For love of country.

Travel in Europe, Asia and throughout North America has helped strengthen my love for Canada. When people in other countries tell me how much they admire our country, I rarely try to explain that we are still a work in progress. There is no need to tell them that we could certainly ratchet up our   efforts for our aboriginals, improve the foundations of our democracy, facilitate better communications between provinces and build on the benefits of our two languages. We are a country that needs to concentrate more about what holds us together rather than what can drive us apart.

This was the thinking when reading an op-ed about Quebec secularism by Quebec M.P. Guy Caron yesterday in the Toronto Star. I am not sure whether I was angered the most by his hoary old chestnut about the Church of Rome or his ignorant comment about the rest of Canada’s paternalism towards Quebec Province.

For the last century, the Roman Catholic Church has been in a losing race to catch up with an increasingly secular world. Even religion has to modernize to keep up with a changing world. The problem in Quebec is the same as noted in many church dominated societies. As the church fails, the faithful become more secular and experiment with other leaders.

And Mr. Caron can talk around the subject all he likes but the church fostered much of the bigotry that exists today in Quebec. It is a small step from railing against the ‘blockhead’ English to antisemitism. Bigotry is fed by ignorance and denied opportunity.

Leaders such a Wilfrid Laurier and Pierre Trudeau offered Quebecers a world of opportunity. Yet Caron sees the NDP’s pandering to Quebec with the Sherbrooke Declaration as some sort of answer. It is not. It insults.

Quebecers will have the respect of all when they recognize that their home is Canada. They have the charm of the Atlantic Provinces in their front yard and the strength and scope of Ontario and the west in their back yard. Anything Quebecers want to achieve, they can do better as Canadians. Because Quebec is the keystone that holds the country together.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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