Still a big divide when it comes to celebrating St-Jean, Canada Day

Photo courtesy the Gazette

Tomorrow is Quebec's national holiday. And according to a new study by Leger Marketing for the Association of Canadian Studies, the day bolsters patriotism among francophones just as Canada Day bolsters it among non-francophones.

But there isn't a whole lot of cross-over. 

The study says 63 per cent of francophones feel the Fete gives them a stronger attachment to Quebec.

Among non-francophones, that number is just 27 per cent.

Jack Jedwab of the Association of Canadian Studies says that may be the result of anglophones and allophones feeling they aren't invited to the party.

"As much as the Fete organizers describe their event as non-partisan, when we get to the actual commemorations, generally a political connection is made," he says. And I think it's one that makes a lot of federalists uneasy."

As for Canada Day, 67 per cent of non-francophones said that the holiday strengthened their attachment to the country. That number was just 31 per cent among francophones.

Jedwab thinks the obvious connection made by organizers to an independent and largely francophone Quebec jars with the natural tolerance on display in Montreal the rest of the year.

"Generally Montrealers are reasonably good about working together and socializing together, but the Fete Nationale and Patriots' Day and others are more exclusive in the way their messsage gets oriented."

Jedwab says one way to bridge the divide might involve getting other groups to organize the Fete alongside the Societe St-Jean Baptiste.

"More significant participation might be generated if the organizers would not use the Fete as a vehicle to convey their political message."

The poll also found that about a fifth of francophones said they became upset seeing a Canadian flag in public. The same percentage of non-francophones said they felt the same when seeing a Quebec flag in public.

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  1. Laurie posted on 06/23/2014 05:34 PM
    I once asked francophone friend if she would take me to some of the St. Jean parties she usually attended. She was all for it, her two friends were not. One of then said to me "Mais Laurie, ça n'a pas de bon sense, t'es pas Québecoise". ("But that doesn't make sense, you're not a Quebecer")

    Ironically, I was born here and had lived here almost all my life while she'd been born in the States to francophone parents who'd wanted a better life outside the province. The fact that we were both bilingual had zero bearing either, in her eyes I would never fit in.
  2. Michael C posted on 06/23/2014 06:51 PM
    The 24th is not a National Holiday but a provincial holiday. National refers to a country which Quebec is not. July 1st is our national holiday. The 24th is St Jean or Quebec holiday
  3. Paul posted on 06/24/2014 05:13 AM
    The Quebec flag should be a unifying symbol of Quebec pride.
    Instead, it has been turned into a symbol of tribal nationalism, separation and the PQ.
    It gives me anxiety.
  4. Tony N posted on 06/24/2014 10:10 AM
    Canada have no requirement celebrating and conforming to Quebec's holiday and should have its businesses open in Quebec. Take the 24th off the list of federally recognized holidays.
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