Don’t call Canadians living in Quebec, Quebec citizens.
Quebec is not a country. Therefore; it has no Quebec citizens.
There are Quebec tax payers and Quebec residents. But until such time as Quebec leaves Canada and becomes a sovereign nation, there are no Quebec Citizens.
I write this because I often see people who live in Quebec referred to as Quebec citizens. I am also bothered by the use of Quebec AND Canada, as if Quebec is already separate from Canada.
I never hear anyone refer to Ontario AND Canada. Or Ontario Citizens.
I was on the West Coast taking care of our advertising business in Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle Washington last week, when the Supreme Court decision on Quebec’s French students’ Right to have access to an English education was delivered.
Because the Supreme Court ordered a total lock-up of the media and the lawyers, I wrongly assumed they were going to deliver a judgment that would shake the status quo. But I was wrong. REALLY WRONG!
It was the same old – same old.
The Supreme Court of Canada was absolutely true to form, and ruled in favor of Quebec’s right to deny Equal Rights to all of its residents. In this case, it was Equal Rights for children of French Quebecers to be able to learn English the same way English Quebecers are allowed (encouraged) to learn French.
I had a very minor hand in this court challenge when my friend Brent Tyler (lawyer) first decided to champion the French parents’ case. Brent asked me to help finance his challenge through the coffers of QPAC (Quebec Political Action Committee), since QPAC was busy financing all sorts of legal challenges against Quebec’s racist language law Bill 101.
Initially I said no. But eventually, QPAC put in a small amount.
In essence: neither I nor some of the people I turned to for their opinion wanted to spend our donated “Anglo” money fighting for the Rights of the French speaking majority to be equal.
As Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau so famously said: “Don’t look to me to fight your battles” after his English speaking constituents in Mount Royal Riding came to him for help in defending their English Rights from the assault of Bill 101.
QPAC more or less said the same thing to the French families. But Brent needed help financially. And he needed moral support from his friends. So we gave him a few dollars and our visible support.
Canada has become a bull-shit country where Equal Rights guaranteed through the Charter of Rights are no guarantees at all. As a matter of fact, the Supreme Court of Canada led by a politically immoral Parliament creates Rights to suit which power group it wants to piss-off less.
And when it comes to power groups with an enormous intimidation factor: Quebec leads the way.
In short: The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that French Quebecers are the majority within Quebec. And as the majority, they have the ability to form provincial policies through their votes. Therefore; there is no need to rule on their behalf vis a vis the Right of French families to educate their children in the English language.
I’m upset with this judgement for several reasons.
1) It is wrong that some Canadians have Rights other Canadians do not.
2) It is wrong that all children from French families can be educated in the public school system in French only, while all children from “Anglo” families can receive an education in fluent English and French.
3) It is wrong that financially privileged French families can send their children to private schools where they will get the same bilingual education only available to “Anglo” children, while virtually all of Quebec’s French kids will never get the chance to learn English in school.
There is so much that is morally wrong with this judgment, that one hardly knows where to start criticizing it.
But what wasn’t wrong, was the finding of the judges that French Quebecers do have the power through their numbers to change the laws they don’t like. And if they choose not to take the political advantage their numbers warrant: tough luck.
If polls can be believed; what the Supreme Court ruled last week will soon be irrelevant, since the second most used language in Quebec will be Arabic by the end of 2006.
Therefore; the battle for language Equality should be for French parents to educate their children in the language of the Moslem Middle East, since the “Anglos” will have all but totally left the province.
Bill 101 has more than sufficiently accomplished its job of driving Quebec’s (Montreal’s) English speakers out of the province. And now it is continuing to make certain that its French children will never be able to leave.
In the words of former Quebec Premier, Separatist Jacques Parizeau, “They are like lobsters in a trap”.
In the short and long run, the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to once more suppress Equal Rights in Canada because of Quebec’s Bill 101 is neither my problem nor my concern.
It’s just too bad for Quebec that this is the way it is.