exactly). 

“L’autre midi, À la table d’à côte”; Nadeau-Dubois / Payette discussion summary, post 3 of 3 (#155)

This is the last in our three part Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Lise Payette activist mini blog series.

The last two posts touched on some complex and controversial subjects.  However, these topics have played a role in forming Québec’s culture and phyche.  It’s difficult to attempt to answer “What is Québec’s culture?” without delving into these types of issues.  Because they are complex, and because the nuances can only be picked up through knowing French, it contributes to why certain aspects of Québec are poorly understood by Anglophone Canada (just as Anglophone Canada’s culture is often poorly understand by aspects of Québec’s society).

Let’s now bring together Nadeau-Dubois and Payette, and look at the one-on-one conversation they shared over a meal on the radio program « L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté ».  Again, like the two other posts I did using « L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté » as a series summary, I am providing you with a link to the recorded program, and I will only give you a written summary of their conversation.

If you are learning French, I really want to encourage you to continue do your best to continuing to improve your language skills.  For Anglophone Canadians, it truly will open a whole world for you – one which is your own country after all.  It’s perhaps one of the finer gifts you can give yourself, and it will give you a sense of belonging, wherever you are in Canada (and it will tear down that sense that there is “you over here”, and “them over there”).

Even if your French is not at a very high level, give the audio recording your very best try.  Here is the link:   http://ici.radio-canada.ca/emissions/lautre_midi_a_la_table_da_cote/2014-2015/.

Click on “audio fil” half way down the page.  An audio feed window will then open.  If there are parts you cannot understand, you can rewind and listen again until you do get it.  Use my summary notes below as a crutch to help you work through it.   I’m super proud when I see Anglophone Canadians trying their best to improve their French – something which I regularly see.   The fact you’re just reading this and are simply interested in tearing down your country’s Two Solitudes, by way of arming yourself with a sense of understanding and awareness is more than reason enough for you to be proud too.

The summary below will be a little bit different than the wrap-up summaries in prior related posts.   Nadeau-Dubois says certain things regarding sovereignty which I do not agree with and which I feel quite strongly about.  There will be parts of the summary below where I am going to annotate with my own thoughts on why I do not agree with him.  A soft sovereignist friend suggested I perhaps could be a bit more “forceful” in my own convictions on sovereignty vs. unity (he’s a pretty open guy, and I’m a pretty open guy too – and making one stances known isn’t a bad thing when speaking with other open-minded people about the topic).  I’ve always been a bit hesitant to being too “direct”, simply because I don’t want it to tint the main purpose of the blog, which is simply to bridge the Two Solitudes (regardless of one’s own politics).  But I guess I’ve written a number of other posts in a way that its kind of obvious where I stand on the unity front.   So, OK… For this post, why not just say my stand on the whole issue?  Here we go…

Summary of the recording:

  • Payette: She says her mother raised her in the Montréal borough of St-Henrie.  Unlike most other mothers in the 1930s, she only had 2 children instead of 6 to 8.   Payette feels this was a good thing because it helped the family fight off the poverty others in their neighbourhood were struggling with (in that era, poverty was a daily fight for so many families).
  • Nadeau-Dubois: his parents were both militants, his father was a syndicaliste (union leader), Left wing, and both parents were independentistes (sovereignists).
  • Nadeau-Dubois: He first attended May Day celebrations (for world labour solidarity) when he was just 5 or 6 years old.  It was the first time he saw a group of 100 people wearing cagoules (balaclavas) while beating drums.  His father explained to him that the people were anarchists.  This made a big impression on him, and he finds it interesting that 15 years later he was marching with the same type of people.
  • Payette : She said her grand-mother brought her into politics.  Her family wasn’t religious when she was young, which was strange for the era.  This gave her a political freedom people which other families didn’t have.
  • Payette : Her first job in radio allowed her to meet numerous personalities.  One such person who she met happened to regularly perform in front of large crowds on stage.  He once told Payette “When I’m on stage in front of crowds, if I wanted to, I could make the crowds run out into the streets, and it could easily get violent.”  Payette said this statement left her with a rather deep impression.  It was a scary thought for her because it made her aware of the danger which comes with the power of being an influential figure.  Payette lightly nudged Nadeau-Dubois to be careful and to remain aware of this.   Nadeau-Dubois responded by saying that he understands her counsel.  He says he understands it because he did incite people to protest in the streets through the delivery of fiery speeches.  However, he realized later that if he had given the same speeches in a different time and place, the situation could have become quite violent.
  • Payette said she wants a “recall” law which will allow the electorate to fire a government while they are in their executing their elected mandate. She wants such a measure to be able to be used if the population becomes unhappy with the government.  She says this ties into her vision of sovereignty.  Her argument is that when people vote today, they too often are voting for a preferred personality rather than on substance.  Only after they vote do they find out that they do not like the substance of the politician.  She believes this is a way to fix the problem of cynicism towards politics.
  • Nadeau-Dubois says one thing that hit him in 2012, during his protests, was that ordinary people were telling him to go home and stop making so much noise and to stop creating disturbances. He was surprised that the people telling him this were not meeting him on an idealogical basis when telling him to go home.

My personal comment related to the above:  Take from that what you will… my interpretation of what this signifies is different from his.  I believe that if people were not willing to engage him in an ideological debate, it means they did not agree with his ideology, and it should perhaps have been Nadeau-Dubois who should have been more respectful rather that the other way around.

  • Nadeau-Dubois says he believes Québécois are not willing to become more militant like him, and are not willing to take up his causes because he feels they have it in their heads that the province’s population is not big enough to take up causes which may cause divisions within society

My personal comment related to the above:  I find NadeauDubois’ comment condescending, and bordering on insulting.  It’s almost as if the notion or reality could not occur to him that there are people – a majority in fact, based on two referendums and poll-after-poll – who actually care for, and have a vested interest in the health, advancement and strength of Canada (not just a majority in Québec, but elsewhere in Canada too).   I mentioned in earlier blog posts that Anglophones can be amazingly cool, and Francophones can be amazingly cool.  There are many of us, in Québec and across Canada, who enjoy living together and building something together, as compatriots.   The reasons both referendums failed in the past is because there “is” a majority which is concerned with splitting up the country, and who would not feel whole – culturally, as a nation, or as individuals – without one another.  This is quite unique on the world stage, and it is very special.

Canada is not dysfunctional or abnormal, as many sovereignists do argue (their words, not mine). Rather, for Federalists, it is sovereignty which can be argued as dysfunctional and abnormal, in the sense that Sovereignists proclaim sovereignty is the right option, whereas the majority does not agree.  (On that note, I’m not a big fan of the word “Federalist”… simply because in many people’s mind, it has a legal association related to the signature of the 1982 constitution defining the legal framework of the “Federation”.   That’s a whole other kettle of fish, and that’s not what I’m talking about when I say “Federalist”  When I use the word “Federalist”, I simply mean someone who is pro-Canadian Unity… and the “legal” stuff can be hashed out in a different context).

Most people across the country (including Québec) do not want to give Canada up or allow others to take it away from them. Most people want to seek and work for the continued evolution of Canada through collaboration.  Canada is not what it was 100, 40, or even 15 years ago.

For Federalists, why sovereignty seems like a dysfunctional and abnormal option is because it feels like someone is telling you the brother or sister you have always lived with (even when there was tension in an earlier era) is someone you should try to not like, and you should turn your back on them and learn to dislike them because there are differences in personalities.  Most people, when faced by that type of discourse, would simply tell that person to kiss off!  Family is family.

When I’m told that Québec’s relationship with Canada should be severed so Québec can normalize its economics and policy decisions, that argument also doesn’t hold weight with me. What is normal?  If a majority of the population accepts it, or wishes for its continued evolution, improvement, and reform within Canada, then it already “is” normal.   Getting into specific economic or policy arguments, frankly speaking, is just a waste of time for both Federalists and Sovereignists.  Why?  Because anyone can twist numbers or policies in their favour (A Federalist can make it sound like 4+4 = 9, and so can a Sovereignist).    So what boils down to is what do you harbour as feelings, emotions, and sentiments.  You either feel attached to Canada, or you do not.  If you do not, fine – that’s OK, and Federalists should respect that.  But if there are people who are attached to Canada, then as a Sovereignist – you too should respect that, live with it, and also move on… just as you would want, and ask for Federalists to respect Sovereignist’s sentiments, especially if Sovereignists were the majority – am I not right?  It should not be a one-way street when I hear that Federalists should respect Sovereignist sentiments right now, then thus move on if they lose a referendum, but that Sovereignists should not accept Federalist sentiments right now, nor simply move on if they lose a referendum (and continue to lose a majority of the public’s support and sentiment).  How does that make sense??  Think about it.   The old adage is “if you can’t beat them, join them” (at least that’s what Sovereignists often tell Federalists they should do if a majority wants and votes for Sovereignty).  But if the reality is the other way around (as it is right now), why does that not hold true in the opposite sense?    Actually… I don’t advocate that Sovereignist should drop their convictions and “join” Federalists.   I think both sides should respect each other’s sentiments.  But I do advocate “acceptance”, which means accepting and “moving on” if public opinion is not on your side (regardless if you’re Federalist or Sovereignist – and at this moment, and quite possibly for a long long time – if not indefinately- public sentiment is towards a united Canada, both in Québec and in every other province).

But hey, Gabriel NadeauDubois is entitled to his opinion. His exposure and experiences in the Canadian context are very different than mine and many others (which is why most people in Québec seemingly did not, nor do not agree with a good deal of his actions).   But I figure that’s ok – everyone can lead their life how they want.  It’s a free country.  I suppose for Federalists like myself, the idea of respecting and having strong sentiments and emotions “for” Québec, its people and other people across Canada goes hand-in-hand with what we represent as a country.  These values are not out of sync with some of Québec’s most profound values.  It’s about caring for people, sharing our wealth, our accomplishments, creating something we can be proud of, encouraging others to pursue a better life, and to give society the tools and opportunities so people can also help themselves make life a little better.  We share those values, in Québec, and across the country – and people are given the opportunity to live anywhere they want in this country in pursuit of those goals.   End of my commentary.

