Posted by: ~KC~ | May 23, 2008

Can of Worms

Canada.  Perceived as welcoming, open and kind to all.  We are indeed a very multi-cultural country.  And for the most part… the perception of Canadians is fairly accurate.  But like I said – for the most part.   I’ve lived in almost every province of Canada.  It is truly an inspiring country… but…

 

What you don’t know or see is just how prejudice and racism exists in Canada and to what extent it does.  Just look at how we treat our First Nations People, the highest poverty rates in all of Canada.  Take a closer look at the province of Québec (where I lived for 13 years and am fully bilingual as a result of living there) – a very bigoted and racist predominantly Catholic province.  It was no more clearer when the small rural town of Herouxville published its Code of Life in January 2007 where they remind immigrants that is not permissible to stone women to death, burn them alive or throw acid on them; stating all immigrants are welcome to live as valued citizens to Herouxville, with the caveat that Immigrants must not try and change Herouxvilles 200-year old established Judeo-Christian way of life and adapt to the Towns laws and moral codes drafted by the citizens of Herouxville.

 

I have a lot to say on this subject, especially when I, who was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, was subject to persecution for my belief system.  Where I was attacked with rotten tomatoes, potatoes and yes, stones for doing what that faith is renown for going from door to door.  All of this happened in rural Québec.  I also remember very vividly watching in horror (captured on live television), as women, children and elderly First Nations fled the Kahnawake reservation during the OKA crisis in 1990.  They were ‘greeted’ with a very large mob of French-Canadian Québecers who stoned their cars, injuring many and causing tremendous psychological damage.  I know this because I lived in that town and experienced that crisis first hand and saw what they did.  And many of those who fled the reservations were my schoolmates, friends and loved ones.  Rioting ensued against my high school because it was an English speaking school and many First Nations attended our school.

 

I simply love the hypocrisy of their culture.  Its mind boggling especially because NOTHING was done about it.

 

And they ask you not to call them racist.  They are simply trying to preserve their antiquated way of life and French language.  Sure.  I think not.  This is a clear case of Do-As-I-Say-Not-As-I-Do… And yes.  MANY are racist, not all… but MANY.  Far too many don’t want anyone to come and potentially change their fragile existence… and so they do what they don’t want others to do.

 

Hypocritical isn’t it?  I certainly believe it is.

 

After the idiotic and hypocritical Code of Life was put out by one community – a commission was created to examine the issue with Québecers complaining that Canadians are far too accommodating to immigrants and Québecers have had enough.  They don’t like it.  Assimilate or leave.  The commission was lead by two academics, Sociologist Gerard Bouchard and Philosopher Charles Taylor, paid for by the minority Liberal Québec government.

 

Here are their findings (highlights are done by yours truly):

The 300-page report by sociologist Gerard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor said it is time to reconcile concerns about protecting Quebec’s dominant French-speaking identity and the demographic forces moving the Canadian province toward a more secular, pluralist society.

 

The Quebec government created the commission last March after a number of incidents in which some in the Canadian province of 7.6 million bitterly opposed “reasonable accommodations” for minorities, such as letting Muslim girls wear headscarves in soccer or martial arts competitions.

 

The most glaring backlash came in the small town of Herouxville, which in January 2007 published a “code of life” to remind immigrants that it is not permissible to stone women to death, burn them alive or throw acid on them.

 

After a year that included sometimes boisterous public hearings, the commission concluded that the foundations of collective life in Quebec were not in crisis.

 

“What we are facing, instead, is the need to adapt,” the report said. “Our society is sufficiently divided at present and we must seek to reduce splits and tensions instead of exacerbating them. The time has come for compromise, negotiation and balance.”

To better integrate immigrants, the commission recommended that the government speed up the process of recognizing skills and diplomas acquired abroad. Advocacy groups have complained that immigrants often cannot find work in Quebec that matches their qualifications.

 

“Our consultations reveal that members of the ethnic minorities are seeking employment much more than accommodation,” the commission said.

 

The report has political implications for the minority Liberal government headed by Jean Charest.

 

Charest, whose party wants Quebec to stay in Canada, said he planned to act quickly on the recommendations.

