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Class Act

by Stephen Lautens


April 12, 2002

Once again, Quebec's politicians have left the rest of us wondering what planet they're on. Two news items on the same day have me scratching my head.

First, the Bloc Quebecois in Ottawa refused to allow Canada to send a unanimous message of condolence to the Royal Family over the death of the Queen Mother. Apparently the Bloc-heads objected to a reference that the late Queen Mother had actually been the sovereign of Canada, which in spite of their best efforts still includes Quebec. As Quebeckers they objected to being called "subjects" of the Crown.

Of course the only sovereign Quebec recognizes is Celine Dion.

I suppose the Bloc will refuse to cash their House of Commons paycheques since it would mean having to handle money with the Queen's picture on it.

You have to wonder if there is any nit too small for the Separatists to pick. Separatism is losing ground in Quebec as its people grow tired of their snake oil and empty promises, and realize this actually is a pretty good thing we have going in Canada. Ironically, there was recently reported a modest increase in support for the monarchy in Quebec for the first time in a while.

The Bloc did grudgingly recognize that the Queen Mother had "lived an important life worthy of praise", but not enough for them to send condolences. Quebec politicians have no trouble rolling out the red carpet for some two-bit Third World despot simply because he speaks French and is part of "la francophonie". They do find it offensive to send condolences for the death of (whether they like it or not) a former Queen of Canada, and a woman who devoted her life to public service and was once described by Hitler as "the most dangerous woman in Europe."

On the very same day in an unrelated story it was reported that the Bloc's provincial counterparts, the Parti Quebecois, declared that a golden puck Maurice "the Rocket" Richard received from Celine Dion is part of the irreplaceable cultural heritage of the people of Quebec.

Diane Lemieux, Quebec's Minister of Culture, signed an order that forbids the gold-plated puck from leaving Quebec, as it would apparently diminish the province's rich heritage. She also included 46 other items belonging to the late Montreal Canadien hockey legend in her order. They were being sold at auction by the estate of the Rocket to raise money for his heirs. People can still buy them, but it is now forbidden for them to leave Quebec.

These bits of Maurice Richard memorabilia include his sticks, pucks and jerseys. Also for sale is an autographed seat from the Montreal Forum, his hockey contracts and a letter to him from Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis. Duplessis was of course famous for trampling on the civil and religious rights of anyone who gave him trouble, or he didn't think belonged in his Quebec.

Oh yes - I almost forgot. One of the things that the separatist Minister decided had no historical significance is a letter of congratulations sent to the Rocket from Prince Phillip.

The separatists may be petty and narrow minded, but at least they're consistent.

I'm personally not much of a monarchist, but it seems Quebec's politicians could learn a lot from the Royals, including a much needed lesson in class and grace.

© Stephen Lautens 2002

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