  • Nadeau-Dubois says he is always having to consult his entourage to help him make decisions. Payette says that’s a healthy thing, and doing the same thing has always been important for her too.
  • Nadeau-Dubois says he didn’t know what to do when he was awarded the Governor General’s award. Payette said if it was her, her initial reaction would have been to reject it.  Payette said she was very surprised to see what happened when Dubois accepted it.  She was surprised he donated the money to another cause of his liking, one linked to Québec independence.  Both he and Payette agreed that receiving the Governor General’s award money wasn’t such a bad thing after all, and served their cause well (commentary supplement:  through garnishing media attention in the form of a media event, as well as providing money to a cause of their approval.  As I stated two posts ago, after receiving the money, Nadeau-Dubois was given a platform on “Tout le monde en parle”, where Nadeau-Dubois began a telethon of sorts to increase the dollar value of the fund).
  • Both said that they felt it was too bad that people frown upon those who disagree with others (Commentary: I can only guess they’re talking about mud-slinging politics. To Nadeau-Dubois’ credit, I’ve listened to him criticize ideas and other people’s actions from A to Z, sometimes quite forcefully – but, with the exception of some of the most heated moments of the 2012 protests, he generally does not launch personal.. so on this point, I agree with him). 
  • Nadeau-Dubois says he feels the Quiet Revolution should continue because he feels societal inequalities were dealt with during the Quiet Revolution. Payette responds that it should start with a connection between the old guard (her generation) and younger generations.  After forging such connections, she believes the torch should then be left to the younger generations to re-take up the causes of the Quiet Revolution and morph into into a new movement.
  • (Commentary: this next paragraph is an interesting point of disagreement between Nadeau-Dubois and Payette):  Nadeau-Dubois asks Payette what she thinks of Pierre Karle Péladeau and the likelihood of him becoming the leader of the Parti QuébécoisPayette responded she believes PKP can incite Québec’s business spheres to take up the sovereignist cause (which, for the most part, they never have before).   She said, because PKP knows Québec’s business community very well,  it would be interesting to see if he can convince the business world not to choose sovereignty because of the Parti Québécois, but rather to simply vote yes in one referendum, and then vote for whatever party they want (left, right, centre) after a referendum succeeds.  She feels PKP would also be a good negotiator against the might of Ottawa should a referendum succeed.  She doesn’t know if having PKP as the head of the Parti Québecois will bring about these results, but she said it would be interesting to find out.  Nadeau-Dubois rebutts what Payette  (Comment For Anglophone readers who do not speak French or who do not follow the sovereignty debate in Québec, you may find the following insightful because it will allow you to see that there can be quite different views within the sovereignty movement itself).  Nadeau-Dubois said he’s very worried by the idea of PKP becoming the Parti Québécois leader because of his refusal to resolve his apparent conflict of interest.  PKP should not be allowed to be both the owner of the Québecor media empire and a politician at the same time.   He said he believes politics are not like business – that politics call for a different kind of compromise and self-restraint.  He said PKP’s background as someone who goes on the offensive until he achieves what he gets will cause more problems than what it will solve.  He believes PKP was too anti-worker, too anti-unions, and too far to the right in his business relations.
  • Payette retorts that if there will be another referendum, regardless of which way it will go, it will be the last one (Nadeau-Dubois agreed), and thus, regardless of how PKP may have managed his businesses, if he can get results in a referendum, everyone should stand behind him. Payette says she believes PKP would rapidly introduction a referendum, and everyone in the Parti Québécois should set aside their differences to make it a reality.
  • Nadeau-Dubois said, as a person, he’s calm on the outside by nature, but that’s a good thing because it naturally tempers strong emotions he harbours on the inside.
  • Nadeau-Dubois said one of the motivating factors for his social & political engagement was having seen a new-immigrant child living in poverty. He said his life-engagements have since been as an anti-poverty activist.

This 3-post mini blog series, for me personally, was one of the more interesting ones I wrote.  As you saw, I through both hands into the dough in a political sense, and in this post I opened up about some of my own convictions on the unity vs. sovereignty front – more than I have in other posts.  Like I said earlier, one friend in Québec (someone who is a “Soft” Sovereignist) gave me a hard kick in the butt for hesitating to be a bit more direct on my own thoughts on sovereignty encouraged me not long ago to not be afraid to be more upfront, in my blog from time-to-time, with respect to my own convictions.  He’s of the same mindset as me that if you’re open about your thoughts, and those listening are also open people – dialogue can still be a great thing for mutual understanding and respect (even if views don’t change — but, hey, sometimes they do too).  So with my commentaries above, there you now have how I view the sovereignty debate.

But I’m not going to keeping focusing on this particular political matter… Rather, the posts will continue to be based on what I think will be of interest to bridging the Two Solitudes (with the odd political-related post inserted here-and-there 😉 ).

I hope you found these last three posts insightful.  🙂

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ADDENDUM:  2015-02-02  

I mentioned above that it will be interesting to see where Nadeau-Dubois pops up next.  Well, he just appeared… and you’re not going to guess where.    Read the post GND Does it Again.

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MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES