An open letter to the leader of the Parti Québécois, Pauline Marois, regarding her party’s proposed Charter of Quebec Values.
Dear Mme Marois,
The Charter of Quebec Values is wrong.
Plain and simple.
This Charter is wrong because it is nothing more than a fallacious depiction of what a secular society is supposed to represent. Instead of showcasing the veritable values of a laical society that is in no way bound to religion (or its often intolerant peculiarities), you are regrettably perpetuating a contemptible rhetoric of “Us vs. Them” through the dominance of a homogenous majority over a diverse minority.
Without a single doubt, your concept of “religious neutrality” is painfully hypocritical. By holding the catholic heritage of the majority of Quebec’s population over the varied religious beliefs of the provinces’ multicultural minority (and quite literally over l’assemblée nationale), you are clearly stating that Quebec’s supposedly secular values can only be trumped when it is concordant with the province’s religious patrimony. Granted, I completely understand that, as a sovereigntist, you cling dearly to those admittedly relevant, cultural particularities that differentiate Quebec from the rest of Canada. However, as the proponent of just secularization you also purport to being, religion has no government-endorsed place in the public domain. If the state is to have no religion, then that means no religion whatsoever, no matter its nationalist, symbolic importance.
If it is pluralistic equality you seek, please be as thorough and impartial as possible in its implementation.
With that said, Mme Marois, as valiant as your efforts to modernize and secularize the Quebec state may be, you are completely going about it in the wrong fashion. To put it simply, a state that is void of religion does not require its inhabitants to be stripped of their inalienable right of personal expression, no matter the position they may occupy. Again, I acknowledge that the public sphere is no place for the exhibition of one’s religious beliefs. On the other hand, I must remind you that government has no place whatsoever in intervening in the private sphere that has always been and will always be the identity of an individual. After all, one’s personal identity does not and should not conflict with the provision of state services. Furthermore, a personal decision to wear a hijab, a kippah or a turban is exactly that: a personal decision. Notably, in most cases, this individual choice does not stem from a desire to “promote one’s religious beliefs,” but is instead nothing short of an act of humility.
On the topic of the fear of change, your political rhetoric of exclusionary identity politics is incredibly trite and exceptionally sensationalistic. In your efforts to attract the votes of the same majority you are evidently ready to martyrize yourself for, you are regrettably creating a taut air of general unease and cultural narrow-mindedness. By unabashedly attacking those small, individual details that contribute to enriching Quebec’s society, you are unequivocally violating the very ideals of “social peace and harmony” this Charter of Quebec Values is supposed to defend. The pitiful fact that your entire platform for this Charter is based on highlighting those seemingly “problematic” distinctions serves as a testament to the fact that you and your party are in fact creating (and exacerbating) the problem. And, if you think I am simply being a melodramatic anti-péquiste, then kindly direct yourself to the links above.
Please remember that actions speak far louder than words.
To your credit, I recognize that your Charter of Quebec Values is supposed to promote multiculturalism by “neutralizing” the religious symbols that contribute in segregating Quebec into the aforementioned binary of a homogenous majority and a heterogenous minority. However, in doing that, are you not simply falling victim to one of the biggest flaws of a misguided interpretation of multiculturalism? Instead of simply letting different cultures (and their respective religious beliefs and manners of personal self-expression) live side-by-side in the fraternal spirit of tolerance, acceptance and active understanding, you are shamefully and counterintuitively placing the emphasis on those same differences you seek to defeat.
Lamentably enough, this seems to be another sad case of taking two steps forward, and one step back.
Thus, with all this said I urge you, Mme Marois, to simply give it up. I mean, you’ve already got what you wanted: the cementing of you and your party as household names. Come the next provincial elections, you can be hella certain that, as they are looking at their ballot ticket, people will remember the political brouhaha you and your party caused back in 2013 – with approbation or contempt remains to be determined. On that note, congrats Mme Marois. You succeeded in placing yourself and your party at the centre of a polarizing, societal debate on what Quebec’s values are exactly, whom they truly benefit, and who Quebec really is as a multicultural, secular society.
However, it truly is a shame that this was accomplished to the detriment of honest, hard-working naturalized citizens who have embraced Quebec as much as Quebec has willingly embraced them.
With that said, I reiterate: the Charter of Quebec Values is wrong.
Plain and simple.
Quebec’s values as a secular state should be about promoting the benefits of interculturalism, and championing a greater understanding and appreciation of cultural differences. While it is right to assume the public sphere is to be void of any religion, the private domain should be allowed to thrive on the benefits of the interaction and open dialogue among and between the many cultural identities (and their respective religions and forms of personal self-expression) that make Quebec the beautiful nation it truly is.
In my opinion, only there will you find Quebec’s true values.
A 18 year-old, bilingual, naturalized Canadian that has been blessed with the opportunity to call Quebec home for the past 13 years.
Though last week’s post was all about everything that is wrong with Miley Cyrus and the “Wrecking Ball” video, I must nonetheless admit that the song is pretty damn good. Call me tasteless or, I daresay, mainstream (**hipster shudders**), but that shit is actually quite enjoyable! However, seeing as confessing I actually like Miley “#TWERKTEAM” Cyrus’ music tarnishes my refined, hipster image, here’s a “fresh outta the SoundCloud oven” trap remix of the song.
Despite the fact that trap has also been lamentably mainstream-ified by fist-pumping bros and grinding biddies, this track is sorta like a minimalist precursor to what will undoubtedly be the future of trap: post-trap (but like actually). Its simple, unpretentious, yet still filled with the rapid snares, sublime bass and weird grunts of masculine aggression that make trap so damn #totesamaze. What more can a hipster ask for?
To answer that rhetorical question: this.