Mr. Mario Dumont’s article, published today in the Journal de Montréal, is entitled “All the minorities… except the francophones” [“Toutes les minorités… sauf les francophones”]. It is a reflection about our contradictory attitudes, whether lucidly or not, toward the francophones in our country. We tend to forget that they are a minority like other minorities. Unfortunately, we fall into the trap of intolerance of their differences in relation to language, culture, approach to addressing social problems or solutions to problems, philosophy of co-existence, and societal choices. We even fall into the trap of self-intolerance… and the latter fuels more externalized intolerance (i.e. of others, namely of their different opinions about this or that issue).
If she may, Bambi would like to take a break from this serious topic raised by Mr. Dumont for a few moments to offer you a beautiful old song she discovered yesterday by pure accident. It remains timely as it is called “Tolerance”. Bambi could not find a clear audio of this song online with the unique voice of Mr. Macias. However, she discovered the talent of a certain Mr. Pascal Leyman who arranged and performed this song. Thanks to him for publicly sharing it.
First, here are the words in English, followed by the original French:
“Tolerance is proof of love and intelligence
Tolerance is respect for life in all countries
Tolerance is to have a lot of indulgence for your neighbour
Open your heart instead of clenching your fists
For no reason for nothing
All forgiven for the tears
Of a child or of a woman
We are never loved
By fear or by severity
Understanding the ideas of others
Without wanting to impose our own
It is in this world a virtue
That we lost
Tolerance is reasoning about the passions of difference
Tolerance means recognizing to everyone their divine rights
Tolerance is the last chance for today’s humans
If they don’t want to no longer live in freedom
in a few years
Despite the many disagreements that still exist between us
Everything can be discussed if we know how to forgive first
Whatever the naysayers of all stripes can write
Mourning the future, I still refuse
Tolerance will eventually win out over backbiting
And on that day, on earth
There won’t be happier than me”
Original French lyrics of Mr. Macias’ song:
« La tolérance, c’est une preuve d’amour et d’intelligence
La tolérance, c’est le respect de la vie dans tous les pays
La tolérance, c’est d’avoir pour son prochain beaucoup d’indulgence
Ouvrir son cœur au lieu de fermer les poings
Sans raison pour rien
Tout excusé devant les larmes
D’un enfant ou bien d’une femme
On est jamais aimé
Par crainte ou par sévérité
Comprendre les idées des autres
Sans vouloir imposer les nôtres
C’est dans ce monde une vertu
Que nous avons perdue
La tolérance, c’est raisonner les passions de la différence
La tolérance, c’est reconnaitre à chacun tous ses droits divins
La tolérance, c’est pour les hommes d’aujourd’hui la dernière chance
S’ils ne veulent pas ne plus vivre en liberté
dans quelques années
Malgré les nombreux désaccords qui entre nous existent encore
Tout peut se discuter si l’on sait pardonner d’abord
Qu’importe ce que peuvent écrire les défaitistes de tous bords
Porter le deuil de l’avenir, je m’y refuse encore
La tolérance finira par l’emporter sur la médisance
Et ce jour là, sur terre
Il n’y aura pas plus heureux que moi»
Now, here the song. Enjoy!
Keeping the spirit of tolerance in mind (ie., bridge building, mutual respect, love, forgiveness, re-discovery… and re-love), please let’s conclude this post with a quick translation of Mr. Mario Dumont’s article:
“The left of English Canada places at the centre of its policy the defense of all the rights of all minorities. They almost make it an obsession. It is this movement that Professor Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa certainly wants to join.
Officially, this professor fights racism fiercely. In fact, the heart of his remarks aims to stigmatize a group: French-speaking Quebecers. Everything goes: French-speaking Québecers are backward racists. Our past and current governments, our Prime Minister, our laws and even our health care system are manifestations of this wacko Québec society.
I do not intend to elaborate on the case of this provocateur or the administration of the University of Ottawa. The rector is visibly overwhelmed by radicalism in his organization [Bambi agrees with Mr. Dumont, even if she defended Dr. Amir Attaran’s free speech, as you can see in an earlier post at the end of this one. Yes, she happens to enjoy reading Dr. Attaran’s social media, even when she disagrees with him or dislikes his comments about the Québec that she respects, deeply loves, is grateful to for welcoming her family, and is a large part of her complex identities].
What interests me more is how much good press Professor Attaran has in English Canada, despite his outrageous remarks in their very face. Shouting out loud that Québecers are racists generates few reprimands in English Canada. More like a few approvals and a lot of complicit silences.
For example, Ontario NDP MP Matthew Green shared many of Attaran’s writings on social media. The NDP held a majority of seats in Québec just a few years ago. Yet no one in this party seemed upset to see one of their own insulting Québecers.
At least Justin Trudeau, the one seen as a champion of multiculturalism, was keen to denounce Professor Attaran. Make no mistake, Mr. Trudeau is being blamed outside Québec.
In fact, here is the reality that the Attaran affair puts in our face. The left of English Canada places the rights of minorities at the centre of all its thought and action. Positive discrimination, visible minorities, the fight against racism are the favourite themes of the moment.
There will even be a tendency to scrutinize racism and to find it, even where there is none. To prove the intensity of its determination to fight racism, it is better to find it everywhere.
The minority that can be scoffed at
In short, the left of English Canada defends all minorities… except one: French-speaking Québecers. Obviously, francophones are not a minority in Québec. But francophones in Canada are clearly a minority.
When we look at the situation of francophones from a North American perspective, it is even more striking. Francophones are a minority whose language and culture are under pressure, threatened.
So in English Canada, we will put a capital importance on the preservation of the Indigeneous languages or the languages of all the minority cultures. With good reason. We will be ready to deploy considerable resources to safeguard them.
But the future of French in Canada, in Québec, they don’t care. Attaran’s insults remind us that to protect our language and culture we can only rely on ourselves.”