Emotion, not reason, motivates independence movements. The desire for Quebec's independence is an ethnic project: that of the francophone nation composed of the roughly 77 per cent of Quebec's people sharing a common language, history, and culture, and who want to maintain its existence in North America. The project has no meaning otherwise.
Jacques Parizeau was Quebec Premier for merely 16 months, but he was a great servant of the state and, above all, one of the foremost builders of modern Quebec. He was one of the founding members of Parti québécois in 1968-1969, alongside Mr. Lévesque who had just stormed out of the Quebec Liberal Party. "Monsieur," as everyone called him, was a statesman; he truly had the interest of the public at heart in the noblest sense of the expression. The interest of the state came before his own. That is something that is becoming extremely rare in politics nowadays.
Recently, Quebec has witnessed very alarming anti-Muslim and anti-Islam rhetoric that has led to moral onslaught against citizens of Muslim faith. The discriminatory campaigns against any group of citizens due to their religious or ethnic background will lead to unhealthy social harmony within any society.
Is any of this relevant almost three years later? Yes, because mini-versions of the Quebec protests still play out on Canadian campuses. They may not be about tuition, and their ideological bent could be left or right. But too often when students organize around political causes they take on the same unsavory tones that reject dissent and make straw men of opposing arguments.
Couillard will only ban three types of Muslim headgear from all government employees -- including the chador, which doesn't even cover the face. The difference between a chador-style headscarf and its slightly shorter counterpart the hijab, can sometimes be hard to distinguish, so I guess in Couillard's Quebec Muslim civil servants can soon look forward to their bosses breaking out the measuring tape.
This isn't good for our personal or our collective health, Québec, and it needs to stop. Sometimes, we need to have these hard conversations. Sometimes, we need to be ready to put our minds together to envision how we want our communities to evolve. Sometimes, we need to conquer bad memories and try talking once more.
One possible justification is that he might have genuinely not acknowledged the thousands of people taking to the street to demonstrate their rejection of the Charter in its present form and its incompatibility with Quebec's own Charter of Human Rights and Freedom. Given Mr. Lisee's erudition and intelligence, that is however an unlikely scenario.
The controversy over Marc Nadon's appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada reached an important milestone late last month, when the Attorney General of Canada filed its written argument for the upcoming Reference. Unsurprisingly, it says that the Supreme Court Act, properly interpreted, permits Nadon's elevation to the Court. I disagree.
The Marois government's double-speak must be denounced, and its objective understood: getting the Superior Court to validate Bill 99 on the grounds that the Bill does not stipulate a right to secede unilaterally, and then triumphantly trumpeting everywhere that the Court's validation of Bill 99 confirms such a right.
Our public servants are already subject to a code of ethics that requires them to not make decisions based on religious prejudice (as well as gender, race, or sexual orientation). The Marois government says it is not enough and wants government employees to hide their affiliation with a particular religion. This idea is not only flawed, but it lacks core empirical proof to justify its existence.
Like most religious minorities in Quebec, I am only slightly shocked by the proposed charter of values. The people that at the short end of the proverbial legislation stick are kids. Because our kids will live the rest of their future in the shadow of the laws and governments we support, it is imperative to consult them. So I decided to put my ear to the ground, and asked my youth group girls and their friends what they thought of the Quebec charter of values. Here are some reactions by girls age 12-16, all from different backgrounds and religions.
Moving forward with its charter, the PQ is dangerously going down a road where stereotypes rule and where suspicion towards cultural and religious diversity is legitimate. It is opting for a policy that hits us violently, that hurts our convictions, that collides with our hopes and with our interpretation of civics and mutual respect.