In an earlier obituary post shown further below, Bambi promised the late and great historian, Dr. Frédéric Bastien the following: “Dr. Bastien, you will be missed greatly by Bambi, more than you think. She will refrain from saying, as she always does, “May your memory be eternal” now. Instead, she will promise you publicly (in front of all this post’s readers) and not just in her prayer, the following: she will keep your memory alive. She will do so on her blog and in her own drive to keep denouncing the dangers of identity politics (and its resulting divisiveness). Sadly, our politicians and elites are playing with its fire, which could eventually harm us all, including them“.
Today, Bambi could not help not to have a wink to the sky in honour of Dr. Bastien when she read Mr. Bryan Passifiume’s article, published in the National Post, and entitled “Ontario court quashes Toronto city council’s $100K pledge to fight Quebec’s Bill 21” (https://tinyurl.com/2a8nj3z4). Indeed, according to the Journal de Québec (2020), “Historian Frédéric Bastien, lawyers Pierre Cloutier, Simon Cadotte and François Bouliane, as well as Torontonian Louis Labrecque filed a request for declaratory judgment on Friday to have the payment of of $100,000, which was promised by the Toronto City Council last December, declared illegal” (https://shorturl.at/jlyF4).
Québec’s bills are made in Québec, by Québec, and for Québec; whether the rest of Canada, and especially Mr. Trudeau, likes it or not. As a reminder, Bambi has many posts on Bill 21 on secularism (all archived on this blog). This bill is VERY moderate compared to others in Europe. It came after 10 years of public discussions on reasonable accommodations. It is historically and culturally aligned with what Québec has always been. It was endorsed by all its parties, if Bambi recalls well, including the Liberal Party of Québec. The majority (CAQ) government was also elected by the population, partly based on this bill or at least its spirit of respect for Québec’s culture and vision regarding secularism. For the rest of Canada, this vision may be multiculturalism (sadly now a more authoritarian AND highly divisive one). For Québec it is this (https://shorturl.at/ntHRS), period. Why is it too complicated to grasp? Why can’t we put ideology, political partisanship, and interference with provinces aside for a change?
This being said, as a reminder, it took Bambi time to understand why school teachers in Québec public schools were considered as the state’s figures of authority like judges and police officers. With time, she understood it. Thank Goodness, no one lost his or her job, based on this bill. A contrast with all the propaganda, and/or a false understanding, in the mainstream media around this bill. We even stupidly blamed a crime in Ontario toward an innocent immigrant family (i.e. Muslim) on Bill 21, imagine (https://tinyurl.com/ye9z6557). May the Afzaal family’s memory be eternal. Bambi keeps thinking about its young member who survived the horrible vehicle crime.
If she may, Bambi will go further in her thoughts. She now thinks, especially after the sad news of the suicide of Mr. Richard Bilkszto, in Toronto, that such bill should be perhaps extended to include those neo secular modern forms of religion or set of ideologies (e.g., Critical Race Theory, etc.) . Just like religions throughout history, and like anything else including the internet, they could be used for both good and evil. Bambi is thinking precisely of bullying (ie. what happened to Mr. Bilkszto), censorship, suspension of people from their jobs, public shaming for one’s thoughts, and/or sadly for the creation of divisions among youth and in society; all this in the name of those ideologies. This being said, if you wish, you may consult the sad post about Mr. Bilkszto, which is also shown at the end of this one.
To come back to Québec, one may wonder why doesn’t this province address its own contradictions? On one hand, it came up with bill 21 on the state’s secularism. On the other hand, it keeps funding, to a large extent, private religious schools. Should the state fund these schools and why not other sources of funding? Furthermore, Québec may also see some contradictions occurring between its high schools and its CEGEPS in relation to accommodations related to religiosity (i.e., prayer rooms). One may wonder, why are we getting there and where do we draw the line of accommodations (again and again)? Why can’t people pray in their hearts? or in silent common spiritual rooms? Should we have a room specific for each religion? Should we “make room” for religion in a public secular school? Can’t students refrain from religiosity for a few hours per day when they are busy with learning their course materials in a public school? All these questions deserve to be discussed in a society, calmly and with respect. This is precisely what Québec did for ten years, as a second reminder. It is neither Islamophobia nor other term ending with phobia, if a jurisdiction does so.
In Bambi’s mind, in public as in private life, it all comes down to the live and let live principle. Basically to values of respect and its resulting harmony. It does not matter which cultural model is endorsed by a society (multiculturalism or Québec’s chosen model), as long as there is room for respect for individual rights, as both in Québec and in the rest of Canada.
To the above, Bambi will add the following: Canada, and other countries, have a duty to well welcome their newcomers and facilitate their integration (language, labour market, etc.). However, immigrants must also accept that they came to a new country to embrace it, with its bills, history, culture, etc. We cannot always want to change our adoptive countries to fit us. We must also learn to adjust and be flexible in this process. Bambi is saying so and she realizes that it is often politicians who may be exploiting this point. It is not coming from immigrants (Bambi is an old one while interacting with other immigrants, from different backgrounds, and in different provinces). Wouldn’t it be ideal if we can all continue to enjoy dancing together to the discovery of each other, based on respect and compassion? Not on imposing visions and ways of living on others? Not on using public funds to attack bills in other jurisdictions?
To conclude this post, congratulations or “mabrouk” to the late and efficient Dr. Bastien (may your memory be eternal). Same for the logical Toronto citizen Louis Labrecque as well as all the lawyers involved. Bravo to Ontario court for being reasonable and fair. Is Ottawa taking note of this legal decision before further legal attacks on Québec Bill 21?