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March 18, 1979 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-03-18
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Page 8-Sunday, March 18, 1979-The Michigan Daily

secession
(Continued from Page 3)
Montreal, says, "The Anglophones
needed a free labor force. They wanted
to attract many Francophone workers,
because a lot of workers meant they
could pay low salaries." Shaking his
head over the passiveness of many
Francophone workers, the 20-year-old
student says, "The Francophones are
not aware that the Anglophones
dominate them."
In 1968, though, a rumble was heard
from within the ranks of the "quiet
revolution," as the rather moderate
nationalist movement of the 1960s was
called. The PQ was formed, the fusionf
of several independence groups, its
raison d'etre the securing of political
independence from Canada. "When the
PQ was born, no one thought it would
come this far," says Abarrategui. "No
one thought the referendum would grow
and stay."
In 1973, the QLP, which had held the
political fort since 1960, won a vast
majority of the seats in the National
Assembly - .Quebec's version of the
American Congress - while the PQ
barely made a showing. But despite its
outwardly poor performance in the
election, the PQ had actually received
30 per cent of the popular vote; the
separatist party was gaining, although
a casual observer might not have
realized this at first glance.
Then, in the fateful November 1976
election, the PQ, downplaying the in-
dependence issue and campaigning on
the QLP's corruption, won a majority in
the Assembly. Rene Levesque, already
champion of the Francophone cause in
Quebec, was elected premier of the
province..
Latouche, as the premier's con-
stitutional adivsor, says that "The need
for independence is there in terms of
politics and economics. It is the natural
tendency in the history of the world for
ethnic groups to achieve the status of
nation-state. If you are not an actor in
the unification or reorganization
ballgame, no one will defend your in-
terests. Quebec wants to join the con-
cert of nations and defend its own in-
terests."

go

And for many Quebecers, the need for
cultural identity accounts for their of-
ten emotional response to the indepen-
dence question. Says Francophone
Claude Paradis, a 40-year-old French
teacher who has lived in Montreal for 20
years, "For me, independence would
be the birth of a new perception of our-
selves. At last, we would be fully
responsible for our own destiny."
LTHOUTH most Quebecers
readily dismiss that there is
possibility of a United States-
type civil war, certain facets of the
Canadian media have played up the
potential for violence as a real threat.
"The seeds of violence are within us
all," states an article in this month's
issue of Opinion, a magazine published
by the pro-Canada Council for
Canadian Unity. "The French and
English, as opposite and yet as com-
plementary as emotion and reason,
have been at each other's throats for
centuries, and these hostilities - con-
trary to those who claim ostrich-like It
can't happen here' - may erupt again
in Canada if we remain blind to their
existence."
Most Montrealers, however, would
not describe the city's Francophones
and Anglophones as "at each other's
throats." "It's not hostility," insists
Abarrategui, "but alienation."
Abarrategui, who came to Montreal
from Belgium at the age of six, says he
feels there is no blatant on-the-street
antagonism between the twogroups,
but that subtle prejudice exists on the
part of the Anglophones in financial
control of the city.
French-speaking Paradis says he
rarely comes in contact with Mon-
treal's English-speaking population. "I
relate to the Anglophones only through
my teaching," he says, adding that he
feels the abyss between the two groups
is created primarily by the
Anglophones. With the victory of the PQ
and the advent of the referendum,
Paradis says, "I have noticed a change
for the better. The Francophones have
been less on the defensive, less doubtful
about their cultural heritage."

According to Gold, the disparity bet-
ween Francophones and Anglophones is
lessening, but has by no means disap-
peared. "There are still two solitudes,"
he declares. However, St. Lawrence
Street, which for years had divided
Montreal into the "French" and
"English" sections, is no longer a
definitive barrier. Many French-
speaking citizens are now moving
westward in the city.
Even so, Gold says, many Montreal
residents retain a mental picture of the
invisible dividing line: "Most English-
speaking people I know have very few
French friends, which I don't think is
normal. Of course, I don't know if white
people in the States have many black
friends."
Gold says he has on occasion felt an-
tagonism from the Francophones in
Montreal, and recalls that only last
month, two friends of his had been con-
versing in English on the chic, cafe-
lined Rue St. Denis, located a few
blocks east of St. Lawrence, when they
were interrupted and told to speak only
in French.
French, in fact, is now the only of-
ficial language in Quebec, as mandated
by the 18-month-old Bill 101. That bill,
apprgved by the province's legislative
assembly, requires nearly all
businesses to operate strictly in Fren-
ch, limits access to English education
by forcing all immigrants to go to
French schools, and prohibits the use of
English in public signs.
The measure has been attacked,
cheered, and ridiculed, and one popular
anecdote involves what has come to be
called the "stop sign controversy." The
government is currently in a bind over
how to Francize the signs, which, ex-
cept for the repetition of the word
"stop" - once in French and once in
English - are just as octagonal and red
as those in the States.
The initial multi-million dollar
proposal merely to eradicate the
English word met with a great hue and
cry from the public, since even in Fran-
ce the English-word "stop" is used on
the signs. Egged on by a press that
publicized the issue extensively, the
controversy raged, and a solution has
yet to be implemented. One likely an-
swer is to emblazon the red signs with
the international symbol of a hand.
'The whole thing has become an em-
barrassment to the government
because it's so petty," says Gold.
W ITH ITS ramifications stretch-
ing from the wording of a stop
sign to cultural sovereignty,
the Quebec nationalist moveinent has
become a crucial time bomb to nearly
everyone in the province. Yet despite
the vital nature of the issue,
speculations on the outcome run the
gamut from A to Z. Polls conducted
constantly*by politicians, businesses,
and the media , to determine the
definitive sentiment in the province are
wholly inconclusive.
And the list of considerations and
reservations covers two opposite poles
as well. One major fear is the loss of
businesses, and therefore capital, to the

