Senior Times: Acquired rights attacked by proposed Charter of Quebec Values (10th Oct 2013)

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Discussion sur la Charte des valeurs québécoises à l’Université de Sherbrooke

“Il y a la peur de l’autre. Le racisme. La polarisation des idées. La xénophobie. Il y a les mots qui ne sortent pas de la bonne façon pour s’affirmer, en tant que peuple québécois. Il y a les oeillères. Il y a l’étouffement d’une nation. Il y a les jeux de pouvoir. Les guerres intestines de partis politiques. Les barrières constitutionnelles. Il y a surtout les sophismes et les jugements de valeurs lancés de toute part au grand public. Et puis, vient le raisonnement, le lundi 18 novembre prochain.

Philippe Côté

Invité à se positionner sur le sujet de la Charte des valeurs québécoises, le grand public doit se garder de tomber dans les raccourcis émotifs et plutôt viser un pragmatisme intellectuel qui lui sera utile pour faire la part des choses dans l’analyse des composantes de ce débat. Une question se pose: comment pouvoir se construire une idée précise de la situation si nous ne possédons pas une connaissance profonde des enjeux touchant à ce projet de loi déposé par le Parti Québécois?

Grâce à une initiative de M. David Courchesne, professeur au département des sciences des religions, le grand public est invité à participer, le lundi 18 novembre à 18 h à l’Agora du Carrefour de l’information de l’Université de Sherbrooke, au visionnement du documentaire Liberté, égalité, accommodements, du réalisateur Stefan Nitoslawski. L’entrée est libre et gratuite.

C’est sur le travail de la Commission Bouchard-Taylor que se penche ce documentaire, introduisant les paramètres nécessaires à la compréhension du débat entourant la Charte des valeurs québécoises.

De plus, une discussion suivra avec des experts en la matière, notamment M. Norman Cornett, spécialiste en sciences des religions, M. David Koussens, professeur à la Faculté de théologie et d’études religieuses et titulaire de la Chaire de recherche sur les religions en modernité avancée, etM. Daniel Proulx, professeur à la faculté de droit et membre du centre Société, Droit et religions de l’Université de Sherbrooke, le tout animé par Me Marie-Pierre Robert, professeure à la Faculté de droit et codirectrice du centre Société, Droit et religions de l’Université de Sherbrooke.

Il sera question, dans cette table ronde, d’enjeux sociopolitiques, juridiques et religieux qui gravitent autour du projet de loi de la Charte des valeurs québécoises et qui influencent la population. C’est donc avec une approche pluridisciplinaire que le panel d’experts veut analyser ce dossier, pour donner la vision la plus globale possible de la situation aux participants.

Car voilà le véritable objectif de cette discussion: l’ouverture et la compréhension des enjeux des accommodements religieux au Québec, et le combat des idées réductrices véhiculées par une certaine partie de la population. “Avec les éclaircissements des spécialistes à notre disposition, le dialogue poussera les participants à la réflexion et à l’écoute de l’autre, note M. Norman Cornett. Il est très important pour le grand public de voir les deux côtés de la médaille avant de poser un jugement sur ce débat de société.”

M. Cornett se dit très affecté par les commentaires démagogues de certaines personnalités publiques. Il cite à cet effet M. Jean Allaire, fondateur de l‘Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ), comme exemple : “M. Allaire a lancé le commentaire suivant:  moi j’ai lu le Coran étant jeune. Je suis à le relire avec toute la pensée de l’Islam, et c’est un texte de conquête et de violence.”

“Je vous pose la question. Est-ce que ce n’est pas là tomber dans la caricature, dans le stéréotype, dans le profilage?”

Voilà qui met la table pour cet événement incontournable qui suscitera non seulement les passions, mais surtout la réflexion.”

72 Responses to Senior Times: Acquired rights attacked by proposed Charter of Quebec Values (10th Oct 2013)

  1. James Oscar says:

    For now I have given up on Quebec and Canada. This is a country not for people of color and we cannot spend our lives hoping and asking for things to change. There are other welcoming vistas where we do not have to give up our physical and mental health. I CHOOSE EXILE!

  2. Marie Cécile says:

    Mr. Oscar, your pain and indignation pours forth in your choice of quotations. I was ashamed when the party in power in Québec started the process to legislate the Charter with the Omnibus Title. After the neverendum referendums, we have the Belcher Charter…I cannot match your knowledge nor have lived your life. I come from a working class family (my grandfather was a lumberjack, trapper and carpenter; my father learned a trade in the Canadian Army during the 2nd World War; my grandmothers had lots of babies and never a day off) and I find myself in suburbia (funny that it should be associated to neutrality) by dint of a university education (my debt paid back monthly for ten years after graduation), blind luck and a lot of hard work. I confess that suburbia sometimes feels neutral because, in the greater metropolitan area, there are numerous dormitory towns whose blurry-eyed residents get up in the morning to drive or travel by train or bus into Montreal, earn their keep and drive or travel back in a fit of repressed rage and adrenaline. They are part of the 99% because our taxation system is such that everyone really earns a fraction of their gross salary. I can understand though why you would want to join their mind-numbed ranks. (I’m excluding myself because I no longer venture forth in the morning.) There is a certain feeling of being part of a larger entity than oneself, of feeling useful, of playing out one’s role in society. There is also the dignity that one gains by being able to pay bills.
    On another note, related to the definition of power, I attended the Quebec Native Women convention last weekend so I can quote Ellen Gabriel, the Mohawk leader and activist, because I wrote this down as she was talking: “Don’t leave it to band council chiefs…Each of you is a leader…If you are not responsible for your rights, someone else will take your rights out from under you.” I believe she was talking about empowerment, perseverance, militancy, or advocacy, whatever you want to call it. Not all empowerment leads to political power, but it’s a start. Putting aside fears and putdowns and finding the strength to carry on is a form of power. I believe that you are powerful.
    Yes, we in Québec have had “settler” mentalities but many of us do not deny what has been wrought with respect to Aboriginal Peoples in this province and what fate befell black slaves in Canada. And Jews in Europe. Quebeckers who don’t know this need to be educated; to meet persons unlike themselves, to share a meal with them, to engage in partnerships that will lead to greater understanding. Of course, please know that to Aboriginals, you are as white as I am, Mr. Oscar. You are mainstream Canadian, a member of another nation. I don’t believe you will take solace in this. But, we all know that white people are anthropologically on the way out, aren’t they? We need less white lights and more bright lights, anyway.

    Yours in the lightness of being.

  3. James Oscar says:

    A NOTE ON THE “MEANING OF NEUTRALITY” & A FURTHER NOTE ON WHITENESS
    for Marie Cecile etc

    Neutrality seems to happen “in a kind of mid space”, in a kind of vacillation in and around an object/or discussion. The subject “who assumes” the discussion and also “deploys” the discussion (moderates it by force or by “niceness”) says that this or that is neutral. We are neutral. It is a kind of liberal reticence, a kind of spirited moment without the spirit. It is a kind of grilled cheese, hold the cheese.

    In neutraility, the subject says and thus still defines social space. The subject still holding sway over the entirety of a space, even though all is neutral but then one must asks, “What is neutral”? or rather What does neutral mean/ and or posit?

    Here is an example of Neutrality:

    “.Power in contemporary society habitually passes itself off as embodied in the normal as opposed to the superior. This is common to all forms of power, but it works in a peculiarly seductive way with whiteness, because of the way it seems rooted, in common-sense thought, in things other than ethnic difference…in the realm of categories, black is always marked as a colour (as the term ‘coloured’ egregiously acknowledges), and is always particularising; whereas white is not anything really, not an identity, not a particularising quality, because it is everything – white is no colour because it is all colours…This property of whiteness, to be everything and nothing, is the source of its representational power…The colourless multi-colouredness of whiteness secures white power by making it hard, especially for white people and their media, to ‘see’ whiteness… the invisibility of whiteness colonises the definition of other norms – class, gender, heterosexuality, nationality and so on – it also masks whiteness as itself a category. White domination is then hard to grasp in terms of the characteristics and practices of white people…. white power secures its dominance by seeming not to be anything in particular…” Richard Dyer, “White”

    Neutrality’s space/ air is disparate. The control of that space (and its venues) is a calm, not there, yet there. Neutrality also still assumes that there is and may have never been a subject- object relation, and thus in the case of social spaces where there is obviously/ necessarily a history (of domination), it assumes/ deploys/ puts forward Another history, it assumes/ deploys/ puts forward intact a history that might be revisionist. (In the Quebec example hiding or playing down the colonial past or even worse the denial that the slave trade ever took place in Quebec. Let us remember James McGill was a slave owner he bought and sold slaves

    As in our specific case, that revisionism, might just be the denial of colonialist past- or at the very least a glossing over of such a History and the allocation of social spaces to only those who confide an play within the social space already circumscribed by such a neutrality and hence suppression of what in fact can never actually ever be a neutral social space.

    Neutrality has a kind of “suburban” feel to it. It is intentional, latent, suburban. It is an invisible drive-by in an invisible neighbourhood.

    “Neutrality is research on transformation and control of contemporary space.”
    John Palmesino

    http://www.nationnews.ca/quebec-in-question-scholars-attack-provinces-colonial-history/
    “There is a significant body of individuals and groups who refuse intersectionality because they do not want to have a serious discussion about the legacy of colonialism and ongoing racism,” Mugabo said. She noted that an indicator of this has been the reluctance of feminists to engage in a discussion of whiteness and white privilege.A very concrete and basic example of this is the refusal by the majority [of feminists] to speak of white women in Quebec as just that: ‘white women.’” The Quebec feminist movement’s unwillingness to recognize white privilege, she argued, is due to the movement’s ties to Quebec nationalism, which “requires Quebec white people to be regarded as oppressed and colonized, and makes it hard to recognize the white privilege that Québécois people necessarily possess.”

    Also see Felix Teitelbaum character of artist William Kentridge’s animations

    PS I was born here. I am discriminated against for work I am qualified for. Montreal is the only place I have ever experienced this job discrimination. The situation is extreme and dire. Everyone walks around in wonderment in the midst of the most latent living degradation. I am being made into the immigrant I am not.

  4. Hugo Jetté says:

    Cher Monsieur Nitoslawski,

    Merci pour ce commentaire qui reflète en effet le gros bon sens.

    Ce que je retiens des deux derniers gouvernements, Libéral et Parti Québécois, c’est cette volonté de fixer l’opinion publique sur autre chose que sur les véritables enjeux, ceux-ci étant le fait brutal que l’État est en faillitte et qu’un haut niveau d’improvisation semble y régner

    On a beaucoup parlé de la liquidation du patrimoine religieux mais nous faisons face actuellement à une vente de feu des actifs immobiliers institutionnels qui représentent des millions de pieds carrés seulement qu’à Montréal !

    L’Hötel-Dieu, l’âme de Montréal, va fermer ses portes définitivement en 2016 et le Royal Vic va suivre dans la même foulée ! Tout ça pour récupérer de façon précipitée, sans penser aux conséquences ni au développement futurs de ces sites, pour récupérer dis-je une somme visant à éponger partiellement les frais du nouveau CHUM et du CUSUM.

    De plus, le gouvernement a débloqué 100 millions de dollars sur dix (10) ans pour mettre sur les épaules des aidants naturels de lourdes responsabilités qui vont les mener droit au burn out! Rien de moins! 100 millions alors qu’il en faudrait quatre (4) milliards !

    On ferme des lits dans tous les secteurs.

    S’il y a un film a faire c’est bien sur ces sujets-là qu’il faudrait le faire car la souffrance humaine qui va résulter de l’improvisation des décideurs politiques et administratifs en ces matières va être immense. Nous allons entrer dans une “nuit noire” socio-économiquement parlant et ce, pour une génération entière !

    Souhaitant que quelqu’un tire la sonnette d’alarme avant qu’il ne soit trop tard, non pour éviter la faillitte de l’État (il est rop tard) mais bien pour mieux gérer l’inévitable décroissance qui va en résulter.

    Au sein de la fraternité de l’Esprit,

    Hugo Jetté

  5. Marie Cécile says:

    M. Nitoslawski, je suis du même avis que vous. Pour contrer le destin cauchemardesque que M. Poplawski a imaginé pour nous, il faut s’engager pour faire tomber les partis au pouvoir au provincial et au fédéral! Au lieu de Go! Québec, Go! Ce sera Go! Pauline, Go! et Go! Stephen, Go! (Est-ce que c’est comme cela qu’on épèle son nom? D’habitude, je l’appelle Darth Harper, voyez-vous…)

    • Dear Marie Cecile,
      Do you know typical game used by police during interrogations? They play roles of good and bad guys what often helps them at the expense of more trusty (naive) prisoners. From my perspective Harper and all other party leaders (NDP, Liberals, BQ, communists etc ) represent the same low category of this ‘profession’ named today’s as politicians. For example, just recently our Liberals after finding that this proposed Charter resonates with many local people from Quebec (before they were the most noisy opponents of this projected plan) now say that they also support certain aspects of the Charter.

      Instead of voting and believing that finally a honest Father/Mother of Canada/Quebec will be elected it is probably worth of investing our energy on ignoring them. Our present political system/structure is extremely corrupted (corroded) and new layers of paint will not protect from a total collapse. We need fundamental changes and not participating in the elections’ farce. It represents the first step and it is not shooting into own feet, but ….. . The true changes can come after the politicians and our society will see that only 20% participated in their elections – yes, we need a shock therapy.

  6. J’aimerais remercier les spectateurs qui ont assisté à la projection du documentaire “Liberté, égalité, accommodements” samedi dernier pendant le Festival du Monde Arabe à Montréal. J’étais touché par les témoignages et par la volonté des personnes présentent pour comprendre le débat autour de la Charte au Québec.

    Il est claire que le gouvernement n’est pas préoccupé par le problème de laicité ni d’accomodement au Québec car la Commission Bouchard-Taylor a, noir sur blanc, démontré qu’il n’y en a pas. Le PQ joue sans gène la corde sensible de l’identité, comme l’ADQ l’a fait en 2007-08 et, de fait, divise la population d’une façon dramatique.

    J’ai l’impression que tout a été dit et que dans le contexte du gouvernement minoritaire nous nous rapprochons d’une élection à l’hiver ou au printemps. C’est le temps pour tous les citoyens d’agir et se préparer pour un vote. J’invite tous les participants à s’engager par tout les moyens possibles dans les prochaines élections pour faire tomber ce projet de loi discriminatoire.

  7. Hello Friends,
    This topic was for me too big and too trivial as I have already experienced enforced policies of secularization in my former communist Poland. I saw a very similar dogmatic/heavy handed approach that now offers Our Dear PQ. Promoting secularism must be followed by consistent replacement of many basic traditional religious values with something similarly powerful and accepted, but such things were too big for narrow minded communist ideology decades ago and it is hard to believe that now the PQ is able to go further. For such reasons I tried to ignore this discussion. However, Dr. Cornett invited me to write something about it what I did, but with overreaction (haha!) by writing so many words. Somehow, it was liked by a few people and I was proposed to shorten it to a few hundred words as a condition for publishing. Such cuts sounds now impossible for me, but if some of feel like as easy to do it, I will appreciate it. Be patient if you will decide to read this piece below.
    Slawomir

    —————-
    „Go Quebec, go!!!”
    or
    “Glory for Quebec, the first Secular State (SS) of future the United Secular States Republic (USSR) in a Nouveau World Ordnung (NWO).”

    Quebec seems to be more corrupted, increasingly poorer and less reliable for business investments compared with her North American neighbours. However, residents of Quebec are more socially active and used to reading between the lines. This awareness can be problematic for politicians.

    When Charest attempted to restrain access to higher education for the poorest students, rallies reaching 200,000 emerged which was something that could not have been predicted. He portrayed students as typical opportunists trying to exploit low tuition rates which were subsidized by taxpayers by investing in student’s education that would potentially lead to high salaries later on. This low `divide and control’ policy was quickly decoded by students and society at large. With progressing governmental repressions they started to understand more clearly how important it was for the better protection of their rights through resisting social manipulations and demanding free access to education for all.

    Our society was too passive in the past and we have accepted far too many contentious decisions which have gradually eroded the basic fundamentals of our liberal democracy. The controversial free trade agreement which presently constrain national economical autonomy was initiated by one of the most corrupted politicians, Brian Mulroney. His selling point was that we will be able to buy cheaper products and so this policy was widely accepted by Canadians. Similarly, Harper has been ‘successful’ in introducing the gradual limitation of civil liberties locally and internationally through ordering our participation in the occupation of Afghanistan after propagating with slogans about terrorism and safety.

    Such political games would be definitely less victorious if for the inclusion of Quebec, as can be confirmed now by Madame Marois. She tried recently attempted a more sophisticated political intrigue in comparison to Charest and lured some groups into bullying a marginal population of deeply religious people. It worked well at the beginning, but now her true motives are decoded by the majority of Quebec’s mosaic population. This time instead of big crowds on streets we see something more convincing: thousands of letters/opinions presented in papers, blogs and during countless conversations. It is very inspiring to witness this intellectual mobilization and the further discussion concerning our increasingly globalized world that instead of bringing more freedom for the majority of global communities but instead has brought increased oppression and fear. Who is behind it?

