24 September 2007

Victims in our own house

From the Monday Telegram, a letter criticising the bootie bonus:
Though Newfoundland may have had a small European settler population, the majority of which came from the West Country in England and the southwestern Irish (which I assume is Williams' favoured race), there exists in this province people of French, Scottish, Métis, and aboriginal ancestry. Do these people constitute a part of this supposed dying race?

First, how is this going to appear to the rest of country?

Québécois nationalists have been arguing the notion of "pure laine" for over 40 years. It implies that only Quebecers who are white, French-speaking, and have long-established ancestry can be considered Québécois.

Quebec historians like Lionel Groulx, who was a raving racist, argued during the 1920s and '30s that French Quebecers, as well, were a dying race and under threat from powerful outside influences. By putting our grievances as a nation in racial terms, it will be looked on with scorn and amusement by Newfoundland's critics, and will make any demand to have our destiny in our own hands illegitimate.

Second, when immigration becomes a fact of life in our province, how will this appear to the immigrant population? Will they not be considered real Newfoundlanders? Are the immigrants and refugees living there now considered Newfoundlanders?

These are heady times in our province and we find ourselves at a crossroad. We can continue with political rhetoric that existed when Britannia ruled supreme and women were seen and not heard, or we can open ourselves to the world as a proud and distinct nation.

Unfortunately, it seems we don't have the worldly leadership that this province deserves, but instead one that loves to see us as victims in our own house.