A society is democratic inasmuch as it respects and protects its minorities, but what about the respect of minorities for the (often silent) majority?

Bambi thanks her friend Fred for his comment about yesterday’s post (as shown further below). His comment, which inspired the current post, reads like this: “Maybe the crowd simply does not believe in the sincerity of Charette, especially given the passing of Bills 21 and 96 by his government”.

For those who are not familiar with Québec. Mr. Charette is the Minister responsible to fight racism, among other files. He has been booed for six minutes during his whole speech by a crowd turning its back to him at times, applauding to prevent him from speaking, and insulting him in English… at an event meant to be commemorate the horrible crime (of hate and terror) of the Afzaals on the streets of London, Ontario. Why? To cite Dr. Mathieu Bock-Côté once again, most likely because “the crowd seems to believe that there is a link between the attack in Ontario, Bill 21, and the refusal of the Government of Québec to submit to the theory of systemic racism” (https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2021/06/15/lintegration-au-quebec-est-un-echec).

Bill 21 is about Québec state secularism (no religious symbols for public servants whilst in position of authority, that is, representing the government, NOT all public servants. No one will lose his/her current job because of this bill, thank Goodness).

Bill 96 is about the protection of the French language in Québec (it came after 44 years following Bill 101). Bambi is not an expert of linguistics. However, she read an interesting interview of Dr. Bock-Côté with Dr. Guillaume Rousseau, a Professor of Law, who believes Bill 96 to be insufficient although necessary and a step in the right direction (https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2021/06/12/le-projet-de-loi-96-est-insuffisant-mais-necessaire-et-va-dans-la-bonne-direction–entretien-avec-guillaume-rousseau).

As for Bill 21, Bambi easily saw its merit at first for all the positions of public servants in position of authority, except teachers. She took the time to think about the latter and saw the whole logic. She especially saw the strong, and at times nasty, reaction of the rest of Canada toward this bill. Who knows? Perhaps this has influenced her acceptance of the whole bill? Indeed, many of her posts are supportive of Bill 21, which is made by Québec, in Québec, and… for Québec. It is a bill that respects Québec’s history, culture, and a (10-year) public debate on reasonable accommodation. As a reminder, even the Liberal Party of Québec endorsed it.

Mind you, not all her relatives in Montreal agree with this bill. Most do, but not all. However, whether with or against it, they all RESPECT Québec’s democracy, in addition to being grateful as well as in love with their province.

Why do we easily accept to live under truly restrictive laws of other countries when we are working abroad (e.g. in Saudi Arabia or other countries of the world), but not with moderate bills in Québec? Does that make any sense?

Immigrants and newcomers usually take an active role in their adaptation to their new country. It is called give and take. Yes, your host community/society has to learn to know you and to accept you. However, you also must have the wisdom to know how to change your mindset, as needed, to fit into your new society; the one you chose to come to, precisely because of its beautiful values. Adjustment to a new country is not an easy process, perhaps harder nowadays than ever. Of course, there are also homesick feelings or nostalgia to one’s birth country. Plus, it takes time to adjust and integrate to a new place.

In Bambi’s mind, a society is truly democratic if it is welcoming (or accepting) to all its citizens. Stated differently, a society has the duty to respect, protect, and even honour (all) its minorities. However, minorities (perhaps especially radical voices within any minority) have the duty to listen to and respect the silent majority. Bambi is not talking about Bill 21 only. She is talking about other forms of apparent secular ideologies, like the wokeism movement, or like any other movement. Enough of disrespect for the silent majority, please.

Indeed, we are increasingly observing the entitlement of some voices. Some of which impose their views on others. Some of which shamelessly resort to censorship, or other means of intimidation, of this or that citizen. They do so because they are unable to simply hear voices telling them “what they do not want to hear” (Hello Mr. George Orwell!). Is this how democracies work in life?

To come back to your comment Fred, how can bills democratically voted for in the National Assembly of Québec be correlated, even mildly, with a horrible hate crime in Ontario?