    The ruling financial spheres which are wielded by politicians like lion tamers and thus have taken advantage of the weakest elements in our social lives so as to gain more control. Life under their thumb is tough and the masses should be always wide awake. The weaknesses that are so easily exploited are relatively still easy to trigger human instincts through ordering the subconscious elimination of the most fragile members of fellow tribal communities who are simultaneously seen as enemies. This brutal human impulse was increasing chances for small clans’ survival in physically harsh environments. Today it is totally obsolete and treated as a dangerous social pathology in the justification of our special attention towards the elimination of bullying inclinations among children.

    That is why it may shock the latest political initiatives of exploring the cause of the increased discrimination of the weakest and new members of our society. We can ask rhetorically, why does nobody feel ashamed to propose in our province new laws permitting euthanasia and limiting free expressions of personal religious believes? ‘The answer is blowing …’ not only from opportunist by their nature politicians, but more from our decaying morally/ethically majority which in theory is what naturally enhances the number of all kinds of ‘social vultures’ feasting on social confrontations.

    The most disturbing aspect of all these elements combined is that these controversial proposals have come to light in a era of incredible technological and agricultural developments unknown in human history. It offers very comfortable physical life conditions for at least 25% of the Earth’s human population, which can only, be compared to the biblical paradise where people were freed from worrying too much about food, weather and many other predicaments.
    In such circumstances whole societies have amassed a great deal of leisure time for contemplating their miracle existence that without many external influences which could promptly enrich and improve their social interactions. The history shows ancient independent Greek towns where relaxed and healthy citizens were enthusiastically developing the fundamentals of our present democracies.

    Today, in countries like Canada, people are better prepared (education, communication and have more free time), but instead of perfecting social structures there are generating new forms of ‘mental/psychological jungles’. As the result, the majority of masses living in the most developed economical systems experience an unprecedented ‘mental hell’. They are not prepared to defend their psyche from this new plague. There is something fundamentally wrong with this democracy when higher living standards instead of stimulating spiritual developments are creating/generating many new destructive motives in human minds on a mass scale.

    Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and other religions have addressed and provided much pragmatic advice for almost all human problems, but it has not included such ‘new plagues’ like: stress, depression, frustration, suicide, multiple addictions and unprincipled psychological manipulations reaching all aspects of our lives.
    There are also among them, totally unknown before, extreme confrontations with determined suicidal-attackers. Their manifested level of hate toward other people exceeds combined love for life with natural scare of deaths.

    It reveals how self-harming the human race has become and the reduction of intrinsic human dignity and basic system of values which are present in some few social systems. However, these societies are usually manipulated like a marionette by the skilful politician whom can trigger such reactions. Typical ‘explanations’ blaming religions do not hold water as in a long human history. Religions have never been able to force people into such extreme self-destructing acts. The officials were feeding the public for a long time with many revealed plots involving only young or mentally unbalanced people supposedly preparing terrorist attacks. Besides presenting justifications for the controversial limitation of collective and individual civil rights, it was aimed to disperse our attention from noticing grown influences of a new emerging ‘religion of global order’. It promotes old hedonism spiced with modern consumerism/materialism which can only satisfy more uniform and enslaved mentalities of predictable ‘homo economicus’ self-interested species. Of course, such approaches induce critical reactions of more sensitive and deeply religious people and it is used against them as religious fanaticism that may lead to terrorism. It means that after such confrontations when applied with such despicable methods, the ordinary people are supposed to give up any resistance and follow this present party line concerning secularization.

    This New World Order with an assumed ‘sacred’ global wisdom indoctrinates the masses through promoted media/entertainment/political as economical gurus. Their messages are already recognized as standardized doctrines with repeated mantras about the present worst enemies of people. It includes old traditional religions, local autonomies, national histories, not specialized (e.g. broader humanistic) education and the presence of stronger/independent personalities in polarized institutions in potentially breeding radicalism. So far it works well and without big resistance there are already closed many religious schools accompanied by loudly promoted secularization. Similarly, the progressive elimination from schools is the teaching of humanity subjects with too inspirational lecturers in some universities.

    The global centralized systems prefer narrowly educated and specialized students with its hidden aversion toward increasing the number of schools fostering deeper personalities’ development. Such objectives are definitely representing the interest of the ruling spheres and are introduced meticulously from above by treated instrumentally politicians. It seems that the present uncontrolled concentration of power in fewer hands on a global scale can be compared to some kind of an ‘intellectual resurrection’ of the Mesozoic era with many dispersed and scared mammals by a few dominating gigantic reptiles. Let’s just only compare some hypothetical levels of somehow measured anxiety of the average John’s mind living in 60s and now after questions referring to security/confidence in/of their jobs, financial investments, travels, privacy, respected rights etc.

    Quite important is finding supporters behind this recently proposed introduction of the Charter of Quebec Values. Those truly controlling our world financial spheres detest all nationalistic movements, but if their leaders do not interfere with big business and are able to keep on a short lease their nations they are tolerated. In this perspective, we can see unusual acceptations of the PQ’s noisy and controversial actions on our conservative continent. Similarly, it can also account for the absence of a spoken possibility of sanctions against extremely abusive rulers in the Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In the same way were protected in the past so called ‘banana republics’ with the top ruling spheres ignoring the lowest treatment of the masses.

    The PQ`s Charter smartly assumed an immediate resonating with the core Quebec’s society that feels deeply frustrated. Such people can be easily manipulated and our local politicians don’t need swimming against the current to control them. Instead of preparing & presenting some visionary socio-economical reforms that could increase provincial economic competition, it is easier for typical politicians to exploit only the most sensitive social problems. The only thing required is presenting common enemies of the state that are not too strong, but somehow looking competitive for the rest of society and such schemes aren’t new and neither is the manner that propaganda has been used in other societies to blame a scapegoat as Hitler’s Germany was not that far ago. To top it off, when political leaders openly declare war with religion, it makes them untouchable as implementing the latest trends in political correctness. Just over ten generations ago many attractive women, perceived by socially stronger matrons as dangerous for stability of their families, were portrayed as witches and burned. They were victims of a simple local ‘bazaar/kitchen politics’ involving only gossips and allegations. The religious motives were truly secondary used only to cover the real ones after combining it with the previous religious rhetoric.

    Similarly what is missing today is a strong electoral support from our local politicians who try to portray a growing number of immigrants with their strongly respected cultural, religious and family values as potentially very dangerous elements eroding undefined local culture/principles. This threat is magnified by declaring Quebec as a still fragile secular society that needs a special protection and the spectacular ‘legal defence weapon’ named as the Quebec Charter is offered. The support of over 60% voters (polls) was quickly tabulated a few weeks ago, but now it has been declining. It reminds building over 80 years ago a super expensive Maginot Line supposedly protecting French people from a potential German attack at the times when nobody talked and planned the WWII. Today’s suggestions that continuous activity of some religious groups will potentially destroy a fragile Quebec’s secularism are alike speculative as the previous assumptions of the German’s attack through this politically planned and promoted fortifications. Such pure political speculations which had lured France into the creation of this useless project proposed by an ambitious French general Maginot is today our ‘marshal’, Marois, talks about implementation of her party’s Charter. She feels extremely confident in it as besides getting an immediate support from her electorate such actions are loved by the financial ruling spheres treating religions as the last obstacle for reaching ideological domination in the globalized world.

    Unfortunately, this a little bit stretched historical analogy is needed to expose more sharply the PQ’s whipping up anti-immigrant sentiment. They create such scapegoats for the impact of planned savage budget cuts as for uniting the core nationalistic voters around them before the approaching election. Such actions are typical for all politicians and it would be a big mistake focusing our critical words on them. Identical anti-immigrant sentiments are seen in many other countries. It is common that when even only a few better educated and lucky immigrants get well paid jobs it may induce envious sentiments among ‘locals’. However, more shocking and irritating the most local populations today are blissful faces of many immigrants. They are on average exploited and paid minimum wages, but instead of depressive reactions, proudly manifest their identity, religions and family values. It is only them on the streets walking together in unique dresses respecting Lord’s days. The point is that similarly behaved previous French generations (also arrogantly exploited) what connotates nostalgias the older members of the Quebec’s society. Sundays were respected as not only religious days, but also as devoted for families what loaded them with happiness. Nobody worked or trade on such days. At that time Quebec’s highest birth rate in the whole Western World accompanied by devout Catholicism was scaring not only the English local arrogant ruling class, but also the other neighbour communities. For them being poor and treated badly, but still looking happy and maintaining optimism for children’s future was similarly dreadful as today for the soldiers occupying the proud Afghanistan nation.

    Sadly, the Quebec’s nationalistic power evaporated almost instantly after the glorified Quiet Revolution. It happened because instead of gradual social and religious reforms accommodating external changes the core fabric of their complex culture connected closely with the Church was destroyed too zealously. The only survived element which survived was language with ambitious and noisy politicians isn’t enough without secured replacement of the old solid religious backbone by other elements. It significantly reduced the strength/uniqueness of today’s Quebeckers.
    50 years later their beloved province is only ‘famous’ for the highest divorce and lowest birth rates, the biggest number of strip clubs on our continent, the top suicides’ statistics, the worst roads, gangsterism and corruption. Such ‘achievements’ are quickly accepted as inevitable in the societies driven by consumerism. More depressing for the members of consumerist societies is becoming poorer in comparison to the neighbours. Seeing Ontarians or the US citizens in newest cars and with full pockets as the tourist coming here is deeply hurting their egos when many from the local French community who many have never traveled as being too poor. They intuitively know well that dreamed independence will not improve their economical situation but with absent now in their lives calming down religions they are more the ‘actions hungry’ what makes them easier to control.

    Politicians now only offer for the core Quebeckers renewed instruction how to burn ‘witches’ in the proposed Charter what translates to release of frustration by the actions of abusing some selected religious minorities. It contrasts with the religions’ teaching that besides compassion toward others also offers unconditional and universal hope. Such things are difficult to find in competitive materialistic societies. We see this unfold in CEGEPs where young students do not help others, because it may hurt their R-score. What kind of economical/secular optimism can also offer politicians for the most numerous and poorest members of our society when at the same time servicing the dominant financial players? It is done by subsidising only the biggest and networked owners (e.g. Bombardier) and they even helped transferring billions of dollars to the US secretly without paying taxes (e.g. Bronfman family).

    Our local politicians have a right to promote and declare (after successful referendum) this province as 100% secular with even totally forbidden practicing religions. However, it obliges them to act as devoted prophets/apostles of the new godless world system without religions which they create because people need unification of accepted and respected higher universal values. Among them is presentation of a simple and consistent description of the new secular code of ethics/morale. Those elements should allow finding new forms of hope, happiness and miracles after this final elimination from human minds the abstract notion of God. Human hope in miracles can be simply substituted by just ordinary lucks of winning fortunes in the governmental lotteries/casinos. (haha!) Also important will be establishing new Celebrated Days of Secularism and create special places for regular meetings. People must constantly learn more about all the Rules of Secularism and enforce their confidence in this new knowledge by being together. Similarly important will be preparing happy songs for such meetings about freed human minds from the old religious unrealistic assumptions that probably also hindered for ages their evolution. Go Quebec, go!!!

    Glory, Glory Secularism our shiniest path toward future unrestricted human development under control of the smartest rulers representing the winners of the most objective as realistic marathons/runs for more and more by outsmarting others! Thanks to our visionary politicians collaborating closely with this class of the most astute people (the best in outsmarting others) we can witness in situ the final steps of brave/revolutionary ending the old/ancient problem of not needed presence of religions in human lives. Only after it can be created, chances for development of more realistic social interactions with truly materialistic systems of values is possible. How amazing is that it will be firstly introduced in Quebec before being copied by other provinces and countries. Go Quebec, go!!!

    Now are required, as never before, simpler presentations of such complex changes for our presently more visual societies troubled also by shorter attention span. It would be good if our politicians asked former Quebecker, Mr. Edgar Bronfman Jr. owning the top film and music studios for producing a good futuristic ‘filmed epiphany’ that will show/present how our poor province establishes the first constitution totally eradicating religions. Required are a few good actors with smart dialogs and dynamic actions (e.g. combining The Godfather with Star Wars) about spectacular social changes caused by literally introduced secularism. The plot can merge such topics as happy ending businesses/marriages between Christians, Muslims, Jewish, Hindu etc. with philosophical dialogs and some other actions involving conflict between two powerful kings with one representing the poorest and the second the richest. If done/paid well it will provide not only better feeling/understanding of many complex issues in this new system for a wide audience, but also deeper emotional connections with it. Go Quebec, go!!!

    It is time to use the mystical number three symbolizing the ultimate power. Let the top giants from the Hollywood set off a close collaboration with some smartest Quebec’s politicians reading the minds (not only reading lips) of the most influential Money Makers and start producing together this inspirational for human kind film about living without God. Go Quebec, go!!!

  8. Marie Cécile says:

    I agree with Mr. Oscar because I know that when a person is leading a discussion, the choice of speakers made by that person is never really neutral. Even split-second décisions are based on the person’s particular general experience. Given that Dr. Cornett organizes and leads his dialogic sessions, he has set himself up as the person who makes a judgement. Participants are aware that this method is not perfect but usually go along with it. How could he be more neutral? Give each participant a number and pull it out of a hat? What if the person has nothing to say at that given moment? An improvement on this format could be to set up a mixed panel of speakers who give their opinion and then, answer questions from participants. This could rapidly become chaotic. Or, have someone else chair the meeting and have this person draw up a list of speakers who submit their questions or comments in chronological order. Or, holding a conch shell comes to mind…

    As a white, French-Canadian feminist, I agree with Mr. Oscar that it isn’t easy to step out of one’s comfort zone and to be so in tune with others that empathizing becomes “grocking” (cf. Stranger in a Strange Land) but I wasn’t born in Québec so I guess being an interprovincial immigrant gives me an edge. Thank you for the hyperlinks: very interesting and enlightening…

  9. James Oscar says:

    Dr Cornett, with all due respect I do not know what to make of your request for me to add my words to this forum. The last time i participated in one your dialogic series

    YOU REFUSED ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO REQUEST CHARLES TAYLOR TO ACTUALLY ANSWER MY QUESTION REGARDING THE IMPERATIVE OF HAVING THINKERS OF COLOR CENTRAL AT THE TABLE REGARDING THESE QUESTIONS ON OUR CURRENT COMMONS AND EXCLUSION.

    On your website, one of your attendees, named David, wrote about your refusal to let me “actually” engage with Charles Taylor,

    “A man raised his hand and spoke, saying he had been writing a book called “Dear Charles.” He read a passage that I found searing. He asked “isn’t it a problem that neither you nor Mr. Bouchard is an immigrant? How can you understand what it is to immigrate here?” Professor Taylor’s response was essentially “we held consultations and immigrants came and told us what it was like.” He also added “we took a lot of taxis”…The young person, who by the way was black, seemed to be sulking throughout the rest of the session, occasionally raising his hand in vain. He was not called on – and I wish I’d raised my hand just to give him another turn. “Oppression is invisible to white men.” This is what I’ve always been told and this has been my experience about privilege. Most of society conspires to conceal oppression from white people, especially men, and it has taken me and every white person I know, a tremendous amount of time and effort to learn about the lived experience of people of a race, or women, or anyone LGBTQ, or from a different class. I do believe that Professor Taylor probably did a better job than I would have done, but the gentleman’s question remained unanswered.”
    https://haveyouexperienced.wordpress.com/reflections/19-nov-2012-dialogues- au-gesu-charles-taylor/

    To my dismay, Dr Cornett, the forum you hosted on the Charter of Values DID NOT HAVE ANY THINKERS OF COLOR/ MINORITY THINKERS ON THE PANEL. I was of course happy to have the strong anti colonialist presentation of Sirma Bilge on the panel and yes I know this was not a panel you organized. And yes we could get into all kinds of debates about whether Miss Bilge is a minority thinker but I think you will honestly know what I am getting at after reading below.

    I have to seriously ask, where are current Canadian minority/ thinkers of color like Layla Abdel Rahim, Austin Clarke, Neil Bissoondath, Ato Sekyi-Otu, Julian Samuels – who are well known uncompromising (Quebec/ Canada based) thinkers on MONOCULTURALITY.

    I am sorry (and applaud your efforts) but Jazz musicians like David Murray are key in Afro American cultural life but our philosophers also have something important to say! Uncompromising and have well bathe in the halls and SCENTS of Canadian/ Quebecois society.. No tokens please! I am sure Dr Cornel West would surely agree with me here. Let’s stop the jive! I like the discussions you bring up but we need to SHAKE IT UP RIGHT NOW!