western provinces. Sun-Life, the
province's largest insurance company,
moved to Toronto last year, casting an
ominous shadow over Quebec's
business life. Many observers predict
that Quebec would collapse financially
if separated from Canada.
Observers also point out that, to keep
itself in the black, the province might
lean more and more on the U.S.
for financial support. Latouche has
rejected this theory, saying he does not
think Quebec's relationship to the U.S.
would change at all. "We share the
same values, the same way of life, the
same toothpaste," the official declares.
"We have natural resources the U.S.
wants. The U.S. has the habit of paying
for what it wants, and we have the habit
of selling what we have."
A vital question surrounding the issue
of secession is what would happen to
English-speaking residents. Should'
Quebec achieve relative independence,
would the situation then be so op-
,pressive to the Anglophones that they
would emigrate in large numbers? It is
true that Anglophones have been
emigrating from Montreal, and leaving
a wide open rental market, particularly
in the affluent English-speaking subur-
bs. There is debate among the residen-
ts, however, whether that exodus was
spurred by the 1976 election, or whether
it is simply an outgrowth of the general
Anglicizing-westward trend of the six-
ties.
Reflecting on the possible migration
of , Quebec's English-speaking
population, Bourgault, now a teacher
and journalist, says he has faith they
will remain, even if the province gains
independence. "They will think, 'At
last, now I have a country to build.' It is
an intellectual construction."
Bourgault stresses the importance of
the Francophones and Anglophones
working together to create a strong new
sovereignty, adding that the separatists
have no prejudices against the
English-speaking citizens.
Many Francophones anticipate a new
era in which they will cease to be
strangers in their homeland. Finally, in
a state where for centuries they had
been dominant only in number, the
Francophones may soon be able to
freely express their native creativity
and manipulate their own lifestyles.
With the power of autonomy, they could
shake off the financial dominance of the
Anglophones, who to many French-
speaking natives seem the very em-
bodiment of the old adage, "Money
equals power."
And, as Bourgault puts it, indepen-
dence would renew the French-
speaking Quebecois psychologically.
The former separatist leader warns,
however, "Let's not make-too big a fuss
- it will take 20 or 30 years to see the
results of independence. Independence
is nothing but a tool in the struggle."
Whether that struggle will succeed is as
yet only a matter of speculation. And
even if Quebec does separate from
Canada, that seemingly earth-shaking
move would be only a beginning for the
citizens. They would still have to build a
nation.

mardi gras

(Continued from Page 5)
It was so popular that it became a
tradition that has grown steadily; there
are now well over forty such
organizations. Each is based on a
theme taken from history, fiction of
mythology, and each organization has
its own parades and costumed balls.
The Mardi Gras tradition has grown
stronger, so that it is now one of
America's most famous celebrations.
"A police strike can't kill Mardi
Gras. Mardi Gras is a spirit in
everyone's heart," said Dr. Frank
Minyard, the city coroner, leading a
mock jazz funeral for Mardi Gras
through the streets.
The battle of New Orleans public ser-
vants apparently had little effect on the
swarms of people who migrated from
around the country to converge on the
crescent city. Partying in the streets
grew as the Mardi Gras weekend rolled
around. Spirits inflated, as did the price
of hotel rooms, increased by as much as
50 per cent.
Revelers clogged the streets below
iron grillwork balconies vying for
colored beads, coins and little rubber
super balls which were dropped from
above. The famous phrase "Throw me
somethin', mister," was expanded to
"Show me somethin', honey," as
Women bared their breasts for handsful
of beads.

Alcohol flowed freely and pot smoke
hung in the air, while solidly built state
policemen stood stonefaced in groups of
five or six, rarely disrupting the
merrymaking and arresting only
flagrant violators of the law. The
National Guard was not seen in the
French Quarter until Fat Tuesday,
when they appeared in full force,
patrolling the streets carrying M-16s.
They seemed to be enjoying the
costumes, color and excitement as
much as everyone else. It was amazing
to be in the midst of thousands of in-
toxicated people and not observe one
fight. The generations mixed amiably,
and an overwhelming sense of good
feeling prevailed.
An impromptu parade evolved from
a conglomeration of beating drums, two
trombones, and a banjo picker made its
way down Bourbon St., absorbing be-
bopping spectators along the way. The
continually growing flow of color,
laughter and painted faces seemed lif-
ted along by the beat of dixieland, as
they turned down St. Peter's St., and
snaked past Preservation Hall - the
birthplace of jazz.
As Fat Tuesday became Ash Wed-
nesday, weary bodies stumbled out of
the French Quarter heading for home to
nurse hangovers, dodging debris from..
the marathon merry-making.

inside.

sundry mdgazine
Co-editors

Fear and
guilt in
the subway

Quebec
struggles for
sovereignty

New York
jazz: From bs
to Broadway

Owen Gleiberman

Judy Rakowsky

Cover photo by Andy Freeberg

Supplement to The Michigan Daily

Ann Arbor, Michigan-Sunday, March 18, 1979

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