Monday, December 16, 2013

Who You Calling a 'Phobe?

Quebec is a wonderful place, but its politicians really kind of suck.  The latest counter-move in the debate about who is a Quebecker and who is not is for some Quebec elites to complain of francophobia.  Celine Cooper has been writing a series of sharp op-eds on the Charter of Values and knocks this one out of the park

Yes, there has been a lot of venom aimed at the PQ government lately and its allies.  It is not that we hate French-speakers or that we hate Quebec.  Sure, I often say that I love Montreal but hate Quebec, but what I mean by that is not the people of Quebec but the governments that are elected and then govern so poorly.  The laws and policies emanating out of Quebec City range from mediocre to awful.  The Charter of Values is just awful--there is no threat here--it is just clever (and shameless) political strategy by the PQ to divide the CAQ.  It deserves to be attacked for what it is.

So, when folks attack the Charter of Values as being xenophobic (which it is), its supporters take it personally.  Which they should--supporters of xenophobic legislation should feel as if someone is thinking poorly of them--they are supporting hurtful, unnecessary, discriminatory policies.  So, if their self-esteem is taking a few shots, then it sucks to be them.  But these folks chose to support these awful policies. 

Want to feel better about yourself and your identity?  Celebrate who you are without diminishing others.  Yes, identity is about us and them, but focus more on the joys of being us and less on denigrating the Others.  Instead of telling religious minorities to change what they wear, how about promoting the wonderfulness of French Quebec?  This should not be that hard as Quebec has much to offer, and French Quebeckers have made many valuable contributions to art, to science, to politics, to Quebec, to Canada and to the world. 

Of course, focusing on the positive is not good politics--better to go negative, I guess.  But if you are going to go negative, develop a thicker skin.  Because people are not just going to take it, they are going to take your negativity and hurl it right back at you. 

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