    My own student activism as head of one of the country’s largest grouping of minority students at York University and my own scholarly research work on Frantz Fanon done with Dr Sekyi Otu 20 years ago also addressed these concerns.
    http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674294400
    I have been involved in this debate for 21 years.
    http://www.europe.culturebase.net/usercontribution.php?media=92

    And if you want to have Charles Taylor speaking, then you have to then include thinkers like Achille Mbembe , Kwame Appiah, Hamid Dabashi and bring them on down to Montreal to talk a little talk. I am sorry but Jazz musicians like David Murray are key in Afro American cultural life but our philosophers also have something important to say!
    IS IT TIME FOR SOME WHITE MEN AND WOMEN TO STEP ASIDE AND GIVE VOICE TO EQUALLY UNCOMPROMISING QUALIFIED THINKERS/SOCIAL ACTORS OF COLOR?
    http://artforum.com/diary/id=30518
    “Most notable was a bearded young Occupier in a wool hat who relinquished his space in line to several people behind him. Asked why by Flanders, he said, “I saw a line full of white men, and I thought it was time for a woman to speak.” I pinched myself. I moved back to New York from the Bay Area in 1998 and now they have people like that . . . here? “

    AND CAN WE CONTINUE TO ASK AND ACT, LIKE WE ARE ASKING CAN NON EUROPEANS THINK?
    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/01/2013114142638797542.html
    BECAUSE NOT INCLUDING THINKERS LIKE APPIAH, ACHILLE MBEMBE,DABASHI, ATO SEKYI-OTU, LAYLA ABDEL RAHIM, NEIL BISOONDATH, AUSTIN CLARKE, CERTAINLY SEEKS TO CONTINUE THAT TREND.NOT TWO OR THREE TOKENS BUT BRINGING A PANOPLY OF THINKERS OF COLOR CENTRAL AND TO THE TABLE.
    And why all this excitement over the albeit magisterial thinker Etienne Balibar coming to speak in relation to these issues. Are we to be caught in the mill of Eurocentricity for the rest of eternity?
    In your email, you say, Out of discussion the light shines forth BUT WE HAVE TO ACCOUNT FOR AND ASK WHO IS INVITED TO THE DISCUSSION

    CAN WE CONTINUE TO SERIOUSLY TAKE THIS DISCUSSION SERIOUSLY UNTIL MORE MORE MORE PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE INVITED TO THE TABLE TO BE CENTRAL TO THE DISCUSSION. NO TOKENISM PLEASE NOR CHOICE OF PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE. The “shock of cultures” can only be resolved through the shock of discussion- don’t you agree?

    In the current article from Senior Times, this particular thread seeks to address, one particular sentence bring up itches, hives, and almost scatological discomfort for me:
    “Why does Quebec have to adopt the Old World attitude and mentality of France, with its colonial past, and impose a severe dress code that would bar public servants from wearing the hijab, turban or kippah?”
    I believe these are Dr Cornett’s words?
    To answer this- because not only does France have colonial past but Quebec also once dabbled in the specter of coloniality.
    The revisionist present which persists , as regards recognition of the colonial past in Quebec (or a less “serious one”) , was part of a very serious discussion by THINKERS OF COLOR two weeks ago:
    http://www.nationnews.ca/quebec-in-question-scholars-attack-provinces-colonial-history/
    “There is a significant body of individuals and groups who refuse intersectionality because they do not want to have a serious discussion about the legacy of colonialism and ongoing racism,” Mugabo said. She noted that an indicator of this has been the reluctance of feminists to engage in a discussion of whiteness and white privilege.A very concrete and basic example of this is the refusal by the majority [of feminists] to speak of white women in Quebec as just that: ‘white women.’” The Quebec feminist movement’s unwillingness to recognize white privilege, she argued, is due to the movement’s ties to Quebec nationalism, which “requires Quebec white people to be regarded as oppressed and colonized, and makes it hard to recognize the white privilege that Québécois people necessarily possess.”

    As regards Dr Cornett’s words
    “Why does Quebec have to adopt the Old World attitude and mentality of France, with its colonial past, and impose a severe dress code that would bar public servants from wearing the hijab, turban or kippah?”
    A Freudian slip about Quebec either not having a colonial past or perhaps not having a colonial past that was as severe (can we ever really compare the weight and measures of variegate social dominations?), this is what I have to say:

    Since my return to Quebec/ Canada two years ago, much private/ public discussions I have encountered on politics and social issues have tended to the “lofty”, “disparate”, “grotesque dance”, and in general as though the white elephant in the room had already become so tired, despondent, and plain discouraged of not being seen, that she just walked out the room. The white elephant dances out of the room almost drained, almost a spectral presence of itself and it leaves the trace of defunct nation, of a nation looking at itself in a mirror of a mirror of a mirror of a mirror of as mirror. Harper holds the mirror and sees Justin Trudeau’s reflection and the future leader of this morally superior nation looks in the mirror and sees him/herself riding the white horse, riding not even the white elephant but riding the old skeletal presence of what had once been the white elephant in the room. The grotesquerie of current affairs in Canada and Quebec is so latently grave right now (see Freud ‘s notes on Roma Quadrata in Civ & its Discontents), a kind of remaining almost vacillating sense of moral authority (Canada the good)- such grotesquerie that would lead to such subtle error , which always becomes discourse (see Edward Said/ see Foucault).
    I respectfully take offense to that sentence by Dr Cornett.
    WE NEED MORE MORE MORE THINKERS OF COLORS IN THE MIX AT THE CENTER ASAP!

  10. Hugo Jetté says:

    Cher e-mots / e-words / e-palabra,

    Je comprends bien votre irritation lorsque vous abordez le thème des “nostalgiques de Lionel Groulx”. Jusqu’à tout récemment j’éprouvais les mêmes réticences face à cet héritage du Canada francophone. Cependant, une personne bienveillante a attiré mon attention sur les réalisations de Lionel Groulx et j’ai pu constater que je parlais pas mal à travers mon chapeau.

    Pour ce qui est de la laïcité: nous sommes déjà dans un pays laïc au Canada! Laîc mais non-athée donc assurant la libre expression des signes religieux; tout comme nous donnons liberté de parole à ceux qui ne se rattachent à aucune religion.

    Nous offrons une denrée précieuse au Canada: liberté de pensée et liberté de religion.

    Liberté!

    Mon point de vue, est que les immigrants ne devraient pas être considérés comme des guichets automatiques que nous pouvons faire venir ici, après avoir vanté les avantages à être “Québécois”, et leur demander de venir nous dépanner financièrement pour ensuite les obliger à se taire!

    Je ne vois donc aucune démagogie, aucun agenda caché, derrière la reconnaissance de ce fait.

    Encore une fois merci de nous avoir sensibilisés à votre point de vue.

    Dans l’attente de votre synthèse sur Lionel Groulx,

    Votre tout dévoué,

    Hugo Jetté

  11. Marie Cécile says:

    «Ils demandent simplement d’être respectés dans leur désir de pouvoir évoluer dans un espac public qui soit allégé des marques s’une trop grande conviction religieuse.» et «On force les enfants à aller à l’école, ils n’ont pas à sentir la chappe de plomb qui pèse sur la tête de leur enseignante.» Voici deux affirmations qui révèlent des lacunes dans la logique de l’interlocuteur précédent. D’abord, et plusieurs personnes qui ont participé à ce débat l’ont souligné avant moi, la Charte ne vise pas nécessairement la religion et le hidjab n’est pas nécessairement un signe religieux. Il existe un enchevêtrement entre culture et religion dans ce débat et il est difficile, j’en conviens, de démarquer les frontières entre les deux.

    Oui, le hidjab dérange mais quand je vois des jeunes avec des anneaux dans le nez et des soucoupes dans leurs lobes d’oreille, cela me dérange aussi. Je ne les interpelle pas et je n’exigerais pas que l’Assemblée nationale passe des lois pour interdire ces fantaisies décoratives ou vestimentaires car ces ornements mènent souvent au port de blousons en cuir noir avec des chaînes. D’après moi, beaucoup de Québécois sont islamophobes. Pourquoi les encourager au lieu de les rassurer?

    Plusieurs sont aussi homophobes. Cependant, la société a évolué à cet égard, en sens inverse. On ne permettait pas les unions gaies et maintenant, cela fait partie des mœurs car on a perçu qu’il s’agissait d’une injustice, d’un affront aux droits fondamentaux dont tous les citoyens devraient jouir. La Charte, si elle est adoptée, voudrait créer des injustices au lieu de les régler. Les Québécois et Québécoises doivent apprendre à connaître leurs concitoyens et concitoyennes musulmans.

    Et que dire du kippa? La communauté juive est établie ici depuis des générations. Pourquoi la viser tout d’un coup? Est-ce à cause des écoles privées juives? De préjugés enfouis dans la conscience collective qui font surface quand des leaders font appel à la méfiance et la haine?

    Et le turban porté par les Sikhs? Combien de Sikhs habitent au Québec? Combien d’entre eux travaillent-ils dans la fonction publique québécoise? Y a-t-il eu des problèmes? Tout ceci s’apparente à la «Pastagate» de l’Office québécois de la langue française, au zèle mal placé de mentalités étroites.

    Finalement, pourquoi pensez-vous que les enfants à l’école se sentent persécutés en voyant le hidjab de leur enseignante? Vous faites un jugement de valeur qui reflète votre point de vue, pas celui des enfants. À l’école, on tente de contrer le harcèlement et la cyberintimidation car les enfants qui fréquentent les écoles publiques proviennent de communautés ethnoculturelles différentes et voilà que des adultes, des politiciens et politiciennes au pouvoir sont coupables de harcèlement à l’égard de concitoyens et concitoyennes. Quelle honte!!!

  12. Bonjour,
    Je trouve que le présent débat (mais il n’y a pas vraiment débat, vous êtes tous d’accord) ignore totalement la possibilité qu’il y ait un fondement valable à ce projet. Peut-être est-il abusif de parler de charte des valeurs québécoises alors qu’il s’agirait d’une charte de la laïcité. Probablement qu’il y a une part de calcul électoraliste dans ce projet. Mais lorsqu’on discute d’une question aussi importante, il y a une règle qui veut qu’on parte de la prémisse que le vis-à-vis est de bonne foi. Et il est rigoureux de se questionner en concentrant notre attention sur le fond de la question. Or, ici l’enjeu est le suivant. Est-il raisonnable de viser un équilibre entre les droits collectifs et les droits individuels ? Ou doit-on faire primer à tout coup les droits individuels ? L’angle choisi par M. Cornett est intéressant car il semble avoir voulu attirer notre attention vers une autre dimension de la problématique, qui est celle de la préservation des droits acquis. Cela est tout à fait pertinent. Certains ont fait valoir qu’il était trop tard, car comme en Europe, les personnes immigrantes se sont installées avec leurs manières de montrer la relation qu’elles entretiennent avec la foi, et elles ont construit leurs vies en s’imaginant que c’était ainsi que cela serait ici “pour tout le temps”. Leur retirer la possibilité d’exprimer leur foi de la même façon alors qu’elles n’ont jamais été inquiétées auparavant, reviendrait à leur infliger un sévice moral, et à enfreindre leurs droits acquis.
    L’argument principal de M.Cornette semble être que la culture et la religion forme un tout organiquement lié. Il serait irréaliste de demander à des personnes venues avec leur identité déjà formée de la diviser en une part professionnelle et une part personnelle. Il ne serait même pas souhaitable en fait de permettre qu’un tel effort pour faire la part des choses entre leurs fonctions (au cas où ils occuperaient un poste rémunéré directement par l’État), et leurs convictions.
    Pire, si on acceptait d’entraver ainsi leur liberté fondamentale d’exprimer leur identité à leur façon, on ferait le jeu des nostalgiques de Lionel-Groulx qui voudraient faire croire que le Québec est une terre catholique française monolithique.
    Qui plus est, ce serait suicidaire pour le Québec dont les membres francophones blancs ne se reproduisent pas assez rapidement et a besoin des immigrants pour continuer de grandir.
    En filigrane on lit que le point de vue radical de droite (nationaliste) du PQ est condamnable car il risque fort d’occasionner des conflits sociaux qui pourraient dégénérer en batailles (“if [you infringe on Immigrants’ rights] you’ve got a fight), parce que les nouveaux arrivants et les premières nations sont les puissances montantes en ce pays.
    D’accord. Mais M. Cornett mêle ici à son argument de départ des considérations pragmatiques et philosophiques. Il ne peut ignorer que ce type d’arguments peuvent aisément être retournés. Si le Québec veut grandir, il lui faut maintenir une certaine cohésion sociale. Il importe donc de pouvoir accueillir ce flot grandissant d’immigrants et soutenir la renaissance autochtone actuelle sans que la confrontation entre tant de manières de voir différentes ne suscite des conflits. Donc il est plus prudent de clarifier les règles du jeu pour qu’elles soient les mêmes pour tout le monde. Et philosophiquement, les Québécois francophones et les Nouveaux arrivants et les Autochtones et les Québécois anglophones, et les Anciens immigrants maintenante devenus québécois depuis de nombreuses générations dans bien des cas, doivent disposer d’une interface leur permettant de dialoguer en ayant des points de repères communs. C’est en effet aussi cela que nous apprend une pensée sensible à l’importance du contexte. C’est que pour que la communication soit possible, on a besoin d’une langue commune. Quelle plus grande offense pouvait-on faire aux “Anciens nouveaux arrivants” que de leur imposer l’apprentissage du français. Qu’y a-t-il de plus intimement lié à l’identité que la langue ? Et s’en plaignent-ils aujourd’hui (pour ceux qui l’ont apprise, soit la vaste majorité, et la totalité des jeunes) ? L’interdiction de porter des signes ostentatoires lorsqu’on occupe un poste dans la fonction publique est-il la goutte qui fait déborder le vase ?
    Non, ce serait un recul inexplicable vu le caractère ouvert de la société québécoise, si ce n’est par la volonté démagogique du PQ de se faire du capital politique sur le dos de la peur viscérale que les Québécois ont face aux autres. Les Québécois sont xénophobes. Voilà. Et ils sont racistes. Et ils sont manipulables. Les Montréalais aussi sont des Québécois. Et ils tendent à changer d’idée et à moins soutenir le projet de charte qu’auparavant. Est-ce que ce sont eux qui ont raison (seuls les fous ne changent pas d’idée), ou est-ce qu’ils sont aussi manipulables par des arguments démagogiques, travaillant dans un autre sens ? En tout respect pour Mr. Cornett, dont je ne suspecte pas qu’il soit de mauvaise foi, et dont j’apprécie la contribution à la réflexion, j’estime qu’il est en partie aveuglé par une forme d’enthousiasme militant, comme le définissait Konrad Lorenz, et qui tient à ce que son drapeau, dans lequel il ne se drape pas, de peur d’avoir l’air biaisé, et très solidement noué à ses tripes. Il pense que l’on ne peut être que holiste ou déterministe, conscient de la signification globale du sens du monde, ou un méchant manichéen qui divise pour régner. Évidemment, il ne lui vient pas à l’idée qu’en pensant de cette façon, il ne se range pas dans le camp des méchants. Il les exclut donc du bien au nom de la préservation de la pureté de ce tout dans lequel il aimerait inclure toute le monde. Mais qui alors essaye de laver plus blanc que blanc ? Qui plus est, il omet de réfléchir au fait que nous avons tous un petit monstre en nous qui fait parfois du mal sans s’en rendre compte, selon la foi qu’il professe et qui veut aller dans le sens de l’idée que le bien et le mal se côtoient nécessairement, et qu’il croit avoir retrvouvé également chez les Autochtones.
    Mais je ne sais pas où il puise sa capacité de prédire que la guerre éclatera si on fixe des exigences supplémentaires pour les fonctionnaires qui ont déjà un devoir de réserve pour ce qui touche à leurs opinions politiques ? Il parle d’un code vestimentaire ultra-contraignant. Mais les signes religieux sont au contraire des uniformes que le rite impose comme des preuves de la soumission aux dictats de l’autorité divine. On a beau appeler ça de l’amour, c’est ici dans le sens où le christianisme nous enseignait que c’était par amour pour dieu que l’on devait s’abstenir d’avoir des pensées impures. Combien d’amour n’ont pas été tués dans l’oeuf par une telle prêche moraliste. Mais nous ne parlerons pas ici de dissolution des moeurs. On s’entend pour dire qu’il n’y a guère plus de moeurs qui tiennent.
    Mais cela veut-il dire qu’on ne puisse plus rien décider sur ce qui susceptible de permettre une meilleure cohabitation entre des personnes d’origines différentes ?
    M. Cornett me paraît un peu fanatique quand il prétend qu’on ne peut pas mettre ses signes ostentatoires au vesitiaire le temps d’aller jouer son rôle de fonctionnaires. Il exprime que selon lui c’est priver ces personnes de leurs droits acquis. Le reproche modéré (derrière l’accusation qu’il décoche au PQ et aux Québécois qui appuient la charte – tout de même une majorité – d’être coupables d’idéologie !!), est de manquer de réalisme en ne tenant pas compte du caractère intenable d’une telle dissociation de soi par rapport à soi. Il nous prévient alors de manière paternaliste des risques de violence qui découlent du fait de vouloir forcer la réalité à être autre qu’elle n’est. [Si ce n’est pas un argument conservateur, ça, je me demande ce que c’est ?] À l’écouter, il ne faudrait rien changer à rien, tout irait pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes. Et la plupart des commentateurs ayant intervenu ici semblent abonder dans le même sens. [Les contradictions commencent à poindre et à apparaître de plus en plus nombreuses et intenables dans le camp des bien-pensants que vous formez, j’en ai peur. De mon point de vue à tout le moins.] Connaissez-vous les thèses d’Anthony Giddens, le sociologue qui analyse la société post-industrielle et qui estime qu’elle est fragmentée, marquée notamment par le morcellenent du temps entre le temps du loisir (privé) et le temps du travail (public). De son point de vue, c’est ça la réalité. Ce n’est peut-être pas souhaitable, on peut le déplorer, mais c’est là ce dont on devrait tenir compte, si on tient à être réaliste.
    Je voulais simplement démontrer que le Dr. Cornett met de l’avant des points de vue plus radicaux qu’il n’y parait derrière son ton raisonnable (contrairement à Charles Taylor, qui sort de ses gonds et s’époumone à essayer de nous faire comprendre que nous courrons un grand danger), et que ceux qui suivent béatement son avis, et boivent ses paroles comme divines tombent dans le leurre de renoncer à exercer leur sens critique, ayant trouvé un hérault. En réalité chacun est idéologue. Mais il y a au moins autant d’arguments raisonnables pour l’adoption d’une telle charte (la plupart des articles font d’ailleurs l’unanimité à la Chambre des communes et les points de détails pourront être discutés) que de contre-arguments qu’on pourrait leur opposer.
    Personnellement, je trouve que la charte est utile, même si elle détourne l’attention de la question des pipelines qui est autrement plus préoccupante. Mais vous ne me contredirez pas sur ce forum si je dis qu’il est rafraîchissant que les questions ayant une dimension spirituelle occupent le premier temps. Donc on questionne notre rapport à l’identité. Comme un philosophe disait, “l’habit ne fait pas le moine”. Les personnes dont la foi est sincère ne devraient pas se sentir moins fidèles à Dieu lorsqu’elles sont dépourvues des atours qui servent de réclâme (au sens québécois d’annonce publicitaire) pour leur paroisse (au sens de famille religieuse). Personnellement, je me sentirais un peu honteux d’avoir un Dieu qui exigerait de moi que je tienne mordicus à montrer son image (ou ma dépendance à son égard, comme image de sa force), ce qui laisserait entendre que sans mon service de communication, il ne serait guère capable de se rendre évident à l’intuition d’autres êtres intelligents et sensibles comme moi.
    L’accusation portée contre la perspective laïque d’être une religion qui s’ignore, le “sécularisme”, est en partie justifiée pour la France. Mais je crois qu’il faudrait nuancer cette affirmation même pour la patrie des droits de l’homme, où – il est vrai – l’interdiction de porter des signes religieux a parfois pris des tournures disgâcieuses (comme lorsque le bien rasé Luc Ferry affirmait que désormais les professeurs d’établissements d’enseignement ne pourraient plus porter la barbe).
    Je crois qu’au Québec il y a des athées qui sont très déterminés parce qu’ils se rappellent les méfaits causés par la religion catholique, et ils ont un enthousiasme militant contraire à celui de M. Cornett. Je trouve également dangereuse cette attitude très revancharde par rapport aux religions.
    Mais la majorité des québécois ont surtout transporté dans la vie quotidienne les bonnes valeurs qu’ils s’étaient fait enseigner dans une perspective religieuse. Et ils se rappellent aussi avec tristesse les excès du prosélytisme religieux. Aussi je vois mal comment ils pourraient en masse reproduire ce type de paternalisme dans leurs rapports à leurs frères et soeurs d’autres origines.
    Ils demandent simplement d’être respectés dans leur désir de pouvoir évoluer dans un espac public qui soit allégé des marques s’une trop grande conviction religieuse.
    On a envie de pouvoir rencontrer nos nouveaux compatriotes québécois sans avoir à dégager la voie des interférences que viennent mettre les costumes imposés par des coutumes qui dénotent un manque de confiance en soi. Laissez tomber les voiles et venez nous exprimer le sens qui est le vôtre de ce que “être heureux” signifie. Mais si vous voulez demeurer voilés, que ce soit dans votre vie privée à l’intérieur ou dehors, mais pas quand nous avons à règler des questions techniques ou à recueillir des informations. À ce moment-là, soyez simplement une personne ressource, mais pas un directeur de conscience, ou une instance censée servir de tremplin vers un Salut, conditionnel à l’adhésion à un dogme. Même si ce message n’est que suggéré, il est déplacé lorsqu’on vient quérir un service qui est une partie de ce que les contraintes de la vie demandent.
    On force les enfants à aller à l’école, ils n’ont pas à sentir la chappe de plomb qui pèse sur la tête de leur enseignante. Si celle-ci se sent incapable de s’affranchir de sa religion, qu’elle n’envoie pas le message, en conservant son hidjab pendant les cours que ce serait trop souffrant pour elle de se découvrir la tête à l’intérieur.
    Prendre les prescriptions relgieuses si sérieusement c’est un signe de manque de jugement inquiétant, qui devraient nous mettre la puce à l’oreille qu’il y a quelque chose qui ne tourne pas rond dans l’Île de Théophile.

