12 November 2013

Don Macpherson: McCarthyism, Québécois nationalist style


There’s just something about articles written by English-speaking Quebecers for New York publications criticizing Québécois nationalists that sends the latter clambering up the curtains.
You may recall the furor over the late Mordecai Richler’s article on Quebec’s language legislation, Inside/Outside, in New Yorker magazine in 1991, which Richler then expanded into a book, Oh Canada! Oh Quebec!
On Tuesday, the New York Times published an opinion article, titled “Quebec’s Tea Party Moment,” criticizing the Parti Québécois government’s proposed anti-hijab law (or what I call the Charter of Pants). It was written by Martin Patriquin, the Montreal-based Quebec bureau chief for Maclean’s magazine.
Patriquin isn’t the first Quebec commentator to compare the PQ, since it proposed the Charter of Pants, to the conservative Tea Party movement in the United States. Shortly after the PQ presented its initial “values” proposals in September, Jérôme Lussier called the PQ the “Tea Parti Québécois,” because of its “populist xenophobia,” on his blog for L’actualité magazine.
But Lussier kept his criticism within the French Quebec family, while Patriquin was writing for the English-speaking world.
So, inevitably, Patriquin was accused by Québécois nationalists of “besmirching Quebec’s image,” or, as it is commonly called, “Quebec bashing.”

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