There was jubilation in the province of Quebec and for the most part throughout Canada with the “withdrawal” of the Americans. To celebrate the Quebec chapter of the mutants hosted a gala ball for the “fighters”. After a free vegetarian dinner many a guest rose to speak of this momentous victory. The loudest applause was reserved for none other than René Hecklevesque who as we readers know was Jiber. He tore into the American government and the lechery of the Canadian federal government. Squid couldn’t disagree in general terms to the Hecklevesque message but there was something slightly distasteful yet familiar with the man. There was a latent sense of distrust that was instinctual. He couldn’t quite grasp the why of it but it was there and could not be ignored.
There was no doubt Hecklevesque was a fine orator but he overemphasized nationalism which ran contrary to Squid’s distrust of nationalism as a rotten lever in the game of political control. Perhaps he was simply a pied piper capitalizing on troubled times. Mutants and the rest of the oppressed of the world could never achieve lasting and durable success unless they extended themselves over national boundaries. Hecklevesque’s nationalism may have been inspiring but upon close analysis there was not much substance to it other than its ability to excite. The delightful ruse of nationalism was that it appealed to so many but catered to so few. Once mass passion was aroused it could be easily manipulated by its leaders and used for political gain. It seemed the population of Quebec was becoming enamoured with this new national star. Quebec mutants soon lost any enthusiasm they had for this political actor. To many of them Hecklevesque was an opportunistic politician from the establishment searching for situations that advanced political and financial ambitions. And why did Hecklevesque have no past credentials. It was like he appeared from nowhere like someone from another dimension for some specific purpose. The Quebec mutants were on high alert.
Did anyone really care what the mutants had to say. The “normals” saw the mutants as misfits and oddballs under the spell of a clever revolutionary Squid. Jiber eyed them with equal suspicion. They were one fringe group who had not offered him their support. Mutants were dangerous to Hecklevesque as they were internationalist which threatened his isolationist nationalism. The more Squid listened to him the more suspicious he became of him. One part of a Hecklevesque speech left a bad taste in his mouth and on his brain when he said, “So you see we must not tolerate any interference from foreigners in our Quebec politics including immigrant groups and the English clustered in the City of Montreal. They are a threat to our national identity. If we withdraw from Canada we will have our own truly Quebecois nation and culture and an impediment to our development as a unique and free society. Let us fight for a Quebec nation clean and free”.
Hecklevesque’s speeches were full of rubbish but did the common man have the intelligence to see through the transparent babble of this trickster? There was no easy solution to the status of Quebec within Canada. Sure there were hard times brought about the English colonizers but what was Hecklevesque advocating. His grand plan consisted of isolating the province and fabricating a cultural nirvana. What would change if the province of Quebec became a country? The same class distinctions would prevail. The English boss may have fled to Toronto or New York but what was the difference going to be with a Quebec boss? Would a separate Quebec give anyone more dignity? What would happen if you were not a “true Quebecois” and who would make the classification? How would protest be dealt with? Would it be a crime against the “nation”? Would dissent make you a traitor? In such a situation a despot could rule easily justifying his actions as being in the national interest.