  13. Heather MacTaggart says:

    Dr Cornett, thank you for inviting me to let your group know about our new initiative related to this discussion. Classroom Connections is challenging Canadian business people to share their success by mentoring Aboriginal entrepreneurs. We are partnering with http://www.giveffect.org, to launch a ‘first-in-North America’ crowdfunding campaign to create the online platform, MentorNation.

    The goal is to grow the number of Aboriginal entrepreneurs and boost employment and self-sufficiency in First Nations communities across Canada.

    Based on the success of http://www.changeitup.ca,–where Dr. Cornett was a guest facilitator in Samson Cree Nation–MentorNation will create a network of business professionals who will mentor and support new entrepreneurs. In addition to creating a seamless and simple process for matching mentors and mentees, MentorNation will offer support materials and resources unique to the needs of Aboriginal entrepreneurs.

    Contact: Heather MacTaggart, Executive Director Classroom Connections:
    416-219-4130 hm@classroomconnections.ca

  14. GALANKSY says:

    THE QUEBEC CHARTER OF (DRESS) VALUES

    In reply to our prospective charter on values, I’m all for a dress code for Quebec. In fact, the remnants of a dress code still exist. It involves wearing a shirt for men (and women) and wearing pants. It does not include wearing shoes however, so it is perfectly legal to walk around town, like Socrates of ancient lore, in bear feet.
    I have never seen a policeman give a ticket or arrest an adult male for walking or jogging bearskin in the summer. This is only enforced upon the homeless and upon street beggars. Of course, our charter proposal applies only to the public service work place, but it is not a far stretch of the imagination to ask whether not all work or other spaces should be included so as not to discriminate those who work form those who don’t.
    In this regard, we are entering a much larger dialogue about modern mores and fashion statements in concert with the United States which has recently discussed expanding the legal “dress code” to prohibit hip hop styles of wearing one’s pants below the buttocks. One could even argue that this prohibition be inspired by the same motives that require us to buckle up in our cars — yes, safety : ( last summer I saw a young man trying to run at top speed with his pants below his buttocks take a dive on the cobblestones of the rue Moufftard in Paris, smashing his chest onto the stones ).
    Likewise with breast feeding in public places, now legal in France; nevertheless I was rudely asked to leave a backroom of a loud bistro where I went to make a peaceful cell phone call by a one woman breast feeding.
    And of course, there was that famous case in Berkeley of the male student who walked around campus in complete nudity (until he got expelled). It is obvious that all of these cases involve some sort of belief system about the freedom to express oneself (and therefore the values of the self) through a “fashion statement” bearing on that age old ethic from the Garden of Eden about shame and a fig leaf. Included herein are dress preferences of the punks; Catholic priests who may wear the collar in the work place which may happen to be in a house of parliament or senate; homosexuals dressed in drag; Amerindians in Mohawk hairdoos or feather dress, and /or the general population’s predilection for visible tattoos, piercing of all sorts — including tongue and nose rings, and, of course, the traditional dress menagerie of our “enemies” the “Taliban”.
    We cannot ignore, that our own multivalent but secular values and preferences in terms of dress code are statements of “faith” no less than those of Catholics, Jews and Muslims. Even when, ironically, statements from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum are nearly identical as in the dress of Hassidic Jews and that of the existentially tortured chain smoking caffeine addicted artist who dresses entirely in conservative black — hat included.
    How then will we regulate this? Will we ask employees of the public service to remove visible tattoos? Nose rings? Refrain from wearing skull caps? Oblige them to wear their pants over their underpants? And what about our freed women who expose their pierced belly buttons, tattoos and thongs above their waistbands?
    Indeed, we have a crisis of values in Quebec! May I humbly propose therefore, that we shield our new immigrants in the public work place from our offensive dress habits and honour their own cultural solutions to the same problem by donning the abaya (plus veil to hide nose and tongue rings) and the thobe in our work place for women and men respectively who wish to dress slovenly “after hours” by conveniently tossing off these latter when the work day is done.
    Vive le Quebec libre!

  15. Hugo Jetté says:

    Dear Mr Jirgens,

    As long as our governments, federal and provincial, will see treaties as a mean of getting some short term industrial developments, concerning natural resources among others, there will always be a prejudice against First Nations for the vision which our governments and the media “sell” to the population is that they generously grant “special privileges” to the First Nations and in return …. they face ingratitude. There are not that many people who understand the “game” that it is being played right in front of their eyes. It is a highly political game and no wonder the people stuck between the governments and the Band Councils live spiritual crisis one after the other for it is very hard to develop a spiritual relationship with the land, which is the “angle” the First Nations see first, (maybe I’m wrong and if so, please correct me) when somebody is continuously trying to trap you in some kind of “quick fix” commercial deal.

    Trust is the basis of agreements and treaties ARE agreements. Agreements to share the land, how to move in it, what kind of economic activity we should develop in it and most of all, to reassure that cultural and spiritual beliefs will be protected from persecution.

    Last year, around this date, there was an omnibus bill passed in the House of Commons attacking the validity of the treaties, according to the Indian Act, we so “generously” provided to the First Nations. Again, it was a manipulation of Parliament’s time and it caused great anger with the first concerned. Again, we deal in courts while we get our hands on land and water belonging to the First Nations, in the short term. (We probably will return it to them when we will have polluted it so much that it will be of no value to us!)

    Thank you so much Mr Jirgens to have taken the time to lead us in this reflection for if we are going to talk about acquired rights we should indeed, as you pointed out, look at the first acquired rights. .

    With gratitude,

    Hugo Jetté

  16. Marie Cécile says:

    With respect to the previous comments on the situation of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and a form of government which relies on consensus, I believe that John Ralston Saul’s book, “A Fair Country” (2009) is still very relevant and a must-read. The Liberal government’s “Kelowna Accord” in 2005 was to be a turning point for First Peoples’ rights in Canada and unfortunately, when Harper’s minority government came to power, the Accord was not implemented. This Accord included targets for progress in various key domains, such as education, which, to me, were akin to the UN’s Millennial Development Goals for developing countries (Beijing Platform for Action). This required money and accountability. The UN special rapporteur on Indigenous people, James Anaya, did not mince words when he came to Canada last month and witnessed some of the living conditions in First Nations and Inuit communities. There has been a resurgence of TB in Inuit communities lately when this disease has been practically eradicated everywhere else, Lack of suitable housing, drinking water, proper nutrition and schools and the dubious heritage of residential schools contribute to a higher incidence of suicide, physical and sexual abuse and social problems. However, 50% of First Peoples now live in urban centres. How are municipalities addressing their needs? No treaties were signed in Québec (except for the modern-day James Bay Accord and la Paix des Braves) so Québec is “à géométrie variable” with the rest of Canada in this too. The “Idle No More” movement is basically challenging Canadians to “Know More” and to realize that First Peoples in Canada are on the brink of a “Renaissance”. With 50% of their population aged 25 years old and less, they want to be recognized and their right to self-determination reaffirmed. Not an easy task when the federal government is intent on exploiting natural resources and grasping for their land. And public opinion is not on their side.

  17. Jirgens says:

    I offer only a couple of observations. This sort of discussion is part of a valuable process within a society that endeavours to address matters of importance, ideally for the benefit of the province and its people. I am encouraged to see that at least some of the discussion addresses the sitution of Indigenous peoples, or “First Nations.” It would be interesting to see more attention turned towards the treaty rights of native peoples within the context of this discussion. There are other forms of government beyond democracy, and those include agreeing to a path by unanimous consensus. It is difficult to imagine such total agreement, but it may be useful to keep consensus in mind as a concept when speaking of human rights.

  18. Felix Tremblay says:

    I totally enjoyed this conference, which has been enhanced by the vast experience of Dr. Cornett on the question.

  19. Marie Cécile says:

    Let me add a conclusion to my previous contribution.

    I pointed out that since the disappearance of Nouvelle-France (well, I actually skipped that part but it happened in 1763), many immigrants have come to Canada and to Québec. As Québec governs its immigration, French-speaking candidates were chosen as they could easily blend into the social fabric. The federal government had other plans at the beginning of the 20th century by seeking immigrants in Eastern Europe. But, there are now immigrants all over the width and breadth of Canada and the traditional predominance of citizens of French and British descent is evolving. It has been suggested that Canada is a country founded on Judeo-Christian principles and I cannot disagree with that, although there have always been members of the other major religions living here. And, members of non-mainstream religions have also been allowed to practice their faith. (Who hasn’t answered the doorbell and been given a free copy of the “Watchtower”? ) But now, as Djamila Ben Habib’s book, «Les soldats d’Allah à l’assaut de l’Occident», points out, we have Islamists in our midst, those who are intent on imposing their world view (inextricably mixed up with their brand of religion) on the rest of us. They think we are corrupt and misguided. Unfortunatley, women wearing veils in Québec are perceived as part of this phalanx of would-be conquerors. France reacted to the presence of Muslims in their country by isolating them in Parisian suburbs. Now, Le Pen’s daughter is close to being accepted as a mainstream politician. In the Netherlands, Muslim immigration was tolerated, until someone murdered Theo Van Gogh. Islamists and Muslims are all the same, think Joe and Josephine Public. 9/11 caused pain, trauma and xenophobia in North America. Switzerland has never or rarely? granted citizenship to Turkish workers. Since the dissolution of the USSR, immigration to Scandinavia has included more diverse citizens, which is causing social tensions. In the Rest of Canada, the TV show, “Little Mosque on the Prairie”, a comedy, was viewed. Maybe that’s what we need in Québec as a preventive measure, although I consider the “Ethics and Religious Culture” courses offered at the primary and secondary levels in Québec a kind of “preventive” measure. Respect for others has to be taught at a young age. However, terrorist activities have to be countered by the forces of order, not a Charter which creates two classes of citizens and targets women.

  20. George Feenstra says:

    Hello Joseph,

    Your notice of circumstance in many parts of Europe is appropriate. I am personally aware of a growing “racist” sentiment among intellectuals in the Scandinavian countries. This is, of course, generated by changing social and economic demographics. Such changes are now well underway in our own context. So we ask, what can we learn from the European examples?

    I am sympathetic to Simone’s observations above. Rather than the imagination and implementation of “defensive” measures, such as the Charter, might we not imagine and implement “remedial” measures. In this we would not only invite the benefit of immigration, but commit to the responsibility of hosting such immigration?

    It seems, from my perspective, that the Charter will do little to alleviate the “perceived threat” of immigration and much to exacerbate that “perceived threat”.

    With appreciation for your reminder that the emergent situation is fraught with portents. May we each and all take careful measure of the cost and commit ourselves to outcomes which we may celebrate as an example for a post modern world much distressed by the antagonisms of difference.

    George

  21. Simone Nichol says:

    A few years ago when arrived in Canada and started teaching at a secondary school, I was confronted by the amount of migrant students who were in my classroom. What do I mean by confronted? Ok, we examined a true story of Amadeep, a teenage girl who was murdered by her Sikh father because she in a relationship with a Canadian boy. In the mind of the father, this brought shame to the family and he had an obligation to kill his daughter, also bizarrely known as an ‘honour’ killing. For Amadeep, she was caught between two worlds, that of her parents and their expectations and that of being a 1st generation living in a Canadian society where teenagers, their peers, could listen to the music they wanted, wear the clothes that they wanted, and could associate to a much larger degree, with who they wanted.

