What is History? Depends who you are?

Today in Canadian History we read the first chapter of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Granted, it does seem like a strange read for a Canadian history class, but I think that it does speak to our purpose this year and the purpose of historians. In fact, I think this chapter not only highlights the appalling events which occurred at first contact between Europeans and first peoples, but it also speaks to the debate that is required in the pursuit of History.

So what is History then? This is a question that has plagued western society for the past few thousand years, principally since Thucydides wrote The History of the Peloponnesian War and Herodotus wrote The History. These historians took different approaches to history, and have been critiqued ever since.

To help us with this question, let’s take a look at a contemporary issue where history might help us. Recently the Quebec Parti Quebecois government as proposed a new charter that would disallow the wearing of any religious symbols in government buildings and seems to, as some have said, a pro-secular offensive.

Here is the CBC’s At Issue Panel giving us a breakdown on the Charter (and among other things):

 Here are a couple of opinion pieces on the Charter of Values. One is from Ian Henderson, an SJR grad and a professor at McGill University. The other is from Edward Greenspon from the Toronto Star. Read both, and then comment on how the doing of history can help us understand this contemporary problem. What pieces of history do we need to know? Why might history be important in this case? What would happen if we took an A-historical look at this issue?

Lastly, let’s do some history of our own. How did Quebec get to this point? Why would Premiere Marois advocate for such a policy and why would Quebec have a different Charter of Rights?

I look forward to your insight!

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34 thoughts on “What is History? Depends who you are?

  1. Historically, Quebec has always carried a strong French culture. From the architecture and battlefields beginning primarily in the 1600's to Bill 101, Quebec "feels French." And we may think that this notion is right, as history says that Quebec sprouted from French explorers and has always carried a sense of Catholicism. However, we live in a changing world where diversity is becoming prominent and multiculturalism is accepted as the norm. Canadians have been encouraged to be proud of and celebrate who they are and who the people around them are. Ontario is now far from full of its historical settlers, holding Toronto as a crown jewel of large scale multiculturalism. Quebec, however, is proving to be not so accepting. Premier Marois feels the French heritage and historical evidence proves why people should not freely display religious symbols in public workplaces. This may be true, yet I feel that this idea may be out of touch with modern day. Quebec's own Charter of Rights lists religious and spoken freedoms as a high priority, and to many religious minorities displaying their beliefs is a part of who they are. To add to it, if the Quebec government removes religious symbols from public workplaces, what is left is a large number of government-maintained historical crosses, religious monuments, or Catholic churches dotting the landscape which unfairly represents the entire population. Lastly, if the Quebec government wants to base their proposed charter on historical traditions, they should consider the true beginning of history in North America. This is of course the Indigenous people, once again suggesting that our society is a mix of cultures where everyone should be proud to display who they are.

  2. The main religion in Quebec is Roman Catholic, which was no doubt brought over by the settlers from France many, many years ago. At one time many years ago, you could only live in New France if you were Roman Catholic. That is not the case today as there is a diverse range of religions in Quebec now, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Anglicism. Though Roman Catholic is still the primary religion in Quebec, some people feel it is being lost due to all of the other religions now present in Quebec. Personally, I don’t think the premier of Quebec, Pauline Marois, should be allowed to ban people from wearing religious symbols at work. The religious symbols are a part of the people that choose to wear them, as they define who these people are in terms of their religion. The Parti Quebecois just released a charter with five elements:- Amend the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms- Establish a duty of neutrality and reserve for all state personnel- Limit the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols- Make it mandatory to have one’s face uncovered when providing or receiving a state service- Establish an implementation policy for state organizationsThough Marois may want to release the charter to preserve the Roman Catholic culture and religion, Federal Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau suggested that Marois could be releasing the charter to create drama between the federal and provincial governments. A quote from Trudeau on the CBC website: “Madame Marois has a plan. She has an agenda. She’s trying to play divisive identity politics because it seems to be the only thing that is able to distract from the serious economic challenges that we’re facing as a province and as a country.” If Marois really did release the charter just to create drama, the two governments wouldn’t get along very well and they wouldn’t be able to solve all of their economic issues, making things worse than they were. However, Marois has actually done stuff before just to create drama. Last year, she thought about running language tests during municipal elections. Though the language tests never actually ended up happening, Marois was able to create drama, which was what she wanted. With this new charter, she claims that it needs to happen. She says that teachers who wear religious symbols may cause the children they teach to start thinking about and practising religion, which sounds like something she wants to avoid. Personally, I think there are better ways to preserve the Roman Catholic religion without having to propose a charter that would ban certain religious symbols. – Amy 🙂 Article link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/09/09/montreal-quebec-parti-quebecois-charter-of-quebec-values.html