It is not Ontario, and surely not Québec’s, fault if one citizen behaved in this violently barbaric manner.

Should we stop and reflect on possible factors related to this tragedy. Of course, we must do so. However, there is a difference between explaining and exploiting a human tragedy.

Furthermore, despite any noble intention, it is irresponsible for our political leaders to attribute violence in Ontario to a bill in Québec.  Could they please refrain from doing so?

To come back to the incident in Montreal, sadly, the crowd forgot that this event was meant as a vigil to pay tribute to the innocent victims; This was not a political/ideological (or impolite) platform. There is a time for grief and a time for grievance.

Even Minister Charette kindly reminded the crowd of the reason of their gathering (a vigil to commemorate the victims). Some would say that he may have not been assertive enough in his reaction. The latter is understandable as it must be intimidating to stand up in front of such crowd for six long minutes whilst you are speaking one language (French and common sense) and they are speaking another one (English and anger).

To conclude this post, East is East and West is West, we get it, but why can’t both meet… at least during the time of silence in a vigil?

2 thoughts on “A society is democratic inasmuch as it respects and protects its minorities, but what about the respect of minorities for the (often silent) majority?”

  1. In note form for Quebec’s Ambassador in deerskin :

    • Though Quebec is not a free province, Canada is a free country and people can boo whom they wish.
    • Politics in Canada are done largely on the basis of language.
    • Even the beggars in Montreal are bilingual, so it’s not unusual for people to boo in either language.
    • Demographics in Canada show English speakers have the majority, around 57% last time I looked; French 23%.
    • Freedom of thought includes the ability to make links between one thing and another, even if it crosses provincial borders.
    • The same applies to journalism and freedom of the press.

    • Kurt Vonnegut Jr. demonstrated that by imagining yourself on a planet in one solar system in the night sky, think about what life might be like there, then think about another star next to it, then back again to the first star and think about it for a minute; you have just proved that human consciousness can move faster than the speed of light.
    • In light of the foregoing point, Canada is very small and its borders inconsequential.
    • As for events in one place affecting those in another place down the road, this is already well known. Recall fractal geometry 30+ years ago and how we learned that the beating of a butterfly’s wings in Japan can affect the weather in North America.
    • Similarly, the execution of Louis Riel in 1885 displeased French-Canadian Conservatives greatly and led to the extinction of the Conservative Party in Quebec provincial politics (there had been Conservative Premiers up to then).
    • In 1919, news of the Versailles Treaty reached China on May 4th. The terms of the Treaty were such that parts of China were awarded to Japan! The victorious Allied powers meeting in France did so even though China had been on the winning side in the war! The people of China were furious and organized the May 4th Movement the same day which eventually led to the PRC being declared 30 years later. These events crossed borders and went around the world.

    • In Canada, journalist Jan Wong was sharply criticized by intolerant Quebecers when she observed both murderers Marc Lepine and Kimveer Gil had been either partly rejected by Quebec society before committing murder or were never entirely French. It was just an observation from Ontario but people went berserk over it.

    1. Mmm, ironically, Québec may still be enjoying some more freedom now than Canada (Bambi is not talking about our beautiful Canadian laws, but more about the climate or perception of citizens, etc). However, theoretically, all Canada is free, including Québec.

      What do the statistics you provided about language in Canada have to do with Québec? The rest of Canada has francophones too (and francophile deer too :)), but Québec is French-speaking whether written in an legal paper or not. It is a fact. A beautiful fact, according to Ambassador Bambi, to use your own funny term :).

      You are absolutely right about how free (not geographically-dependent) freedom of thought is. However, Québec’s bills are meant to be for this province only, whether we like them or not. This includes Bill 101, 96, 21, etc.

      This being said, Bambi loves your following insights about the stars. What a nice image.

      Bambi will not comment further. She will just post your interesting and deep comment. She will take the time to reflect and learn.

      Thank you Fred!

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