The hysteria over Paul McCartney's Quebec City concert today has conjured up images of another British invasion on the Plains of Abraham, at least in the minds of some Quebecers.
The erstwhile Beatles front man has been blackballed as an "international Anglo-Saxon" usurper by over-sensitive sovereignists. It's hard to fathom the aging British rocker as imperialism personified; yet history records that he became a member of the Order of the British Empire in 1965 and was knighted a decade ago.
Luc Archambault, a local artist and organizer of an anti-McCartney petition that has the backing of two prominent Parti Québécois MNAs, demanded that McCartney show at least as much empathy for French Quebecers as he does for the victims of the annual seal hunt. Comparing supposedly downtrodden Québécois to battered baby seals is certainly novel.
Sensing that the sovereignist paradigm of competing victimhoods had elevated the petitioners from self-pity to self-parody, McCartney reacted with typical grace, urging them to "smoke the pipe of peace and just put away the hatchets" – a reference to his 1983 hit, "Pipes of Peace."