 

But the two main opposition parties, took a harder stance.

 

Pauline Marois, head of the Parti Quebecois, which wants Quebec to separate from Canada, said the report fails to address the question of what constitutes Quebec identity.

Under its own draft legislation, the Parti Quebecois has previously proposed withholding “Quebec citizenship” from immigrants, including those from other parts of Canada, who not have an “appropriate” knowledge of French.

 

Failure to demonstrate French language skills would prevent immigrants from holding public office, raising funds for a political party or petitioning the legislature to redress a grievance.

 

Mario Dumont, head of the Action Democratique du Quebec party, called for the creation of a Quebec constitution that would “show everyone who we are.”

 

The commission’s 37 recommendations included suggesting that judges, prosecutors and police officers be prohibited from wearing religious signs to promote secularism. But people like teachers and health professionals would be allowed to do so.”

 

Québecers claims such accommodations are leading to an identity crisis, where their 200 year way of life is being threatened.  The conclusion of their report:

 

There is no crisis … one could even say we are far from it, despite the impressions people might have,” said Bouchard, adding “the only crisis is one of perception … we came close to skidding out of control, I think all Quebecers should draw a lesson from it.

 

What pisses me off is how fear keeps such a stunning and beautiful province from evolving and growing as a community.  How they plan on discarding all recommendations made by the commission because the outcome was not as they had hoped. 

 

How can they expect to thrive as an independent nation, let alone on an international level, if they cannot, as part of a large country, get along with those who live within their walls?  Yes.  They want to separate from Canada.  We ALL know that.  But they are a joke on not only a national level but also on an international level.  Which is harming them more than anything else.  How can they expect the world to want to do business, take them seriously in anything when they mock the beliefs, rituals and customs of others?  Will they expect to only do business with France, where that country wants nothing to do with them?

 

Do I agree with the customs of stoning women, burning them alive, throwing acid on them?  Hell no.  The world knows this is wrong.  Even many of them living within those rules know it’s wrong … which is why many of them are fleeing their countries for places like Canada and the US. But when you yourself do it when it feels right for you… and do not want or expect retribution… you’re an ignorant idiot.

 

Look.

 

Québec is part of Canada.  They are French-CANADIAN Québecers.  Has been for as long as Canada has been recognized as a country.  So deal with it.  Canada has become a multi-cultural country… one that in spite of our very tainted past and immediate present – the world still sees as a safe haven and seek refuge in.  Adapt. 

 

You want the immigrants to adapt, yet you don’t want to adapt to the very country you belong too??  Hypocrite.  Selfish idiots.  With such a mentality – you are a disgrace to Canada.  It’s time to grow up and stop the temper tantrums.  Otherwise, practice what you preach – assimilate or leave.  Be as Canadians when in Canada, since I like you remind you of where you live and which country you belong too.

 

Those who don’t adapt, evolve and grow with the times… are the one who are left behind.

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Responses

  1. Heh. Set them on fire KC.

    Why can’t I come up with stuff like this? I’ve been trying for a MONTH to piss off people on my site but all I get is suprisingly well-informed debate.

    Back to the drawing board…

  2. LOL… well I’m not pissing too many people off with this posting… its like a freakin ghost town with this one…

  3. I can’t necessarily blame folks for wanting to preserve their local way of life – I think I’d prefer that over the government (federal) telling people how to live.

    where they remind immigrants that is not permissible to stone women to death, burn them alive or throw acid on them; stating all immigrants are welcome to live as valued citizens to Herouxville, with the caveat that Immigrants must not try and change Herouxvilles 200-year old established Judeo-Christian way of life and adapt to the Towns laws and moral codes drafted by the citizens of Herouxville.

    At first I did wonder if you aren’t arguing for stoning and beating of women, but upon re-reading and trying to comprehend (it’s a nice change, for once) it became clear that you weren’t buying into beatings.

    My grandfather on my mother’s side was Danish and he learned English and insisted that it be the only language spoken in his house I think that is admirable.

    I firmly believe that if you want to live in an area and you are from elsewhere you better be willing to integrate.

