vcr’ much about politics.rnThe failure of the Canadian media tornpublicize the absent maple leaf was nornsurprise. From false assurances that thernseparatists lack political support tornspecious arguments that Quebec has nornlegal grounds to separate from Canadarneven if a referendum were approved, thernmedia and political elite of Canada arernmodels of denial.rnThe legalit)’ of secession was supposedrnto have been settled last year by the CanadianrnSupreme Court. The Liberal governmentrnof Prime Minister Jean Chretienrn(himself a Quebecer) sued to enjoinrnQuebec from secession, citing the ConsHtuHonrnof 1982 (which has no positionrnon secession and which Quebec neverrnratified anyway). The court declaredrnQuebec’s right to secede and the rest ofrnCanada’s obligation to negotiate a separationrnif a clear majority in Quebec approvesrna referendum.rnUnfortunately, it is not clear whatrn”clear majorit)'” means. Thus both sidesrnhave claimed legal victory. Counteringrnthe old separatist claim that a majorityrnneed only be 50 percent plus one, federalistsrninsist an overwhelming majority isrnneeded. In one sense, they are right: Separatingrnfrom Canada cannot be as simplernas 50 percent plus one. But this is not anrnadec[uate majorit}’ to ensure Quebec’s futurernin Canada, either.rnYet it is this very t’pe of majority—thernresult ofthe last referendum in 1995—onrnwhich federalists now rely. This doublernstandard plagues reporters andrnpoliticians. For instance, they do not likernbeing reminded that Newfoundland votedrnb- a bare majorit)’ to become a Canadianrnprovince in 1949. Whereas Quebec’srnnationalist motto is ]e me souviensrn(“I remember”), the Canadian media’srnmotto could well be J’oublies (“I forget”).rnConsider the case of English-rights actirnist Howard Galganov, who was criticizedrnby politicians in 1997 forrnbeing a member of the violent JewishrnDefense League in the 1970’s. ThernGlobe & Mail blasted the separatists forrndigging too far into Calganov’s past. Butrnin an Orwellian twist, the same editorialrnalso blasted the separatists for allegedlyrnrekindling the antisemitism of Quebecrnnationalists of the 1930’s.rnOf course, antisemitism is an embarrassingrnchapter not only in Quebec historvrnbut in Canadian hi,storv. Yet there is arnyrnbizarre double standard concerningrnwhose past is fair game. Consider separatistrnand former Quebec jurfst RichardrnTherrien, who came under fire in 1997rnon a strained theor’ that he had lied priorrnto his judicial appointment about his pastrnassociation with the militant Front for thernLiberation of Quebec (FLQ).rnNaturally, the Canadian press calledrnfor Therrien’s political head. Not so inrnthe case of Yvon Charbonireau, a formerrnseparatist and labor activist with ties tornmilitant groups in the 70’s. When thisrnformer separatist ran as a federalist for thernQuebec legislature in 1994, his story wasrntreated as a charming political odyssey.rnAnd the press was even more supportivernof Jean Louis Roux when he was appointedrnlieutenant governor of Quebec byrnChretien in 1996, even though his pastrnincludes marching in a pro-Nazi paradernduring World War II.rnApparently, past militant separatismrnand/or antisemitism is fine if the politicianrnis now a federalist and deplorable ifrnthe politician is a separatist. A similarrndouble standard was applied in 1995 tornFrench President Jacques Chirac andrnformer British Prime Minister MargaretrnThatcher. Chirac had indicated thatrnFrance woidd recognize a sovereignrnQuebec were the referendum to pass.rnThough Chirac subsequently apologizedrnfor the statement, newspapers like thernToronto Star were quick to blast him forrninterfering in Canadian affairs. ButrnThatcher, who had criticized the separatistsrnwith harsh and personal languagernduring a visit to Canada that year, receivedrnno such rebukes.rnThe United States was careful to stayrnmostly out of the fray in 1995. PresidentrnClinton even pledged neutrality during arnstate visit to Canada in Februar}’ of thatrnyear. But this did not prevent federalistrnreporters and politicians from declaringrnthat the United States would exclude arnsovereign Quebec from any currentrnagreements or arrangements that thernLInited States has with Canada.rnSuch hijacking of American policyrnshould have infuriated Americans. Butrneven more infuriating was Chretien’srnplea to Clinton in October 1995 to opposernthe separatists, who were runningrnneck and neck with the federalists in thatrnmonth’s referendum. Clinton is not easyrnto embarrass. But he must have been arnbit red-faced to revoke publicly the neutralityrnpledge he had made earlier thatrnyear at Chretien’s urging.rnAnd so we come back to the misreportcdrnSt. Jean Baptistc Day celebrations inrnMontreal. The false reports include thernstory in the Gazette insinuating that therernwas no political march following thisrnyear’s St. Jean Baptiste Day parade simplyrnbecause no politicians were marching.rnTruth be told, thousands of Quebecrnyouth marched down La Rue NotrernDame shouting Le Quebec pour Quebecoisrn(Quebec for Quebecers) and Oui,rndie latter indicating how they will vote inrnthe likely referendum in 2000.rnThere are some wary and responsiblernvoices in the Canadian media. The NationalrnPost ran a story on September 18rnwarning of the vitality of Quebec nationalism.rnAnd Gazette columnist DonrnMacPherson wrote the day after thisrnyear’s parade that the celebration had arn”strong political undercurrent” despite itsrnfriendly nature. But more typical was therncolumn by Josee Legault, which appearedrnjust below MacPherson’s, inrnpraise of the organizers’ supposed decisionrnto “de-politicize the parade.”rnThe praise was not well received.rnWhen Guy Bothillier of La Societe JeanrnBaptiste addressed a huge crowd thernnight after the parade, he both warnedrnand assured anyone misreading thernfriendly nature of this past year’s celebration,rn”We are not playing bingo.”rnWell, at least the separatists are notrnplaying bingo. As for the Canadian media,rnthey just might be. Metaphoricallyrnspeaking, it seems they are playing to coverrnthe full bingo card. Or is it “cover up”?rn]ohn O’Neill writes from Detroit.rnLetter From Jamaicarnby Jeffrey MeyersrnJamaicas of Remembrancern”jamaicas of Remembrance stirrnThat send me reeling in.”rn—Emily DickinsonrnMost visitors to Jamaica fly to MontegornBay on the north coast and head straightrnfor the resort compound. Fating andrndrinking at an “all-in” price, confined torntheir bit of beach, pool, and garden, theyrnare happily protected from reality. InrnJanuar)’, I flew into Kingston on tiie southrncoast to visit my daughter, who was workingrnthere. We circled the whole island inrnDECEMBER 1999/.S5rnrnrn