From the category archives:

Quebec sait faire

I’m glad to see so many people recognize the hypocrisy in François Legault wanting to prohibit religious symbols worn by public servants, and yet keep the cross in the National Assembly:

Simon Jolin-Barrette, a spokesman for the transition team, said Tuesday there is no contradiction between the new government’s plan to impose strict secularism rules on certain public servants and its desire to maintain the crucifix.

“The historic position of the CAQ is to keep the crucifix in its current position,” he said. “It is a heritage object.”

He says the crucifix, which has hung in the national assembly since 1936, is “part of our history” and “an accessory” to the issue at hand.

Let me be clear, though: Even if he were to remove the cross, that wouldn’t make the ban on religious headwear any more acceptable.

The state should be neutral. That means respecting every individual’s freedom of religion. For the state to be gender neutral, that wouldn’t require all representative of the state to be genderless. Nor would the state being racially neutral require all representatives of the state to have no racial background.

The number of people who want to remove people’s religious freedom in the name of protecting religious freedom baffles me.

Banning people whose religions require them to dress a certain way from holding positions of authority is exactly the opposite of neutrality. It’s state-mandated atheism, which is no different from any other country that requires or prohibits the practice of certain religions. That’s the true hypocrisy here.

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“Religion is a private matter. People should keep it at home, not out in the streets.”

— said by members of the Quebecois majority who are nonetheless perfectly fine with:

  • Public Christmas tree displays.
  • Christmas lights hung by private citizens outside their homes.
  • Easter egg hunts for kids organized by the city.
  • Every store, from Dollarama to Wal-Mart, stocking aisles full of Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc. decorations.
  • Paid statutory holidays on Christmas and Easter (but not, y’know, on Rosh Hashanah or Eid or Diwali or…).
  • Kids dressing up and going trick-or-treating on Halloween.
  • A giant cross on the top of Mount Royal.
  • Company “holiday” parties that are Christmas themed.
  • Ugly Christmas sweater contests at schools or workplaces.
  • The cross hanging in the National Assembly.

The only conclusion to possibly be drawn is that people are fine with public displays of religion… as long as it’s their religion and nobody else’s.

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Couillard quits politics, exits on a high note

10.04.2018

As speculated, Philippe Couillard has announced he will be retiring from politics. And he’s chosen to base his exit speech on an impassioned plea for minority rights and respect for diversity: “It’s a fundamental democratic principle. Quebec must remain a welcoming and inclusive society where all are invited to the table — a place where […]

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Legault says he’ll use notwithstanding clause to target religious minorities

10.02.2018

So our new premier-elect, who swept to power last night on votes from people living in places where they’ve probably never met a member of a religious minority, thinks it’s such a priority to ban Quebecois citizens — most of whom live in ridings that DIDN’T vote CAQ — from being able to freely practice […]

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Quebec Solidaire: Think twice

10.01.2018

I have a lot of friends — federalists, minorities, anglos, even — who say they are voting Quebec Solidaire this time around. In many cases, I can even understand why. In this cynical era of politics, they’re the “feel good” option — a vote for the environment, for equality, for reduction in poverty, etc. But […]

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Vote smart. Vote strategically. Vote compassionately.

09.30.2018

I’m equally cynical and fearful of what tomorrow’s election results will bring. I cynically sense it will be nothing good, and I’m worried for the people and groups who will be most hurt by the fallout. And I’m fed up by people who don’t bother voting because they know that their privilege will protect them […]

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It could always be worse

12.31.2017

It’s December 31st again. But it’s been no typical year. This time last year, I wondered whether we were a little too eager to leap from the frying pan into the fire. One year later, I can say unequivocally: I was right. Even just a short list of what’s happened in the USA the past […]

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Bill 62: Quebecois xenophobia at its worst

08.22.2017

As white supremacists march in the streets in the US, we can’t feel too smug here. Racism is, sadly, alive and well right in our home province, as the Liberal government chooses this moment to revive the debate about religious headgear. Bill 62, the so-called anti-niqab bill, is being touted by the Liberals as a […]

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Quebec economy in pretty good shape

06.19.2017

This is getting buried in the news cycle. But it’s actually a pretty big deal, and a sign that Quebec’s economy is in its best shape since before the ’95 referendum: U.S. bond rating agency S&P Global has boosted Quebec’s credit rating to AA- – helping the province surpass neighbouring Ontario for the first time. […]

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Andrew Potter, freedom of speech, and the pile-on effect

03.23.2017

The Gazette’s Allison Hanes weighs in on the Andrew Potter debate: We live in the age of the digital lynch mob, where our slightest missteps get magnified, stupid remarks snowball and ill-considered words live on in infamy. Potter is not the first to be scorched by the blowback from this vicious cycle. [ . . . ] […]

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