Saturday, May 31, 2014

More Canadian lessons

In the last few days, professor Jean Leclair, a legal scholar from the University of Montreal has been in Barcelona to talk about federalism. Jean Leclair belongs to the scientific committee of "The Federal Idea," a think tank in Quebec (Canada) that is worth imitating. This Canadian province has been through a controversy between secessionism and federalism for a long time, from which federalism has emerged as the winner (overall majority in the last provincial election), but which has left many scars in society, which have not been completely healed. That is why it is very important to learn Canadian lessons. Canada is one of the most successful decentralized and diverse democracies in the world, but still today secessionists in Quebec keep saying that it is a failed state. That is one of the reasons why "The Federal Idea" was created in 2009, because in spite of the failure of secessionists to create a new nation state, after two referenda (in 1980 and 1995) and decades of controversy, the idea of federalism was still unpopular in many sectors of society in Quebec. The intellectuals and academics behind this think tank reached the conclusions that federalism is worth mobilizing for, that it will not necessarily survive by inertia in front of powerful feelings and emotions (which are easy to manipulate by so many opportunists).
Jean Leclair explained that federalism should be defended as a moral issue, as a defence of the principle that what matters is the individual and its rights, and how these rights are preserved in social life in a diverse world. Identities are not homogeneous, even each of us has a diversity of identities, and it is immoral to make us choose among these identities.
The main problem of federalism is that nobody wants to die for compromise, whereas there are always people willing to sacrifice their lives for a homeland or a nation. But compromise is necessary and desirable, in order to organize societies that are characterized by diversity (that is, all of them).

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