An unworthy slur

L'idée fédérale

House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken has outlawed the expression "Québécois de service," a calculated insult that Bloc Québécois members of Parliament have been using to show contempt for Conservative MPs from this province.
Best translated as "token Quebecer," the phrase is intended as a nasty slur, with overtones of "stooge" and "sell-out."
Having been deemed unacceptable, the term is now among the "offensive, provocative, or threatening language ... personal attacks, insults, and obscene language," considered to be out of order in Parliament.
That's fine, but we're concerned that the Bloc should have gone down this road at all. It's all part of the separatist fiction, persistently maintained and artfully nourished, that any true Quebecer - any francophone, that is - who even flirts with federalism becomes by definition a token, a comprador, a sucker, a disgrace. Even the party names - Parti Québécois, Bloc Québécois - feeds into this myth.
And it is a myth. In fact Quebecers have never given 50 per cent of their votes to a separatist party. And since 1759, countless francophone leaders have worked to protect their language and institutions not through tokenism or violence, but through honourable compromise; with partners in anglophone Canada they built a functioning federalism which, from the Quebec Act to the debate over Meech Lake, has served francophones well.
Was George-Étienne Cartier a token? Wilfrid Laurier? We won't mention Brian Mulroney in this context because Bloc MPs might not consider him a real Quebecer. And it's better not to ask their views on Pierre Trudeau.
True, we know Jean-Pierre Blackburn, and he's no Pierre Trudeau. But he was honestly elected, as were 10 other Quebec Conservatives; there's no tokenism in that.
Bloc MPs are legitimately elected, too. Few other countries would allow such an opportunity to a secessionist movement. In those circumstances, for Bloc MPs to challenge the legitimacy and the honour of other MPs strikes us as particularly ill-advised.

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