Yes, one of our proud, bright eyed NDP candidates (high on the smell of power) believes that Quebec is essentially a colonized African country. And no, she’s not talking about the Aboriginals.
Beatrice Zako—who was briefly the NDP candidate who was trying to nab Justin Trudeau’s riding in what Mulcair Crew (which just doesn’t have the same ring as Notley crew) expects to be Orange Wave 2.0—has become the latest NDP candidate to leave the party uncomfortable with their choice. Fortunately, it isn’t a choice they’re necessarily stuck with as Ms. Zako has stepped down after she made some eyebrow-raising comments about Quebec’s place within Canada.
Ms. Zako served a three-month stint on the executive board of Option National, a radically left wing separatist party in Quebec whose sole goal was Quebec independence. It was kind of a one issue party, just like the Greens have been accused of being. How long she actually supported Option Nationale is unknown, but she compared her flirtation (as the NDP referred to it) to a very brief love affair. NDP staffers may have further had their pulse quicken when she was asked point blank if she supported Quebec independence and simply deferred her answer by saying, “it is a very, very good question.” Regardless of Zako’s credentials (which included the wish that her children could exchange their Canadian passports for Quebec ones), the NDP have insisted that the party was happy with their candidate up against Trudeau. Party insiders even said she is an ardent federalist, at least since winning the nomination.
It’s just water under the bridge, right? The past is in the past? Not quite. Apparently Zako compared Quebec to a colonized African country in terms of Quebecers colonized by Anglos and the ethnic (non-french speaking) vote. Ms. Zako supports Quebec independence because the continual struggle the unfree African countries face is very similar to that which Quebec faces. In Zako’s own words, Quebecers—like Africans—seek “liberty”!
Europe hasn’t had colonies in Africa since the 1960s but, nevertheless, the IMD, WTO, and endlessly corrupt, discriminatory, feuding, and incompetent governments do create an atmosphere which could suggest Africa is not quite “free.” All of Canada (really, all of North America) is a region colonized by European powers and whose native populations were brutally treated, abused, and dehumanized for centuries. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission or anyone of Aboriginal descent can attest to that. But Ms. Zacko wasn’t referring to Aboriginals when she compared Quebec to Africa. No, she was talking about the age-old wail of separatists who claim that Quebecers have been unfairly treated by Les Anglais in the past and now present. This is something which gives Les Franceais the right to mistreat us; from Bill 101 to the Language Police (famous most recently for Pastagate!), barring the use of English signage, removing English from communities where Anglos reside and barring the use of English at an official level. Only about half of this is the fault of separatists. Part of it comes from the Quebec Liberal Party, which NDP Leader Mulcair used to be a member of.
Aside from the corrupt governments and discriminatory policies against minorities (both linguistic and ethnic), I fail to see how Quebec is like a colonized African country. Certainly not in reference to Quebecers, whom Ms. Zacko feels are the ones seeking freedom from oppression and tyranny. For a party that’s looking to count the Aboriginal vote, completely overlooking the colonization of Aboriginal people seems very inappropriate. Whatever happened to je me souviens? Oh wait, that means “I remember up until 1608 but nothing about the people who already lived here.”
Ironically, Mx. Zako’s comments are in the same vein as Prime Minister Harper’s own from several years ago where he assured the developed world that Canada had no history of colonialism. Thankfully for NDP staffers, a massive brain hemorrhage (be that a hemorrhage of support) was avoided when Zako announced she was stepping down as NDP candidate for Papineau, so as to not be a distraction for a party she still supports. One can assume she means the NDP, but wasn’t particularly specific. Further, despite stepping down, she still retains her page as an NDP candidate and has seemingly held that post since earlier this month. This likely makes her candidacy one of the shortest ever, almost as short as some of those NDP candidates from the last election who went on to be MPs.
Still jobless or not, Zako should apologize for her insensitive remarks, particularly to Mr. Mulcair. It could be one more pin speeding toward his bubble.