Breath of Relief or Calm Before the Storm?

Breath of Relief or Calm Before the Storm?

by Farnell Morisset

Ashton's employee takes his job to heart.

I’m sure the Québec City police, Canadian intelligence services, and the Royal security detail are all taking big breaths of relief. Prince William and Princess Catherine “Kate”, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have successfully made a positive, incident-free trip through la Belle Province.While some 30 anti-monarchy protesters in Montréal were drowned out by the many more pro-monarchy voices, the real “showdown” was promised for Québec City, just outside city hall. The RRQ, which was expecting 300 to 500 people, finally mustered just over 200, and Québec City police screened them all out and kept them far enough away that the Vandoos’ rendition of God Save the Queen easily overpowered their distant air horns and loudspeakers.

Now all this was easy enough to predict. What I stayed stuck on, though, was the rather paltry amount of anti-monarchy sentiment that mobilised, especially considering the sunny weather and long weekend. Given that barely half of us even have a positive opinion of the new royal couple, 200 people showing up is rather minimal… especially considering that 1000 people showed up to show their support. While both numbers may seem rather apathetic compared to their reception in Ottawa, that’s still fully 5 people cheering for every one booing.

Headscratching a little… but is public pure-laine sentiment massively losing support in Québec? I mean, let’s review the recent events. We massively voted the Bloc out of official party status at the last federal elections. We haven’t had a separatist Québec government in ages, and it doesn’t look like we’re likely to have one anytime soon. The British Crown comes to town and the best we muster against them is 200 guys outside an Irish pub on a Sunday afternoon looking up at a plane in the sky.

And so here I am thinking… in the short term, this is not a good thing.

Why?  Well… remember what happened the last time Québec separatists had no viable peaceful and democratic outlet for their frustrations and concerns?

As the moderate center moves away from the separatist movement, the relative weight of the die-hard militants will increase, making the separatist movement increasingly hard-line and, therefore, increasingly alienating to those on the moderate middle-ground. If unchecked, this can spiral out of control, until only the most extremist zealots remain in a movement that has lost most popular support and therefore any chance of action through peaceful democratic means.

… and that’s when “just watch me” suddenly becomes relevant again.

Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that.

Article and photos courtesy of FourFourSeven

About the author:

Born and raised in Québec City, Farnell Morisset attended English school throughout his primary, secondary, and CEGEP studies, before ultimately choosing to stay in Québec City and study civil engineering at Laval University, where he served as president of the civil engineering student association. It was there that he discovered his affinity for writing and commentary, preparing a weekly column in the student newspaper dealing with the issues he, as president of the association, felt were important and relevant.

Having completed his engineering studies, Farnell felt there was a lack of reasonable, moderate discussion on the issues of modern social identity for many Québecois who, like him, felt deeply connected to the Québecois nation and culture yet did not identify with the traditional francophone non-practicing Catholic nationalist image. He was also alarmed by what seemed to be an invasive and aggressive polarization of complex social issues for which there are no black-and-white answers. This eventual identity crisis, he feels, will only be solved through good faith in, and honest communication with, all sides pulling on our ever dwindling “pure laine” blanket.

It is with his in mind that he founded, which he hopes will become one of many voices of reason in what may become our generation’s most important critical debate on national identity.

Categories: News

About Author

Farnell Morisset

Farnell Morisset has an engineering degree from Université Laval and common law and civil law degrees from McGill University, where he also studied economics.