  3. The proposed Charter of Values is a measure in which the Parti-Quebecois are attempting to ban the use of "overt" religious identity by any government employ, and to entrench the concept of religious neutrality through out Quebec. "(The Charter) expresses the evolution of the majority", claims Premier Marois, although it appears that the Charter is proposing to ban the promotion of various other religions in order to sustain and strengthen the the traditional Quebec culture in society. Historically, Quebec has been a very unified state, as in the majority of the population supports and promotes the French-Canadian culture. However, with a decline in Francophone population growth, and an increase of the universal acceptance of multiculturalism, it is becoming more and more difficult to create the same value and appreciation of the culture as there was in the past. Premier Pauline Marois argues that the Charter unifies the majority, as religion will no longer be a common tension, and reflects "(not only) universal values, but Quebec values as well". Which does not seem to be the case, as denying religious rights to minorities is not a universally accepted concept. What she is really saying that by denying minorities in society, it will give way for a growth in Quebec culture, heritage and values. The Premier should really be creating a better society by promoting cultural diversity, as opposed to eliminating cultural differences. C.S

  4. The freedom of religion and the right to gather and praise in peaceful assembly is a basic human right according to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Religion, and the expression of that religion, contributes to a person's individuality and quenches their insatiable need to question humanity and its existence. Practicing religion is a major component in worshiping and in many religions there are specific instructions on how to dress. In history thousands upon thousands of people became martyrs for their faith. Eliminating such a big part of people’s faith will not be an easy, harmless thing to do.“The church is separate from the state”- this statement often causes debates in politics. If the church does not get a say in the actions of the government, the government should not get a say in the actions of the church. It should not be determined by politicians how practicing people of the church should dress. One should not be discriminated against for believing and practicing their religion, and the government especially should not be the one to be the discriminator. This freedom is just as important as any other freedom and it should not be overlooked.The culture in Quebec is very prominent. The accentuation of the French language clearly identifies and separates a Quebecois from others. The wearing of religious symbols will not dampen the unique culture of Quebec. It is obvious that Quebec wants to preserve its culture, but multiculturalism is a movement that is not only sweeping the world, it is inevitable.Francesca

  5. Quebec seems to always be in the news these days. Whether it being separating from Canada, or banning soccer players from wearing turbans. Most recently the Parti Quebecois headed by Pauline Marois, is stirring up controversy, when the party proposed a new ban on the wearing of religious symbols. The people that would be affected by this ban would be all public sector workers. The ban would require government employees to remove all religious symbols before entering the workplace. Religious symbols would include anything from a simple cross or star of David, to kippas and hijabs. It seems like the government is stretching its power with this proposition. One would wonder to what point can the government control your day to day life? What’s next telling you what colour socks to wear? Many people also have tattoos, that are linked religious beliefs. Would those people automatically lose their jobs?, face a fine? How could the Parti Quebecois possibly regulate such a law? There are too many grey areas for the proposed law to actually come into effect. This proposed ban seemed to be doomed from the beginning, with original backers switching sides, words seemingly getting put in peoples mouths, and the public still unsure of who the ban actually affects. Quebec should just scrap the bill, and move onto something that actually benefits the majority of society.