    Let’s consider the Japanese (because they have a FASCINATING culture)… they haven’t preserved and honed their culture of thousands of years in the hope that a bunch of gaijin would move in and destroy it. I think most Americans are starting to get touchy about insistence of legal immigrants and illegal alien’s insistence that we become a bilingual country for their sake. Many many people have immigrated here and chose to become Americans, not change America so it is suited to their vision.

    Am I making any sense whatsoever? This damn head/neckache and pills are making it hard to formulate real thought.

    By the way, KC, would you be offended if I slapped your name on my blogroll?

  4. Lemur King… please do so and I will certainly reciprocate… blogroll away!

    I am not fighting the need for immigrants to integrate into Canadian societies. Absolutely not. What I am fighting is the ridiculous notion that Quebecers don’t want to make any concessions for ie: Muslim women wearing head scarves or businesses who volunteerily remove pork from their menus to accomodate their ever growing market of non-pork eaters. Ultimately – their ignorance of others and complete refusual to understand another’s culture, belief – out of fear that it could potentially change their fragile existence.

    I hate – with the utmost disdain – hypocrisy. Which is what Quebec’s whole way of life is built upon. They complain about things they do themselves… but don’t you dare compare them to others!!! I experienced first hand their hypocrasy… just to name a few things – their violence and anger. Did you know the KKK live very much alive and well, thriving in that province?? Ugh!

    As the article indicates – most immigrants are looking for accommodations – but rather jobs, to become productive members of Canadian society. So… it’s not unreasonable for the commission to make the suggestions that they did… to adapt to the changes that come with being a multi-cultural society.

    Anyhow… my head hurts too. But welcome to Canadian politics… we might be nice… but it’s still equally as fucked up.

  5. Went and laid down for a while. Helped with the neck spasms a bit but still got the headache. Oh well.

    Rats. I had hoped that the KKK was confined to the US and dying in the process. I cannot wrap my brain around what must be rattling around in their heads to be that way. The way you said that, were you yourself a target of those shitheads?

    I found out, much to my surprise that a leader of a local chapter lives not 20 miles from us. Just wonderful.

    I do have one reservation regarding scarves – wait, scarves are ok… I guess I mean coverings that conceal the entire face/head. That just isn’t something that works in Western society, particularly now when there is the issue of terrorism. We are pretty “open” societies so the notion that a driver’s license would be issued and a face completely concealed is utterly unacceptable to most people. Same would go for teaching, public jobs/offices, etc.

    Actually, food, too… lately I was given cause to revisit certain attitudes of mine. If I visit certain parts of India, I expect to not have many choices of meat, which is ok. Likewise, a culture moving here ought not expect that pork not be served anywhere. I would be willing to provide vegetarian meals, on the other hand.

    That’s probably the best way to boil it down, actually. You move to another country/culture, you ought not ask them to NOT do something but humbly ask if they might do something as an acceptable alternative.

    Rolling your blog in a minute…

  6. These organizations are not asking local restaurants or businesses to NOT serve pork. Rather, in the capitalist world… as a business owner, you need to know your demographics and know your neighbours. So if you want to increase your business profits and draw more attention – you cater to your environment. It’s the nature of the beast.

    Again – it is up to the individual as to what extent they feel they want to accommodate their new neighbours. I for one am always intrigued and willing to learn more… see what cool new things I can learn and apply. I’m not set in any particular way.

    But I do agree on one point. If you choose to wear a complete hajib (incl covering of the face) because it is part of your faith – that’s fine. But when it comes to diver’s liscences, teaching voting, medical issues and what not – in this country – you should not cover your face. In the day to day affairs – if you want too I’m OK with that. My family doctor wears a hajib but does not cover her face… only her head is covered. And I am very comfortable with her – I do not feel threatened by her choices nor do I perceive her to be a terrorist.

    I do believe there are common grounds that we can all meet and agree upon when it comes to immigrants. Which is what I am hoping for when it comes to Quebec. Sadly – they don’t even want a common ground… It’s their way or the highway – and their way is extremely hypocritical to start off with. And very bigotted.

