otels. (Mcdgar F-vers might have conidercdrnPerkins’ notions of “redneck big-rn)tr” somewhat dilettantish.) finally, hern)btained a researcher’s post at the FcderilrnOffice of Aboriginal Mfairs, his mainrnpower base for Hie rest of his career, hirntiiis role, he piibliclv castigated meml^ersrnof the Oough Whitlam Cabinet^mostrnuotabK’, his own department’s minister atrnthe time, Sen. )amcs C>aanagh. WhenrnPerkins’ superiors lost pahencc with hisrn]X’nehant for disappearing from his deskrnto join anti-white protests on the frontrnlawn of Canberra’s Parliament House,rntlie inflicted on him the most seere possiblernreproof: a ‘ear’s lea’e with full pa’.rnDespite liis 1974 description of Australia’srnanti-Labor parties (then in opposition)rnas pernicious racists, he happily acceptedrnpromotion at their hands whenrnthe- regained government in 1975. Hisrnsole punishiuent for having attributedrnwhite-supremacist iews to his bosses wasrnto be named assistant seeretan’ of the Aboriginalrn.Affairs Department in 1978. Therndepartment’s top job came his way fiverncars later, once Labor had returned tornpower under Prime Minister Bob Hawke.rnPerkins’ contribution to the nationalrnbieentenan celebrahous in 1988 consistedrnof Inmns of hatred toward Indo-rnChinese refugees from Marxist terror.rn” ‘ e ‘ e brought enough of these peoplernfrom Sonth-East .Asia,” Perkins proclaimed,rnto the alarm of Hawke’s immigrationrnminfster, Ccrr Hand, who knewrnthe impossibility of an non-Aboriginalrnpolitician’s career suri’ing a similar outburst.rnHaxing compounded his AdamrnClaton Powell imitation with inestmcutrnshell games, Perkins found himselfrneompcljcd to resign —with his entirernpension fmid intact. Thereafter, he iucrcasingK-rnresembled esterda ‘s man, insofarrnas anonc can combine that rolernwith recciiug 199Vs Aboriginal of thern”‘ear award and an honorar doctoraternfrom his alma mater. John Howard,rnwhom Perkins called “the worst PrimernMinister this countr’ has cer had,” declaredrnhim a “I ,iingNational Treasure.”rnPerkins’ death lea es Aboriginal affairsrnpreciseU where he found them —andrnthe statistics are grim. The axerage lifernepcctanc’ of full-blooded Aboriginalrnmales remains almost two decades shorterrnthan (hat of white males (54 ears asrnopixjsed to 73). The infant-mortalih raternis almost three times the correspondingrnCaucasian figure. Cf comse, Perkinsrnfounded his whole polic’ on the axoidaucernot serious issues of Aborie;inaIrnhealth —especiallv Aboriginal alcoholicrnpoisoning—in favor of adocating whatrnhe learned to call “empowerment.” ‘I’ornbe fair to Perkins, he could not have donernotherwise: Althougli the Warsaw Pactrncomitries discarded socialism’s accoutrementsrn12 ears back, no such purgationrneer occurred in Australia. The idearnthat bureancrahc Urants have a monopol’rnnot just on ‘irtue, but on competence,rncould no more be challenged brnCharles Perkins (or bv those who subsidizedrnhim) than polluted water can bernqueshoned bv a fish. In allowing the likesrnof Perkins to dwell in their drieling blissrnof nannv-statism (“where,” as Kiplingrnonce observed, “all men are paid for exishngrnand no man must pay for his sins”)rnwhite Australia is indeed as moral]- culpablernas Perkins said it was.rnR.]. Stove writes from Sydney.rnLetter From Canadarnby Neil CameronrnUtopia and Dystopia onrnthe Saint Lawrencern.A quarter of Canada’s ?0 million peoplernlive in the province of Quebec. Aboutrnfive million are French Canadians, large-rn1′ descended from hardy Norman peasantsrnwho came here 300 xears ago. Arnquarter of the fie million want to secedernfrom Canada. A larger (but indeterminate)rnproportion faor as much autonomrnas possible without risking a totalrnbreak. One of the two main proxineialrnparties, die Parti Quebecois (PQl, at leastrnrhetoriealK favors idhmate “sovereigntv”rnand held unsuccessful referenda to Hiisrnend in 1980 and 1995. “Sovereignt” isrnsomething less dian full independence;rnthe latter word eokes much less popularrnsupport. Both referenda asked onl for arn”mandate to negotiate,” but the’ didn’trnget one. Polls hae alwas indicated arnblunter question would fare much worse.rnSince about 40 percent of the proince —rnincluding a million Faiglish speakers —rneonsistenth’ oppose socreignt’, supportrnis nnlikeh” to rise alxje 60 percent.rnMan opponents of soereignt- hacrnlong argued that a real separation woiddrninevitably lead to partitioning of thernprovince, with Canada retaining severalrnportions, including the huge northernrnterritory and at least part of Montreal.rnThe case was first fulK presented in arn1980 book, Partition: The Price o/ QuebecrnIndependence, by Lionel Albert and WilliamrnShaw. A 1996 poll by L’Actualite,rnthe main Quebec newsmagazine, showedrnthat over half the provincial population —rnincluding voters on both sides of the referendumrnquestion — Hionght a postsecessionrnpartition would be likeh’.rnThe Canadian constitution makes norn[3roision for anv’ kind of secession b vote.rnThree ears ago, a Canadian SupremernCourt test of Quebec’s referendum lawrngarnered an opinion that a clear majoritvrnsecessionist vote should launch a negotiationrnon Quebec’s departure, but leftrnthe questions of borders open. Federalrn1 .iberals have been quoting this cx’errnsince. The Conscnative Alliance, whilernadvocating decentralization, also endorsesrnthe Supreme Court position. 1 bus, therernhas been a profound change in both eliternand majoritv Canadian opinion sincern1995. Sovereignists have also become fatigued.rnLucien Bouchard, the charismaticrnbut cautious PQ premier from 1995 tornJanuai}’ of this year, declared tliat tiierernwould not be another referendum until hernsaw “winning conditions.” His successor,rnBernard Landn’, is more abrasive and fondrnof fights with Ottawa, but shows no morerninclination to enter a losing battle.rnI’or most of Quebec’s historv, FrenchrnCanadian nationalism was chietly a conservative,rnCatholic, anti-urban movement,rnquite hostile to radical separatism.rnThe most celebrated nationalist historian,rnRobert Rumillv, immigrated fromrnP’rance in the 1920’s, seeking a blessed islandrnof Latin Catholic Christianity. Hernli ed long enough to see atheistic socialismrnand capitalist individualism descendrnon the province and died a bitter man,rnequall) loathing Pierre Trudeau’s leftishrnfederalism and the leftish PQ. I’hernleft presented itself as the wave of tiie futurernfrom 1965 to 1995 but ultimatclvrnalarmed the new francophone businessrnand professional classes as much as it didrntheir cautious ciders. The disintegrationrnof the old Union Nationale Party leftrnmanv conservative nationalists unhappilyrnvoting for the long-detested LiberalrnRouges. As a UN part)- leader once remarked,rnthe prov ince is an eternal battlegroundrnof Ilominicans and Jesuits.rn”Partitionists” are also divided, uncertainrnvvhetiier separation is a real possibili-rnMAY 2 001,/) 9rnrnrn