  6. I think the PQ is really over-stepping their bounds by trying to stop people from showing any signs of their religion and trying to decide what every person in Quebec should value. However, I think there is a way that they can do the religion part sensibly. If they really stop all religious symbols from being worn with no discrimination based on which religion each symbol comes from, it’s okay with me. The moment they begin to ease up the attention on one religion and crack down on another though, it becomes just another form of discrimination, and that’s unacceptable. As far as the Charter of Values goes, I don’t believe any government has the right to tell people what there values should be – especially not with so many different religions in today’s world, all of which hold different values.

  7. I think "doing" of history helps us to wrap our minds around an event in time. We consider what it is, what it’s for, and whether it is important or not. The Quebec Values seem to tell people they are not welcome and that they all must be the same. It is taking away cultural strength. I don't know what has lead to this but it seems weird to worry about weather or not a person can express their religion through fashion choices or not.

  8. During reading these two interesting articles it made me thing of what points they were saying and how much I agreed with them. Premier Pauline Marois’s said in her argument, “She’s talking politics not rights.” is true. Why worry about people ethnicity and the religious clothing and jewelry their wearing, when their talking politics. You can’t take away someones right, and tell them what they can and cannot wear what is based upon their religion.

  9. The Seven Years War of 1756-1763 ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which forced the French to surrender New France, an established society that had developed a strong love for Catholicism and the French culture, to the British. Resultantly, French influence was ousted from North America, forcing all residents of New France to relinquish their deep seeded French beliefs and adopt an aggressive doctrinal shift. Under English rule, the British instituted methods to control and mitigate the progress of French Culture. At first, they tried persistently to convince the Canadiens (what residents of New France were called) to reject Catholic teachings and “assimilate into a British way of life” (Wikipedia). However, when this approach proved unsuccessful, the British began to suppress French culture through blatant acts of inequality. The Canadien’s were essentially segregated; the requirement of being Christian would become necessary in order to receive a high paying or influential position in society (i.e position in public office/government). Clearly, having to deal with drama circulating the ousting of their former leader, then being forced to abandon their culture in conjuction with the segregation they endured, these were very grim times for the Canadien’s, However, they eventually rebounded with the passing of the Quebec Act, which was signed only if the Canadiens agreed to not join what would become the American Revolution. The Quebec Act essentially allowed French speakers and English speakers to co-exist. The act granted the people of Quebec a Charter of Rights separate from Canada’s that would be used to officially recognize the French language and culture, and maintain French civil law in Quebec.Now that we understand the struggle all Quebecers once faced to preserve their French identity, the Marois government’s reason to advocate for such a contentious change to the Charter is slightly clearer. On the surface, Marois states that the reason for this implementation is to ostensibly “protect [the children] from a religious influence” (Globe and Mail), since youth are naturally impressionable. However, I personally believe the Marois Government is using this as cover to push an underlying intent, that is, to further secure the preservation of the French culture in an English dominated country. In fact Premier Marois is an overt supporter of French independence and culture. She has participated in a number of grassroots organizations advocating for the preservation of French lifestyles up until her appointment to the cabinet in 1981. Thus, supposing that the Marois government is pushing this revision to the Charter under the front of protecting the children (which is quite smart since who would argue against the benefit of children) would certainly not be a stretch out of the realm of possibility. The residents of Quebec have always possessed a strong and ingrained pride for their French identity. The fact that it had once been severely suppressed by the British has only strengthened their resolve and added a new a level of over-protectiveness to their culture. As a result, controversial changes such as the proposed change to Quebec’s Charter of Rights are coming to fruition and will ultimately cause more harm than benefit, no matter which way a rational person spins it.

  10. The phrase "history repeats itself" is one we hear very often, and in this cause proves to be all too true. In Quebec a new Charter of Values has been proposed to preserve the PQ's version of Quebec values and identity. This new Charter of Values is selecting the "correct" rights and freedoms based on the views of those in the ruling Parti Québécois,and are attempting to force their version of rights upon the Quebec people who wish only to hold fast to their universal human right and distinct culture. This type of actions bears disturbing similarities to the oppression of Indigenous peoples by Europeans who forced there ideals on to the native "heathen". It bears the same similarity in the fact the PQ is seeing only their version of what is right, and failing to open their eyes and see that the strong culture of Quebec can stay strong and still co-exist with the increasing multiculturalism in Quebec

  11. With the new idea of instituting a law that bans public workers from displaying their religious beliefs, the Parti Quebecois headed by Premiere Marois clearly aren't thinking straight. Whether you are Christian, Jewish etc. it is important that you are able to openly display your beliefs. I'm not saying people should be running around flaunting their religion in an obnoxious way but there is nothing wrong with simply wearing a cross to work or wearing a turban and I'm not sure what the Parti Quebecois thinks gives them the right to enforce such a law. Not only will people be extremely set with this new law as they very well should be, one would have to wonder if this law got passed what would be next? If they have this much power what others laws could they pass? Maybe they will think it is acceptable to ban such things in public instead of just at work. If this law gets passed I think there could be big trouble in the future for Quebec and especially for Premier Marois as she could be judged for her decisions.

  12. The underlying basis of Quebec’s new proposed Charter of Values is in reality the preservation of French/Quebecois Culture, this is to be accomplished by the promotion of “Quebec Values”. The desire to preserve Quebecois Culture is only understood when we look at the history of the region. What we now recognize as the province of Quebec, was originally home to French settlements in the New World. Within these settlements a strong French culture was developed, unfortunately this didn’t last long. Through the French’s skill in warfare, or rather lack thereof, they ended up losing the territory of New France to the British in the Seven Years’ War. Throughout years of British control over the region, the French slowly lost their identity and culture. From generation to generation, the french people of the region have strived to regain their cultural identity. Perhaps this is most evident in legislation that exists in Quebec right now, particularly with Bill 101. So, we see how Quebec got to this point in time, however that doesn’t fully explain why Premier Marois is acting in this way. The framing the Quebecois Government has put on this charter is one of it being a movement of secularity. They say its representative of the evolution of culture in Quebec. When one actually thinks about the logic the government is proposing, we see it doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny. First of all, we should question the notion that the wearing of religious attire somehow detracts from secularity in the state. Secondly, if secularity in the state is the government's main objective, we should ask ourselves why banning religious attire for public officials actually increases secularity. The truth of the matter is that public officials wearing religious attire is absolutely trivial when we look to the issue of secularity. Benazir Bhutto managed to fight for secularity in Pakistan while still wearing religious headwear, what government officials and public servants wear simply doesn’t matter. So we’ve dealt with the notion of the Charter of Values somehow fighting for secularity in Quebec. Let’s look at the underlying reasoning of the proposed charter, preservation of “Quebec Values”. While one can definitely understand the importance of Quebecois culture in Quebec, there are few things we have to consider when looking at this proposed Charter of Values and its relevance to preservation of Quebecois Culture. The first thing we must consider is whether or not there is legitimate reason for implementing this Charter, regardless of our ideological qualms. I feel it can be legitimately said that right now, culture in Quebec is being preserved and being preserved well. So on that basis, one must question the actual necessity of this Charter. However, if we assume that for some reason Quebecois culture is being lost right now in Quebec, we must ask ourselves, will putting in this charter actually protect or promote Quebecois culture? The answer is no, eliminating religious attire from the wardrobe of public servants will do absolutely nothing to protect or promote Quebecois culture. Handing out flyers on the street would probably do more good. Thus clearly we see that the proposed Charter of Values has neither an empirical backing nor an ideological backing.

  13. The new charter of values that has been proposed by the Parti Quebecois basically states that Quebec wants to preserve their values and identity. By doing thing, the PQ’s want to disallow the wearing of religious symbols in government buildings. Passing the law would give the PQ's power to do much more to help preserve their values and identity. With the increase in multiculturalism in Canada, disallowing people to wear religious symbols would be unavoidable. If the proposed charter were to pass, disallowing people to enter a government building because of their religious attire is taking away their rights and freedom of religion, according to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and is also a form of discrimination, which is frowned upon in Canada.

  14. Québec has always been different. Throughout history, when all the provinces of Canada became British, Québec remained French. It remains the only province that did not sign the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; instead, they made their own. To this day, Québec has kept strong ties with the French language and continues to be a unique piece of Canada. The Parti Québécois (PQ), founded during the secession movement in 1968, fights to keep the tradition of individuality alive in Québec. They started in the 1970s by proposing and passing Bill 101, or the Charter of the French Language to formally declare French as the official language of Québec and laying out fundamental language rights. The party is defined by its desire to separate from Canada. This thirst to be different is something that can be justified, but lately, it has gone too far. Pauline Marois, the current PQ Premier of Québec, has a minority government. She has been using her power to try to create a Québec Charter of Values, with one particular policy that has evoked lots of controversy. Her new policy bans people from wearing obvious and attention-grabbing religious attire or symbols in public buildings. This is a part of her pro-secular offensive, but what she does not realize is the implications for many minorities and does not in fact increase Québec’s status as being secular. Also, as stated in the Québec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, everyone has the freedom of religion and expression, a freedom that is being heavily infringed upon by this new policy. This new policy does not allow religious people to show their faith, which can be a very important part of their lives. It’s just like not allowing people to show their personalities. This new policy could lead to other policies that will further infringe on peoples’ freedoms, making Québec different from the rest of Canada in a negative way and shining a very bad light on the Québécois. To achieve the secularity that the PQ wants, they must implement different policies. Marois should be putting her efforts in continuing to make Québec unique in a good way, not, as she is trying to do, uselessly breach freedoms and incorrectly seek secularity.

  15. Interesting point Amy, but maybe Premiere Marois actually is advocating these policies not just for drama, but also to secure more votes (from her main source of votes, the pro-secularists) so that she can be elected as premier again and gain momentum in the next election.

  16. I have to say I agree with David's point. Over the years the French in Quebec have faced many hardships, and this all started with being oppressed in the 18th century as he mentioned. As a result of this oppression, the French have always tried to protect their culture. As early as 1890 the idea of Quebec being a sovereign nation was beginning to be considered by some Quebecers, but only more recently in 1960 did this idea begin to gain more support. The idea of separation in order to keep French heritage had gained so much support that when a poll was conducted in 2011 asking how people would vote in the event that separation was a legitimate option, 41% of people who responded said they would vote for separation. Although this may have seemed very encouraging to those who supported Quebec sovereignty at the time, the reality now is that support is beginning to dwindle. People are beginning to realize that separation is becoming a less likely option, and as a result I think the PQ is beginning to come up with other ideas to help protect the French heritage in Quebec. That is what I think this "Charter of Values" is all about. Now that the PQ, always major proponents of separation, have realized that Quebec will likely not be a sovereign nation in the foreseeable future, they have decided this is a better way to protect their French values. Although I can see their point of view, I still do not agree with what they are doing – imposing a "Charter of Values" on the people of Quebec will inherently contradict with the rights and values that some cultures may feel they deserve, and this could cause a clash in Quebec. Clearly, although the PQ may have the right intentions, they should really re-think their actions before they go about causing more harm than good.

  17. Though Premier Marois’ Charter of Rights preposition is somewhat shocking in its nature, it is not the first time that Quebec has brought forward a radical idea like this. In the past, we have heard news of Quebec wanting to succeed from Canada. This is because, in general, the French-speaking majority of this province feel excluded and underrepresented in Canada’s government. I think that this is the underlying issue: Marois is attempting to try and preserve Quebec, and to keep it as “French” as possible. According to me, the Parti-Quebecois feel threatened with the amount of multiculturalism that is present in Canada. Quebec seems intent on being more of an isolated, independent province than others.Frankly, I think the ban is intolerant and will only lead to prejudice and difficulties. “Freedom of Religion” is in our constitution, and therefor citizens should be able to practice and support their religion. First of all, we have to consider the fact that certain religions require people to wear certain religious attire; it is not always a choice. Also, what would happen if the person who practices a religion refuses to remove their religious symbols? Would they be arrested? Fired? All of these routes will be badly received, and are surely a ridiculous approach.Though a majority of the posts above have voiced that they do not support the Parti-Quebecois, it may be alarming that “69 per cent of Quebeckers strongly or moderately support it,” according to Global Winnipeg. This leaves the rest of Canada in an important position. Our protests or support could play a large factor in the passing of this Charter of Rights. http://globalnews.ca/news/834241/poll-rest-of-canada-decries-quebecs-charter-but-opposes-some-religious-symbols/

  18. Quebec has an undeniably French culture, one that extends as far back as the founding of the country itself. However, along with this strong French background, Quebec has also prominently displayed a less than enthusiastic attitude towards the mixing and mingling of other cultures with their own. This can be seen in the passage of Bill 101 as well as Quebec’s attempt to separate from the rest of the country on more than one occasion. Presently, it appears that Quebec is not quite as accepting of multi-culturalism as the rest of its neighboring provinces and territories. Quebec’s Premier, Pauline Marois, has introduced the idea of a Charter of Quebec Values, which would restrict people working in the public sector from wearing religious clothing items and symbols. The Parti Quebecois passes this off as trying to maintain a government that is religiously neutral. In my opinion, however, this secularism has the potential to promote the intolerance of religious minorities and blatantly disregards the right of citizens to have the freedom of religion. I see this as a way for the Quebec government to suppress the minorities of the province in an effort to promote the growth and maintenance of francophone culture. Laura Clark

  19. In a society where multiculturalism and individuality are what drives the economy and politics, the Parti-Quebecois’ decision to implement restrictions on individuals wearing religious clothing or symbols in government buildings is unreasonable. As history differs with every individual’s perspectives, the Quebecois may see this as a different issue. The the dominant French culture in Quebec is undoubtedly present, and cannot be avoided. It is biased, however, to rid of any representation of other various cultures as each hold origins and meanings to themselves. If Quebec is a province which promotes freedom of identity and rights, it is impartial to say that freedom of displaying an individual’s religion and culture should be granted. I feel that as part of a continually-evolving modern society, Marois should consider the effects of the infringement of individual freedom before acknowledging “Quebec Values” of which there are no relations in regards to prohibiting religious attire.

  20. Yeah, I totally agree with you. Quebec has always been unique. French-Canadians have gone through a lot of hardships in the past to try and preserve their culture. But this time, they're not going about it the right way. Their culture is really going to become non-entity if this "Charter of Values" is implemented. As in all of Canada, Quebec's culture is made up of a variety of cultures coming together and living in harmony. If we have a government that doesn't represent that, then they aren't representing the people and therefore aren't really doing their job fulfilling our political system, which is a democracy. As well, we haven't' really seen that wearing "obvious and attention-grabbing religious attire or symbols in public buildings" has presented a problem. We don't see that our government is seen as favouring one religion or another. Canada is multicultural and therefore our public servants should be allowed to present themselves as someone of a certain culture if they wish to do so. Freedom of religion isn't just in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; it's also in Quebec's charter. As well, as Nav said, this really is a form of discrimination. By making it so that people who wear "obvious" religious symbols not allowed to enter public buildings, the PQ is discriminating against people whose religion requires them to where these "obvious religious symbols" and they are essentially driving away a lot of minority groups. The PQ wants Quebec to be more "secular" but it seems to me that they are really promoting atheism. To me, being "secular" means that no religious groups is more prominent in the government than another. That the government isn't promoting one religion over another. And Canada is a secular state (it even says so on Wikipedia. Yes, I checked). Quebec doesn't need this new "Charter of Values" to become more secular. In fact, this new charter is making them seem less secular on top of violating their own existing charter. So as you perfectly put it, the PQ is uselessly breaching freedoms to incorrectly seek secularity.

  21. In 1975 Quebec passed the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. This legislation proclaimed that "Every person is the possessor of the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association." The proposed Charter of Quebec Values will ban "overt and conspicuous" religious symbols from the public service. However, freedom of religion depends on the freedom to express your beliefs. I think the Charter of Quebec Values would be in violation of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and therefore should not be passed.

