---- Quebec goes Green?
Premier François Legault's declaring all of Quebec "green" this week is an unexpected stroke of genius on his part. It confirms that he is one of our rare political leaders who is able to take a different look (outside the box) at our most intractable and fruitless political disputes. Not only was he a success in the business world, but he now shows himself a master of history, or irony -- and of progress.
Declaring Quebec green gives a long-anticipated nod to the historical contribution of Quebec's Irish immigrants -- mostly of them driven from their homes and farms and arriving here indentured (as debt-slaves). The Irish, like several minorities, have been long neglected on the big-screen Anglo-Franco melodrama which has gobbled up all the oxygen in Canadian politics for generations. My own family ancestors were among the thousands of Irish labourers who dug the Lachine Canal -- with picks and shovels!-- a very important and beneficial infrastructure in Quebec's pre-modern development. It is no secret that in a province ruled by the then-arrogant British that the Irish would be denigrated -- one of the few minorities lower on the social scale than the resident Quebecois. So with this recognition from Quebec City now spread across the national media, it is, I'm sure, accepted as sincere by the large Irish-background minority across Quebec.
However, the real genius in this move is in the political arena: Premier Legault has immediately and effectively shut down the entire ideological machinery of Franco-Anglo dispute, grievance, rancour, small-mindedness, and competition. From this day forward we are all green -- and no longer only along St Catharine Street on St Patrick's Day.
What this may mean in terms of language for our unilingual neighbours is difficult to say, but we must remember that both the Irish and French languages owe immeasurable debts to the contributions of their Celtic early populations.
Furthermore, since everyone loves the Irish -- except old-school Brits -- what could satisfy our Franco-nationalist friends more (well, apart from a declaration of independence and the closing of all easy ties to ROC)? Legault's declaration is a genuine slap across the face of old Imperial Britain. We must remember, says our license plates, that the British Empire began it's long, destructive march around the world with the conquest of its own neighbour, Ireland. France has always been a helpful ally to the Irish, perhaps moreso than even to Québec itself. Our common Celtic roots, no doubt.
So, in brief, our cheers today go to Premier François Legault -- unexpected, but brilliant, move, sir!