PERMEATING ALMOST EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE IN QUEBEC
Fear is a terrible thing. It makes human beings do things that are otherwise illogical, illegal or extreme. In fact, throughout history, fear has been one of the driving factors of war, brutality, totalitarianism and even mass-genocide. Fear can be used to justify almost anything, as evidenced by the American and global response post 9-11, or, as evidenced by Quebec language laws that protect one language and culture at the expense of ALL others.
When humans are afraid, we seem to be willing to give up our rights, our freedoms, even some of the things we hold most dear, like our privacy. We will even give up on what we believe in, deep down, because, alas, we’re scared. In psychiatric-speak however, perhaps it is time that Quebecers faced their biggest fears? As most psychiatrists will say, such an exercise could be extremely cathartic and beneficial in both the short and long term.
Quebecers live in a state of near-constant fear. French Quebecers are afraid that their language and culture will be absorbed by the larger ANGLO-presence in North America, and this is in fact, a legitimate concern. Anglo and Allophone Quebecers fear another PQ government rising to power, more restrictions to their rights and freedoms, more racism and diminished opportunity. This likewise, is a legitimate concern.
Can we marry the two or perhaps, a better analogy, can both groups’ fears cancel each other out somehow? Ultimately, they will have to if we plan on moving forward as a unified province. Right now, the laws that have been created out of fear are hurting business in Quebec; they are making it near-to-impossible for Quebec to attract businesses, entrepreneurs and other professionals; in fact, we are haemorrhaging all of these.
We are in direct competition with states like New York, who are offering relocating businesses TEN YEARS tax-free. What are we offering businesses to relocate here? Restrictions? The highest tax burden in the western hemisphere? Forced enrollment in French schools for their children? Proposals to make speaking English in Private-sector offices of more than 50 people, illegal? Exactly what are we offering, what are we doing to make Quebec an attractive place to locate one’s business? The answer, sadly, is absolutely nothing.
At the same time, our government, whose primary responsibility ought be the maximization of the Quebec brand and our people’s wealth and security, is shutting down businesses because of English signage, or because of an un-updated Facebook page, the word “pasta”… This is PROOF that FEAR is governing us here in Quebec. We are ALL living in and under the governance of FEAR.
The laws associated with the French Language Charter are DIRECTLY to blame for why we are waiting in hospital emergency rooms for upwards of 12 hours. We have literally chased away the majority of upwardly mobile people who can do better and have ALL their rights protected and assured, anywhere else in North America. So why stay here?! …Even after we’ve helped subsidize their educations! It’s like we’re exporting professionals at our expense and leaving mediocrity behind to tow the line.
The laws associated with the French Language Charter are DIRETLY to blame for nearly 40-years of private sector stagnation – nobody wants to come here or set up shop here. Wall Street and global financial experts are perplexed – it’s like Quebec doesn’t want to do business with the world, or rather, it insists on doing business on its terms, which are as antiquated and backward as many Third World nations.
The laws associated with the French Language Charter are DIRECTLY responsible for creating the current RIFT in Quebec society – something that no one can argue is healthy, beneficial or good for the province’s social, cultural, economic and even political future.
We need to start confronting our fears and proactively addressing them with solution-oriented models. Surely, a compromise of sorts can be reached?
I’m a Jew. And the only reason why I mention this is because my people have been persecuted throughout more than 4000 years of global history; we’ve been discriminated against and killed en-masse for thousands of years and yet – we still exist. We still have our traditions, our values, our languages, our culture… despite odds the likes of which French Canadians will never see or have to endure. If anything, Jews can totally help French Canadians develop a schematic for the preservation of their language and culture, without having to diminish the rights and freedoms of other languages and cultures. So, why not? What do we have to lose?
What are we afraid of?