  22. I believe Premiere Marois is advocating for this new charter to prohibit employee's from displaying their religion, whether it being Christianity, Judaism, Catholicism etc. because she wants to keep the French culture of Quebec alive. I believe there are other ways to keep the culture alive. I understand that she doesn't want to lose their culture but she doesn't have to advocate for a charter that will stop people from showing that they believe/practice a different religion. If this charter is passed then there are going to be a lot of people left very upset. By advocating for this charter she is basically advocating for taking away citizen's right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression. Freedom of religion and the freedom of expression are part of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms so just by trying to take those away from people they are going to be upset. If she takes away the right to freedom of religion and the freedom to expression then which one is she going to try and take away next. There has to be a better way to preserve the French culture than prohibiting people from showing their religion.

  23. The current issue revolving around the change in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Quebec emphasizes several key factors that will potentially change the lifestyles of many people presently inhabiting the province of Quebec. In the past, Quebec has had many grievances not only in terms of secession from Canada, but involving the preservation of their precious French language as well as their attempt at pursuing certain measures to gain more control over their economy. The history of Quebec most definitely plays a huge role in resolving the contemporary issue it is faced with today. In the 1960’s Quebec had a “Political Awakening” and later established a group known as the FLQ or the Quebec Liberation Front. Not too long after in 1968, the PQ or the Parti Quebecois attempted to secede from Canada. These events from the past are significant to the present issue as it provides the evidence that proves Quebec has always had a somewhat precarious relationship with Canada and clearly has a very different perspective of right and wrong in comparison to other provinces in Canada. The fact that the provincial PQ Government in Quebec reinforced the act of people immigrating to Quebec to have a greater mastery in French, demonstrates the province maintains the same strong and somewhat fascist ideology they had in the 1960’s. Since Quebec has always differed in beliefs compared to the other provinces, it came as no surprise when the PQ Government proposed a charter to disallow the public from wearing or portraying any kind of religious attire. The issue with following through with this change in the Charter of Rights and Freedom in Quebec, is where exactly do we draw the line? The banning of one thing inevitably leads to another especially with an issue as complex as the one Quebec is facing right now. By banning something as broad as religious attire, Quebec is fortuitously creating a much bigger problem for their province internally and internationally. The premier of Quebec, Pauline Marois, herself stated, “It is up to Quebec to develop its own values and history” confirming her advocacy can be based on the fact that Quebec wants to continue pursuing their goals of becoming more independent and continuing to differ with the beliefs of other provinces. – Varshana Lockman

  24. Quebec, in my opinion, is the way it is now because of their need for distinction and protection of French language and culture. It isn’t far fetched if they were to ban turbans and other symbols of culture since they want to preserve their culture fully without the influence of others. The reason Premiere Marois would advocate such a policy is somewhat unclear, however, regardless of intention there are definitely patterns in some of her decision making. A famous example is the banning of turbans in the Quebec soccer leagues but the policy was removed due to the extreme external pressure. This policy shows that Premier Marois is hoping to appease her voters, who are mainly pro-secularists, by promoting such policies. Eliminating cultural diversity hurts Canada’s reputation as the open-armed accepting country and it forces people of different ethnicities to leave. Regardless for his love of medical practice in Quebec, Doctor Sanjeet Singh Saluja is hurt and contemplating leave from the province he loves. Doctor Saluja represents the people who are of different race and feel like a second rate citizen, he shows that eliminating cultural diversity only hurts Canada, and nothing else.

  25. Quebec government has band citizens to wear any stuff that relates to relegious, I felt it so wired as an asian even chinese government didn't band the freedom of preaching as a christion. Quebec even band the freedom of wearing those relegious jewlry, I felt it very strict. I knew that Quebec want to be in their own and become a country because they felt themself apart from Canada such as languages, according to the research indicates that 80% of the people in quebec speaks Franch, and in the other part of Canada 90% of people speaks english. This is just one of the reasons, theres many other reasons. I don't think the government should be that strict to control a person's right.

  26. I think the proposed charter has some logic behind it though it is conclusively flawed. I believe the Quebec Parti Quebecois is trying to protect their culture contemplating that they may be absorbed into the multiculturally diverse growing canadian population. It is a common trend historically that minority parties must push harder to be heard against majority parties and even then they are often silenced. Through history Britain has made an effort not to assimilate the french language and culture in Canada however now the French must compete with not only other European cultures but cultures from Asia, The Middle East, and all other corners of the world. In a way the charter makes sense however it still clearly violates the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms. Though the motives behind the charter are innocent, the consequences of passing such a charter would be notoriously opposed because of all then possible problems created.

