It was suggested recently that Canadians were helping François Legault and his Coalition Avenir Quebec by voicing their dismay about the passing of what is commonly referred to as Bill 21 in their provincial assembly. I disagree. I believe we give courage and determination to those millions of Quebeckers who decry the bigotry and parochialism of their pretentious politicians.
Recently, we have seen municipal politicians from both inside and outside Quebec, add their voices and their financial support to those in Quebec who are fighting this battle against bigotry. And we shame prime minister Trudeau and the leader of the opposition, Mr. O’Toole, as they do battle with their own caucuses. They want to stay out of the fight. Neither politician wants to lose support in Quebec. They might be surprised to learn that they never had the votes of the bigots in the first place.
This is not to say that there is no bigotry in Quebec. It is important though to recognize that there is much less than there used to be. Even before Wolfe’s soldiers climbed the cliff to the Plains of Abraham in 1759 there was distain in Quebec for the British. The overwhelming control by the Catholic Church in those early days also gave rise to antisemitism, the paternalism with the aboriginal population and the tribal attitude toward the English.
But there is also a pride in Quebec today. It is a pride in maintaining the French language. It is a pride in their province. And there is also the pride in being Canadian.
Quebec has become a more secular society as has the rest of the country. It is not so much the rejection of religion but the recognition within an educated population of the slowness of religious orders to adapt and serve their needs.
Premier Legault can call it Quebec values if he wishes but when those so-called values try to interfere with freedom of religion, he is going to get push-back. All Canadians can recognize bigotry, that is that brazen.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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