“Money and the ethnic vote”

The target of Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau’s wrath in his bitter concession speech to YES supporters on the night of their loss of the 1995 Quebec Referendum.1 Parizeau blamed “money and the ethnic vote” (seen by many, as code for the Jews and the foreign born) for the razor-thin defeat of the YES forces, prompting cheers inside the hall, but triggering a maelstrom that resulted in his speedy replacement as PQ Leader and Quebec Premier by the sovereignty movement’s white knight, Lucien Bouchard.

Despite the personal disrepute that descended on Parizeau, the sentiment he voiced has remained something of a leitmotif in separatist circles. Its sensibility informed Pauline Marois’ xenophobic “Charter of Values,”2 with the question of who is or is not a “real Quebecker” at the centre of much separatist thinking.

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