01 October 2010

Macpherson: Charge of Quebec-bashing handy tool for the intellectually lazy

Charge of Quebec-bashing handy tool for the intellectually lazy

Maybe it's because Jean Charest knows that a lot of Quebecers blame him rather than Maclean's for the magazine's cover story calling Quebec "the most corrupt province in Canada."
But his letter to the magazine demanding an apology is a halfhearted gesture.
His office didn't even mention the letter until yesterday, three days after it was sent, and then only when journalists asked whether one had been sent.

08 July 2010

Macpherson: What is (and is not) Quebec Bashing

Quebec-Born Filmmaker of Color Says Quebec Cinema Ignores Minorities, Faces Backlash | Epress News

When Marco Fortier wrote last month in his blog on the popular news site ruefrontenac. com that Quebecers are rude, it was followed by a mostly civil discussion in the blog’s comments section, writes Don Macpherson in Canada’s The Montreal Gazette.
Nobody dashed off a post angrily suggesting that Fortier move away if he didn’t like it here.
That’s because Fortier had kept it in the family. He had satisfied three unofficial conditions for exercising his freedom to express public criticism of Quebecers.
He had done so in French, and to a French-speaking audience. And most important, as a French-speaking Quebecer, he is a member of the family himself.


17 April 2010

Lost in translation, perhaps.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090216.wkrum0217/BNStory/Entertainment/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20090216.wkrum0217

“The French theatre is the theatre of the French people,” says Mouawad. “Polish can be French too, if we want.”

26 March 2010

Historical anti-semitism in Quebec schools

While it's true that anti-jewish prejudice was common in English Canada decades ago, I have no evidence that the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" was on the curriculum there.

It was in Quebec, tho.

http://books.google.com/books?id=DsBtAAAAMAAJ&dq=protocols+esther+delisle&q=protocols+&pgis=1

Or the choice of absence

http://newquebec.blogspot.com/

The UNESCO Convention/Recommendation against Discrimination in Education, of which Canada (federal government and provincial governments) are bound, states that in the absence of choice, the establishment or maintenance, for linguistic reasons, of separate educational systems or institutions is discriminatory by definition.

20 March 2010

The 'mother country' gives Quebeckers a wake-up call

http://portal.sre.gob.mx/canada/pdf/themfe4.pdf

It was a pathetic performance of subservience and parochialism, French governments having long grown tired of the subject. France had been opposed to Quebec secession since the presidency of François Mitterrand, and relations had been generally excellent between Paris and Ottawa ...

France and Quebec, he continued, share universal values, such as "the refusal of sectarianism, the refusal of division, the refusal to be self-absorbed, the refusal to define one's identity by fierce opposition to another." Quebec is a member of France's "family"; Canada is France's "friend." One kind of relationship does not preclude the other ...

The French are rationalists and realists in foreign policy. The creation of a little state in North America makes no sense to them. The French language is well protected in Quebec, cultural exchanges are strong and, in a divided Europe, France doesn't need any examples of secession that could spread by way of example ...

18 March 2010

"Pearson school board fighting for its future"

http://tinyurl.com/yf7n2ed

The Lester B. Pearson School Board is participating in a new campaign promoting the benefits of the English-language school system ...

[Marcus Tabachnick said in an interview] “Without our education system, we don’t have a community here. This is the last institution we can control on our own.”

While all school boards in Quebec have been affected by declining demographics, the English school boards have been particularly hard hit. And now the attempts to close the loophole in Bill 104 - which would put a stop to students attending a year of school in a private English school so they could then qualify for the English public system - could mean a loss of even more students in English schools ...





The Kyle Wozniak file

http://rabble.ca/babble/central-canada/bureaucratic-bs-could-force-montrealer-english-school

If Canadian federal-jurisdiction workplaces are strictly federal, then it should be hands off from provincial interference. Unless of course, the interference is for a principle you support, like the prima facie-tiousness of French in Quebec.

But federalism, like democracy, is a series of checks and balances. Schools are a provincial jurisdiction under the Constitution of Canada. Educational rights in the official languages are enumerated there. The so-called Canada clause, where access to English schools in Quebec is granted, was whittled down by federal-provincial wrangling all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Thomas Mulcair of the federal NDP is a former Quebec provincial cabinet minister, and a putative federal one. His comments and insight on Quebec are germane and welcome at any time.

But Kyle Wozniak's father's presence or absence is not germane in this case. His educational history and Kyle's mother's rights are.

Now you care about Kyle's education. Kyle's mother presumably went to French school in Quebec, but since she didn't move anywhere, she has a presumptive right to schooling her child in English.

The majority and the minority both will have to suffer along with the political types' endless appeal to insecurity. Recall Proposition 08 against gay marriage in California (please). Minority rights balanced against those of the majority are another price we all owe each other.

Maybe Woody Allen would be as hard-pressed to satirize Quebec as Mordecai Richler was: just present the facts and no one will believe it's not a put-on.

09 March 2010

Niqab-wearer blocked again from class

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/niqab-wearer-blocked-again-from-class-1.911160

The Quebec government has intervened again in the case of a Muslim woman who refused to remove her niqab veil during a French-language class. 

Last week, Naïma Atef Amed filed a complaint with the province’s human rights commission after she was kicked out of a government-funded language class for new immigrants at the CÉGEP de Saint-Laurent in Montreal. The school had demanded that Amed take off her niqab veil, which covers her head and face and leaves only her eyes exposed, for part of the class. 
Premier Jean Charest defended the school's decision, saying that people who expect to receive public services must show their face

Whither 101?

http://www.montrealgazette.com/Life/exodus+cards/1250906/story.html

... If Quebec were ever to extend the language-of-work provisions of Bill 101 to companies with 50 or fewer employees, there would be a lot of unhappiness in Montreal's busy western suburban industrial parks. It's much easier for small companies to pick up and leave than it is for larger ones. So far, the prevailing view within successive Parti Québécois and Liberal governments has been that extending the law to small companies would be too risky for the Quebec economy. Better to let these entrepreneurial start-ups grow up and establish roots in Quebec, the thinking goes, before folding them into the language regulation ...

04 March 2010

Boom de bebes

http://www.montrealgazette.com/Life/exodus+cards/1250906/story.html

To be sure, Quebec isn't the only jurisdiction confronted with the challenges of an aging society. But Quebec had the largest baby boom in the western world, followed by one of the biggest baby busts, and it is already carrying one of the developed world's largest per-capita debts.

How to contribute: numbers crunched ...

Conservatives 2008 Q4 = raised $ 6.34 million
total eligible voters = 23.68 million

23 February 2010

Love thy (schoolyard) neighbor

http://www.montrealgazette.com/Life/Encouraging+news+about+young+adult+anglos/1240726/story.html

Anglos outside Montreal told the pollster they feel they are discouraged by their schools from interacting with francophones, to avoid "conflict." Surely French- and English-language school boards should end this old-fashioned approach.

18 February 2010

Who are they, and where do they live? Names ...

http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/580773

When Ignatieff spoke of the strategic importance of the Alberta oil sands on a daylong visit to Montreal last month, I could not think of the last time a federal leader had spoken of Canada in Quebec, or at least done so outside the narrow confines of what more the federation could do for Quebecers.

Quebec sovereignists lost the last referendum; their cause has been in decline ever since and yet, almost fifteen years later, the Bloc has a virtual monopoly on speaking of Canada in Quebec and for Quebec on the federal stage.

Ignatieff will not have much of a shot at bringing the boom-and-bust Quebec federalist cycle to an end unless he brings more of the Canadian conversation to Quebec, and a more engaged generation of francophone federalists to that conversation. Those federalists actually exist. But more of that in another column.

[CHANTAL HEBERT]

"Insultés et agressés parce qu'ils parlent anglais"

http://lcn.canoe.ca/lcn/infos/faitsdivers/archives/2008/12/20081219-124346.html

Au Saguenay, des jeunes anglophones installés dans la région ont été la cible d'insultes et d'actes de vandalisme.

Le groupe d'adolescents séjourne dans la région depuis octobre dernier dans le cadre du programme Katimavik.

Des oeufs sont lancés régulièrement contre leur résidence. Un projectile a même fracassé la fenêtre de leur maison d'accueil il y a trois semaines ...


Assaults against federalists, physical and emotional, are common in Quebec; I was subject to one. Federalists believe in the rule of law, and freedom of assembly, so the opposite is seldom the case.

What else is common is police inaction against the perpetrators; I was subject to that as well.

Some "thoughtful" replies:

http://rabble.ca/babble/central-canada/insult%C3%A9s-et-agress%C3%A9s-parce-quils-parlent-anglais

I don't want anyone to get beat up (duh!) but I do kind of wonder that the "federalists" in question were doing. I've certainly encountered thuggish federalists of the Galganovite variety. Of course they are for the "rule of law" when that means majority-nation domination.


And it is simply not true that assaults on federalists (or anglophones, unless they are also people of colour, gay etc, just like francophone or allophone people of colour or [LGBT] people) are common in Québec. What is common is people like you always referring to Québec as "this province", and not by its name, as if we were dirty or something.

You really shouldn't stereotype the political views of anglophones - many are progressive and, while not necessarily sovereignist, believe in the right to national self-determination. You'd be surprised how many happily work in the labour movement, the women's movement and other progressive social movements here. And wouldn't live anywhere else in North America.
And another:

I notice that "toddschneider" has taken for granted the shock title given by TVA to that piece of news, viz. that these youths were assaulted because they spoke English.
We don't know that, actually. The dynamics of respect or lack thereof between two groups - across political lines in most cases - are complex enough that I seriously doubt the summary explanation offered by this title.


I live in an area of Montreal (Plateau Mont-Royal) where people coming out of bars or restarants late at night can be quite a nuisance. Anglophones are a minority here, but when a group of late night partiers is especially loud and boisterous, it so happens that three times out of four, it is in English that those affluent white boys wake me and the neighbourhood up.

If I were to let loose with a bucket of water, would it be because they speak English? I am sure "toddschneider" would think so.
No, I wouldn't actually. But thanks for asking.

Coincidentally, a francophone resident of the Plateau wrote a dismissive piece recently republished in Maissonneuve magazine, about trendy anglophones from outside Quebec moving in to that painfully hip area, and not learning French for years, if at all. As residents of Canada it's their right, but it's also their loss. Boorishness comes in all languages.

While all incidents can have multiple interpretations, my first reflex is to side with the victims. And of course, I would do the same if the perpetrators were anglophones. Bigotry comes in all cultures.

Putting aside the facile acceptance of a national self-determination argument, at no point did I say that anglo = federalist = regressive, nor would I. Reactionism comes in all tendencies.

But I would argue that groups like the Jeunes Patriotes and their type, are given a very large leash, and few dogcatchers to worry about. They even routinely send out advance notice of their presence, to which the cops routinely yawn. Whereas that hasn't happened on the federalist side, from my intimate knowledge of my province, *since* the so-called angryphone era.

For the record, I am an "angryphobe" (sic) as well. Lose your temper, lose the argument.

14 February 2010

Manifesto for a Pluralist Quebec

http://www.pourunquebecpluraliste.org/le-texte/

Proclamation for pluralist Quebec

(Short Version of proclamation here)

We are political and intellectual allegiances various, but we share a deep concern as for the direction which the debate takes on the identity and the food-together in Quebec. It seems to us that an opened, tolerant and pluralist vision of the Québécois company, a vision which is according to us in continuity with the main trends of modern Quebec, is occulted by two currents of thought which are in rupture with this evolution and our history. These two currents end up converging in a manner of designing the Québécois company which, according to us, risk to deprive Quebec of the dynamism which at the companies a posture of reception and dialogue insufflates, essential conditions to the development of an authentic food-together.

Two convergent currents

We would qualify the first of these visions of preserving nationalist. She sees Quebec like having made too broad concessions towards cultural diversity these last years. The interculturalism, opened secularity, the practices of reasonable compromise, the program of Ethics and religious culture (ECR) and other policies similar are perceived by holding of this position like putting in danger an authentic Québécois culture and like eclipsing the memory of the historical majority.

The second vision asserts a strict secularity. She challenges the religious demonstrations “ostentatious” in the public sphere. She intends to return the monk out of public space, not in the name of majority Québécois values, but in the name of a design of the company which prefers to limit any sign of religious allegiance to the only private space.

These two currents, a priori different, converge concretely in two manners. Initially, insofar as the practices and the religious signs of the minorities are always more “visible” with the eyes of the majority that them his clean, holding them of a strict secularity and those of a preserving nationalism meet in the same attitude of intransigence at the place of the minorities, demanding which they yield with a vision of the Québécois company that they would not have contributed to forge. The two currents also converge when a strict secularity is called upon against citizens members of religious confessions whose beliefs are held for incompatible with the secularity of the Québécois company.

However, there exists another vision of the company Québécois, more open, more tolerant and especially more dynamic in its design of the social reports/ratios: we believe that it corresponds, better than the visions do it which we have just described, with the requirements of the joint life in a plural company and with the sociopolitic orientations of Quebec. This vision is currently weakened by the place which preserving nationalism and strict secularity in the public debate occupy, by the fact also that none of the two Québécois political principal parties is made the carry-standard explicitly of it (even if this vision, at various times, was embraced as well by the Québécois Party as by the Liberal party of Quebec). We wish to expose here this pluralist position, which seems to us ready to answer the challenges of Quebec of today and tomorrow.

We recognize that the questions of culture and identity raise passions. That can make so that the tone rises, that the personal attacks, the lawsuit of intention take the step on the reasoned debate. We note that the debate on the Québécois identity does not have escaped with this tendency. We are convinced that Quebec does not have anything to gain so that the debates on such fundamental stakes are done in terms also not very civil. We will thus assert ourselves, in the exchanges which we hope to have with those which do not share our vision of Quebec, of us to hold some with the arguments and the principles.

Pluralism

Pluralism as a normative orientation is shown several things: of relativism, multiculturalism trudeauist, “Chartism”, antinationalism, elitism, etc Several of these charges are however mutually exclusive. Thus, the charge of relativism means that the pluralist ones would do little case of the rights and freedoms of the person; on the contrary, that of “Chartism” implies that they absolutisent the rights and that they are ready to tolerate, on their behalf, any practice. Not astonishing, therefore, that according to the current secularist, the Ethical program and religious culture, for example, does little case of the Charter of the rights and freedoms of Quebec, whereas, for holding of preserving nationalist mobility, this program rather reduces the Québécois identity to the aforementioned charter.

The pluralist position, such as we conceive it, is neither relativistic nor chartist. The position that we defend is rather the following one: the members of the cultural and religious minorities - let us exclude from the analysis the problems of the relationship with the people autochtones, if fundamental that it deserves a distinct analysis - should not be victims of discrimination nor of exclusion on the basis of their difference. Moreover, when they result from immigration, their integration at the Québécois company should not require a pure and simple assimilation. We believe that each one can be integrated into the company Québécois - i.e. to take part in the social life, policy and economic - while remaining attached to beliefs or practices which are distinct from those of the majority, as long as they do not carry not reached to the rights of others. For example, if the immigrant must endeavour to be integrated into the company of reception and must respect his laws and his institutions, the latter must, n the other hand, take care to raise the obstacles to its integration and develop its contribution. The duty of adaptation is reciprocal.

Interculturalism

The base of the pluralist position is the respect and the recognition of diversity, whether this one is the fact of minorities or the majority. This recognition does not mean only it is necessary to tolerate all the cultural and religious practices, nor that the Québécois company must be conceived like the juxtaposition of cultural communities folded up on themselves. Quite to the contrary, the type of pluralism that we defend wants a deepening of the democratic values on which rests contemporary Quebec. This is why, fundamentally, we adhere to the program Québécois interculturalism, such as it was initially conceived by the PQ of Gerald Godin and Rene Lévesque and taken again by the PLQ of Claude Ryan and Robert Bourassa. Quebec is seen there like a pluralist company, whose French is the common public language. Diversity is perceived there like a richness, within the limits fixed by the respect of the rights and freedoms of the person and the democratic values. The interculturalism also seeks to support the intercultural relations rather than the identity fold. Which aspect of this program the critics of the pluralism do oppose he exactly, and which propose?

It appears erroneous to us to advance that this policy of respect of the diversity implemented at Quebec in the last decades had like consequence the negation of the Québécois nation or the interests of the majority. There is not null incompatibility to affirm at the same time the respect of diversity and the continuity of the Québécois nation. Quebec chooses already, according to its collective interests and of criteria which it itself established, approximately 70% of the new arrivals on its territory (the federal one dealing of the family reunifications and the refugees). It adopted a charter of the French language which defends and promotes the language of the majority. As for “opened” secularity, it makes a distinction between what concerns the historical heritage and what would be a form of identification of the State to a particular religion. The nondenominational teaching of the religions envisaged by program ECR, for example, grants a larger place to the Christian traditions because of their historical importance in Quebec. The pluralist position does not seek to give the meter of the history to zero; she assumes at the same time the historicity and the diversity of the Québécois company.

Secularity

As for secularity, she is asserted with strength in the current debates, as if the principles of this political installation were absent from Québécois political culture. However, the characteristics of secularity are implemented at Quebec since decades; the last stage was besides the laicization of our school system. In Quebec, the State working out the collective standards without a religion or that a group of conviction dominates the official capacity and the public institutions. He exerts his neutrality while abstaining from supporting or obstructing, directly or indirectly, a religion or a secular design of the existence, within the limits of the community property. This political orientation fulfills the requirement to protect the freedom of conscience and its free expression, just as the equality of all the citizens. That means that the civic rights and political citizens are not conditional with the abdication of the beliefs and the practices of those which express them. In Quebec, since 1774, no believer is held to abjure part of his faith to have access to the public office. The catholics, should it be pointed out, were the first to be profited from this constitutional protection.

Still today in several companies, the individuals who are not identified with the majority religion not only do not enjoy equal rights, but their political honesty remains suspect. This same belief, to the effect which the publicly expressed religious membership is prejudicial with the national identity, emerges now to Quebec; and according to this diagnosis, a charter of secularity would have become necessary. However, if the contents of this request is examined, one realizes quickly that such a charter would be before a whole legal instrument prohibiting the manifestation of religious adhesions of the citizens in the public sphere as well as the requests for compromise on religious grounds (at the same time, it would develop the Christian symbols).

If it is necessary and desirable to get along on the significance and the range of secularity, we believe that the pure and simple prohibition of any demonstration of religious membership would not answer any social need. Initially, no religious group, in Quebec, is able to impose its standards on the whole of the company; then, the manifestation of religious adhesion is not in contradiction with the membership citizen. In addition, such a prohibition would have a discriminatory effect, because it would aim only the believers belonging to the religions comprising of the vestimentary or food regulations. Lastly, a law of general prohibition, even under the heading of a charter of secularity, appears disproportionate to us compared to the sought objectives, in particular the neutrality of the public services.

This institutional neutrality requires that the collective standards be applied in an impartial way, whatever is the sex, the ethnic origin or nun of the person who exempts the service or that who receives it. However, it is already the case: indeed, the Québécois laws and policies are not elaborate according to religious standards. The relationship between the representatives of State (civils servant, teachers, etc) and the citizens is not of religious nature but other (administrative, teaching or coercive, for example). The fact that a government official posts a sign of religious membership by no means does not prevent it from applying the laic standards in an impartial way; the citizen can only note this religious sign, in the same way that it can notice the ethnic origin of the civil servant. Not more than the skin color, the accent or the sex, one cannot suppose that this religious affiliation constitutes a skew which interferes in the way in which the civil servant applies the law or the payment. On the other hand, the prohibition of religious signs can be justified if those involve a dysfunction of the service, an security issue, a discriminatory treatment with regard to other people, a real attack with their dignity or, if they give place to a proselytism. Should it be pointed out, secularity is binding on the State, not to the individuals.

Secularity, indeed, was historically conceived in order to prevent the State or certain groups of the company to adapt the right to be made judges of the opinions, the beliefs or the practices of the citizens. The will to absolutely ensure the emancipation with regard to beliefs considered authoritative or passeists, by refusing any compromise in the name of a laic requirement, comprises all the ingredients of a possible exclusion, opposite with the objective of integration. The equality, so much from a legal point of view than social, can be expressed according to different methods, provided that the means to ensure its implementation do not affect the equality of statute of the citizens, the equality of the resources for the conduit of its life and the equal opportunity in the access to education, work, justice, the departments of health.

It is necessary to be wary of any proposal for an ideal model of secularity, issuing definitively according to which methods of installation the monk must be marked out in the laws and the definition of the food-together. We recognize that the typical locations must be discussed of debates and, and the Bouchard-Taylor ratio had already identified a certain number of it. The primary reason which must invite us to prudence is that the lived worlds never correspond to models defined in advance, that the personal situations and social are changeantes, that they require continuous adjustments and new balances to be found. Secularity is not a way of solving the tensions (real or imaginary) by removing them.

Common values

Lately, it was much question of the “Québécois values” in the debate about the food-together. According to certain voices, these values would be put in danger by certain measurements, the such reasonable compromises. Holding of this speech consider that the majority would have the right to require immigrants (a term which, in their arguments, designates sometimes people and communities installed in Quebec since generations) whom they conform to the known as values. The compromises (reasonable or not), course ECR and other measurements would be guilty, according to some, to make the values minority higher than those of the majority, and according to others to gum any concept of value by posting a moral and cultural relativism complete. But what is it of these “common values”?

The speech of the common values takes two forms. According to certain preserving nationalists, the diversity in the manners of conceiving the “good life” would be only apparent. There would be deep Quebec, a silent majority which would never have disavowed its traditional values, which would represent the true Québécois identity. For some, these values traditional, inherent in the Québécois identity, would be related to Catholicism; this one would now cover an financial asset, in the name of which the contents of the public space of Quebec and the possibility would be circumscribed of expressing its difference there.

This rhetoric more reflects the voluntarism of its defenders that any reality of the Québécois company. By which mystical symbiosis do manage they to detect the true contents of the values of this majority? Force is to note that they project their own preferences there, their own designs of the good life, applicant whom they make the object of a vast consensus.

The second form which the speech of the common values takes wanders not by this type of projection, but rather by an excess of abstraction. In order to identify values which would be truly common behind the expansion of the lifestyles which coexist in public space, there would be a consensus on abstractedly formulated statements, like the democracy, the rights, freedom, the pluralism and the equality of the men and the women. The values which appear in the “Declaration carrying on the Québécois values” that must now sign all the immigrants in Quebec are of this type.

To be in favour of the democracy, the rights: nothing more creditable. But which is the precise extension of these rights? How to define the concrete limits of the religious liberty? Freedom of expression? The same applies to the value as indisputably represents the equality of the men and the women. What implies this engagement precisely, beyond the respect of the laws? When it is a question of answering concretely, the pluralism of the Québécois company will highlight inevitably various ways to do it. The pluralism of the values requires not that we try to reduce this diversity, but that we find of the means of dialoguing and to make common decisions which do not gum our diversity artificially. It is with the opening, the tolerance and the mutual respect which the pluralism invites us which is with the base of our democratic institutions.

Because this pluralism of the values within the Québécois company is not a defect. On the contrary, it is a sign of the vitality of our democratic institutions and robustness of protections which we grant to the civil liberties. It would be necessary to worry if our company were indeed as consensual as the cantors of the common values claim it.

Charters of the rights and institutions

Confidence in our institutions, we said. However, the “crisis of the reasonable compromises”, which was at the origin of the Bouchard-Taylor commission, was also, for some, a crisis of the institutions. It rested on an erroneous perception: the right and the courts would not have shown their capacity to frame the application of the compromises on the basis of of values and important principles, such as the equality of the sexes. Several were then of opinion that only a political deliberation of nature could make it possible to fix adequate limits at the practices of compromise.

We believe that the dialogue between the legal institutions and the political institutions is necessary. This dialogue is registered in logic even our institutions. The rights stated in the charters Québécois and Canadian can indeed be restricted by a legal provision, within limits which are reasonable and whose justification can be shown within the framework of an free society and democratic. In “extreme” cases, the legislator has even faculty to derogate from certain rights or freedoms. We are thus far from the “government of the judges” which appears, in a so preeminent way, in the speech of those for which “the right spoke too much”.

It appears perilous to us to standardize the fundamental texts which are the charters of the rights. However, it is precisely what certain current speeches, in which the charters are, in a specious way imply according to us, put in competition with other values. Are convened here, like counterweights with the charters, the equality between the women and the men, the separation of the Church and the State, the primacy of the French language and, according to a bill recently filed in by one of the opposition parties to the National Assembly, the historical heritage of Quebec. The tautological character of this enumeration deserves to be underlined. Certain elements (as the equality man-women) underlie already, indeed, of the general legal concepts, such as the prohibition of discrimination. In the same way, separation enters the State and the religion: this separation, which was explicitly recognized by our courts as of the Fifties, for summer has conceptualized like rising from the fundamental freedoms (conscience and religion) guaranteed by the charters of the rights. It is thus wrongfully that certain proposals make separation of the State and religion a distinct value, likely to influence the interpretation of the Québécois Charter. And how to speak about the Québécois values without also evoking the protection of the rights and freedoms, the justice and the rule of the law, the protection of the minorities, the social solidarity, the rejection of discrimination and racism?

Such a speech of vulgarizing reduces the charters of the rights to an abstract and désincarné unit of standards. Actually, the sphere of the rights and freedoms includes, one sees it, several of the values to which one refers in the current debates. Let us evoke besides, to buckle the loop, the difficulty in defining what it is necessary to understand by the “historical heritage of Quebec”. Several, we are, will support that the respect of the rights of the minorities, and in particular of the religious minorities, precisely forms part of this historical heritage. Since 1832, the Room of assembly of Low-Canada (Quebec) innovated by adopting a law which recognized, with any person of Jewish religion, the rights and preferences of the other confessions. The equality of the worships then marked in 1840, then will be reaffirmed in 1851 in the Law on the freedom of the worships, always into force. Our charters of the rights are heiresses of this historical long tradition of tolerance and opening. With due respect to those which make a point of opposing right and history (or right and identity), the right also forms part of the history. Of our history.

The way of continuity

A popular strategy in criticisms of the position which we defended here is to affirm that the pluralist prospect would be cantilever with the historical trajectory of Quebec. The facts state on the contrary that it is holding them of a strict secularity and a preserving identity nationalism which choose the way of the rupture. The way of the reasonable recognition of diversity appears being to us that of continuity with the history of Quebec. The Québécois Charter of the rights and freedoms, the interculturalism, the Charter of the French language, open secularity are all of the forms of governorship which aim at establishing a balance, certainly always moving, between the respective legitimate concerns of the majority and the cultural minorities, linguistic and religious. We believe that the constant search for this balance honours the Québécois nation, that it is a precondition in the search of an authentic food-together. We wish that it remain.

10 February 2010

Psycho-history of la nation

... PQ Cabinet Minister Dr. Camille Laurin ... used to muse about how he went into politics to administer "psychoanalysis" on the Quebecois people. [He believed they] suffered from a collective [Oedipal] complex [towards] the English, that could only be cured through [voting] YES in a referendum on [sovereignty].

03 February 2010

"How to kill Quebec separatism"

http://www.vigile.net/spip.php?page=archives&u=http://archives.vigile.net/00-12/bill-kill.html

... So how can Quebec separatism be killed once and for all as a credible threat? By taking three steps:

Ottawa must challenge in court the pretensions of Bill 99, which summarizes all the myths and illusions propagated by secessionists for the past 40 years. Ottawa can do this directly, or by funding private interests, such as lawyer Guy Bertrand, to launch a legal attack.

