On Sunday, we will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the unilateral patriation of the Canadian Constitution, without the consent of Quebec.
The years pass, and we gradually forget the dramatic nature of this event, certainly one of the most dramatic in the history of Quebec.
You have to take a historical detour to understand it.
- Listen to the Mathieu Bock-Côté and Richard Martineau meeting broadcast live every day at 10 a.m. via QUB-radio :
With the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, Quebec, which was experiencing a real momentum of national emancipation, began to feel increasingly cramped in the Constitution of 1867.
For some, it was necessary to achieve independence.
For the others, it was rather necessary to renew the Constitution in depth, by integrating into it a special status for Quebec, which would thus have the necessary powers to affirm its identity.
Many came to the conclusion that, failing this constitutional reform, it was ultimately necessary to turn to sovereignty.
In 1980, during the first referendum on sovereignty, Pierre Elliott Trudeau made a promise to Quebecers. If they voted No, he would reform the Constitution in the direction of their aspirations.
But once his victory was obtained, he reneged on his word and took advantage of the situation to impose on Quebecers a Constitution that mutilated their collective rights. It was a coup.
In other words, not only was Quebec not recognized, but it was denied.
All this was not just symbolic, as those who believe that a Constitution is an abstract text without importance imagine.
Because a Constitution shapes a country in depth.
I would add that the longer a political regime takes hold, the more its effects are felt. And as was bound to happen, the 1982 Constitution profoundly transformed Canadian political identity.
At the heart of this Constitution was an ideology: multiculturalism. The latter’s first function was to dynamite Quebec’s national claims.
The people of Quebec were no longer considered as a founding people, but as an ethnic community among others in Canadian diversity.
In this new Canada, all Quebec claims are illegitimate. They are equated with ethnic supremacism, as we heard during the debates on secularism.
- Even more from Mathieu Bock-Côté, listen to his editorial broadcast live every day at 10 a.m. via QUB-radio :
This new Canada also works to convince newcomers that they do not have to integrate into the French-speaking majority in Quebec, and that it would even be racist to ask them to do so. It sanctifies the demands of all imaginable minorities, but prohibits the rights of the Quebec people.
He now sings the virtues of the niqab in the name of diversity and is scandalized that no one is enthusiastic about him.
Similarly, this Constitution claims to recognize the two official languages throughout Canada, but it is to better undermine the legitimate aspirations of French in Quebec, by transforming it into an optional language.
Forty years later, it must be said: whoever agrees to stay in this Canada accepts, more and more consciously, to see the Quebec people dissolve there, to see it disappear.