Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Royal Endorses Quebec Sovereignty - What's the Big Deal?

Ségolène Royal, the French Presidential hopeful who caused an uproar this week by endorsing Quebec sovereignty is getting a bad rap in the Canadian blogosphere, particularly in the left-wing Canadian blogosphere. If you don't know what I'm talking about read this and this. I really don't understand what all the fuss is about. What did people expect her to say? So, she supports sovereignty for Quebec... so do a lot of people. If Royal had pronounced in favour of a united Canada, her statement would have surely won widespread support among federalist politicians and bloggers. You can't have it both ways. Support for Quebec sovereignty does not mean opposition to Canada.

What I find offensive is that some Canadian politicians, including most Liberals, Conservatives, and New Democrats continue to not respect Quebec's right to self determination. They proved as much by supporting the Clarity Act. It's easy to tell Royal to mind her own business when it comes to Quebec's National Question, but the same principle should apply to international allies of the federalist cause and to the Rest of Canada.

For my part, I think world leaders should engage in these discussions. Would it be appropriate for Royal or another world leader to criticize Canada for its rate of child poverty, or for its treatment of aboriginal peoples? Of course it's appropriate. Would it be appropriate for Royal or another world leader to criticize the United States for its decision to invade Iraq? Of course it's appropriate. By rebuking Royal, we risk becoming hypocrites on the international scene. If we were to hold our own political leaders to the same standard, they could no longer talk about human rights abuses in China. They would have to muzzle themsleves on the issue of America's decision to invade Iraq... In short, just because most people didn't like what Royal had to say, she certainly had the right to say it.