This is not the time for more consultations, more studies, more constitutional debates. We need action. Steps must be taken to ensure we reduce CO2 emissions and protect our environment.
We need a provincial government that is going to prioritize Kyoto, not Kippahs.
Steps must be taken to address government waste. We are the highest taxed Canadians, and yet our debt and deficit continue to grow. Austerity isn’t helping because we haven’t addressed the root cause of our inefficiencies, and cuts to social services like education and healthcare are both unpopular and ultimately unsuccessful. The imbalance between high taxation and a low return on services and ballooning costs all point to a fundamentally mismanaged state.
There are only two concerns for any government these days – the environment and the economy.
Unless we take immediate steps to address and correct environmental degradation and economic inequity at every level of government there is no hope for any of us.
Think about how Mercer opens his rant – he talks about complacence.
Civilizations fall, and when they do, the whole Earth shakes.
The environment and the economy is all our provincial election should be about. Successful programs to cut carbon emissions and develop well-functioning social-safety nets are already the norm in some Scandinavian nations, and if there truly is a sovereign way of thinking in our province then we ought to be free of the bondage of nationalism, so that we can address the crucial issues that effect all of humanity.
Which is why I’m so fundamentally disappointed in our current election. There is a palpable poverty of politics in our province. We pollute our political discourse with hate and fear and become so emotionally exhausted we have no time or patience to pursue vital social interests.
It’s terrifying really. How much longer do we really have to continue beating this dead horse?
The people know what the real issues are, but are blinded by the manufactured existential crisis of sovereignty. It prevents union, it conjures up unnecessary divisions. It holds us back – all of us, regardless of race, religion or language.
It delegitimizes us and as long as it remains the focal point of our provincial elections will only continue to delegitimize us.
We have all the potential to effect positive change Canada wide.
But in order to do so we must first recognize that those who play upon societal divisions for political gain have no one’s interest at heart but their own.
Based on the outcome of this election a referendum question might be off the table for as long as the next four years (assuming, somehow, Couillard manages a majority, sticks to his federalist inclinations and a Montrealer becomes Prime Minister next fall – it’s unlikely but within the realm of possibility. Think of what that might mean for our city, with francophone federalists at the three key levels of power).
Much like the now infamous Pineault-Caron family shown above, all the Quebec Liberals need to do is simply let the PQ continue talking, and they’ll reveal themselves for who they are: fundamentally, inherently racist and appealing to a myopic minority of citizens who would literally step over their own mothers to achieve this twisted vision of national self-determination.
In the last week we’ve witnessed a PQ candidate get unceremoniously ejected from the party for Islamophobic (and just plain dumb) posts on his facebook page. Jean CarriÃ¨re was forced out and rightfully so, but it makes you wonder about the PQ candidate vetting process. This is politics 101 – nothing offensive on your most public medium.
You’d think a guy with a head this big would know the really obvious stuff.
And then a PQ candidate came out and compared the ritual of baptism and the medical practice of circumcision to rape.
Yeah, you read that right.
Gouin-riding candidate Louise Mailloux was also busted for – get this – propagating a well-known conspiracy theory originated by the KKK that Rabbis collect a tax from goods certified as Kosher and then use those funds to support the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians.
Worse, Ms. Mailloux has issued an apology, for hurting people’s feelings.
And in turn, Pauline Marois stands by Ms. Mailloux.
Perhaps if any of these women had Jewish friends or acquaintances they might not be so public with their anti-Semitism.
It’s truly disheartening that some people in this province clearly aren’t concerned with multiple and very public displays of racism by a party ostensibly designed to protect a minority group from the apparently unrelenting assault of cultural assimilation.
If I could issue edicts I would demand our politics were racism free and didn’t involve propagating ideas dreamt up by hillbilly klansmen, but I suppose Ms. Mailloux feels some kind of kinship for the ‘oppressed whites’ of the American South…
And who can forget the spray-paint attack on Bernard Drainville’s PQ riding office in Longueuil?
Just a quick aside, Drainville’s office was tagged with the message above and swastikas were drawn over Pauline Marois’ face.
In this case it’s the spelling that’s off. English speakers with an interest in protecting Judaism and Quebec politics likely would not have written “dont” in lieu of the far more common (and correct) spelling of “don’t”. Also, another word for yarmulke is kippah – with an ‘h’.
