Here are some personal stories from AQI members about why they are Québec sovereignists.
“As a youngster growing up in an English-speaking household in Ottawa, I was fascinated by French. My little neighbour taught me how to count in French when I was about five years old. I remember trying to decipher the French on my cereal box at a young age. Starting in Grade 3, I loved Mme. Benoit’s French class where once a week we learned songs like “Alouette”.
So I was thrilled when I got the opportunity at age 17 to do an exchange with a girl from Rimouski. Nobody in her immediate neighborhood spoke any English and I was in heaven. I met my husband-to-be there and spent some romantic evenings listening to records on the ‘pick-up’ on the beach in Rimouski-Est. I loved talking politics with his family who espoused Independentism from the very beginning.
I knew that Québec was a nation right away. My mom was from England and so I had been exposed to another culture. Although it was not as nearly different as the French was. It was obvious to me from the beginning of my life in Québec City, where I brought up three children, that Quebecers needed the power to enact their own laws and control their own lives. Over the years, I have been a witness to so many difficulties due to this not being the case.
I am discouraged at the slow progress towards the goal of becoming independent from Canada. I am, however, encouraged by the creation of Anglophones for Québec Independence. I really think we need to put aside our partisan difficulties and unite all our forces to achieve the common goal. It would be wonderful if I could see Québec become a country in my lifetime.“
– Ann Cochrane, Québec city
“I came to Québec looking for opportunities that just weren’t available to me in my home country. I started out thinking I would just mind my own business, work on my studies, and eventually move on. At first, Québec seemed like little more than a chapter in my life. But over time, as I improved my French and met new people, I began to develop profound and lasting relationships that exposed me to new horizons and different ways of thinking. The people that I have met here and the experiences I’ve had have turned Québec into more than just a place to find economic opportunities, but rather into my home with a story and an identity that can’t be replaced and can’t be found anywhere else on Earth. Québec and its people have shown me compassion and generosity as well as my own potential and sense of self-worth. I believe that Québec is unique in the world, and through independence, the people living here, as well as anyone who settles here, will have an even greater chance of realizing their full potential and finding their own sense of self-worth.“
“I became a sovereigntist in 1995.
I learned that the Québécois form a people. The Québécois form a nation. To each nation, its freedom.
We have a shared history, marked by the love of our land, cultural richness, openness to all our sisters and brothers and resistance against imperialism in all its forms.
We have a shared present, marked by our unique role in North America and the world.
Above all, we have a shared future: we must speak to all other nations as equals.
To each nation, its state. The state exists by and for the people. Only the people are sovereign.
This is the natural course of history: independence or assimilation.
Today, I am an indépendantiste.
Québec is beautiful.
Long live the free Québec! Long live the republic of Québec!“
– Matthew Gapmann, Montréal
“I have been a proponent of Québec sovereignty more or less since I arrived from Australia 30 years ago. My reasoning has developed over the years, but I started from the premise (and personal recognition) that Québec is a unique state within North America, with which I very quickly identified, and which I thought both under threat and worth preserving. I felt that English Canada, the main stumbling block apart from the need to mobilize the actual population to vote “Oui,” disregarded Québec and as a result, treated it very badly. This was confirmed very much, historically, in *Le livre noir du Canada anglais*. It always seemed to me that the reason the question “What does Québec want?” could never be answered was due to the failure of the ROC to learn French so that communication could take place at another level, other than cat-calling.
- I think many states are much too big and cumbersome, and Québec is about the right size.
- I have long believed that the Québec way of looking at the world is an important addition to the overall human community. Here in Québec, we are neither English-Canadian nor American in spirit. We are very different (in spite of our love affair with the automobile).
- As a francophile, I am incredibly spoilt by having access to all aspects of culture in two languages and believe that is worth protecting and maintaining, not just for me!
- I believe, like the students in 2012, that Québec has the capacity to mobilize to defend the tenets of social justice and anti-colonialism espoused by Vadeboncoeur, Chartrand, the Refus global and the Québec gauche in general, but only through independence.“
– Owen Hughes
“I am a Canadian citizen and am bilingual with English being my dominant language. I love to travel and have to many countries, and am currently continuing my education towards a Master’s degree. I live in Montréal, my family has longtime roots in La Mauricie, and I have always considered myself Québécois.
Québec is like no other part of Canada or the United States.
I am proud of the more than three hundred years of history my family has here from La Nouvelle France to Québec. I enjoy the culture and the Latin way of living.
Whenever I travel, I am proud to represent Québec.
I fully believe Québec will be better off economically in every sense when it will be independent and Québécois masters of their own house and destiny.
Canada is beautiful and will make a great friendly neighbour.“
– An adopted Montréaler
“Why am I for independence? In short, I don’t think that the United States and Canada really have much of a culture anymore. Yes, I know that nobody wants to hear that, and then everybody might angrily go on about the enormous differences between the different regions in the United States or even Canada. Okay, maybe it was truer in the past. Today, however, the mass “culture” of the big centers like New York and Los Angeles has spread its influence all over the continent (and beyond). These days, whether people want to admit it or not, we only have the mass culture, the one that carries the same cultural references from one ocean to another. And nobody wants to acknowledge that. But I do.
It has become clearer and clearer how the mass cultural steamroller was busy making everything the same. Of course, Québec has not been spared. For better or worse, we are living in the mass culture as well. Nevertheless, here we have the French language and, because of that, we have our own institutions and our own unique cultural references. We are pushed towards creation in this language, which ends up being something of and for ourselves. This favours a local cultural output providing us with the values, principles, and world vision that belong to us. Of course, all this can be shared by others, whether they be Québec’s historic anglophone minority or newcomers. It only calls for integration into Québec’s society. A society that is distinctly American but unlike anywhere else. It is ours. The Québec nation has created something truly unique. A springboard towards further creative construction and expression that deserves to be protected.“