Thursday, September 12, 2013

Québec Values Must Be Human Values

Wasn't it former Québec premier and leader of the Parti Québécois (PQ), Jacques Parizeau, who said that the last referendum on sovereignty was lost because of "money and the ethnic vote"?

And wasn't it former leader of the Bloc Québécois and successor to Parizeau, Lucien Bouchard, who once said that women belonged in the home? That Québec should be kept French, and white? He has been quoted as saying, "We're one of the white races that has the fewest children."

Funny, I thought Québec was a society, not a race.

And now, the PQ has drafted a charter that would see a ban on all religious symbols and clothing in all government and public services, including education.

"To maintain social peace and promote harmony," the Québec government says.

How can a person's right to religious freedom, which is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights, be prohibited under the guise that it "will contribute to integration and social cohesion"? How it "will benefit all Québecers, including newcomers" who "will be best served by a state that treats everyone the same"?

This proposed charter opens a can of ugly, rotting worms. Some religions have symbols which can be omitted from dress, such as a necklace with a cross. But a hijab, for example, is a symbol of a culture, as well as a way for a Muslim woman to adhere to her beliefs. Whether it is worn out of her choice, as a celebration or as a strict adherence of her values, isn't for anyone to judge.

It certainly isn't for a political party to judge.

The Parti Québécois isn't a political party that exists for the benefit of all Québecers: it's a party that exists for the benefit of racist people who want to keep Québec white and French.

I was born in Québec. I work in Québec. Yet, I feel ashamed to call myself a Québecer, because I'm not that kind of Québecer. And I'm hoping that none of my family, friends, and colleagues are that kind of Québecer.

I'm sure that the PQ wouldn't think of me as a Québecer.

All Québecers need to speak out against this charter that a racist political party is proposing. The PQ cannot stomp on religious freedom under the guise of creating a level playing field. That notion is laughable.

A Québec society, as with a Canadian society as a whole, must be open and free, allowing the expression of religious rights, in a respectful manner.

Québec values must be human values.

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