As much as some people would love a race war, I have a feeling this might actually be the work of an over-zealous PQ envelope-licker inspired by the likes of Pierre Poutine.
The man who owns Quebecor, Videotron, Sun News Network and the Sun Newspaper Corporation, arguably the single greatest sources of hysterical Francophobia, Anglophobia and general Islamophobia (not to mention piss poor journalism) in the entire country, is running with the party that once branded itself as a working class social grassroots movement to protect and preserve French Canadian culture from the perceived threat of Anglo-American monoculture.
So am I worried about Quebec becoming an independent country?
The repercussions to the PKP announcement were swift. The major provincial unions, already siding up against the proposed secularism charter, have now indicated they won’t be supporting the PQ at all, marking a historic break between the Parti Quebecois and its traditional voter base.
What politicians consistently fail to realize – and this really is a national phenomenon – is that you can only be overtly contradictory, hypocritical, full of shit (however you want to say it) up to a certain point before people get fed up and reject a party en masse. Consider the Tories in 1993. Nine years of Mulroney’s bullshit and Canadians *destroyed* the political entity known as the Progressive Conservatives. What little remained quickly succumbed to the influence of the Reform Party, giving us the unholy amalgam of perverted Western ‘nationalism’, the oil lobby and social conservatives who hate gays and love war. Consider the Liberals under Ignatieff.
2. Is there any actual empirical evidence either the French language or French culture of our province and/or country is in any way threatened?
3. Given that there is no official effort to assimilate Francophones in this country, why are separatist parties so concerned with the spectre of assimilation?
4. How would ten million ethnic French Canadians, almost all of whom speak and work in French on a daily basis, lose their language and/or cultural identity anyways? (without some kind of external compelling force)
14. How can a political movement designed to protect minority rights (the PQ, as it was originally conceived) turn around and infringe upon minority rights (the PQ, today) and claim any kind of political legitimacy? Bill 60 is institutionalized racism: it specifically singles-out religious minorities working in the public sector and demands they choose between their jobs or wearing religious garments or symbols.
In any event, the three ‘witnesses’ provided a pretty clear and direct insight into the minds of our province’s equivalent to Tea Party supporters. They are incredibly racist despite their insistence to the contrary, and demonstrate a simply baffling degree of ignorance. It would be hilarious if it also weren’t so terribly sad.
It’s as though they’re completely oblivious of their lacking in cultural sophistication. Perhaps that’s just the problem.
The public hearings into Bill 60 have apparently provided an outlet for every bigot in the province to come out and express themselves freely. In the video the opposition critic (representing the Liberal Party of Quebec) encourages one of the witnesses to continue talking, aware of just how poorly this will reflect on the PQ.
This article was originally published by Forget the Box – read it here.
Provincial Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville commenced public hearings into the proposed Charter of Quebec Values by asking that the impending debate remain respectful.
The charter is disrespectful in and of itself. That the separatists are wasting precious public funds to have a public debate only adds insult to injury. It reminds of me of when Ahmadinejad would convene conferences denying the existence of the Holocaust.
Moreover, itâ€™s unnecessary. All Canadians are already protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Charter specifically states we have the right to be free of religious persecution. Telling civil servants they canâ€™t keep their jobs if they continue to wear a hijab, a turban or a yarmulke is religious persecution. Telling the people their culture is more-or-less doomed to extinction unless everyone blindly goes along with a plan to institutionalize racism is damn near fascistic. Suffice it to say I canâ€™t imagine the charter in its current form would survive a Supreme Court challengeâ€¦
Itâ€™s gutter politics really â€“ a party acts as spokesperson for a vaguely defined â€˜silent majorityâ€™ whose core values are threatened simply because they say so. This majority for whom the party speaks is silent for a reason â€“ it is an ultimately the illusion of an exclusive club, and the message is always party, not people, driven. The message is always the same: the minorities are a threat to the sanctity of the majorityâ€™s identity and something in turn must be done.
In Israel, far-right anti-immigrant parties hold rallies where hysterical women wail at the microphone about how they fear being raped â€˜by packs of wild Africansâ€™, or relate completely groundless anecdotes to the same point. Members of this party, if you can believe it, actually favour rounding up all African immigrants in Israel and sticking them in concentration camps.
In Eastern Europe, far-right ultra-nationalist parties preaching even more violent means of eliminating undesirable ethnic minorities (notably the Roma) use much the same rhetoric as their Israeli counterparts to justify their own hate and prejudice.
Granted, Bill 60 isnâ€™t as bad as all that, but the itâ€™s rooted in the same kind of hate, ignorance and shitty populism.
When ethno-nationalist governments run out of any kind of political legitimacy they create social panics concerning a potential loss of cultural identity, typically resulting in punitive social policy that aims to further marginalize minorities while claiming they represent a clear and present public danger.
I’m standing with a friend while she waits for her lift on Greene Avenue in Westmount a few days back. We’re across from the entrance to Westmount Square, about half way between Saint Catherine’s and de Maisonneuve. As we’re chatting we notice a jaunty little tune is coming from somewhere. I figure it’s outdoor speakers at the new Cinq Saisons epicerie just up the way, but it’s getting louder.
We look up the annoyingly empty avenue and see a brilliant light coming our way and into focus.
It’s a rented U-haul pickup truck with a boom-box strapped to the hood and a gigantic menorah protruding from the flat in the rear, all lit up with lightbulbs.
As it rolled to a stop next to us, we saw two young Hasidic men in the cab, smiling from ear to ear.
They rolled down the window and wished us a Happy Hanukkah.
We smiled and returned the sentiment. And then they drove off, just like that.
A Montreal Drive-By…
I suppose some might be offended by such a thing, though this certainly wasn’t the case for either of us, regardless of the fact that neither of us are Jewish. Who cares? It was, fundamentally, an expression of good wishes between strangers. It is human to want another to feel good on a day that’s significant to them. How is it any different from wishing someone a happy birthday, or anniversary?
I’m not a Christian, but I won’t take offence if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas. And simple common sense and politesse dictates one return the sentiment as you receive it. I’m not going out of my way to respond with a Happy Holidays to a Merry Christmas, that’s just silly.
Some people in this province, in this city, would take a great offence at the scene I witnessed. I fear some would have responded angrily. Perhaps there’s a reason they were cruising down a deserted Greene Avenue instead of Pie-IX or Parthenais. Regardless, though it may have been an ‘ostentatious display’ of a religion, it caused no harm whatsoever. Contextually, it made sense (inasmuch as it was an appreciably quirky occurrence), it was the last day of Hanukkah.
It was nice. It was pleasant. It’s a story to tell.
And as you might imagine, nothing burns the ass of a dyed-in-the-wool separatist more than realizing the fundamental raison-d’etre for their political existence simply no longer exists.
There was once much less integration. There was once serious racial strife. There were once abuses and institutionalized racism of a different kind. There was ecclesiastical and existential oppression, there were (and still are) class struggles.
There is fear, easily-stoked, of a Muslim invasion, of foreigners fundamentally changing who we are. There’s no empirical evidence, there never is when the PQ asserts a danger, just rhetoric bordering on hate speech and the kind of easy panic you associate with poorly educated backwoods types and siege-mentality suburbanites.
Well to hell with them.
Let the fearful be afraid, let the ignorant remain in the cave.
I’m hopeful the entente cordiale between the mayors Coderre and Lebeaume leads to something really meaningful. They have the power to either make the bill completely unpopular and impossible to make into law, or, barring that, gain the special status our cities’ deserve.
‘In the West End are the old English families, and in the East End there are the old French families. And in between them a no man’s land of international people with international concerns. They occupy the centre of the city, and don’t have much to do with either of the other communities.’
There’s still a lot of truth here, though I would argue that in the last sixty years, the biggest thing to change is that the cosmopolitan middle ground has extended quite a bit in all directions away from the centre of the city, and at least on this island, the French and English camps that really were once two solitudes have integrated, at the very least, into the cosmopolitan aesthetic so popularized by those living in the ‘no man’s land’. And none of this has made us any less culturally whole, nor any less socially distinct.
We are what we are, as we are and have always been, so why are our politicians trying to forcibly change us?
I hope we’ve got some fight in us left, this bill cannot pass.