Marois bares Quebec bigotry.

Bigotry in Quebec has deep roots. In the past week, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has been testing those roots. Her planned ‘Charter of Quebec Values’ is nothing but a bigot’s demand to ‘speak white.’

It hardly matters if her phony charter wins the approval of the Quebec National Assembly or not. Marois’ point has been made. She has drawn her line in the sand. The Parti Québécois has always had bigotry in its back pocket to use when needed. It was probably the facet of the Quebec psyche that destroyed René Lévesque in his final years. He could lead the strong but he could not quell the weakness.

Quebec’s is not a racial bigotry. It is tribal. It had its beginnings in the days of the Voyageurs. It was the battle over the early years of this country with the Hudson’s Bay Company. It was the Square Mile of Montreal. It was the blockheads. It was conscription.

From a province of piety, Quebec is today a secular society. It can, also now exclude those who do not speak the language and dress the dress. It can disdain the clerics and look down on those who show a difference. They can revile the trappings of the Semitic. They can reject the excesses of the extremist Christians. Their future, their confidence, their crutch, they are told, is their language, their culture and the politicians who pander to their insularity.

It is this base of bigotry that Marois needs to hold on to power. She equates this new charter of ‘values’ to Law 101 that said it was designed to protect the French language while stripping the province of much of its Anglophone professionals and leadership. This proposed charter denies the right of a person in a public position to wear a headscarf or turban lest it be construed as a religious symbol. It denies the Hasidim their identity. This, she says, is to protect Quebec in its freedoms and diversity.

Marois sees this charter as just another step in dividing Canada. It can only serve to enslave Quebec as an insular island in a progressive North America. She obviously sees Quebec as a quaint pocket of French civilization transplanted from Europe. It does nothing for the Quebecker who wants to share in the growth and freedom of opportunity available to all Canadians.

Our Quebec can do much better.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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