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.
We are a collective from the fields of law, philosophy and journalism that citizens of all orientations and origins have sought to join. Among us are separatists, federalists and "agnostics" with regards to the constitutional future of Quebec. It is with great concern that we commit these words to denounce the Quebec Charter of Values (formerly the Charter of Secularism ) project, announced by the Parti Québécois government.
Dear Lakeridge Health, This week, you started a direct mail campaign targeting Quebec doctors, medical residents, and medical students. I agree with your nearly 500 "likers" on Facebook: it's one great ad. But I'm writing to ask you if things aren't tough enough here in Quebec right now without you Ontarians trying to lure away our professionals? Who suffers most directly if our doctors and medical students leave? (Hint: it's not the PQ!)
Premier Pauline Marois' proposal to ban religious symbols in public sector settings like schools, hospitals and daycares is as unconstitutional as it is offensive to every religious minority in Quebec and across the nation. Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms under Section 2 specifically states a Canadian's right to freedom of religion and expression among others, no matter where you are.
Imagine a teacher at a public school, or a Centre de santé et des services sociaux receptionist. If she tucks her hair into a turban as a fashion statement, or dons a headscarf to keep her hairdo safe from the rain, or because she's having a bad hair day, that would be perfectly acceptable. Ditto for covering a pate denuded by cancer chemotherapy. But if she puts on that same headscarf out of Islamic modesty, das ist verboten.
Fifty years ago today, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. But today Dr. King's call to freedom and liberty might be considered inconsistent with "Quebec values." Quebec Premier Pauline Marois is an avowed separatist pursuing this agenda by unusual means: a series of xenophobic policies that is ostracizing Quebec from the 21st century mainstream. The civil rights struggle of our time is to insist that the only valid standard is the content of our own character, and not our religious clothing, celebration of particular holidays, or the language we speak at work and at home.
In an article reacting to my blackface blog post, I am accused of calling all Quebecers racist. Somehow, by sharing my thoughts and experiences as a Quebecer, I ceased to be one myself -- placed by this media outlet as a spiteful outsider to the only society, culture, and civic family I've ever intimately known.
Despite all the problems, it's about time Quebec signed the Constitution. Quebeckers in the early '90s were tired of the constitutional discussion, and clearly expressed their opposition to it at the ballot box. Yet two decades have passed and a new generation of leaders have entered the political discussion.
After the second protest in the last two weeks following a provincial summit on higher education, everything about Montreal's current spring weather seemed to have year-old Maple Spring undertones to it, including violence, arrests and injuries. The plight of student debt, post graduation underemployment, and rising housing costs are all unarguably quite legitimate burdens faced by my generation. Will free tuition as demanded by the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ) and its followers solve these zeitgeist conundrums? Unlikely.