The reality of the Quebec Charter

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The Quebec Charter of Values is in the hot seat of Canadian politics. Proposed by the Parti Québécois (PQ), the charter that is intended as a “strong, uniting element between Quebecers,” will do anything but.

By Noah Davis-Power

The Quebec Charter of Values is in the hot seat of Canadian politics. Proposed by the Parti Québécois (PQ), the charter that is intended as a “strong, uniting element between Quebecers,” will do anything but.

The charter, as a piece of legislation, if you ask any PQ members, purports to support the religious neutrality of the state by disallowing public employees to brandish any overt religious attire at the place of work.

Hijabs, turbans, kippas and  crucifixes will be banned from display — however, the overt, overbearing Christian cross on the National Assembly gets to stay put.

Separatism is a dying breed among activists across Canada, including Quebec.

The flame of sovereignty is now but a smouldering ember of the mighty movement it once was.

So how does a separatist party gain momentum when their cause is on the brink of extinction?

Create another classic wedge issue to divide and conquer similar to the separatist cause; that is exactly what the Charter of Values does.

Sliding support

Since the last Quebec referendum in 1995, where the “yes” side of separation came within a percentage point of majority, the PQ has lost significant support.

Members have branched to the left or right — sovereignty is no longer a priority and this greatly compromises the ability of the PQ to form a majority government, further debilitating its effectiveness at fulfilling the main purpose of the party.

Not even past attempts by the PQ to reinvigorate Quebec nationalism, such as Bill 101, the French language bill, restored the party to levels in opinion polls needed to turn into a majority.

The charter is a Hail Mary pass to recapture and rebuild their base, more specifically the francophone electorate outside of Montreal where the cause might have some pathetic leg to stand on — and for the first time since Montreal has become a major city, its councillors have stated they would request exemption from the charter.

That should send a clear message to Premier Pauline Marois, but she is blinded by her ignorance.

Marois and her separatist government have come to the defence of the charter, saying that, “In England, they get into fights and throw bombs at one another because of multiculturalism and people get lost in that society.”

Cultural confusion

Marois is confused at what the effect of multiculturalism in the U.K. and in other places in the world.

It is very telling of a government that has lost its way that, when pressed to give support of their legislation, Marois and the PQ can give arguments that are borderline racist and ignorant beyond belief as the governing members of one of the most ethnically diverse provinces in Canada.

The charter is a sad attempt at underhandedly garnering support for a dying cause by once again pitting Quebecois against Quebecois.

Multiculturalism is a reality that adds to the richness of an ever-developing identity that is being Canadian, and being a part of Quebec, not something that should be viewed and exploited by such narrow minds at a last-ditch attempt to keep their own political careers alive.

If life and society in Quebec is in such cultural disarray that the government needs to enshrine assumed and misguided values in a charter, it should not be a question of separatism or cultural evolution, but one of leadership.

Bonne chance, Mme. Marois. You’re going to need it.

Noah Davis-Power is a student

at Memorial University.

Organizations: Parti Québécois, National Assembly, Charter

Geographic location: Quebec, Canada, Montreal England U.K.

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  • Doug Smith
    October 16, 2013 - 19:10

    Mr. Davis-Power, your statement that Premier Pauline Marois is blinded by her ignorance, really applies to you. Obviously you don’t understand that hijabs, burkas, etc. are the outward signs of the oppression of women. You will note that no males are found wearing burkas or veils. Premier Marois is trying to free women from the tyranny and second class status inflicted upon women by religion. Your parroting of what other male commentators have said is disappointing to say the least. Doug Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor