Quebec Separatists Kick Beaver in New Campaign Ad
A fourth-ranked separatist party vying for an upset riveted Quebec's election campaign Wednesday with an ad showing a beaver in a Mountie hat getting the boot.
The beaver is Canada's national symbol, which can be traced back to the nation's early history, when explorers crossed the continent in search of beaver pelts for use in fashionable hats in Europe.
Quebec solidaire posted an online video depicting a stick figure cheerfully booting the buck-toothed rodent off the screen after it purrs and tries to rub up against its leg.
The crudely-drawn cartoon was designed to put to rest doubts about the party's support for Quebec independence from Canada after other separatists questioned its commitment, as well as to help it stand out in a crowd.
Three of the five political parties in the September 4 election race support Quebec sovereignty while a fourth has vowed to put independence on the back burner, for now.
"There are rumors that members of Quebec solidaire drape themselves in the Maple Leaf and hold questionable ties to beavers," says the ad's narrator in French. "In fact, that's not quite the case."
"Federalist, Quebec solidaire? Not at all. Sovereigntist, but not like the others," the narrator adds.
The party noted that no beavers were harmed in the making of the spot.
But not everyone is laughing.
The spot has unwittingly grabbed the attention of English Canada for the first time in the campaign, with commentaries blasting the revival of the separatist movement (and the abuse of animals).
"Can you imagine the screams if we had a cartoon of a beaver eating a fleur de lys?" said a posting on public broadcaster CBC's website.
Quebec twice rejected independence from the rest of Canada in referendums in 1980 and 1995, but only by a narrow margin last time.
Within Quebec, rivals fear Quebec solidaire may siphon votes from the main separatist party, the Parti Quebecois, which could return the federalist Liberals to power and quell talk of independence for at least four more years.