Quebec: The Casserole Symphony

Image: Montrealers bang pots and pansBy Montreal Simon

In many Montreal neighbourhoods last night people were banging pots and pans in another casserole symphony of protest. The latest tactic in this awesome struggle.

“It’s a nightly ritual known as les manifs aux casseroles, that sees hundreds of people step out of their homes, armed with pots and pans. At the stroke of 8 p.m., they start to bang on their kitchenware.”

And just about everybody in the province was talking about yesterday’s massive demonstration.

Meanwhile in the rest of Canada, judging from the coverage on the CBC, this was the Big Story.

Which at least helps explain why Andrew Coyne would begin his latest ranting rave against the Quebec student movement by quoting Milan Kundera.

“The fantasy of the Grand March . . . is the political kitsch joining leftists of all times and tendencies. The Grand March is the splendid march on the road to brotherhood, equality, justice, happiness; it goes on and on, obstacles notwithstanding, for obstacles there must be if the march is to be the Grand March.”

Because Kundera never understood the new Czechoslovakia, and Coyne will never understand the new Quebec. And that it’s a different place, a distinct society, a nation.

Take the recent long weekend for example. In English Canada it’s named after a German-British Queen, who never set foot in The Great White North, and imposed her sexual repression on everyone, while lusting after her colonies and her butler, not necessarily in that order.

And wore black most of her life.


Scary eh?

While in Quebec they call the holiday Journée Nationale des Patriotes or National Patriots day . . .

Image: Mural of national patriots

After the patriotes of 1837, who fought to free us from our colonial masters in London.

Who included these English-speaking rebels. Now all but forgotten in the rest of Canada.

Coyne also can’t seem to recognize the special role education played in allowing Quebecers to finally becomes masters of their own house or maîtres chez eux. Or how the students are reclaiming the promises of the Quiet Revolution.

And he completely ignores the deeper malaise. Bruemmer in The Gazette, citing Anais Détolle, a PhD student at Concordia: “What many students and Quebecers are angry about is being forced to pay more for university while the government is seen as wasting money on construction corruption or reaping huge rewards from mining royalties. It is a continuation of the Occupy Movement that railed against a sense of social inequality, a sense it’s the wealthy and the corporations that dictate policy here and around the world.”

Oh well. It doesn’t really matter eh? I’m pretty sure most people in Quebec care as much about what Andrew Coyne has to say, if they’ve even heard of him, as they care about the adventures of Charles and Camilla.

Anyone who thinks that this world doesn’t have to change is either deluded or a Con.

I wish more Canadians would resist the Harper regime like the students are resisting the Charest regime, and with them the people banging their pots and pans . . .

And maybe one day they will.

But right now Quebec is a different place.

And from 1837, to the Quiet Revolution, to 2012, the struggle continues . . .



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