For ERIC SHRAGGE the Left in English Canada and Quebec have left crucial questions unaddressed as they seek to deal with the issue of Quebec sovereignty. Shragge takes up the debate where Quebec trade union leader Monique Simard left it s in the July-August issue of Canadian Dimension.
The issue of the future of Quebec, and by implication the rest of Canada is one that raises serious political and social questions.
The Left in Canada has tried to walk a tightrope between a position that supports the right of the people of Quebec to determine their own future, and one which argues for the necessity of a central Canadian state that can defend some kind of national identity and protect an independent economy and social programs.
The francophone Left in Quebec takes for granted that independence is both desirable and inevitable. This position is supported by Monique Simard in July/August edition of Canadian Dimension.
In the discussion that follows I do not take a position for or against independence. I think that both camps have failed to address the crucial social questions we face in Quebec. I found that Simard's article avoided vital issues. This avoidance has made it easier for her to argue her position. But in doing so she has trivialized this central debate of our day.
I am writing this response as a native Montrealer and Quebecer. Although English is my mother tongue, and I work in an English speaking institution, I have made an effort to function in French and participate in a variety of political activities and social movements in which common concerns have pushed many like my to engage politically alongside French-speaking activists. I have always felt that solidarity on issues related to social justice and peace transcended differences in culture and language. My central concern is the link between the national question and the many social issues that are present in our society.