Saturday, December 09, 2006

Rowe’s column didn’t reflect reality in Quebec

I'm not in the habit of reprinting letters to the editor from other publications but I thought this one was a worthy response to a recent column from Mr. Bill Rowe. In that column, he carried on with his usual corrosive and shallow perspective on national politics, especially federalism.

His position was that he wanted to brush up on his French so he could go to Quebec in a hypothetical referendum and campaign for separation. He segued from that to his usual point that we are victims who need to be saved from everybody, including ourselves.

When I read the column it drove me so wild that I could not even begin to frame the opposing argument to this kind of self-absorbed foolishness. Then I saw the perfect response as printed in this letter.

In it, Mr. Stephen Penney accurately pinpoints the nub of Mr. Rowe's problem - his recollections are dated and no longer reflect this world, country and province.


Rowe’s column didn’t reflect reality in Quebec
Letter to the Editor
By The Telegram

I am responding to Bill Rowe’s column in the Dec. 2 edition of The Telegram, headlined “Next referendum on Quebecois nation will be real.”

Having moved back to Newfoundland from Quebec after an absence of almost 10 years, I feel I have a little more insight into the nature of Quebec’s political thinking than Rowe. His self-deprecating reference to himself as a “maudit Anglais” says enough.

A different experience

The attitudes that I experienced in five and a half years of living in Montreal were rarely hateful of English Canadians. “Maudit Anglais” or “Cursed Anglophone” is a fossil expression from earlier days. Rowe’s obviously limited experience in Quebec must date from a while ago.

Also, Rowe’s terribly cliche and passive-aggressive attitude that Quebec should leave Canada is both an indicator of his ignorance of the place and a reason why many Quebecois feel isolated in Canada. Can you blame the Quebecois for their separatist sentiments when their ignorant and unsympathetic fellow Canadian “nationals” know nothing of them?

Upset by comments

Furthermore, in terms of dated mentalities, Rowe’s comments regarding Newfoundland are much more disturbing and worthy of criticism. Who is Mr. Rowe, as a popular media commentator, to suggest that Newfoundland and Labrador will never have “the freedom to determine its own direction and destiny in the world, unimpeded by a corrosive colonial overlordship from Ottawa?” He justifies this statement by saying this province is “too Ottawa-greedy, like a courtesan dependent on a rich sugar daddy.”

His insulting attitude towards this province is not as problematic as his lack of hope and faith in this province.

As this province moves into the future, I believe it’s time we treat Mr. Rowe, his negativity and lack of faith in Newfoundland and Labrador as they should be: relics of the past.

Stephen Penney

St. John’s

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