    After speaking about this horrific experience of the murdered Amadeep, I had many students who came to me and expressed their fears and frustrations regarding their own personal experiences with families that have strict codes of traditional behaviour. Many girls had complained to me of being beaten by their fathers or the fear of being beaten. Many explained how they were living a double life, one at school and the other behind closed doors in their home. Many lived in fear and most tragically, in silence.

    What this said to me was this. There is this dichotomy of the public v’s private domains. What goes on in the privacy of the home is something that we are not suppose to interfere with. Whereas there is the public world that can be more controlled and regulated. Apparently, yet in the case of Amadeep, it came too late.

    I believe that a far more constructive approach to ‘dealing’ with newcomers is to actually identify the real issues for the younger generation who have do live between two worlds. Then to speak to the older generation, their parents, cousins family etc who live and abide to patriarchal frameworks/constructs as this would be far more constructive than banning clothing. Banning clothing does not speak directly to oppressive behaviours and practices.

  22. Joseph Cooper says:

    George,

    Although “live and let live” is a sacred concept, when it is compromised, action must be taken. The charter is far from perfect, but it simply deals with reality in the most reasonable way. When groups in our society use democracy in a corrupted way (for example, using free speech to promote and eventually dictate anything but freedom), then democracy has to be modified in order to become a sustainable democracy for us all. If not, we will ALL pay the price! I am currently living in the United Kingdom and I have relatives in the Netherlands, France, and Belgium. These countries are paying a VERY heavy price for quite some time, and thankfully, Canada is waking up before Europe did. I know my opinions are not “popular” and are often seen as “narrow minded”. I believe that it’s truth and reality. Sadly, I believe that time will prove me right.

  23. Marie Cécile says:

    Dear Everyone,

    I heard that the definition of a Canadian is the following: an immigrant with seniority.

    Of course, First Peoples don’t consider themselves to be Canadian. In part, I’m sure that this is due to the fact that the Indian Act and 150 years of residential schools weren’t exactly the best way to respect the Two-Row Wampum agreement. And how the Wild Canadian West was won included shutting them up in reserves, hanging a Métis leader and bringing in many Ukrainian, German and Russian immigrants to take over the rolling fields of land and decimate bison herds so grain could be planted and extensive beef raising would occur in a patchwork of fences. Right now, African immigrants are working in the slaughter houses of Alberta under trying conditions that “real” Canadians would not even consider as a viable livelihood. On a pretty recent trip to Edmonton, I ventured into a suburban shopping center and found myself near an inner courtyard fountain surrounded by women wearing saris who were chatting away while their solemn menfolk, in an array of colourful turbans and expansive beards, looked gravely on. I hear that so many Nova Scotians are working in the tar sands that Russians have been imported to work in the fish processing plants in the Maritimes. My first trip to Vancouver occurred as Hong Kong was being returned to mainland Communist China and an extensive migration of Chinese managed to exact some form of “revenge” on previous maltreatment of their hardworking ancestors by buying up expensive suburban houses, demolishing them, and building grandiose dwellings. And so it goes…(to quote one of my favourite American authors.)

    And in Québec, in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, why, all these women were having babies and saying their novenas and being quietly raped in the night, while their record-breaking maternity scores were totally disregarded. (Except for Maurice Duplessis, who found that babies “born in sin” could be warehoused in institutions for which his government received federal subsidies.)

    And French Canadians had lower graduation rates than poor Whites in Tennessee. And then – the Ministry of Education was established with school boards and free schooling and Cégeps in 1968. Access to education precipitated the so-called “quiet revolution”. Access to post-secondary education propelled it even further. (The invention of the contraceptive pill didn’t hurt either…) So now, there are Muslim women wearing veils and other accoutrement, whereas before, nuns, priests d Christian brothers wore long robes, cassocks, veils and starched cornettes.

    Somehow, I think that this Charter is a ploy to try and recreate an era that is long gone. Yes, we must be aware that Islamists (les intégristes, in French) have a not-so-hidden agenda. But then, politicians, and any other kind of extremist are to be outwitted through dialogue and an understanding of what we have to gain by embracing “otherness”, as those whom we consider to be unlike us can be enriched through contact with us. In any case, anyone who claims to be the living embodiment of normalcy in this province and country is delusional.

  24. George Feenstra says:

    Hi Joseph,

    Let me continue to push a little, as we seek common ground. You said:

    “The issue here is the following: when one mixes may cultures that do not believe in the concept of “live and let live”, it leads to long term chaos. Unfortunately, Quebec has brought in large numbers of immigrants who do not believe in that sacred concept.”

    If I read well, which I do not always do, you say that “live and let live” is a “sacred concept”. How then are we to understand a charter which refuses this “sacred concept”, by excluding the personal rights of some to serve the interests of the state? It seems to modify the “sacred concept” to read “You live as we let you live.”

    Am I missing something?

    George

  25. Well, I’ve been thinking about this, and there is a key point about the nature of rights that has to be stated somewhere in this debate. Rights are inalienable. You make them universal or you don’t make them at all. Rights are not conditional upon quantity or upon percentages or upon moments when certain social circumstances present themselves. Rights are the rules of the game that don’t change mid-game. You don’t walk into a grocer’s store and hear the grocer announce “We’re out of orange juice today so no one wearing the colour blue will get any food.” That kind of reasoning is absurd. As I have said, continually, I’m an outsider in this debate. I don’t have a vote or a say in the outcome, and as Lear’s Fool said “T’is the advice of an un-fee’d lawyer.” But the view from the outside is this: freedom of expression is absolute and unconditional. It isn’t contingent on percentages or numbers. You either allow people to be who they are or you face the court of public and world opinion (to say nothing of challenges to exclusory laws based on the UN Charter of Rights) that says you are limiting freedom of speech and freedom of belief and freedom of expression. It is not for me to say what Quebec should or should not be doing (although I think I may have been heavy-handed in my response to the debate and it is evident from my arguments that my biases are always on the side of universal rights and the right of every individual to respect and dignity and fair and equal treatment). I have just tried to offer an opinion as to how Quebec will be perceived if the Marois Charter is passed. The fact that someone shows up for work in a hijab shouldn’t bother anyone as long as the person not wearing the hijab is secure in his or her own identity and culture. Culture, as I’ve said, isn’t something that can be imposed by force of law. It happens. It happens when people speak. It happens when people write and dream and think. It happens when people hold beliefs. It happens when individuals believe in themselves with all their heart. If they aren’t secure, that is not the problem of the person wearing the hijab (they, after all, know who they are and that is a good thing in the grand scheme of rights, culture, identity). The moment a law says “you can’t say this, you can’t wear that,” you are entering the region of thought that has broken down the lines of respect for others. You are imposing culture by force of law. The law is no longer about mutually agreeable codes that protect everyone, but about the rule of the few or the particular, and is no longer a universal code but a system about impositions, about singling out individuals because someone doesn’t like what they say or how they present themselves or what they believe or who they are or what they wear. In the court of human rights, that’s called imposed limitation (I won’t use a stronger word) and the rest of the world views that as wrong. But I guess the grocer IS out of orange juice and it is a bad day to wear blue.

  26. Dear Hugo:

    I’d be disheartened to think that rights of free expression are being threatened because there is a fear, any kind of fear, of a minority presence of any kind. I fully support the idea of Quebec as a distinct society. It is. The idea of French language and culture in Quebec is fundamental to what Quebec is. That said, it seems wrong to encourage immigration to a province that only sees immigrants as a means of paying for social systems and not as individuals who are entitled to express their rights as minorities.

    • Hugo Jetté says:

      Cher Mr Meyer,

      Je ne pourrais être plus en accord avec vous sur ce point car c’est exactement là que le bât blesse: le fait de considérer les immigrants uniquement comme des guichets automatiques pour payer nos dettes en faisant fi de la totalité de leur humanité est une grave erreur.

      La richesse ne se mesure pas qu’en dollars.

      70% des immigrants provenant de France décident, après un séjour de trois (3) ans au Québec, soit de retourner en France soit de se rendre dans l’Ouest canadien ou aux USA justement parce que bien que nous partageons la même langue, nous ne partageons pas le même imaginaire et nous “vendons” à l’étranger l’image d’un Québec bien différent de la réalité qui attend ces personnes venues s’établir ici en quête d’un avenir meilleur.

      Bref, on lance le message tacitement aux immigrants: “Venez ici nous aider à payer nos dettes et puis taisez-vous!”

      Merci Mr Meyer d’avoir soulevé ce point.

      Grateful Hugo

  27. Hugo Jetté says:

    Dear Mr Cooper,

    Yes, Canada started in the east and, by the grace of God, has remained independant through all these years even when it spread its wings up to the Pacific. Sir John A. MacDonald, a much needed visionary in today’s Western World politics, through is “Great coalition”, managed to create the Canada in which we live in today, with all its privileges, including what makes us the envy of many nations. A simple look at the numbers concerning immigration’s demands … for people from around the globe want to come and live here, in Canada!

    So here we are: an immigrant from Scotland has become our most valuable politician! Do we have to fear other cultures coming in our country?

    Dear Mr Meyer,

    Let’s imagine this: If the Anglo-saxon community would represent 3% in a pool of French speaking people maybe this community would also feel significant cultural insecurity. Let us not forget that it is exactly the case with french-canadians living here in Québec.

    What is regrettable is that some politicians, banking on that insecurity, go to discutable means to create chaos while moving forward into privatization of Health Services… this time! I stand firm on that ground for there is no valuable reasons to enflame this kind of passion and, therefore concentrate public awareness on something that will not survive the year in the minds of people.

    To be ready to create distrust and animosity between cultures, when we are in deep need of finding new citizens who will pay taxes to cover the costs of our infrastuctures in a very near future, is a very regrettable way to make use of the legitimate power who was obtain through a legitimate vote.

    I am definitivly not against privatization of medecine. Just being amazed with the way we are embarking of this ship, so fast, that the social costs for the most vulnerable people: the elderly, the natural caregivers (mostly women) and low income families and individuals, will suffer a great deal when they will be confronted with the “fait accompli”,

    Hötel-Dieu and Royal-Vic will be closing in 2016 at the latest. Can you imagine all the people who will loose their jobs, directly, or indirectly, for those who work in companies who do business with these hospitals will end up where? And I am also talking about the hospital’s employees from janitors up to the most specialized surgeons.

    Now we are looking at closing of 3,000 beds in CHSLDs in Montreal. Where will go all these vulnerable people? They are going to stay home with their natural caregivers going on burn-outs!

    Please give adequate services and a minimal revenue to the natural caregivers. If nothing is done we are looking at a major social crisis, for the caregivers themselves will also end up in the Health System and will need caregivers …

    Again it is only my little opinion and I thank Dr Cornett and the patience of all the ones who read and comment on this blog, to permit me to express my concerns with my macro-economics analysis concerning our Health System.

    When we talk about acquired rights are’nt we to consider in a broader vision all that is and will be happening in Québec in a very near future?

    Yours truly,

    Hugo

  28. Joseph Cooper says:

    We are all aware that Western Canadians were not the first to occupy Canada. We are also all aware that historically they were not the most righteous out there. All I am saying is that they (Christian Western Canadians) developed it to the country we have and love today. The issue here is the following: when one mixes may cultures that do not believe in the concept of “live and let live”, it leads to long term chaos. Unfortunately, Quebec has brought in large numbers of immigrants who do not believe in that sacred concept. All they are trying to do is deal with their new problem. I understand where Quebec is coming from, but sadly, as seen in Europe, it’s probably too late.

  29. George Feenstra says:

    Greetings each and all….

    This is a new place for me to be present in conversation. I am not quite clear on the how of being here, but in whole hearted agreement with the why. Dialogue does bring forward opportunity for insight adequate to the practice of justice in the land. Quite the contrary where monologue presides and prevails.

    A short while ago I met Professor Cornett. This while hosting, in part, a dialogue event on campus at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. We have remained loosely linked by the exchange of brief emails. Much in me longs to press deeper in, to dialogically explore the vital matters now pressing us hard to insight and decision. This aspiration is encouraged by the likes of Professor Cornett.

    I recognize myself as an observer at the margin. My original post, in this place, was prompted by Professor Cornett. I suspect the invitation equals some small token of positive regard. For this I am grateful!

    George

    • I am still not sold on the idea that the Quebec Charter debate is about religion. Those who have a wholly secular bent and purpose are trying to make it out to be about religion. I think they are baiting people of faith and belief in order to suggest that passions and beliefs are bad for Quebec society and that culture and identity should in no terms be associated with anything except their totally secular agenda. But again, the view from this side says that the debate is about freedom of speech. Let’s set the idea of belief aside for a moment and consider the issue as a matter of free speech and free expression. Symbols of any kind, as I was attempting to point out in my little screed about vexilology, are a form of language. We don’t merely say things with words. We say things in other ways. Culture, in the eyes of the Parti Quebecois, has only one message and one medium, and the statement that the Marois Charter is making is that there is only one form of expression and one message: their form and their message. Really? Culture is broader than that. But what the debate is suggesting is that symbols threaten the Marois Charter framers because they aren’t on the same page — kind of like someone is a choir who is singing slightly out of key. The point is not what tune is being sung but that everyone is singing and making a sound: that is what culture is. One shouldn’t look for unity in culture. Unity in culture is a very archaic concept, and it is the opposite of what culture is in its healthiest state: culture is everything. One should look for participation. To silence or deny anyone’s participation, on key or not, is to deny a very basic and universally accepted tenet of human rights: freedom of speech. I think every person should have the right to say “Here I am, this is how I declare myself, and my presence is a celebration not merely of a singularity of message but of the idea that to be human is to state one’s presence however one chooses to state it.” To silence others is the expression of a rearguard action that foresees its last days rather than its best days. And what kills a culture? Lack of participation in it. Lack of horizons. Lack of broader possibilities. Lack of confidence in its own creativity. So, the secular agenda is not so much about religious symbols but about being able to say whatever one says. Fear of dissent is a sign of significant cultural insecurity, to say nothing of a political thorn in the flesh (or in this case a crown of thorns in the flesh). Why? Because those who are denying freedom of speech and expression are basing their philosophy and their perception on fear rather than on the confidence that culture is organic and that it grows, and that it is healthiest when it is broadest. Strangely enough, at the root of some of the greatest political and cultural theorist’s ideas about how Quebec culture can survive is the notion of freedom of expression — and that takes in a very broad spectrum of thinkers from Groulx to Bourduas to Henri Bourassa and Levesque. And strangely enough freedom of expression is what makes freedom of belief possible, though that seems to be lost on supporters of the charter.

  30. George Feenstra says:

    Mr Cooper makes this statement:

    “It’s about time that people accept that Canada is in fact a Christian country found on Christian values. If the country has been generous enough to bring foreigners in, they (including myself) should be thankful and privately practice their beliefs. I find it unacceptable to immigrate to the country, and expect the country to change for you.”

    This statement is problematic. It defines Canada as a country with no reference to the land in which this “country” is founded and maintained. It has been an occupied land for countless generations of indigenous societies, none of which were Christian.

    Did the Christian settlers not emigrate from Europe and elsewhere, becoming, in the first place, immigrants? And, as immigrants, did such Christian settlers not introduce massive changes to the encountered indigenous societies? Admitting this precedent, are we not obliged to accept that immigration should not be conditioned by the rubrics of conformity to the host society?

    We may also want to question the proposition that Canada is founded on Christian principles. While Christianity was deeply implicated, on a diversity of levels, Canada was founded on the imperial and mercantile anticipations of ruling elites in Europe. This is, at least, a debatable point.

    George

  31. Hugo Jetté says:

    Dear Mr Cooper,

    When you say that “Canada is in fact a Christian country found on Christian values” you are partly right I must admit. But if you look closely at the principles of law we benefit in the Western world, we have to admit that in fact it comes from the Torah. Everything is in the Torah. Even when Jesus says “love thy neighbor” he is quoting from Leviticus 19:18 … Moses! And when he states the Golden Rule again he is quoting Hillel!

    The patience and generosity which lies in the Jewish tradition have benefited us all. Let’s not forget that.

    People tend to forget that Jesus and Paul of Tarsus were in fact First century Jews and that the misunderstanding of Paul’s writing lead to the terrible Shoah. This is the basis of the book I want to publish in five years from now. Again ignorance is at the root of many fears and it is so easy to demonize what we fear but mostly what we don’t understand.

    The wisdom af our constitution reveals itself when it states clearly that Canada is a secular country, not a Christian one, altough many of our approaches are based in Judeo-Christian values. All of canadian jurisprudence leads to this conclusion. And I would go so far as to say that Islam is part of our Abrahamic tradition. We share the same “Berechit”, We refer to the same basic books wich are all included in the Torah and the TANAK.

    Freedom of speach and freedom of religion are permitted in our secular Canada, Secular but not atheous. So why focus on a secular bill when in fact we already live in a secular country?

    Again, ignorance plays a big role in the mess we are getting ourselves into.

    Yours truly,

    Hugo Jetté

  32. Joseph Cooper says:

    It’s about time that people accept that Canada is in fact a Christian country found on Christian values. If the country has been generous enough to bring foreigners in, they (including myself) should be thankful and privately practice their beliefs. I find it unacceptable to immigrate to the country, and expect the country to change for you. If you don’t like it, then Canada will not force you to remain there (find some other place). Canada has always been a live-and-let-live society. Once certain groups do not accept that way of life (by expecting “special rights”, bringing in their foreign conflicts into Canadian universities, expecting public properties to be designated as prayer places…), then they should not be surprised that the local society would want them to either “secularize” a.k.a anglicize, or leave. Quebec has been wise enough to make this into a “secularization” argument rather than making this into a “anti-foreigner” argument.

  33. Hugo Jetté says:

    And during all this time in which we cover our pages with the ink of indignation, the medicine field is in the process of rapid privatisation. Artificial waiting lists are now the norm. Two years ago you could get a gastroenterologist or an opthalmologist on the short term. Now, you have to try to put your name on a waiting list of two years, if you are so lucky that the doctor’s office answers their telephone. Many let the phone ring without the possilbity to leave a message!

    They just closed 3,000 beds in CHSLDs in Montreal reporting all this pressure on the shoulders of natural caregivers and community organisations. Natural cargevivers and low income monoparental families are the ones who are going to pay the biggest price, namely women. Right now this is the real drama. An irresponsible and fast transition period from the providential state model to a private one in less than in a jiffy!

    The Charbeonneau Commission and the debate around the Québec Charter of Values are only smoke screens in my view for what is really happening in the Health and Social Services are the real McCoy.

    I might be wrong and would be glad to be. But the facts are there ,,, for everybody to see.

    Hugo Jetté

  34. Hugo Jetté says:

    Dear Mr Feenstra,

    When we talk about “aspirations” the fact is that it is all about “inspirations” first. We cannot aspire to anything when in fear, when diversity is seen as a threath,

    I was stunned to learn that many young french-canadians wanting to pursue University studies prefer joining a University in Three-Rivers, Sherbrooke, Québec or elsewhere in the Université du Québec network than to come in the Montreal region. Fear of the diversity seems to be the prime motivation of this decision.

    When young people, now living in their most idealistic years, by human standards, FEAR challenges ,,, opportunities to grow … I humbly think that it is a symptom that something as gone very wrong in their upbrigning.

    History, Philosophy, Theology as ceased to exist in many young minds hooked on Social media, suffering from short attention span. I personally think that French Canada is committing a spiritual genocide at the moment and the people in the hierarchy of the PQ and BQ are still wondering why the rest of Canada does’nt want to follow them on the edge of the abyss …

    How are they to contribute to jurisprudence to come in the constitutionnal realm if they remain ignorant by choice?

    Sometimes I wonder if a provincial senate would be somehow necessary to curb the exagerations of short term view politicians who lack generosity in celebrating the contribution of so many different influences which have built Québec history. Their Québec in wich they delight.

    Creativity happens “within the limits” of the environment not by making irresponsible demands, one after the other, upon other cultures asking for too much attention or protection, just like spoil brats. Maybe it is time we get back in less quantity of freedom to have access to more qualitative liberty.

    And as a start I propose we look at Belgium. In this country you have three governments at work:
    The North
    The South
    Brussels

    Montreal is the Brussels of Québec. Leave it alone. Celebrate the fact that it is an open city, dynamic and rich in diversity. It is the heart of a sane, a human and creative Québec.

    Thanks be to God!

    In the fellowship of the Spirit,

    Hugo Jetté

  35. George Feenstra says:

    Some years ago (2003) Canada’s Chief Justice, Beverly McLachlin, observed:

    “Accommodation, in the strong sense in which I wish to use it, means ending exclusion, encouraging and nourishing the identity of the other, and celebrating the gifts of difference. It is this response that has come to characterize the modern Canada, shaping our thinking and our policy on women, first nations people and the profusion of races and cultures that constitute Canada in the 21st century.”

    It seems to me that the proposed charter not only fails to honour the aspirations of Canada, it fails to honour the aspirations of history.

    George

  36. Simone Nichol says:

    Professor Cornett will be participating in another wonderful dialogic session this Friday 25th October at Bishops University. There was a comprehensive article about this forthcoming event in ‘The Sherbrooke Record’ (21October 2013).

    ‘Professor Cornett envisages that the evening’s session will ‘ pick up where the Bouchard-Taylor Commission left off, and we’re going to look at the relationship between the charter and the commission; where do we go from here.”

    It is certainly a topic that has stimulated a great deal of discussion on this page! I am sure that the evening will prove to be both engaging and thought-provoking with many people wishing to contribute their points of view as has happened here…….

  37. Hugo Jetté says:

    Dear Dr Meyer,

    Thank you so much for writing:

    “I happen to believe that having beliefs — any kind of beliefs — is far more important to a person’s well-being than having no beliefs at all.”

    Point and macth!

    I can’t thank you enough for your contribution to this discussion.

    In my own little way, I believe that if I didn’t believe in G_D, the risk for me to believe in all sorts of things would be to great. For I am a passionnate man channeling my passions through faith in a “higher power” to be able to make a significant contribution to the community.

    There are so many treasures that have been written on this site up until now that I can only express my gratitude to Dr Cornett in letting me be part of this wonderful adventure in community education: “The Diaologic’s Sessions” in which I had the opportunity to meet so many people of talent like Dr Gusder and Simone Nichols.

    With gratitude in the fellowship of the Spirit,

    Hugo Jetté

    • Thanks, Hugo, but the whole thing doesn’t stop there. See my posts below. This is a biology class earthworm on the tray that will require a lot more dissecting before we find out how it works and why it is working the way it does. No one should be denied the right to express their beliefs because no one should be denied freedom of speech. That’s what this is about. The Charter wants to put a sock in a lot of people’s mouths and that is a denial of a very fundament precept of human rights.

  38. jaswant guzder says:

    what a refreshing addition by Prof Meyer, to speak of individualism and creativity as the positive and resilient outcomes of “over standing” the historical identity of generations as reflected by his example of Derek Walcott. a person is then an integration of everything that goes into his making ( radical acceptance some would call it). in the case of such a talented artist, it also means having the balance and focus to be Derek Walcott . to be mindful and present enough to be or strive to be an individual, democratically engaged and collectively present as a global and local citizens is still a possibility for us in Canada, especially if it is so for Derek Walcott in the caribbean. Murakami of Japan comes to mind to be in a similar category , as a writer he turned away from a traditionally imprinted “japanese” ethnic identity, rejecting the convention of centralizing Japanese identity in his novel writing ( in evident contrast to the great works of Kawabata and Oe before him_ perhaps he chose to define the project of novel writing in the same way as walcott might see poetry writing : ” i fully believe it is the novelist’s job to keep trying to clarify the uniqueness of each individual soul by writing stories. ”
    This privilege of individualism is inherently lost in the spirit of the charter of secular values , as it allows to the state to create a problem where there should be no problem. we do not need the state to intrude on defining identity in these ways, and create a problem that belongs to solutions residing within the privacy of each person and their free participation within community.

  39. In addendum to what I was writing about in the post yesterday, I have a few more observations for what they are worth. The Quebec Charter does not want to have any public demonstration (especially in association with government offices) any religious symbolism under their sense of what is a reasonable expression of secularism. There are some problems with this. The Hijab aside, I should point out that a considerable proportion of the population in Quebec — good, traditional Quebecois — are the descendants of the survivors of Grosse Ile Irish. My wife is one. They adopted Quebec’s language and culture but kept their names and their proud sense of Irishness. Every year on March 17, people wear green to remember the struggles of the Irish in Canada. I do. My wife does. No one says anything about green on March 17 to us. That said, the wearing of the green is in celebration of a Saint’s Day — St. Patrick (Padraig). If someone wears green to a Quebec government office, will they be required to remove their clothing even if they aren’t Irish? After all, there are profound religious connections behind St. Patrick’s Day. Green is a form of religious symbolism, especially on that day. But what if someone is not Irish but just likes the colour green and happens to be wearing that colour on that particular day? Does Quebec support public nudity? But let’s take things a step further. Every Quebec government office proudly flies the Quebec flag. That’s a good thing. According to the study of flags, a special social science known as Vexilology, the Quebec flag presents four fleur de lis on a background of a flag known traditionally as “The Cross of St. Louis.” Goodness. A saint’s cross on the government’s most apparent symbol? I think this means that the Quebec government will have to stop funding St. Jean Baptiste Day events because that is connected to a saint and to a religious feast day. The Quebec government’s symbol of pride is a cross, specifically a cross dedicated to a saint. The fleur de lis has its origins in the Medici family’s personal symbol as well as in the personal symbolism of King Louis VIV of France, aka St. Louis. According to Dante in Paradiso, the fleur de lis is the symbol of the Holy Roman Emperor aspirant, Henry of Luxembourg, and represents his divine claim from God to the throne of Europe. The actual symbol evolved from an ampulla, a golden lily, that contained baptismal oil used to crown the Kings of France in a sacred coronation ceremony. In other words, it is a religious symbol, along with the cross. The fleur de lis also appears on the logo of the Parti Quebecois. And speaking of the word logo, it comes from a theological term that suggest the word was made flesh. Logos will have to go. Under the Charter, the Quebec flag will have to go. Any suggestions for what should replace it? And by the way, the replacement flag cannot be green (eternal life), red (sacred blood and sacrifice), white (the Virgin and eternal innocence and purity), black (the colour of priests’ robes and self-effacement) and cannot represent a lion (Gospel of Mark) or pelicans or eagles or grapes or mountains or suns (that would be Sol Invictus which is was a religion), bulls (Mithras), etc. What would work would be a brown snowshoe imprinted on a clear sheet of plastic. (And forget the Montreal Canadiens’s team flag — that has red and white in it as well as blue, the colour of loyalty, especially when loyalty is sworn by a knight in the sacred religious ceremony of fealty). No one will be permitted to wear a Canadiens jersey to memorabilia anywhere near a public building because such things contain religious symbolism. There is another solution: Quebec can keep its symbols, its saints days, its celebrations ,its hockey pride, its sense of how history has defined it, and expand its identity to a broader sense of history and let women wear their hijabs, men their kirpans and turbans, and take an anything goes approach to culture and identity and feel secure that the Quebec flag is what unites everyone in Quebec society. And be thankful that the flag you fly is not a hand-me-down from British regimental history when everyone knows that the British did not want to garrison British North American and were only too glad to hand over to us our own political, social, cultural and history destiny knowing that we would exercise reason and fairness in our process of self-determination.

    • And, just before I forget, the Cross of St. Louis accidentally turns up on the British Union Jack which is composed of three crosses — St. George (white background with a red Templar cross), St. Andrew (blue background with a white diagonal cross), and the St. Patrick (red background with white slashed diagonal cut outs to form an irregular cross). The St. Louis Cross appears almost by accident (or does it?) on the Union Jack in order for the Cross of St. George to be articulated against the Cross of St. Andrew. Remove the red and voila, the Cross of St. Louis. Here is a key point that needs to be addressed when the topic of post-colonialism comes up: the symbols and post-colonialism are two different things. The crosses existed before the notion of modern empires came into being. Symbolism, the very thing in question in the charter, is not the reality (historical or actual) is not post-colonialism but merely an attachment to it. And on the topic of post-colonialism, I would refer all interested parties to the poetry of Derek Walcott. He was faced with a history embodied in his own person and consciousness of opposing parties. As he has said, he could have gone the Fannon/Cesaire route and rejected and loathed himself for embodying his past, or the St. John Perse route of trying to defend a colonial consciousness that would not serve the future. What did Walcott do? He invented Caribbean culture based on the idea that the individual is the integration of everything that goes into his making. That’s a remarkable leap, but it is a leap that aims itself directly at the human spirit, the idea of an broad-minded and culturally significant future, and at the fact that one should not abandon history but instead know thyself and celebrate every aspect of what the individual is and can be.

    • I must correct myself. My Roman numerals are a bit rusty. St. Louis was Louis IX not Louis VIV.

  40. Rahul Varma, playwright and artistic director says:

    I oppose the Charter because it is regressive, racist and it violates the fundamental rights of minorities guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and by the UN declaration on diversity. My points are following:
    Point # 1: The Charter is not neutral it is discriminatory: The Charter claims it will bring religious neutrality by banning Hijab, turban and kippah from public institutions. Such notion of neutrality is a mask for discrimination and denial of diversity. Neutrality comes from equal recognition of different people for who they are and ensuring that minorities have same opportunities as the majority – it does not come from denying differences or forcing them to hide their heritage and history.
    Point # 2: Charter is not secular – it privileges majority religion over others: While banning hijab, turban, kippah and other minority symbols, the Charter allows the Christian crosses in the legislature, on the Mont Royal, and on the Quebec flag, which Pauline Marois asserts is Quebec’s heritage and patrimony. This is not only inaccurate but racist as it ignores the primacy and the patrimony of the First Nations. It also berates the contributions of other immigrant groups. Pauline Marios says that the Charter is an instrument of “nation-building” — but in reality it assigns supremacy to white-Christian-Francophone majority that is monolithic and mono-cultural. This is colonialism in a post-colonial era. I oppose the Charter because it reverses all the progress that has been made in ending discrimination in public institutions, schools, hospitals, social services, police and the courts.
    Point # 3: The Charter distorts Multiculturalism: Marois deliberately makes misleading statements about multiculturalism like her separatist predecessors e.g. multiculturalism is a federal ploy to undermine Quebec sovereignty, multiculturalism and ethnic votes cost PQ the referendum, and it promotes division and differences. But in reality, multiculturalism is a very positive thing for Quebec that has resulted in great advancement in the education, arts, literature, pluralism and social inclusion. Besides, if Marois cared to know, Canada or for that matter Quebec, have been multicultural, multi-lingual and diverse prior to European contact. Before the “discovery” the First Nations represented and continue to represent different nations and their respective cultures, languages and tribes. Contrary to Marois’ assertion multiculturalism encourages different cultures to respect each other for their common humanity as well for their uniqueness.

    Point # 4: Charter does nothing to advance equality between men and women.
    Article 28 of the Canadian Charter and Article 50.1 of the Quebec Charter already protect gender equality. Banning religious symbol in the public sector will not only violate the spirit of Article 28 and 50.1, it will increase inequality between men and women. The Charter is contradictory: it will push Hijabi women out of the public service jobs but not Muslim men; it will push Sikh men out but not the women, and it will push Jewish men but not Jewish women.
    In a just society, gender equality would be achieved by banning prejudice and ensuring equal opportunity, education, integration and freedom of expression — not by restricting the above on the basis of what people wear and who they are.
    Equality does not mean sameness. Sameness is homogenization of minority into the dominant – look like the dominant and sound like the dominant.
    Point # 5: The Charter forces minorities to choose between his or her conscience and his or her survival – this is coercion not a value.

  41. Simone Nichol says:

    I would like to mention the current stand-off in New Brunswick against a proposed shale gas project by the Mi’kmaq nation. There may be questions, as to why I have included this in the thread of conversation?

    Firstly, I would like to point out the Canada has not been free of violence and genocide because of being different. There is ample evidence of this because of the scandalous policies of Canadian governments – Federal and Provincial that have contributed to the destruction of 1st Nation Communities -including their territories – land, air, water, animals etc. This goes on today, shockingly, as it has for centuries. So why do I include this?

    As I can see (in my very limited way – and also a privileged way), we do have a responsibility as a diverse group of people to accept, respect ALL cultures, including of 1st Nation people/Communities. I would recommend watching to the link below as I see it as instructive as to what happens when one group (who make the rules) does to another group, to disenfranchise them because of who they intrinsically are and when they do stand up for their rights.

    The Charter’s mentality smacks of colonialism too. Or do I call it post-modern colonialism? Who cares, colonialism is colonialism, it is a mentality – look at the example given in this thread regarding the rigmarole of getting into the public service here in Quebec. And then there is the example of the biased history courses stuffed down the throats of the young – ad nauseam. Ok that is my opinion!

    I can very much appreciate and even admire the resistance of the French Quebecers against their foreign masters, the English in order to preserve their unique identity in a new and strange land, Quebec. Yet, unfortunately it has given way to a walled-in mentality – I can see the fortress of a ‘forgotten’ era still permeating in the background, deep in the psyche of many Quebecers.
    Look you cant resolve the the trauma of a collective that continues to fester -either overtly or covertly by scapegoating others. As Dr Guzder, I believe correctly asserts that
    ‘Quebec has many unresolved colonial ghosts in the closet as part of its identity work’.

    Back to the Mi’kmaq nation. They too are fighting for their rights as a people, yet when they do there is an army of police with guns firing at them. So the question remains. How has this stand-off happened? How has it come to this – still in 2013? Will the same thing occur to those who are forced to assimilate too? Or will they too stand-up and fight for their right to be accepted for who they are an what they believe in?

  42. jaswant guzder says:

    this post inspires the highest values of the charter of rights which protect us with laws
    and preserves a just society in spirit and action.i am sure we all share the sentiments of reaching out to the quebecois people to protect their legacy and respect their efforts with bill 101 and other laws to preserve their dominant rights of cultural legacy in many ways.
    the poet says “we have nothing to fear from the expressions of others”, but indeed these expressions are signifiers for the society that multicultural or inclusive social values may undermine their power and opens the repetition of historical wounds_ this time the colonial English are replaced with the kippa, turban , the headscarf and the veil.
    it will depend on whether the dominant group appreciates gains with diversity or insists on replaying the french republican ideals here in Canada. it will depend on whether the population is prepared to broaden their curiosity about their own history and reflect upon quebec,s history of slavery, anti-semitism, anti-sikh rhetoric and islamaphobia as a high cost for ethnic nationalism.
    we do not know what outcome awaits the political game of exciting splitting and fear in the province, but we do know that some amongst the society see that the victimization of french colonials by english colonials rests underneath the passionate sense of vulnerability and assertion that french canadians want to renounce the rights of its citizens to identities other than “quebec secularism” to appease their sense of anxiety with the hybridization and lack of uniformity in a social space like montreal’s metropole.
    long ago franz fanon wrote about the “unveiling” of algerians and the difficulty of mirroring in colonial societies as they encounter Otherness, both from the side of the Others and the side of the colonists. while the secular charter is hailed in Quebec as another progressive movement which some feminists hail as a continuation of the Quiet Revolution, they fail to see the condensation of issues which amputates rights of individuals and the need for social justice in resolving these social tensions. while they may see themselves as post colonial the minorities see these sentiments as oppressive and resonant with colonial wounds that have been resolved by the Charter of Rights.
    it is painful to give up power when the dominant cultural group has already struggled with a past wound of victimization. this is a problem of memory and a return of past unfinished business that continues generationally as a striving for an independent country vs balancing its needs within a canadian value system deeply influenced by first nations values if one reads john ralston saul’s a fair country.

  43. Dr. Bruce Meyer says:

    My friend, Dr. Norman Cornett, has asked me to weigh in on the new Quebec Charter. I’ve tried to abstain until now. I’m someone who lives in another province. The view from here says that respecting the rights of others is not merely my privilege but my responsibility. I see the value and the distinct beauty of Quebecois culture; but the view from here also says that Quebecois culture is imperilling itself because of its refusal to engage in the broader context of cultural expression by walling itself off. That is no way to guarantee how the beauty of a culture reaches into the world and declares itself as something valuable. The current charter debate is not so much about faith in the specific sense but about faith in the very broad human sense.

    In in the place where I live, I am pledged by law and by culture to make sure that everyone’s rights are inviolate and that human dignity, based on understanding, respect, and a powerful sense of admiration for human diversity in thought, faith, expression, and daily life is my right. I have a right to celebrate others in their diversity and to learn from them and engage with them in the human experience.

    My province, signed on to the Constitution of Canada in 1991. Under that constitution and its Charter of Rights, I enjoy (not merely in practice, actually do enjoy what freedom means in terms of the pleasure and well-being it brings me) the right to do what I want as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else, dress as I want as long as I am not causing harm to myself or others, speak as I want as long as I am not endangering myself or others, write and believe as I want as long as I am not provoking crime or hatred, and express myself as I want in signage and open language practice because the purpose of a sign is to reach out to others, not to question who they are or what they believe.

    I am curious rather than afraid of what others do, say, believe, wear, think, say. I love learning, especially when the lesson comes to me and because of that I love the fact that everyone is different. I am driven by an insatiable desire to celebrate and understand who they are and what they think. If someone wants to express themselves in a symbol, a sign, a piece of clothing, etc. my sense of what freedom is says “fine. I’m happy with that because I’m permitted to do the same. And, by the way, I love what you are saying because it is broadening my experience as a traveler in the human experience.” There is a tremendous sense of positive cultural energy that comes out of that experience. I am as much the beneficiary of knowing them and enjoying them as I suspect they are to know me and enjoy me. (See Taj and Meyer, Alphabestiary, Exile Editions, 2011). We all go about our lives with the power and pleasure that comes from that freedom.

    I like to believe that the society I live in guarantees that others have the same rights as I have, that we are equal in our differences, regardless of culture or faith. I also celebrate the fact that I not only live somewhere in the world but that the world lives here with me. I want to believe that the place that I live and love reflects the greater sense of the planet we all share. That is inspiring because when we all appreciate and understand each other (and we do most of the time) it means that there is great hope for the world and for humanity. The world is a textbook. I am a student. I want the place I live to be a model for what the world can and will become: a peaceable place where our liberties of all manner of expression are shared and respected and where we grow and thrive as a species because we learn from each other. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: a great deal of knowledge is the path to God and the sane person can never learn enough to be satisfied.

    I get a thrill out of seeing people express and celebrate their faith because I happen to believe that having beliefs — any kind of beliefs — is far more important to a person’s well-being than having no beliefs at all. The purpose of beliefs is not just to have a code to live by, but to have something significant to share with others so that we can learn from each other. I would gladly put my life on the line to defend not only my own beliefs, expressions, and responsibilities, but the right of others to do the same. The culture I live in is a reflection of the greater world — I like to think that when I walk down any street I am walking not merely through my part of the world but through a lens that perceives the whole world because of the incredible variety and exuberance of the human spirit that is expressed through guaranteed individual freedoms.

    The culture I live in is, because of that freedom, an exuberant culture. It fears nothing. It reaches out its arms to embrace not only what it is in its specific place and context, but the entire world. The culture here is not afraid of anything because it is an expression of everything, a celebration not merely of what it means to be specific to its place but of what it means to have each individual’s uniqueness celebrated to the point that it is worthy of being defended by everyone. Someone could reply “you are nothing because you are not something specific.” My answer is “no. I am everything because of the respect others show me by permitting me to enter their lives as I invite them to enter mine. There is nothing I cannot learn.”

    As is the case with knowledge, culture is not about building barriers; it is about breaking them down. And as I walk through the streets of a city that has unique and distinct cultural roots, I know that those roots are strengthened because they not only reach down into the particular soil that gave them life, but into the broader world. Limitless culture is one of the greatest things mankind can hope to achieve, and that means we make a legal, political, and social goal of embracing one another rather than being afraid of one another because we think that such knowledge and the power that comes from it will somehow harm us. I can tell you from years of living in a society where one acknowledges that the rights of others are as beautiful and essential as one’s own rights that I am more myself for having learned of the incredible wonder of others and feel far more secure in myself that I have such knowledge and the hunger to learn more than I was before my rights and the rights of others were guaranteed in law.

    I don’t see the current Charter debate in Quebec as a matter of protecting Quebecois culture. Culture is not about what you wall off but about what you share. Each of us is an open city. The more a culture is shared the stronger it becomes because it is part of the context of the broader world and the human experience. The idea of expansive secularism might be altruistic in the facile sense, but it is a shallow expression of a distrust of others. The current debate has nothing to do with faith to my mind because faith is about the common ground of humanity and not the “you in your small corner and I in mine” perception of world.

    Believe me, you have nothing to fear from the expressions of others. Engaging in those expressions, however, is what makes you stronger and wiser. The richness of a culture is in how it speaks to others, not just to itself. The human duty is to remember that walls and barriers offer no protection because they prevent the world from hearing what you are and you from hearing what the world can teach you.

    Dr. Cornett, that is my response.

  44. James Clarke says:

    James Clarke
    October 16, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Bravo Dr. Cornett, you are on the side of the angels. Extreme secularism is indeed a form of cultural religion, another in a long list of misguided quasi-religious panaceas attempting to build a better world without God & respect for freedom of religion. In trying to impose change of the heart from the outside in it has the opposite effect : it divides people , creates
    disharmony, mistrust, bitterness & is destined to failure. Frankly, I’m as saddened as much as outraged.While the emphasis is on hijabs, turbans & kippahs it is equally inimical to Christianity & all religious beliefs as well as the concept of freedom of expression.
    The religious/ heritage dichotomy is false as the Catholic Bishops pointed out. Another brave new world that is neither brave nor new. It proves once again that if we don’t learn from the past we’re doomed to repeat it. JAMES CLARKE

    • Hugo Jetté says:

      Dear Mr Clarke,

      You point out with brillant pertinence the problem lying with the religious/heritage dichotomy discourse. This approach can only goes to show that we are now living in a pool of meaningless kind of symbolisms demonstrating by the same token just how cut off we are from our most precious intuitions which the most religious of us name “The voice of God”.

      When I look at that band of post-modern materialistic atheous separatists (and I precise “separatists” not “independantists” for there is a major difference – as it was recently demonstrated by the stand taken by Maria Mourani ex-BQ MNA who was kicked out from her party) getting all emotional while rounding up in their hysterical political rallies, their flag held high, I cannot escape grinning a cynical smile … they don’t even realize that Quebec flag is a pure representative of Ultramontanism …

      And I also agree with you to point out that Dr Cornett’s activities in community education realm, and in operating this blog, is a much needed ressource in this world of theological, philosophical and spiritual analphabets.

      Warmest regards,

      Hugo Jetté

  45. Hugo Jetté says:

    Dear Dr Guzder,

    Thank you so much to take the time to reflect on my very imperfect commentaries. It is very kind of you to give me such importance by commenting on my texts.

    When you say: ” … it is not going to be without difficulty”. I agree with you having in mind that behind every difficulty lies a opportuniy for personnal growth and for this I am deeply grateful to you.

    Warmest regards,

    Hugo Jetté

  46. jaswant guzder says:

    many thanks for the discourse

    the wound of quebec colonial history is nonetheless is being manipulated by the pq and those of us who are minorities are very distressed and anguished to bear the brunt of this strategy
    i work in the health care system and agree with you that the bigger issues are left unattended by this diversion tactic and power play by madame marois , unfortunately all of us pay the price when the social peace is disturbed by this kind of negative projection and alienation. this is definitely not a post colonial society , quebec has many unresolved colonial ghosts in the closet as part of its identity work. we are now engaged in a very long process that is most unfortunate that institutional racism would be suggested as a possible way to protect a legacy of a francophone quebec . i am hoping that good will and reason will prevail, but it is not going to be without difficulty.

  47. Hugo Jetté says:

    Dear Dr Guzder,

    When you state “a republican french model vs a canadian multicultural” you are overating the general level of undertanding of the majority who simply follow a certain kind of leaders because there is a void of significant meaning. Where there is a void in knowledge there is fear, lack of understanding, of communication. The destruction of the most noble symbolism, which is a part of our post-modern materialistic culture, as I see it, is responsible for this level of ignorance, therefore translating into intolerance which is in turn only a manisfestation of fear.

    Most people ignore what a republican model is. Most people don’t even realize that other cultures are not aliens but share a lot of value with us.They believed in mainstream media for so long that they are ready to believe anything if you push the right buttons as long as they can act out a general feeling of legitimate frustration which is the result of a life without a higher meaning being confronted to the daily grind of modern living.

    When powerlesness tries to find a solution it generally tries to become powerful somehow in all kind of behaviors. Without getting to dramatic, I often compare our post-modernity as the monster who feeds on human in the silent movie “Metropolis”.

    Senseless existence leads to senseless politics.

    Meaning is what we have lost.

    We try here in Quebec to do in 50 years what our French cousins did in 500 years, stabbing in the dark along the way! We forget, or even don’t even realize, the simple fact that there are some basic reasons why people of France did vote for a secular state, (even De General De Gaulle was for it even if he was a devoted catholic, which is a strong trend in the french army when you consider the fact that the elite comes from Saint-Cyr).

    The massacre of the Saint-Barthelemy is an historical fact in France as other genocides based on dogmatic religious stand offs. A domain in which we don’t have a single clue here in Canada. WW1, WW2 and the terrible Shoah, happened mostly in Europe. Here we had only some caricatures of the facscist leaders of Europe.

    Most of the people don’t have any notion of theological or philosophical reasoning because we, in our Western world, have ceased (or are aiming at ceasing) teaching fundamental research in almost every field of knowledge, except in Art, but even there, if it does not sell, it won’t survive very long. And we are cutting funds to such researchs, one field after the other.

    The equation is very simple: if we don’t learn to think properly we will basically react on impulsion without even knowing why we are acting this way, losing our humanity along the way.

    I can’t help but noticing that the less we teach about fundamentals the more “fundamentalists” we become. Dogmas are sign of insecurity, not of the free mind. And a mind is a terrible thing to waste !

    Again this is only a smoke screen. While, governement acts in other fields, like in the privatization of the health system, creating artificial waiting lists to provide an incentive to go on the private side. There is a major social shift happening here and nobody is aware of it. While everybody is arguing on pathetic details, the political opportunists find the field of greed free of any obstacles.

    People are tired, exhausted and basically are heading fast in a situation like the one in Greece for 10, 15 or more years to come.

    That’s the tragedy behing all this pointless exercise. We are giving it way to much ink. We should look elsewhere: everything is falling apart in our medical and academic institutions while we argue on nothing more than a political charade aiming at shaking the tree because this provincial government knows it probably will be defeated on the first budget they will produce.

    Yours truly in the fellowship of the Spirit,

    Hugo Jetté

  48. Maire-Cécile says:

    Well, I’ve read a piece by Josée Legault who has clear political affiliations but does not endorse all PQ stratégies, or the Janettes, as being sacrosanct. Ha! Ha! (because hockey and politics are “religions” in Québec.) This idea of a Charter is a communications ploy. Bernard Drainville was a reporter and Jean-François Lisée also an analyst and political consultant. Remember Orwell’s 1984 when “douplespeak” was a political tool and unfortunately, Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible, about the Salem witch trials, a fantastic play which blew my mind when I first read it because it is based on false logic. The Charter is Quebec’s “Crucible”. I’ve worked in the Québec public service and increasingly, heard north African accented French in the building where my offices were situated. These immigrants came from former French colonies in northern Africa and were selected for their education and ability to integrate into Québec society where French has been the official language since 1977. They were given a document, translated into seven different languages, which stated that Québec society was based on gender equality. Why then, this “acharnement” against the very people who were selected for immigration after years of waiting. To obtain a job in the Québec public service, as a professional or a fonctionnaire, one has to write a three-hour exam (without dictionaries) and submit all draft copies. Then, for managers, there could be another two-hour multiple-choice exam and/or a panel interview with examiners seated on the periphery as observers evaluating the interactions between candidates who are subjected to four hours of tests. This is followed by interviews between the candidate and a panel of three administrators with a human resources rep taking notes.. Believe me, getting into the Québec public service is not easy. Why is the Québec government treating them this way? Pauline Marois was instrumental in getting the CPE (Centres de petite enfance )started in Québec. Now, there are complaints about the number of certified caregivers (éducatrices) that are wearing hidjabs? Has she lost it? Pauline Marois got the Québec educational reform going (as per the recommendations of seasoned educators) to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Why is she shifting into reverse? We’re back to the Maurice Duplessis era, a staunch all-around hater, exploiter and despoiler. What gives here? In my art class yesterday, somebody mentioned that a separatist movement is starting in Montréal – to proclaim the greater metropolitan region as Canada’s 11 th province. More population than PEI. I wonder what Josh Freed would have to say about that… Let’s chill, tout le monde…This proposal hasn’t even progressed to the legislative phase and there have been, of course, no parliamentary committee meetings. The whole thing is a trial balloon…and a diversion.

  49. jaswant guzder says:

    i appreciate the commentary and discourse, gentle or illuminating. hugo says let us not generalize to a whole community the wrongs of a few but misses the present reality as this statement is contrary to information of the majority polled in the province. we are divided on this charter largely on ethnic grounds with francophone majority citizens the larger player in the province and the more in favour of the charter as progressive and creating a society that is clearly marginalizing its minority members. the tensions are now played out of a society closely resembling the mother country of the quebecois, a republican french model vs a canadian multicultural . does the political tension warrant this divisive attempt to enforce a law which would justify the violation of minority and human rights ?will the rights of conscience explicitly be played out as a stigmata of Otherness.
    we do have a right at the moment of our various beliefs and religious or spiritual adherence. i may be an atheist or unconcerned for myself, but do i stand apart from my fellow citizens and marginalize them for their beliefs in a democracy without having a crisis of humanism? is this not a crisis of human rights violation in the social space? to hide this issue with stereotyping men who wear kippas or turbans or women in headscarfs is unjust. this suggested charter apart from being a soveriegntist power play erodes the social peace and creates a toxic split , divisive climate of Others vs those who belong here. is this acceptable in our society , in a nation governed by law?

  50. Simone Nichol says:

    ‘In governance, as in medicine, the guiding principle should be Primum non nocere—first do no harm. That should inform the government’s approach to the charter.”, is a very sound and fair principle that should guide us all – particularly those making government policies.

    With this so called Charter of Quebec Values, what is the Marois government trying to do here? I question why is a secular government sticking its nose in the private lives of their citizens – particularly those citizens who are being singled out because of what they wear? Since when does a secular Government have the right to tell people how to dress or otherwise?

    How can you order citizens, particularly migrants, who have invested much time, effort and money to relocate to a new country to conform to a rule that never existed prior to your arrival? Was there a tick the box before coming to Quebec (and only Quebec), that you would be forced to shed your religious symbols on arrival?

    I thought that the division between Church and State, with the judiciary right there, was solid enough. So what is the Marois Government really trying to do here? Doesn’t she, as a leader in this province, have a duty of care to create social cohesion by being a role model in accepting the diversity of its population? Why is she not able to embrace and celebrate this diversity? What is she so concerned about with being different, that she has to place a ban on religious symbols?

    It looks like this Charter is upsetting a lot of people who are different to the ‘pure laine’ and who would like to be seen asserting their ‘values’ as better. Does it not give a message of superiority to those who already have that pervasive xenophobic mentality that exists here in Quebec?

    Does this Charter of Quebec Values not create the ‘Other’ Does it not creates a mentality of them and us? That those ‘Others’ who assign themselves a dress code, yet to the French masters, has a religious significance, and is unacceptable and will be outlawed. But how can you single out or isolate religious symbols when there is as much cultural meaning too?

    Why can I, who is not religious, accept those who are? I am not bothered by religious symbols, so why is this Government forcing me to accept this Charter? I can function quite well without it. I am not a child! I am an adult and a citizen who respects others -who do no harm to me.

    There is no consistency to this Charter. One being the lack of consultation with the broader community -despite the earlier Reasonable Accommodation debates a few years ago here in Quebec. And now a proposed charter done behind closed doors by public servants -presumably of French origin. It is just more of the same – they way business is done here- without accountability and transparency or diversity. And discriminatory. Welcome to Quebec 2013!

    • Hugo Jetté says:

      Dear Simone,

      As you so justly point out:

      “Primum non nocere” is the principle.

      So let’s not generalize to the whole French-Canadian community the wrongs of a few.

      So grateful to have read you inspired comment.

      Yours truly,

      Hugo Jetté

      • Simone Nichol says:

        Dear Hugo,

        Thank you for your kind and just reminder that generalising is wrong as I may have done, but it was not my real intention and I apologise if I have offended you or any one for that matter. I know that the Charter has upset many people, no matter what their ethnic background, including French-Canadians. Again thank you for your gentle words.

        Yours sincerely

        Simone

  51. Marie-Cécile says:

    Bonjour Hugo,

    En effet, malgré le succès accru des femmes en éducation (avec ou sans le port du hidjab!), il existe toujours un écart salarial, les femmes gagnant en moyenne 75% de la rémunération des hommes. On peut expliquer ceci par le choix des domaines d’études des femmes: lettres, beaux-arts, éducation, esthétique, sciences infirmières, secrétariat, domaines où elles sont toujours majoritaires. Les salaires d’ingénieurs mécaniques ou de ceux en sciences de l’informatique sont beaucoup plus élevés. Cependant, il y a présentement plus de femmes qui étudient la médecine que d’hommes au Québec mais la majorité d’entre elles choisira de devenir généralistes au lieu de spécialistes. La conciliation famille-travail reste toujours un enjeu majeur. Beaucoup de femmes décident aussi de travailler à temps partiel, ce qui expliquerait l’écart financier. Il en résulte qu’en fin de parcours, leurs rentes soient aussi beaucoup moins élevés car elles n’ont pas cotisé autant que les hommes.

    Alors, je comprends pourquoi certaines femmes appuient l’idée de la Charte et s’insurgent contre les «signes religieux ostentatoires» car, pour elles, ils représentent le joug de religions paternalistes et la soumission des femmes. J’aimerais que l’auteure et celles qui ont signé la lettre de Jeannette Bertrand arrêtent de sous-estimer leurs consoeurs et leur permettent de faire des choix éthiques. C’est peut-être du «maternalisme»…À craindre autant que le «masculinisme»…

    • Hugo Jetté says:

      Chère Marie -Cécile,

      Merci de ce généreux “feed-back” d’une rigoureuse précision.

      Je soumet modestement le fait que les femmes formant la majorité de la population des “proches aidants” cela doit également consister un impact significatif. Je n’ai qu’à penser aux CVs qui affichent des discontinuités de carrière et qui sont interprétées de telles sortes à culpabiliser les personnes beaucoup plus qu’à leur témoigner de l’empathie avec, comme résultat, que ces aidantes naturelles se retrouvent à souffrir de précarité suite aux soins prolongés qu’elles ont accordées à l’un de leurs proches.

      Une politique de revenu minimal pour les aidantes et aidants naturels du Québec serait souhaitable et provenir d’une vision réaliste du phénomène surtout en ce qui concerne les prochains 10 à 15 ans.

      Le système de santé étant en ce moment dans un processus de “privatisation en douce” alors que toute l’attention du public est monopolisée par la Commission Charbonneau ou dans les débats concernant la “Charte des Valeurs Québecoises” je ne peux que me demander la question suivante: “Qui va souffir le plus d’une telle privatisation?”

      Les aidantes et aidants naturels et les personnes à faible revenu.

      Demeurant votre tout dévoué,

      Hugo Jetté

  52. Guy-Lin Beaudoin says:

    I do ont know why m’y comment was preceded by the following sentence: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Mystère

  53. Guy-Lin Beaudoin says:

    J’aimerais attirer votre attention sur un communiqué du Consistoire de Montreal de l’Eglise unie du Canada qui va comme suit:

    ” Le Consistoire de Montréal de l’Église Unie du Canada croit que le projet de Charte des valeurs québécoises va restreindre indûment les droits et libertés fondamentaux des Québécois et Québécoises et s’oppose à ce que soit cantonné à la sphère privée la liberté de religion des fonctionnaires des secteurs public et parapublic.
    Mardi, 17 septembre 2013 (Montréal, Québec) Le Consistoire de Montréal de l’Église Unie du Canada croit que le projet de Charte des valeurs québécoises va restreindre indûment les droits et libertés fondamentaux enchâssés dans la Charte Québécoise des droits et libertés de la personne et de la Charte Canadienne des droits et libertés. Nous nous inscrivons en faux contre toute atteinte ou toute tentative de restriction des droits et libertés des Québécois et Québécoises.
    Nous tenons à réitérer qu’en tant que chrétiens protestants, nous sommes en faveur d’un modèle de société démocratique, inclusif et ouvert, qui ne soit pas réducteur et n’élimine pas de la sphère publique commune et des institutions toute forme de signes des diverses cultures religieuses. Nous estimons en effet, que les cultures religieuses – elles-mêmes en processus de diversification tout comme la société Québécoise- font partie du patrimoine culturel et de la texture de la société Québécoise et de ses valeurs humanistes.
    Nous estimons que, loin de vouloir oblitérer toute forme de trace de culture ou d’appartenance religieuse, il est préférable, plus fécond et enrichissant d’apprendre à vivre avec les différences dans une pluralité respectueuse et ouverte à la fois sur l’autre et sur le monde.
    En tant que Québécois et Québécoises, face à tous ces défis, nous affirmons que notre foi n’est pas diminuée quand nos frères et sœurs Juifs, Sikhs, Musulmans, Chrétiens d’autres dénominations et autres, pratiquent leur propre foi. De même notre identité culturelle n’est pas amoindrie parce qu’une autre personne vit sa propre culture.
    Nous nous opposons à ce que la liberté de religion d’un-e employé-e de l’État soit cantonnée dans la sphère privée, comme une tare que l’on doit cacher. Nous croyons plutôt que les religions sont appelées à contribuer à des débats et à des enjeux de société avec toutes les autres voix de la société québécoise.
    Pour notre part, nous nous engageons à continuer de cheminer avec tous nos citoyens et citoyennes vers un Québec plus ouvert, plus inclusif, où les droits fondamenataux de tous et toutes, de même que la démocratie sont respectés et où le dialogue interculturel nous amène plus loin ensemble pour bâtir notre avenir. Nous faisons appel à la raison et à l’accommodement, caractéristiques intrinsèques de notre histoire démocratique québécoise et appelons le gouvernement à faire un débat qui ne soit pas qu’électoraliste ou basé sur des suspisions ou des lieux communs.”

    Selon moi, le débat sur le projet de charte des valeurs a le mérite de nous amener à nous interroger sur l’importance des droits et libertés de la personne dans une société libre et démocratique comme la nôtre et sur leur importance intrinsèque. Leur respect est garant d’inclusivité. Je remercie le Dr Cornett de soulever les problématiques reliées au projet de la charte des valeurs d’une façon érudite et informative.

  54. Marie-Cécile says:

    Lettre que j’ai envoyée au nom de mon association au Conseil exécutif:

    Madame la Première Ministre,
    Je vous écris au nom du «Conseil québécois des associations des femmes diplômées des universités» afin de vous faire part de notre opposition à la Charte des valeurs québécoises préconisée par votre gouvernement. Le Québec n’a pas besoin d’une telle Charte. La Charte des droits et libertés du Québec et la Charte de la langue française balisent présentement notre vivre-ensemble et nous estimons que cela suffit.
    Malgré que nous soyons en accord avec la notion d’une société laïque, nous ne sommes pas d’accord avec l’exclusion des personnes de la fonction publique québécoise qui porteraient des «signes religieux ostentatoires». Notre association prône l’égalité des sexes et nous croyons que cette exclusion affecterait plus de femmes que d’hommes. Quant au port de la kippa ou du turban, nous respectons aussi le droit à la liberté de religion qui incite les pratiquants à arborer ces couvre-chefs.
    Nous ne croyons pas non plus que la religion musulmane est en train de changer nos us et coutumes. L’Assemblée nationale a déjà empêché l’introduction de tribunaux islamiques en 2005 au moyen d’une résolution adoptée à l’unanimité. Toute autre menace à nos institutions séculaires pourrait être contrée de la sorte.
    La présence de nouveaux immigrants ou de Québécois et Québécoises nés ici mais qui ne sont pas d’origine française et britannique n’est pas une menace. La véritable menace réside en adoptant des positions qui nous semblent motivées par la peur de l’autre. Le port d’un voile ou d’un symbole religieux est une décision personnelle et le choix de l’enlever devrait aussi revenir à l’individu.
    Le Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport a instauré des cours d’Éthique et de culture religieuse afin que nos jeunes apprennent le dialogue et s’informent relativement aux grandes religions du monde. Les populations de Montréal et de Québec ont l’occasion de rencontrer, de connaître et d’apprécier des gens qui proviennent de communautés ethnoculturelles. Pourquoi ne pas faire la promotion de rencontres dialogiques entre les membres de la population des régions métropolitaines et ceux des régions plus éloignées? Nous estimons que cela faciliterait l’inclusion des immigrants au Québec et encouragerait des relations interculturelles fructueuses. Hors des grands centres, il semble que l’appréciation de l’autre soit freinée par l’absence de populations ethnoculturelles.
    En conclusion, l’égalité des sexes, le dialogue et le respect des croyances religieuses de chacun dans un cadre laïc représentent nos valeurs. Elles méritent d’être célébrées.
    (Le «Conseil québécois des associations des femmes diplômées des universités » représente 550 femmes réparties dans cinq associations autofinancées et non-partisanes. En 2012-2013, ces associations ont octroyé 94,000$ en bourses d’étude à des femmes étudiant en formation professionnelle et aux études supérieures. De plus, les membres des associations peuvent participer à des activités qui s’apparentent au concept d’apprentissage tout au long de la vie.)

    • Hugo Jetté says:

      Chère Marie-Cécile,

      En effet, la peur de l’autre relève d’une façon de faire de la politique qui ne nous élève en rien. Sans tomber dans la démagogie, force nous est de constater, en jetant un oeil sur les atrocités du XXième siècle, que cette peur de l’autre a été l’outil privilégié de redoutables politiciens qui n’avaient d’aucune façon la vision d’une société juste et pacifique à leur agenda.

      Votre organisation fait d’heureuses élues et contribue certainement à rétablir les déséquilibres au sein, entre autres, des conseils d’administration des grandes entreprises. Enfin espérons-le, car malgré le fait que plus de 60% des diplômés universitaires soient des femmes, le salaire moyen de celles-ci stagne autour du 30,000.00$ alors que celui des hommes est d’environ 48,000.00$.

      Que de millions dépensés en pure perte! … avec toute ces chicaneries constitutionnelles sans fins … alors que nombre de familles monoparentales pourraient voir leur qualité de vie s’améliorer significativement si ces argents avait été investis de façon rationnelle au service du bien-être commun.

      Force est de constater qu’au sein de la sphère politique québécoise il y a un déficit chronique de vision, et comme le disait Pierre Allard: “Si votre vision n’est pas plus large que la grosseur de vos problèmes … alors vous avez un problème!”

      Avec toute mon admiration pour le magnifique travail que vous accomplissez dans les tranchées du savoir, je demeure votre tout dévoué,

      Hugo Jetté

  55. Hugo Jetté says:

    Encore une fois, le Dr Cornett fait mouche!

    En effet, avec cette “Charte des Valeurs Québécoises” ne susciterions-nous pas une nostalgie du “Conseil législatif du Québec” qui fût aboli en 1968 suite à la période historique se situant entre les années 1960-1966 et appelée “Quiet revolution” par un journaliste du Globe and Mail?

    Lorsque que des droits fondamentaux et acquis sont menacés de façon aussi cavalière, l’idée d’un Sénat provincial qui pourrait protéger la population du Québec de toute forme de menaces provenant de ce genre d’improvisation politique, à des fins purement électoralistes, ne pourrait pas se faire plus séduisante pour tous ceux qui rêve d’un Canada et d’un Québec plus inclusif, seule avenue réaliste pour concevoir l’avenir de notre pays.

    Rappelons ici que ce “Conseil législatif” avait été créé lors de la fondation du Canada, en 1867, et jouait le rôle de Chambre haute de la Province de Québec. Sa fonction consistait à protéger les intérêts de la minorité anglo-saxone et protestante noyée dans une population franco-catholique.

    La permission d’abolir cette institution est venue de Londres (en 1968 si ma mémoire est bonne) où on croyait, en toute bonne foi, que nos élites avaient acquis suffisamment de maturité politique pour ne pas menacer les intérêts de ceux qui nous ont aidés à bâtir un Canada démocratique et laïque!

    Et oui! Au sein de toutes ces arguties, on oublie que le Canada est un état laïque: liberté de pensée et liberté de religion y sont garanti par la “Charte canadienne des Droits et Libertés de 1982” et la laïcité tant revendiquée par cette “Charte des Valeurs Québécoises” est une constante au sein de toute la jurisprudence canadienne. La différence c’est que ici, laïcité canadienne n’est pas synonyme d’athéisme.

    La tolérance, notion chère à John Locke et seule garante de paix sociale, est de mise; le Canada dans lequel nous vivons est un état laïque mais non un état athée.

    La nuance est capitale.

    En jetant un tel pavé dans la mare de l’arène publique québécoise, dans un but qui semble relever d’un certain niveau d’opportunisme politique, bafouant ainsi le principe des droits acquis, (merci Docteur Cornett), ne sommes-nous pas en train de permettre à un gouvernement minoritaire de nous ramener justement dans une sorte de “grande noirceur” dont il se vante pourtant d’en être le pourfendeur?

    Sommes-nous voués à retourner en l’état d'”incapable”, juridiquement parlant? Sommes-nous aptes à exercer nos droits et obligations, collectivement, sans mettre en péril la qualité de vie, le droit au bonheur, de ceux qui viennent s’établir dans notre coin de pays et qui, conséquemment, est aussi le leur?

    Suite au prochain numéro!

    Hugo Jetté

  56. William Hackborn says:

    I am saddened by the Quebec government’s introduction of the Charter. Religion is inseparable from culture and personal identity, and to interpret and attempt to enforce the separation of church and state in this sort of extreme way denies the reality of Quebec’s demography, the humanity of its citizens, and their right to free religious expression. As a professor (University of Alberta), a Canadian, and one for whom Faith is not merely a compartment that can be isolated from other aspects of my being, I urge Quebec’s people to reject the Charter.

  57. Pingback: Senior Times: Acquired Rights Attacked By Proposed Charter Of Quebec Values | Have You Experienced? – The Website of Professor Norman Cornett's Dialogic Sessions

  58. Emily Bamforth says:

    This was a great article, and I think it brought up some very important and salient points. Restricting the religious symbols people in government jobs could wear would not be promoting the ‘sacredness’ of ‘religious neutrality of the state’, that the PR campaign proclaims. I believe it would do just the opposite. As the charter proposes to treat different religious groups differently (i.e. a woman may wear a cross necklace, but not a hijab), it would promote the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality that is at the heart of xenophobia. Neutrality requires respect and tolerance, not suppression.

  59. Salam says:

    Very good article. Irwin Block’s reporting was able to capture the thoughts of Dr Cornett very well, summing some of the dynamics around the new charter and giving us all real hopes that the government will not succeed, motivating all of us to keep fighting these ideas and to be proud of who we are as a divers Quebecers of great diversity. Very good and well done article.

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