Ottawa must declare that it will enforce the decision of the Supreme Court on secession, and uphold the Constitution. That means not only that it will refuse to negotiate secession unless the conditions spelled out in the Clarity Act are fulfilled; but, most important, that it will resist any attempt to secede unilaterally and unconstitutionally, in accordance with its solemn duty.

The federal government must declare firmly, unequivocally, that it is the trustee, not the owner, of native lands in Quebec, that these lands will never be handed over to Quebec as part of a secessionist agreement unless the First Nations themselves choose to secede from Canada. They never will ...

29 January 2010

Parliamentary Coalition 2008 rally report: Montreal

A good-sized crowd, but judging by the signs, it was mostly unionists, with a few scattered social interest groups (students, political prisoners).

There was no contingent for me to stand behind, literally, since even the NPD Quebec banner section was moribund (no handouts, for example).

I picked up a "Coalition Yes! Make Parliament work" placard suitable for window display.

Boring, raspy, all-French speeches; but live rock-pop music in a mix of English and French. Go figure.

A few annoying anti-ROC slogans (of the Redneck-Western-Harper-Dictateur-RIP ilk). I nickname these bigots "bluenecks."

Still, not a bad day out. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Whose Jews?

from the Media in Montreal Yahoo! group:

Well, McGill (and Sir George) both discriminated against Jews. No question about that. In fact, when I did a broadcast on it, the then VP of McGill honored me with an [invitation] to lunch at the [faculty], at which he told me it wasn't really discrimination. They were just trying to preserve the christian [atmosphere] at McGill. Sure.

Anyway, I never heard of [segregation] of Jews at McGill. They certainly were held to different standards, and their numbers in certain areas (like law) were limited - as was the case of blacks, too.. But segregation? I would certainly like to see some examples of that. It sounds like one of those myths Francophones were fond of - while ignoring the fact that they refused to let Jews into their public and private schools at all.

graeme

QS rally, circa November 2008

from the Quebec solidaire website:

Montreal, on November 23 - Solidary Quebec held a large partisan gathering today in Montreal, in the company of songwriter and performer Dan Bigras, the militant ecologist Daniel Breton and the founder of Équiterre, Laure Waridel.

Following the short speeches, the partisans were invited to take part in a door-to-door blitz in the districts of Gouin and Draper, before going to a musical performance in the evening.

In front of a tightly packed room, the spokesperson of Solidary Quebec, Francoise David (Gouin) delivered a speech in which she stressed the importance of electing Solidaire deputies on December 8.

“If we are not in the National Assembly, who else will speak about these teachers with the overloaded classes and the insufficient teaching resources? Who else will say that we must put an end to tax avoidance by the large companies and large fortunes? Who else will say that the era of gas and oil is finished? Who else will speak about living together without complacency and without intolerance?

+++++

“If these stakes will not be raised in the National Assembly without Quebec Solidaire, you do not wait either to find them raised with the debate Tuesday evening. Without Solidaire Quebec, this debate of the chiefs will be as artificial as dull, so much the programs of the ADQ, the PQ and of the PLQ are similar. ” Francoise David concluded her speech by saying that it hoped to be invited to the debate of the chiefs to his manner, in spite of the refusal of the consortium and the political parties.

The Solidaire spokesperson of Quebec Amir Khadir (Draper) for its part pointed out that sovereignty is in the middle of the Solidaire project. “As Richard Desjardins said it very recently, Solidaire Quebec is the only party with still speaking about sovereignty. And we will continue to speak it about it does not matter the economic situation, it does not matter where the wind turns. “As many Quebec we believe that sovereignty must be associated with a project removing for Quebec. The Québécois Party proposes to us since too a long time an emptied sovereignty of its substance. Does Solidaire Quebec propose with the Inhabitants of Quebec to give again a direction with sovereignty because after all, which sovereignty wants to say if we are unable to control our economy? What wants to say sovereignty if we are unable to protect our environment and our employment? ”