Quebec: Vive la Difference

The reputation and intelligence of many French-speaking (and some English-speaking) Quebeckers are at stake in the opinion-page article ``Quebec Separatists Would Balkanize Canada,'' June 1. To stand for one's rights is not troublemaking. Quebeckers are a peaceful, orderly, and democratic people, many of whom believe that independence can be attained democratically and without violence, and that this is the solution against assimilation. They are certainly not ``separatist troublemakers.''

The rights of English-speaking Quebeckers are sacred to all of us. They have their own institutions: universities, hospitals, schools, etc. The same cannot be said for French-speaking Canadians outside of Quebec.

Unfortunately, a majority of immigrants coming to Quebec were choosing to assimilate themselves in the English minority, thereby threatening the existence of the French-speaking community in Quebec.

If Canadians had recognized the uniqueness of French-speaking Quebec and given it special rights to protect itself culturally, the idea of independence would have died out. To ignore the problems or attack an idea with emotions and falsehoods is not the solution. To compare Quebec to the situation in Bosnia is, to say the least, very offensive.

I cannot pretend to explain all of Quebec's complicated situation, but I believe the decision for Quebec should remain in the hands of Quebeckers, without outside intrusion. Bernard Martineau, Quebec

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