As a proud Canadian, it bothers me that NDP leader Tom Mulcair -- who had no qualms about interfering in previous Ontario by-elections on the side of NDP candidates -- refused to take a side in the Québec election. The NDP dodged a bullet this time -- fortunately! -- but such an irresponsible position should not be rewarded in 2015.
Please let Quebec choose a government that will represent values of inclusion, acceptance, and freedom. Let Quebec be a province where we can raise our children not only to respect, but to honour diversity. Let Quebec be more like my daughter's school -- a place where we can thrive and become better people.
The last days of the provincial electoral campaign have made me feel people's disillusionment and frustration at the lack of inspiring options even more profoundly. During the debates Marois, Couillard, and Legault behaved like they were in a cage fight, barking insults at one another. It took all the self-restraint that I had not to switch channels. But, contrary to everything around me, I'm hopeful. I'm convinced that I'm witnessing a new breed of Quebecer emerge. One that isn't so easily defined... and therefore not as easy to manipulate and pigeonhole. Nothing will ever be as black or white as it once was, because the world we now live in is a million shades of grey.
1,000,000 people in Quebec don't file their taxes every year. If each of those people owe taxes of... I don't know... let's say $624 each (an extremely low estimate given that the average amount of taxes paid by a Quebecer is around $10,000), then I'd say an investment of $600k in "FILE YOUR TAXES" billboards, print and TV ads might have helped us to avoid this huge debt hole.
One issue that has been largely absent from the campaign is the province's high levels of government debt. This omission is curious given that the Quebec government's debt is the largest in the country when presented as a share of the economy and is now consuming a significant share of tax dollars in the form of interest payments. If Quebec voters are concerned about their government's level of indebtedness, they should insist that the political parties set out clear plans to get it under control. The problem can no longer be ignored.
For the naysayers or eye-rollers out there, there is nothing wrong with removing my hijab or other article of clothing for a doctor if it is necessary for the sake of the medical examination. In this instance, it was not. It was the equivalent of asking a woman to fully remove her top and undergarment in order to examine her lungs. The changes in the environment in Quebec are subtle but ever present. I have felt the chill in the air. From the racial slur while at the movies with my kids to reading passive aggressive comments on social media. Our joie de vivre, pride in diversity and bilingualism has been replaced with political unease, targeted discrimination of visibly religious minorities and linguistic force.
The Quebec election campaign became a bit more interesting this week with Pierre Karl Péladeau's decision to run for the Parti Québécois. Péladeau brings a unique and coveted background to the PQ, having for decades dined on the earnings of tabloid agitprop and rabble-rousing emotionalism. Just as Marois shrugs off recent and bad economic news, Péladeau thrusts his fist into the air and chants inspirational slogans. And somehow, in combination, these are intended to add up to the sum of economic credibility. His business acumen and his knack for rube exploitation are simply the latest assets to be nationalized by a now desperate campaign.
Early this morning, Premier Pauline Marois visited and asked Lt. Governor Pierre Duchesne to dissolve the legislature and issue an election for April 7. This would be a 33-day campaign that the separatist Premier, with a minority government earned a mere 18 months ago, is the front-runner. I am rooting for her defeat.
Tuesday's sentencing of anaesthesiologist George Doodnaught -- to a decade in jail for sexually assaulting 21 women under his care during surgery -- should have been good news. But I read this comment from the presiding judge: "There are no reported Canadian cases in which an anaesthesiologist sexually assaulted sedated patients in an operating room during surgery." This has happened before, and in my home town.
This is precisely what happened in Canada in the early 1990s. Indeed, following a steep increase in duties and taxes applicable to tobacco products by the federal government and the provinces, a vast illegal trade in cigarettes sprang up. Contraband's share in the Canadian tobacco market jumped from 1 per cent in 1987 to approximately 31 per cent by the end of 1993.
Let's call Bill 60 what it truly is: a bill that encourages intolerance, divides the population and makes visible and religious minorities into second class citizens in their own home. It is time for the opposition to step up and stop this nonsense. Until then I remain Canadian, Quebecker, a visibly practicing Muslim and proud.
What on Earth drove me to sleep at a hotel made entirely of ice? I first heard about Hotel de Glace (Ice Hotel) while visiting Montreal, Canada for work. Sleeping at an ice hotel is not for the faint hearted. It is not a scary adventure either. It is cold, but marvellous experience that I will cherish forever.
When Marc Lépine went to the École Polytechnique 23 years ago today, he entered the school with the intention of killing feminists. Feminists, he said in his suicide note, had ruined his life. I was seven years old when École Polytechnique Massacre happened. I want to think that the world has changed since then, but really, has it? Women are still the butt of the joke. Women are still lacking in positions of power. Women are still being told that they need to compete against each other. There is still a persistent bias against women in the worlds of math and science. If there's anything that can be learned from the latest American election, it's that there are still men who hate women. A lot of men. Powerful men.
Quebec's Muslim women have been threatened -- violence against veiled women has increased dramatically since the Charter debate was introduced. In Quebec, the issue of choice and self-determination around the veil is critical. It would seem, then, that in matters of fashion, religion, and secularism, Montreal's Muslim women are being held to a higher standard by their provincial government. Montreal's young Hijabistas -- and those who support them -- told us what the veil means to them.