Thursday, September 12, 2013

More On Quebec's Purity Charter

If the above interests you, you may wish to take a few minutes to check out Haroon Siddiqui's column in today's Star. Entitled Pauline Marois issues fatwa on Quebec secularism, his thesis can be summed up in his final paragraph:

Marois is engaged in an ugly cultural warfare of the rightwing Republican kind. She is using religious minorities to fire up her base constituency. She figures that the more English Canada reacts strongly, the better for her. But we cannot fall into the trap of abandoning fundamental Canadian constitutional values.

While Siddiqui concentrates on the damage the Quebec purity charter would do to those living within Quebec, there is growing evidence that the fallout, even if the odious legislation never passes, is spreading to other Canadian jurisdictions. Now inexplicably absent from its website, Power and Politics' Ballot Box Question of the Day for September 10 was Should public employees be banned from wearing religious symbols? A resounding 69% agreed they should be.

Given the generally progressive nature of CBC viewers, that number is a bit shocking and is perhaps also an indicator of the appeal such legislation has for those who are either latently or overtly intolerant. Having a government that is willing to enshrine discrimination offers the veneer of legitimacy to prejudice.
While it might sound like hyperbole, one needs only look at the history of the Rwandan genocide to realize that it all started with the Hutu government fomenting discontent against the Tutsis.

And, of course, Hitler's systematic stripping away of Jewish rights on the road to genocide needs no recounting here.

Will the Quebec Charter lead to genocide? Of course not. But it will encourage those are prejudiced to be more vocal in their prejudice, more intolerant of differences within our society, more disdainful of the rights of those with whom they disagree.

Even for a country as blessed as Canada, history and human nature make no exceptions.

P.S. You may also be interested in reading this Star editorial: Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values fails the decency test


  1. Lorne, I call it Charter of 'hate' values. How will it impact Christians in Muslim countries? I suppose she cannot think beyond the borders of Quebec and her own political ambitions.

    1. Very true, LeDaro. Like any politician who forsakes the collective good for her/his own narrow interests, she deserves nothing but our contempt.

  2. Marois' regressive, insidious policy reminds me of the last line of that song sung by Joel Grey in "Cabaret" - with some updating, of course...

    "If you could see them through my eyes,
    They don't look all"


    1. Happily, Neil, others don't care about people's exteriors, but rather what is inside their heads: