Ah! Quebec’s specificity! or how the rules do not apply to us

In the Devoir on Friday, Frederic Bastien, a professor of history at Dawson College (the English language CEGEP, of all things!)  published the strongest possible confirmation of the Quebec intelligentsia’s bad faith in regard to human rights, whenever these conflict with the Québecois attitudes to differences. Bastien is author of La Bataille de Londres, which alleges foul play by the Supreme Court of Canada in the patriation of the constitution.

Though the intolerance comes as no surprise, it is always slightly shocking, after all these years, to find how solid, un-selfconscious, and self-pitying the arguments are for Quebec authorities to act as bullies.

Bastien argues:

D’abord, le public ne comprend pas qu’on puisse permettre à un joueur de faire du prosélytisme religieux durant un match de sport. Le fait de porter un turban n’est pas banal. Bien plus qu’un bout de tissu, ce symbole religieux est un condensé de vérité. Il évoque une vision du monde partagée par un groupe. Ce geste ostentatoire est incompatible avec l’esprit collectif qui doit être celui d’une équipe de soccer évoluant dans une ligue.

A rough translation would be:

First of all, the public does not understand how one can permit a player to engage in religious proselytism in a sporting match. The fact of wearing a turban is not trivial. More than a piece of cloth, it is an emblem of truth. It evokes a vision of world shared by a group. This ostentatious gesture is incompatible with  with the collective spirit which must animate a team playing in a league.”

In contrast to Quebec’s view that state should be laic and the public space neutral towards religions, the official religion in Canada under the charter of rights is multiculturalism, says Bastien:

Le multiculturalisme s’est aussi imposé grâce aux décisions des tribunaux. Ceux-ci ont utilisé la charte à cette fin car elle protège le droit de vivre au Canada tout en agissant comme si on était toujours dans son pays d’origine.

Cette approche a toujours eu comme finalité de banaliser le statut du Québec comme peuple fondateur….

Multiculturalism was also imposed by the decisions of courts. These used the Charter for this purpose, because the Charter protects the right to live in Canada even as people act as if they were still in their country of origin.

This approach has always been intended to trivialize the role of the Quebec as a founding people.

And further:

Tel est certainement l’aspect le plus tordu de ce débat. Pendant de longues et nombreuses décennies, les Canadiens anglais ont fait preuve de sectarisme et de discrimination envers les Canadiens français, quand ils ne tentaient pas carrément de nous assimiler. Aujourd’hui, ils se drapent d’une fausse tolérance dans le but précis de nous attribuer ce rôle d’oppresseur. En réalité, nos compatriotes recyclent la même vieille intolérance dont la majorité d’entre eux a souvent fait preuve à notre endroit.

Such is certainly the most twisted aspect of this debate. For many long and numerous decades, English Canadians have demonstrated sectarianism and discrimination towards French Canadians., when they were not trying to assimilate us. Today, they cloak themselves in a false tolerance for the purpose of attributing to us the role of oppressor. In reality, our compatriots are recycling the same old intolerance of which the majority among them have often demonstrated towards us.

We are here in the full presence of bullies caught bullying and trying the same old cry of “you are being mean to us”. The instincts of the Quebecois are collectivist. As Francis Parkman, the great American historian of the ancien regime in New France once stated,  the goal was “conformity in society, uniformity in religion, and exclusion in economics”. The goals of Quebec have not changed in the least since the days of Louis XIV. The attitudes are: there ought to be one kind of steeple in the town, teaching one orthodox doctrine. Diversity is weakness, argument is divisive, we must be unified and strong to deal with our enemies, who happen to be everyone who is not us.

Professor Bastien, after four centuries of French Canada dwelling in our midst, do you really think we do not know who you are? Do you still think we are fundamentally mistaken about you? None of us are born bigots, Professor Bastien. We get that way after decades of experiencing Quebec’s Afrikaner-style intolerance for outsiders. We are not going to back off any longer calling you bullies when you act as such.