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domingo, 3 de julio de 2011


French-Canadian separatists to protest at Prince William's visit to QuebecAnti-monarchist demo planned for first royal visit to Quebec in nearly 50 years.

Nationalist French-Canadian Patriot separatists are promising to stage a demonstration in Quebec City on Sunday as Prince William becomes the first member of the royal family to visit it in nearly 50 years.

Two years ago, demonstrators hurled eggs and scuffled with police when Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visited Montreal.

The Queen has not been to Quebec City since 1964, when hundreds of demonstrators turned their backs on her, and she has only rarely visited Montreal – both places on William and Kate's itinerary, albeit briefly, this weekend.

A protest will pose a severe challenge to the prince and his bride, the Duchess of Cambridge, on their first official overseas tour together, a trip marked so far by large, adulatory crowds in Ottawa and universally benign media coverage.

Most of the tour is in anglophone Canada – the couple go to Prince Edward Island, Anne of Green Gables country, on Sunday night; then on to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, and Calgary in Alberta for the annual stampede and rodeo; before heading across the border to Los Angeles at the end of their trip next weekend.

The Quebec Resistance Network has called on supporters to protest against the "yoke" of the British monarchy "for democracy, dignity and independence".

But, perhaps sensing the national mood, its complaints have been directed against the cost (an estimated £1m, excluding security) as much as the principle. Opinion polls have shown that a majority in French Canada are excited by the royal couple's arrival.

Patrick Bourgeois, a QRN spokesman, said: "If they want to come to Quebec for a honeymoon and pay for it themselves, that is not a problem, but if they are coming to humiliate us, we'll be there. The visit is nothing other than a political operation by the federal government to show the world that Quebec accepts its place within Canada."

In May, the federal Conservative government of Stephen Harper – regarded as the most pro-monarchist prime minister in Canada since the 1950s – was elected and in Quebec the Bloc Québécois lost all but four of its 47 seats, leaving the separatist movement split.

Separatism, along with republicanism, is seen as a distraction by many Canadians, and senior figures in both movements have called for any demonstrations to be civilised and responsible.

It is a far cry from the heady days of René Lévesque, founder of the separatist Parti Québécois, and General de Gaulle's "Vive le Québec libre" in 1967.

The spikiness is still evident, however. In an online debate in the francophone La Presse there were plenty of complaints about the monarchy.

Guillaume Lavoie, executive director of an organisation called Mission Leadership, said: "It is not the demonstration of the radical independents that is problematic, it is the peaceful tolerance of all the other Canadians opposed to the monarchy. By their silence they are accomplices in the marginalisation of their point of view and of the cause of republicanism."

The republican movement has kept a low profile and has decided against demonstrations. "We don't want all the loonies coming out," said Tom Freda of Citizens for a Canadian Republic. "Right now there does not seem to be much urgency, because the Queen is healthy."

Even if the formidable constitutional hurdles to ending the monarchy could be overcome – a change requiring the unlikely unanimous consent of all the country's provinces and territories – public opinion seems to be moving in the opposite direction, something this week's visit by the photogenic young royals can only encourage.

Dr John Fraser, master of Massey College, Toronto, said: "Most Canadians don't think of themselves as living under a monarchy, but neither do they think of themselves as living in a republic. Both sound equally strange. On the other hand, they have no problem with the concept of the crown."

The royal couple have twinkled and beamed and been suitably unstuffy in meeting the starstruck crowds. William even injected some English-sounding French into his speeches in Ottawa, assuring the crowd diffidently that his accent would get better.

Whether the symbolism of sending the royal couple overnight down the St Laurence river from Montreal to Quebec in a Canadian frigate, or placing one of the engagements in an old British fort, is diplomatic remains to be seen.

But they visited a children's hospital in Montreal on Saturday and will spend time at the Maison Dauphine, a centre for street kids and runaways in Quebec – neither visit provocative.

Even the Quebec Resistance Network appears to believe violence will not help the cause, incurring some ridicule by hiring 40 bouncers to deter hooliganism when it demonstrates outside Quebec city hall as Prince William meets the francophone Royal 22nd Regiment.

"We chose them based on their build," Bourgeois told the Canadian Press. "If some moron shows up and provokes police and is imperilling our plan and the safety of our supporters, we're definitely going to ensure that person's booted out."

FUENTE: The Guardian (UK).

FOTOGGRAFÍA: Samir Hussein/WireImage.
NOTA: The Guardian es un Medio británico adepto a la corona. Podemos comprobar la forma en la que trata a los nacionalistas Quebequenses. Para entendernos, como el Diario ABC (Vocento) a la hora de tratar al Borbón de turno, a la sazón, herdero del militar golpista y genocisa Franco.

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