  27. I think it is absoloutley ridicoulous that they could even suggest legislature like this, people have a right to extress themselves and there religous beliefs. Its obvious quebec is doing this to try and defend there "culture" which is in some ways understandable but theyve certainly overstepped their boundaries here

  28. In the past Quebec was almost all european, due to the settlers coming from france, they were mostly Roman Catholic, However; In todays present there is a wide range of cultures all over the world. Although there may be many Roman Catholic practices there are also Hindi, Islam, Judaism and more practices from other people also living in Quebec. Many People who have these practices now feel excluded from the Quebec theme of French Roman Catholics. Pauline Marois has presented a charter including religion practices becoming banned at work, which leaves the question why? She stated that they must establish a duty of neutrality and reserve all state personel, limit the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols, make it mandatory to have ones face uncovered, establish an implementation policy for state organization. This created a new drama for people of Quebec and also people around the world.I am personally not for this proposal. Religion is part of someone, sometimes religion can make up the entire person, why they do the things they do and say the things they say could all be because of their religion. I question, what about the people coming into the buildings or stores with crosses and stars? Must they now have to take their religious stuff off simply to buy groceries? Marois talks about establishing a neutralism, however taking away free speech and rights will only cause more problems and show an in-equality when other people practicing their religion come into stores. I believe if a certain store has a dress code which includes no jewellery or different clothes, the people should abide to it. If this has always been a policy for certain stores or buildings because they potray a certain image, then workers already know what they're getting into. I don't think it should be a law however for every store or building that is okay with religion practices to have to force workers not to do what they were allowed to prior the charter.

  29. Good point Wilson. Although advocating these policies for drama may seem like a tempting explanation for what is happening, chances are a politician who has future votes to worry about has bigger worries than simply causing drama throughout the public.

  30. Good point about the cracking down on one religion thing Zach. I agree with you that if the PQ and Premiere Marois decide to crack down or single out a single religion, it could create chaos. I hope that the law just doesn't get passed in general and none of this will be a problem.

  31. Good point Carter. Marois seems to be focusing her efforts on the wrong things – why is she so focused on people's ethnicity and religious apparel when she should really be focusing on politics? Although we don't have a clear answer at this point, she must have a reason. No competent political member would suggest something as drastic as what she is suggesting without having some evidence to prove her decision won't hurt her political standing.

  32. The fact that the PQ are trying to pull something like this doesn't surprise me. Quebec has historically been almost completely European. Canada being the multicultural country it is has many different people from all over the world practicing different cultures and religions. Quebec should be no exception.The desire to preserve one's culture and religion is understandable, but do so within reasonable limits. French culture and Catholicism is only one of hundreds being practiced. Why should it be given special attention? The UN Charter of Human Rights guarantees us the right to freedom of thought, speech and religion. This legislation will only infringe on those rights. We are a representative democratic society. Meaning that everyone by definition will be represented in the government.French culture will continue. It will just have less prominence than it did before and it will co-exist with other cultures.-Josh

  33. I see your point Zach and Brad, but even if they were to stop all religious symbols from being worn, they're still discriminating against certain religions. The thing is that certain religious symbols are a great deal less conspicuous than others. Crosses are much less noticeable than a hijab, for example. That means certain religious groups, regardless of the fact that you're banning all religious symbols, would actually not be able to be public servants as their religion requires them to wear these "obvious religious symbols". Essentially, even though the government makes it seem like they're trying to be "secular" and "non-discriminatory", they know that their charter is going to effect some religious groups more than others. And I personally believe that is their intention. As well, we have to think about the message that the government would be sending. They are pretty much telling the public that they are a government that doesn't like multiculturalism, that they don't want to conform and try to accept other religions and that their own culture is more superior than others. And that's not a message that represents Canada and Canadians are okay with. We are a diverse, multicultural society, and the PQ needs to accept that.

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