Matthew Hayday voices my thoughts perfectly on the current Liberal leadership debate over recognizing Quebec as a nation. Except, of course, that his post is less profane than mine would be, and he makes more references to Charles Taylor's writings. From Matt:
I believe that Bob Rae and Stéphane Dion are wise to preach caution about the merits of re-opening constitutional talks for the main purpose of writing in an official recognition of the "Quebec nation". For one thing, it begs the question of the ramifications of having the constitution speak of one nation, and remain silent on the remainder of Canada's population. For another, I'm not sure it's prudent to have our constitution be so prescriptivist on issues of identity. And for a third initial thought (recognizing that this is a blog post, and not an academic paper), I think Canadians should be cautious about constitutionally entrenching what are, to be certain, fairly recent conceptions of what constitutes a Quebec nation. There may well currently be a sociological nation of Quebec. But less than 50 years ago, the primary identity for francophone Quebeckers was as part of la nation canadienne-française, which spoke to a much larger geographical reality, and encompassed many more people in the rest of the country.Damn straight!
Our identity politics (and indeed our identities) continue to change and evolve over time, and this is not necessarilly a bad thing. Even if one accepts Taylor's premise that Canadian society is characterized by "deep diversity," and that our individual identities are rooted in (or derived from) broader collective cultures, I do not think that it need necessarily follow that our constitution should codify the current forms that this diversity assumes.