February 5, 2014

Part 2 of 4: Canada -- a country of many nations

Taken from Canada's Future is Socialism, The programme of the CPC.

The 2012 Quebec Student Strike
In this excerpt:

  • Quebec's status as a nation;
  • The way forward;
  • Flaws of the BNA act continued;
  • The Acadian people

Quebec's status as a nation

The sharpest expression of the constitutional crisis relates to Quebec’s national status and the failure of the Canadian state to recognize Quebec’s right to national self-determination, up to and including secession.

This non-recognition of Quebec’s rights is itself an expression of the historic national oppression of Quebec – its political, economic and social oppression – since the British conquest of New France in 1763.

This national oppression has in turn aroused national indignation among the Quebec people, and spawned bourgeois and petty-bourgeois-led nationalist and separatist movements there.

The way forward

The fight to defend Quebec’s national rights and sovereignty is a pivotal social and democratic struggle. However, the separatist solution as expressed by the petty-bourgeois nationalist parties would not solve the crisis in the interests of working people.

Quebec has reached the advanced stage of monopoly capitalism; its economic relations with English-speaking Canada are no longer those of a colonial character.

The separatist solution would bring severe additional economic hardship to the working people of both nations and would weaken their political unity against the common enemy – finance capital, both domestic and international – and weaken the common struggle for fundamental change.

Flaws of the BNA Act continued

Recent changes to Canada’s constitution have perpetuated the structural flaws and built-in inequalities of the original British North America Act (BNA Act) of 1867.

The adoption of a new Canadian constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, while formally a step forward from a colonial Act of another country, nevertheless failed to address the underlying source of the crisis of Confederation.

The current constitution perpetuates the injustices and inequities of the old BNA Act. “Provincial rights” were substituted for genuine national rights, thus accentuating the trend to decentralization, while doing nothing to uphold Canadian independence or to recognize the national rights of Quebec and the Aboriginal peoples.

The Acadian people

The Acadians, who today live mostly in the Maritimes, are also a nation. Originally 16th century settlers from France, the Acadians were driven out of Nova Scotia by the British who seized their lands after the defeat of the French in 1755. While significant numbers of the Acadian people remain geographically dispersed, substantial numbers constitute a stable community within the Maritimes, and maintain their unique language, culture, history, and collective national consciousness.

The rights of the Acadians to protect and maintain their national identity with full state support, including the right to self-government, must be guaranteed.

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