Saturday, May 12, 2007

Immigrants in Quebec

Great piece on new immigrants to Quebec rejecting traditional Quebecois separatism.

This is the story of mixed identities in a globalized world. As much as people talk about the disintegration (including myself) and the breakdown in spots of nationhood, border crossings, migrations & such also break down traditional rejectionist/separatist barriers and identities as well.

From the article:
But one issue is proving to be a bridge too far for the province’s first-generation immigrant population: the long struggle for independence. “I realize it is important for many,” said Mr. Garcia, who mainly works with people from Central and South America, voicing a sentiment shared by almost all the recent immigrants. “But for me, sovereignty is not my primary passion.” The number of immigrants entering Quebec each year has nearly doubled since the last referendum on independence in 1995 failed by a razor-thin margin, and immigrants now represent more than 10 percent of the electorate. That rapidly expanding demographic consists of people who have no historical stake in the traditional French-English divide that has led to tumultuous elections, protests and a terrorist scare in 1970 that prompted Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to declare martial law.
Over the long haul I find this a very positive step. The histories and sense of self in such groups gets so locked into the past is it for all intensive purposes impenetrable. But throw in a new set of people, attitudes, and colors and the system gets re-jiggered. Political parties to gain majorities and popular mandates are going to have to focus less and less on emotional historic issues of the past and offering platforms, educational opportunities, and favorable working/living conditions for potential "clients", as it were.

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