Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What makes sense in Québec...

Very soon Pauline Marois (PQ Prime Minister) will unveil the now “notorious” The Charter of Quebec Values (CQV).
The CQV seeks to separate “Church from State”.
“Far from being a divisive factor between Québecers of all origin, the charter will become the overall consensus and therefore strongly unite the population as was the case in regards to law 101.”-Pauline Marois.
From a political perspective, Marois is of the opinion that, “leaving your religion at home” is to become an integral facet of Québec culture.
She contends that the governmental civil service will be devoid of any public religious symbolism which may or may not be perceived as being non-inclusive within the Québec culture.
After all...if the government wishes to pursue the “distinctiveness” of what makes Québec so unique; it must contend and limit the degree of its “ethnic” markers eh?
Bernard Drainville (the driving force behind the proposed bill) is convinced that the newly introduced legislation will be welcomed by all who live in the province.
Making a mockery of the CQV is easy; to present logical assurances as to why Marois believes it to be so, is another matter.
Of course you are aware that Québec already has enshrined religious rights seven years ago?
The 2008 Bouchard-Taylor report delved into this very issue and came to the conclusion that 73 cases over a 22 year span does not equate a crisis in the making.
Recent polls suggest that 53% of “Québecers” agree with the introductory CQV measures.
I would like to ascertain how this was possible since the document itself is yet to be circulated.
There is disquiet among Québec residents; why construct a piece of legislation which targets religious symbology?
We speak of Muslim issues in Québec, but in truth it is a “Montréal” issue in Québec.
Meriem Bouzidi (is a resident from Québec) who voluntarily converted to the Muslim faith responded by saying,
“Who continues to believe that Muslim women are battered? That they are not equal to humans? What are submitted? What are obliged to wear this unfortunate scarf? That still holds this sterile speech? Pauline Marois and her followers apparently.”
These are not the sole retorts aimed at the proposed legislation.
Malik Yacine (also from Québec) spoke at length in describing actual accounts of intolerance within the Muslim faith.
He also makes it clear that in doing so, does not preclude any personal gain as to what was burned into memory.
“I am not here to advocate on behalf of Québécois or Canadians; but I tell you truly and in all sincerity, and without hypocritical intent of what I have personally witnessed.
I do not seek personal accolades or any other recompense of the sort from Québecers whom are of the opinion that my personal statements does in fact mirror their own personal agendas. I only share with them my new identity and the laws and values which binds us all.”
Nevertheless if we understand this legislative bill to be the genesis of further political frameworks devised to launch a sovereign-ist platform; it has some logical merit.
The civil servant’s union public relations people have already voiced their “official” declaration on the matter.
 If we take le “Syndicat de la fonction publique du Québec” it is in favor of such a policy. Other syndicates such as the “Fédération autonome de l’enseignement” (FAE) are opposed.
“Preventing someone from wearing a hijab or kippa isn’t a way to ensure the secular nature of the state and its institutions.
 For us, respecting secularism has nothing to do with whether you wear religious symbols or accessories.”-Sylvain Mallette, FAE president.
What strikes me as bizarre is how can you welcome complete secularism in some public service sectors and eliminate it in others?
This desire by Pauline Marois to become “neutral by all appearances” is incoherent.
Especially so when the crucifix’s adorning above the legislative assembly is to remain.
The term, “wedge politics” comes to mind; the question is will it work in this case?
Some political pundits are convinced that the CQV will cause some partisans (left leaning sovereign-ist) to transfer allegiances.
Others are making direct connotations to René Lévesque and his language minister Camille Laurin.
They argue that policies are not meant to become a popularity contest but rather a matter of preserving what is deemed to be of national importance.
France anti-immigration secularism policies are more stringent than those proposed by Marois; and are definitely xenophobic in nature. Is this what a sovereign Québec might look like?
There were two online retorts (among many) which can surmise the issue.
“Marois is protecting a native Canadian identity. Let multiculturalism triumph and eventually there will be no recognizable Canadian identity, certainly not one our forefathers could recognize.”-unknown author.
If we look at the American example-it is succinct. You’re American first-you can be anything else second.
This is precisely what Marois wishes to achieve in Québec.
“What is going on here looks a lot like the majority trying to marginalize and make invisible other people who don't look like the majority or share the same beliefs.”-unknown author.
Who would of thought that a Québec separatist provincial government-to be more in-line with pro-American sentiments than the province of Alberta?

What is "White" these days?

The latest cacophony of journalist pundits, columnists, editors, clamouring the instant resignation of MLA Eric Robinson for having the audacity to inscribe “do good white people” in reply to Barbra Judt’s ill-advised fundraising attempt; is hypocritical.
The email in question raises more than one issue. On a point of order, the term used by Robinson “do good white people” is not a racist comment; it is a prejudicial comment. I find that in this instance the term “racist” to be improper. 
Wayne Craig’s remark in the Winnipeg Free Press on in the September 7th edition is quite succinct, “…The fact remains that a senior member of Her Majesty’s government made a value judgement based on a racial stereotype and committed it to writing.” On that issue, we can all agree that what Robinson wrote is indeed prejudicial.
If a “Caucasian” member of Manitoba’s Legislative elected representative in the House had made such a statement, the demand for his or her immediate resignation would have been called upon from indigenous political groups in Manitoba. I must say, if we transcribe the word “white” with “Indian” under similar outcomes such arguments are valid.
Again, I think that we are losing sight of the forest for the tree. Robinson’s remarks were clearly prejudicial; does it in fact merit dismissal? If we are to ascribe to the rules of fair play, the answer is yes. After all ascribing a double standard in this case is not beneficial; it furthers the argument that regardless of what is being said or done by an indigenous person in politics is beyond questioning.
Such reasoning is lacking perspective, in today’s reality. There is a piece missing. Canadians of “Caucasian” ancestry are to dismissive, they forget to easily, they do not want to admit that the current structures in place when dealing with indigenous issues are not working. These structures are fact based on racially, documented government policies aimed at assimilating a race based ethnic group on Canadian soil. It is still occurring to this day, the undercurrent is unmistakable.
The litanies of racially motivated federal government programs are indisputable; it is a matter of public record. Which brings me to the missing piece, if we are to purposely jump every time an indigenous person (elected or not) feels like using the term “white” instead of using the term “Caucasian” in describing the actions of people who are making decisions on behalf of  indigenous peoples; we have a long way to go.
Let me be clear, presently, Canadians of Caucasian ancestry do not like to be called “white”, “settler ally”, “colonialists”, or any other term which implies having dominion over another ethnic race. They shaft at the thought of having to endure the consequences of past and present federal government policies regarding indigenous people.
 They want none of it; they do not want their taxpayers money used in continuing a separate class of citizens.
They are wary of having to hear how Treaty agreements are still not honored, how unjust it is for indigenous people to continue to claim that Canada still owes them indemnities.
 They argue the statute of limitation, they use the rational that issues of the past cannot ever be concluded in a satisfactory manner in which will bring peace and harmony between indigenous and Caucasian Canadians.  They are convinced that it is time for indigenous people to embrace their ethnicity in conjunction with being Canadian first.
Third, Fourth, and Fifth generation “white” Canadians no longer accept the constant barrage being said and written by the likes of the Pamela Palmater’s and the Derek Nepinak’s so on and so forth, stating that “they” are morally and financially responsible to correct any and all misdeeds of the past.
Canadians of Caucasian descent are beginning to fashion their own identities. They no longer ascribe to the “mother land” mentality any longer. They no longer identify with their European roots; all that remains is the color of their skin.
In accordance, when Robinson attributed the prejudicial comment of “do good white people” in describing Judt’s stupidity, it triggered a feeling among Canadians that Robinson using the term “white” to be equally offensive in their view- racist even.
This latest incident demonstrates that there is still a lot of work to do. We have an ethnic indigenous population, which continue to feel marginalized, ostracized, not taken seriously. They are of the opinion that forcing them to become “Canadian” at all, never mind first-is continuing to ignore the fact that they should not be forced to choose at all. 
It is their collective opinion that a blanket apology is not sufficient; there needs to be significant profit sharing structures of natural resources on First Nations land.
Indigenous groups living on reserves in Canada, believe that the responsibility to develop such resources to be that of domestic and international companies, and Canadian governmental entities. It is they that need to absorb the majority of the operational costs of any future development on First Nations land. It is their understanding that this is the price to pay in order to balance the scales of justice.
This is not the view shared by the majority of non-indigenous people of varied ethnic backgrounds living in this country.  Some Canadians do believe that some kind of recitative process in regards to First Nations still needs to occur. Most feel that enough money and resources are in place to address these issues.
Robinson’s comment triggered an avalanche. Imagine what the Conservative government agenda for First Nations under Prime Minister Harper will trigger. Idle No More is but a taste of what is to come, if we continue to ignore the major prejudices and racial assimilation policies that continue to plague this country.