    The thing is – we were the last parts of the world to be colonized. And the rest of the world still sees us (as in Canada & USA) as very desireable places to live. Countless come here, not expecting to have everything the same. Most come here for a different life … but that they can still believe what they believe without harming anyone in the process (I’m not talking about the very small group of Terrrorist that exist in both countries – not just Canada I have to add). Most of them are willing to live a Western-style life. The problem in most cases – is not them… but us. Fear.

  7. Hey KC – I’m going to ramble, so it might seem a bit disjointed. It’s ok, that’s within normal parameters.

    I think your family doctor’s approach is just fine. It’s quite simply the mysterious aspect of full coverage all the time that is troubling in the West.

    The food issue came up not too long ago when an airline in Britain decided to not serve pork, which seemed to me to be catering to subsets at the expense of others.

    I have to admit that I would not care to see the values in this country (US) changed radically. For the most part the US is considered Judeo-Christian – our laws are structured that way, and sentiments and behaviors are as well. Please understand that I say that not out of fear or whatnot. I would just rather not replace that with say Sharia law or other system is all.

    Beautiful thing is that when the US got it’s start, the men that drafted the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Federalist Papers, etc. – they were very clear that they did not want a state-run/sanctioned religion as existed in Britain.

    As to other cultures… Actually, I’ve been lucky to have worked closely with a friend from India and learned fascinating things about life there and a co-worker is from a Korean mother, and it’s amazing how different the cultures are but also how similar they are when you get down to the family-level. And his mom makes the best kimchi ever – what a wonderful woman. My best man is hispanic and from him I learned how to make the best refried beans ever. There’s a debt I can never repay there. 🙂

    In that Utopia that I’m supposed to ping you about if I find it… people would be expected to remember their heritage yet give their allegiance to their new country. I see a bit too much Us vs. Them in this country when we’re all Americans – it is a huge melting pot (much more so than any other place in the world as far as I know, and it’s quite incredible) so there is no room for drawing lines in the sand. It’s ridiculous to hear someone say I’m {insert country}-American. No, if you’re a citizen, you’re American, dude! I do not go running around saying I’m German-American or Danish-American. Were up to me, I’d ask people to hang together a bit more and stop bitching at each other.

  8. AMEN!! You hit it right on the head… but Quebec insists on differentiating themselves and wanting the world to know THEY ARE FRENCH…

    Wait a minute… you are then FRENCH-CANADIAN… therefore are subject to Canadian laws and customs.

    Meh… I’m beating a dead horse… but you just re-iterated my point exactly!

  9. We have much the same issue with the hyphenated classes here. African-American, Latin-American, Muslim-American, and Mexican-American.

    If y’all are American, that’s all you are. There’s a whole raft of us folks who would just soon that wedges would stop being driven between people by certain folks.

    I tell you though, racism exists and it goes both ways. Spend time inside Detroit or any of the suburbs and you will see. For every kind and friendly face I’ve seen, I’ve seen two or three that will barely tolerate me with a sneer and as I’m walking away they will break into a smile at the approach of another minority member. That, KC, is hypocrisy.

  10. I lived across the water from Detroit for about 6 years before relocating closer to Toronto… and for some reason… many thought I was mixed race and therefore, no one objected to me being in the clubs. Many women objected to the fact that I was dating a black man… but I was able to escape that potential life-threatening situation by the fact that many of themselves – disagreed amongst themselves – since afterall to them… I was mixed (I am .. but not in the fashion that they think… but I wasn’t about to object either).

    Detroit has a history all on its own. I love that city. I know – many look at me strangly when I say this. But you won’t catch me there, alone on the West side – whatsoever. I love MexicanVillage… but never alone. And I know for a while they were trying to clean it up… but with corrupt Kilpatrick at the wheel… that was a no go. Maybe times will change now…

    I grew up being a minority at my school where the majority were divided into two distinct racial groups – Black and First Nations… and then there was us Causcasian folk, a lot of Irish/Scottish folk. But for the most part – there weren’t any racial divisions. Not that I could see visibily… and the tensions were not racially driven. Mostly sports driven and then dating driven… you know… the drama bullcrap that highschoolers get into… the whole x bf/gf crap…

    Anyhow… discrimination is alive and well. Thriving in many communities. I don’t care what people say… it isn’t going away and it’s not getting any better. Its just being labelled something else.


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