This article is part of our series Counter-Counter-Counter-Point. To see a harsher view of this dastardly Charter, check out Alex Curtiss’ take.
Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has been getting a lot of flak for her party’s proposed “Charter of Values.” The Harper Government of Canada™, Justin Trudeau, and Thomas Mulcair have openly expressed their opposition to the bill. But wait – there’s more! Yes, there is something even more shocking than our federal parties agreeing on something.
Even a member of the Bloc Quebecois thinks Marois is making a horrible move. That’s right. The Bloc. Their tiny caucus shrank even further when Maria Mourani broke from party lines and voiced her opposition to the charter. Aside from the caucus turning into a sausagefest (heh), Mourani’s expulsion from the Bloc shows that people are bitterly divided on secularism in Quebec. Well, I mean, it looks like division…until you find out that Jacques Parizeau, former PQ Premier of Quebec has denounced the charter as well. The same guy who blamed the separatist failure of 1995 on “money and the ethnic vote” is saying that the Charter of Values is the wrong thing to do. It’s sort of like Ann Coulter accusing someone of being offensive, but it holds some key insight, nonetheless.
Heck, Pauline Marois herself thought a display of religious diversity in school personnel would be something positive. Although, that was back in 1998, so it should hold no merit whatsoever, right? Who believes anything from the 90s? Marois has dismissed the document in question, emphasizing that it doesn’t explicitly mention religious symbols in the public sector. Tricky. It’s surprising she isn’t a lawyer.
Public hearings on the charter have begun, and have provided no shortage of strange testimonies. One man declared he would feel terribly uncomfortable if a woman wearing a full-body veil checked his prostate. I don’t think a veil would be the source of uncomfortable feelings during a prostate exam, but what do I know? Another testimony came from a nun, who detailed her harrowing journey through a Staples store, narrowly avoiding a Muslim cashier. How intense.
The Quebec Bar Association has said that the Charter not only violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but it is on shaky ground with civil liberties outlined by international law. Maybe Marois received some stately advice from her peers during her trip to the Francophonie Summit in the Congo in 2012? The Quebec Human Rights Commission has “serious reservations” about the Charter, saying it is “against the spirit” of already legislated civil liberties. In the same fashion, Canada’s newest cardinal (hailing from Quebec) has indicated that the bill is one of fear mongering and divisiveness.
What is the significance of all this? Nearly everyone hates the Charter. What does this say about the Parti Quebecois? They’re grasping at straws. Marois may have done us all a favour, albeit unintentionally. She’s aligned with a party that seeks separation from Canada; division is her greatest tool. But if you give things a closer look, you’ll find that Marois has united us more than ever before. How often do we have all of our federal parties standing beside each other on a critical issue? When was the last time the average Quebecer saw eye-to-eye with the average Canadian? Everyone in this nation, from sea to shining sea, is actually thinking the same thing: What the hell is this lady doing?
So, thank you, Marois. You’ve shown us all that there will be one thing that forever ties English and French Canada together: common sense. And I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for finishing off the Parti Quebecois. You did a federalist like myself a huge favour. Wherever he is, Pierre Trudeau must be gleeful to see that separatism is dead at the hands of the very party that created it.