First, who is Mr./Dr. Facal?
Born in 1961, he is a Canadian politician, academic, and journalist in the province of Québec. Specifically, he was a Parti Québécois member of the National Assembly of Québec from 1994 to 2003 and a cabinet minister in the governments of Bouchard and Laundry.
He is fluent in Spanish, French, and English. He is an academic trained in political science (B.A., M.A.) and sociology (PhD).
Bambi enjoys reading his articles in the Journal de Montréal.
Disclaimer: Bambi is a proud Canadian. Younger, she has walked in Montreal for the Canadian unity during the second referendum. And yet, she is posting this.
Things have degenerated to a great extent in our beloved Canada (and in our unprofessionally non-critical media) to the point of making Bambi almost a voter for the Bloc Québécois, had she been a citizen of Québec (but she is not).
Can you see the irony of all this?
Québec has the courage to be what it is. Québec is one of the most progressive places in the world (in Canada for sure, especially nowadays). Québec is welcoming. Québec is loving. Québecers are the most open-minded and generous people Bambi has ever met, although they are a minority themselves.
At least, they know how to protect their language, their values, their collectivity (yes nationalism and nationalism is healthy) whilst being open to the rest of the continent/world.
Why can’t the Canadian media understand that Québecers have a different culture? Their conceptualization of secularism is different, not better and not worse. Just different. Plus, it came after 10 years of a public debate. Bravo to Québec for knowing how to discuss society’s important topics (i.e., reasonable accommodations).
Although in the spirit of other countries, namely in Europe (Switzerland, France, etc.), Québec Bill 21 is moderate, pragmatic, and as fair as it can be. It would have been of course, better, not to have to resort to such a bill but this is the reality.
Same for Bill 101 (protecting the French language). It was needed, even we can criticize its apparently unfair consequences on a few that do not speak the majority’s language. Québec remains an example to the world, including Lebanon, on how to protect its beautiful Francophone language/culture.
Anyhow, here is Facal’s article published in the Journal de Montréal (in French):
And here is Bambi’s translation in English:
Until the federal election on October 21, the elites of English Canada were careful when they tackled Québec secularism.
We did not want to blow on the embers of our nationalism.
The resurrection of the Bloc removed all restraint.
We read the English Canadian media and we want to throw up: Québec is portrayed as a bunch of racists who disregard the rights of minorities, especially these “pooorrr” veiled Muslim women.
Bill 21, to which one says what it does not say, is only the most recent excuse to reactivate a collective process, which has been going on for two centuries.
The truth is that we have no lessons to learn from English Canada.
The settlers from France had, with Indigenous people, relations infinitely less violent than those of the British or the Americans.
In 1807, the voters of Trois-Rivières were the first in the entire British Empire to elect a Jewish MP, Ezekiel Hart, when McGill University was forbidden to Jews.
In the 1838 Declaration of Independence, the patriots proclaimed the equal rights of Indigenous and non-native folks, a pioneering idea for the time.
When my family and I immigrated to Sherbrooke in 1970 from our native Uruguay, we were greeted with fraternity.
We knew how to distinguish incomprehension from racism.
On November 15, 1976, the voters of Papineau elected, under the banner of the PQ, Jean Alfred, of Haitian origin.
Then the Québecers opened their arms to Vietnamese people fleeing in makeshift boats, to Lebanese people chased out by the civil war (P.S from Bambi: She can only agree and will endlessly remain grateful!), as they had once welcomed waves of Italians, Greeks and Portuguese.
When Latin America experienced its wave of dictatorships and civil wars, we welcomed Chileans, Argentineans, Salvadorans, and so on.
In 1980 and 1995, when the sovereignists came up against the massive, monolithic rejection of their project in communities of recent immigration, they swallowed their pill without violence or a spirit of revenge (P.S: Again, Bambi can only agree and admires both civility and democracy, despite her capacity to understand those disappointed).
When fake refugees used Roxham Road to enter our home illegally, no one proposed building a wall or using violence.
On the contrary, this Canada that has been moralizing us for over two centuries is the same country of the reserves and of residential schools.
It is the internment of Italo-Canadians and Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War.
It is the one in which all the provinces except Québec, all, adopted Bills banning teaching French between 1870 and 1912.
Today, Canada does not care about the assimilation of francophones outside of Québec.
It is Canada that applauded sending of the army to Québec in 1970, the arbitrary imprisonment of innocents, the unilateral imposition of a constitution, and referendum cheating in 1995.
And these people allow themselves to insult us?
Unfortunately, the ability of some Québecers to accept everything is infinite. When two colonized people meet, they speak well of their master.
And what if others got angry for real?