February 26, 2003

The Great Divide

As I suspected, it turns out that the divide in Canada that exists along language lines, is present when the numbers are broken down in regards to support of the United States.

According to David Frum:

Americans may be tempted to inscribe Canada into the Axis of Weasels, but think again: In yesterday’s Globe and Mail, columnist Lysiane Gagnon reports on a new study of Canadian public opinion that shows that Canada – like the Western Alliance – is divided on war by linguistic lines. Sixty percent of Canadians outside the French-speaking province of Quebec approve of the use of force by the United States in Iraq – only 44% of Quebeckers do. Nearly half of Canadians outside Quebec (48.5%) want Canada to support the U.S. in war. Only 30% of Quebeckers do.

I'm glad to see some sort of information on this. I know I've commented before that I'm not seeing the same rampant anti-Americanism being reported in the "East" with my friends and family in the "West". Figures that Quebec would be the fly in the pie yet again.

“Practically all opinion leaders [in Quebec] are either squarely against the use of force in Iraq or insist on the necessity of United Nations approval. I don’t know a single columnist, radio talk-show host or politician who would argue in favor of a unilateral U.S. military operation against Iraq.”

And this is par for the course in Quebec:

As Gagnon recalls, French-speaking Quebec also opposed Canada’s participation in the two world wars – and that indeed many French-speakers strongly sympathized with the Axis in the second. (A footnote here: Prime Minister Jean Chretien has been hobbled throughout his career by his relative unpopularity in his native province – and one important reason for that unpopularity was his father’s active support for the Allied war effort back in 1939-1945.)

And this is the antitheses of English speaking Canada:

By contrast, the other Canada, English-speaking Canada it bore arms in the English-speaking world’s great battles of the last century and despite four decades of bilingual social engineering, English Canadians cannot avoid feeling an obligation to enter the great battles of the next. That obligation expresses itself not just in the polls, but in the dozens of emails I receive every week from Canadians looking for a sympathetic ear for their rage and shame at the Chretien government’s weak-willed fence-sitting.

When I was a kid, during the time we lived in British Columbia, and all the summers spent at my grandparents, I'm not sure I ever heard a positive word about Quebec. Eastern Canada in general was considered close to a foreign land! My family had a proud tradition of service to King and Country, and I'm sure my great-grandfathers would be horrified at the turn of events in their country since their deaths. I know my parents aren't too happy.

So when the newspapers report on the divide between America and its traditional allies over Iraq, remember: The divide within those allies is at least as wide.
Posted by Ithildin at February 26, 2003 7:33 AM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE