The Shotgun Blog
Friday, December 21, 2007
Quebec has fallen off the screen in the West
Dr. Roger Gibbins - December 21, 2007
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in an Ottawa conference on the changing face of Canadian federalism. The event drove home the realization that the longstanding debate over the place of Quebec in Canada, a debate that is alive and well in Quebec, has died in the western part of the country.
Western Canadians have left the building.
Evidence for this conclusion appeared in last year’s indifference to the parliamentary recognition of the Québecois as a nation within Canada. In the past, even the hint of such recognition would have had western Canadians reaching under the bed for their muskets.
Read the entire editorial by Dr. Gibbins here:
Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 21, 2007 | Permalink
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No, I don't think we have left the building. The issues/ramifications of Official Bilingualism and Official Multiculturalism are far from off the table - just on hold right now.
Read the Ottawa Citizen today in terms of the havoc surfacing within the Ottawa Police Dept. because of the latter's policies. The Language Commissioner is trying to find some accountability as regards the $billions spent in the ROC and can't find out where it all went with little change in the per cent of "bilinuguals". Message: it has been a colossal waste of billions of dollars.
Hopefully, during the run-up to the next federal election these two issues will be well up there. The issue of Human Rights Tribunals is directly linked to Official Multiculturalism and is on the front burner these days.
Highly unlikely that any people attending conferences in the east would say/see much of anything in terms of what is happening/not happening in QC. For the most part they will be among the 20% or so who are bilingual and are all in favor of forcing Trudeau's Revenge on the ROC.
It is not about what happens in or out of QC (except of course for the billions of $ directed there) - it is about what the ROC has to deal with as ramifications of decades of Central Canada imposed legislation. Push back is only a matter of time and it is likely to deal with legislation issues rather than what QC is or is not doing.
Posted by: calgary clipper | 2007-12-21 10:30:42 PM
Calgary Clipper. You speak in code.
What the hell is the ROC? I know it as the Republic of China. It says so on the many products available in Canada these days.
And what is the QC?
Avoiding the over use of Acronyms might be helpful not only to dumb old me, but to the out of country readers who happen upon this about to be upgraded blog site.
Posted by: John West | 2007-12-22 11:22:33 AM
JW - hmmm, not meaning to speak in codes
ROC = Rest of Canada - in the Canadian bilingualism context
QC = province of Quebec like AB = Alberta (funny, at one time this only meant a lawyer's designation of Queens Counsel)
Yes, we are in a world of acronyms - it saves a lot of typing :) but, it can also inhibit understanding.
Posted by: calgary clipper | 2007-12-22 11:47:21 AM
"Western Canadians have left the building."
The Western Standard too. Is it related ?
Posted by: Marc | 2007-12-22 2:26:01 PM
If the Liberals had proposed the motion then there woul dhave been an uproar. however, because HArper did it there was no western voice to oppose his silly motion.
Posted by: aa | 2007-12-22 11:46:40 PM
This just in....
Quebec debate exposes hypocrisies of populism
Dec 23, 2007 04:30 AM
As one in six francophones appearing before the Quebec commission on reasonable accommodation put forth unreasonable ideas, there was much tut-tutting in the political and intellectual salons of Montreal and Quebec City.
Perhaps it was ill-advised to have created such an open forum.
Perhaps Charles Taylor and Gerard Bouchard could have started their hearings in Montreal rather than the rural areas. That way, embarrassing rants wouldn't have dominated the news for weeks.
On the contrary, it was good the bigots came out of the woodwork. Quebec must now either endorse them or confront them.
The exercise also exposed the more sophisticated bigots, who wrapped their xenophobic, anti-Semitic or anti-Islamic views in the tinsel of Quebec nationalism.
Many political and social leaders said that immigrants were not conforming to "Quebec values." Orthodox Jews and observant Muslims were an affront to the secular and hedonistic kingdom of Quebec. One rationale proffered was that the kippa and the hijab remind Quebecers of the religiosity they rejected decades ago.
Some Europeans, the Dutch in particular, also felt that way about Muslims and for the same reason.
Holland had dismantled its "pillarization," the division of society among Catholic, Protestant and neutral pillars, each with its schools, political party and media. Having axed it, the Dutch were discomfited by religious Muslims.
But an attack on a minority takes a majority only so far in a democracy, which demands consistency in the application of the law. That's what the Dutch discovered. That's what Quebecers are finding out.
Premier Jean Charest had promised to give gender equity primacy over freedom of religion. But he was warned, among others, by the Quebec Bar Association that a government cannot cherry-pick among fundamental rights, which work best in balance.
So when an amendment was tabled last week to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, it stated only that gender equality is on par with other rights.
That's already so, notwithstanding the statements of Christine St-Pierre, minister for women ("It's a solemn declaration of the importance that Quebec places on the equality of men and women"), or by Christiane Pelchat of the Council on the Status of Women ("You cannot limit the equality of the sexes in the name of freedom of religion").
Does this mean that Catholic women in Quebec can now move from the pews to the pulpit?
Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois had proposed that Quebec citizenship (what's that?) be denied those who didn't speak French well.
By the time she appeared before Bouchard and Taylor, she said only that the Quebec charter be interpreted in light of the province's "historical heritage" of secularism, a French majority and its values.
Asked to define her vague terms, she couldn't, adding lamely that her idea would "help guide bureaucrats through the tricky question of accommodating minorities."
The Liberal party had said that future immigrants should sign "a moral commitment" to respecting secularism, gender equality and the francophone majority. Would it be compulsory? No. Quebec might as well be handing out yet another pamphlet to immigrants.
The Quebec Federation of Labour urged that state employees, such as doctors, judges, lawyers and police officers, dress "neutrally." Would a lawyer in a turban, a yarmulke or a hijab be barred from court? Don't know. But union leader Claudette Carbonneau just couldn't imagine a hijabi judge. (Many English Canadians couldn't imagine a French Canadian as a federal finance minister, either, until Jean Chrétien broke the mould.)
But Pelchat of the women's council did know that the yarmulke and hijab should be banned. How about pendants, such as the Star of David and the crucifix? Oh, those would be fine. And also crosses in schools and hospitals.
Note to readers: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Posted by: JC | 2007-12-23 7:28:28 AM
Turns out the good people of Quebec have some issues to deal with also. I think one of the reasons Quebec has slipped below the radar out west is general apathy. Nobody gives a damn anymore about a drum that's been beaten to death.
Oh that and we've come to realize that harper is an Eastern boy...not a Western boy. So as before, we have no voice anyway.
Posted by: JC | 2007-12-23 8:11:54 AM
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