Friday, May 28, 2010

Saguenay Mayor Leads Idiot Parade in Religious Debate

While most Anglos chuckle at the famous 'Code of Ethics' (a list of instructions for immigrants to abide by) created by the town council of the tiny hick town of Hérouxville (population 1,300, where nary an immigrant can be found,) the xenophobia can perhaps be forgiven and explained away as a product of small town ignorance and fear. An aging population, secure and proud in it's Catholic heritage and fearful of change, making a desperate attempt to keep foreign 'barbarians' from wreaking change on their idyllic town.
The town and the principle promoter of the "Code," André Drouin, have been the butt of many a joke and have been lampooned mercilessly on television these last three years. 
But lately the pendulum is swinging back and many Quebeckers are coming around to the idea that immigrants must be 'controlled' and so André Drouin is making a comeback, much to the consternation of some, much to the delight of others.

Mr. Drouin's strategy, which is shared by other like thinkers, is to declare the State 'Secular' or as they say in French - 'laïc' . The theory being, that the government and it's institutions should be officially neutral and take no stance for or against religion, nor promote any particular belief. 
This philosophy is being advanced by a rainbow coalition of groups that are as politically diverse as can be imagined, with orthodox Christians teaming up with devout atheists.

The secular state would bar employees from wearing religious jewellery or garb while dispensing government services and would interdict the public from doing the same, while attending school  or otherwise receiving certain government services.

The policy would not only bar veils but the very benign hijad,(a scarf worn by some observant Muslims) and the 'kippa' (a small skullcap worn by observant Jews) and the turban and kirpan worn by some Sihks. 

The government and it's subsidiaries would also be barred from offering any sort of accommodation to those asking for exceptional treatment based on religious preferences (example; a female asking to be treated by a female doctor only, in a hospital.)

While the policy has a veneer of fairness, with all religions ostensibly treated equally, it is far from the case. Christians no longer wear large ostentatious crosses or religious robes and need no accommodations because society is ordered to Christian standards. So while the rules apply equally to all, they only affect non-Christian orthodox citizens.

Very clever, but not foolproof.
All is fair, until one asks Mr Drouin and friends to limit their Christian symbolism and customs in society. That is going too far.....

Therein lies the fatal flaw in Quebec's quest for a secular state. It isn't a secular state that is being described, it is a secular "Christian" state that is being proposed.

Mr Drouin is  a pipsqueak, but he is no longer alone in describing a society that outwardly bans all religion in public, but maintains the Catholic nature of Quebec society.


Up in the backwaters of the Lac Saint Jean region, two hours north of Quebec City, via a miserable and dangerous highway, sits the isolated and frozen city of Saguenay. Like many outlying districts, the region is largely divorced from the distant melting pot that is the metropolitan region of Montreal.
The separation between the two regions goes beyond distance, the cultural chasm is glaringly wide.
The Saguenéens remain incredulous to the fact that Montreal has, according to them, evolved into a virtual Tower of Babel, where immigrant hoards have infected native Quebeckers, with unwelcome customs, tradition, dress and religious practices, altering and abasing the very fabric of Quebec society.

To say that there isn't much ethnic diversity in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is to understate the obvious. Aside from a few Anglos who serve at the Canadian Air Force Base in Bagotville or who work at the aluminum company, the region is about as White, Catholic and French as can be, with 96% of the people identifying themselves as Francophone Catholics and 3% identifying themselves as having no religion. 

The city of Saguenay is no Herouxville,  after amalgamating the towns of Chicoutimi, La Baie and Jonquiere back in 2002, the population rose to close to 150,000 people.

That being said, less than 300 residents are black and the city boasts a measly 150 Baptists, Anglicans, United Church and  Pentecostals, each. As for the Jewish presence in the region, Jews are fond of describing an area where few Jews live as an area where "You couldn't raise a Minyan." (Judaism requires a quorum (minyan) of 10 Jewish males to perform religious services.)
There are 42 Catholic Churches in Saguenay and no other religion maintains an official house of worship.
The community is so lily White and Christian that it's hard to believe that the city's 125 Muslims are the object of close scrutiny by a nervous Catholic majority, who are starting to rumble that measures should be enacted to protect the region from those disruptive influences seen in Montreal.

If you think this attitude is a bit of an over reaction, listen to the idiocy spouted by the Mayor of the city, Jean Tremblay. Every third family in Lac St. Jean seems to be named Tremblay and perhaps his moronic pronouncements can be explained by some form of inbreeding, otherwise it's hard to fathom the nonsense which he espouses.
Remember, Mr. Tremblay is not mayor of some hick town like Herouxville, the city of Saguenay  is the 22nd largest city in Canada.

Mr Tremblay, a devout Catholic went before a parliamentary committee pleading that the veil be banned everywhere except in personal residences.

When asked if his position supporting a secular state in any way conflicts with his habit of reciting Christian prayers before city council meetings, he used some nifty logic to support his position.
"If there was no prayer, it would be the atheists imposing their will on the majority and that wouldn't be fair." At any rate he continued, "everybody likes the prayer and nobody objects." When asked if he'd accept it if a Muslim was to roll out a carpet and pray alongside, he was unequivocal. "It would be too much of a show, but if we were all Muslims, it would be different."

Some other pearls of wisdom from the good mayor;
"Catholics are not superior to atheists, but  I prefer Catholics, and wish that  everyone would be Catholic..."
"We should accept some religious customs, but not others and certainly not just in public buildings"
And so in Saguenay, Christmas trees and other decorations including manger scenes shall be erected on city property and street lamps will be decorated with Christmas lights. All paid for by the city and erected by city workers.

In the city of Montreal almost a million dollars in public money will be spent on refurbishing the giant
crucifix on Mont-Royal and all of this in a perfectly secular society!

Here's a translation of a letter written to Quebec City's LeSoleil newspaper and is indicative of the twisted logic that is surfacing in the religion debate.
"If we are to assume that the laws should reflect the will of the people, one wonders why seculars seek to impose their ill-timed views so ardently.
What people want is secular Catholicism. That is to say, that all symbols of the Catholic religion are to be maintained everywhere, but symbols of other religions not be allowed to spread.
This is the will of  people which must be respected. It need not be reformed, corrected, clarified by the condescending elite. The good people want to maintain the visibility of the Catholic religion exclusively, even if it displeases the minorities who must conform to the will of the founding people." Réjean Labrie, Québec
And so is born the oxymoronic term "CATHOLIC SECULARISM" a term I can only define as a society that is officially religiously neutral,  EXCEPT that the Catholic heritage is to be respected and nurtured to the exclusion of other religions.


The logic employed by Quebeckers to argue for more than their fair share in Canada has always confounded Anglophones in the rest of Canada.

So too is the argument for a CATHOLIC SECULAR state.
It makes perfect sense to Quebeckers but defies all logic to others.


  1. I think your wrong and I could 'Fisk' your article but I'll mention just one thing to show my point; your reference to the term "Lily-white". Would you describe an area of Montreal with many Haitians as "coal-black"?

  2. I'm not "fisking" anything, but I must say the Lac-St-Jean region is much like the Ozark or Smokey Mountains--homogeneous ignoramuses tantamount to fictional characters like Archie Bunker, and real characters like George Wallace and David Duke from the Southern U.S.

    If the Tremblays and Bouchards of that region were Anglo American, their name would be something like Clampett! These are people with very small minds, like Southern bigots in the U.S. who still belong to the Ku Klux Klan, racist sects of the Skinheads and Black Panthers for those who assume the Black point of view on segregation and racism.

    In South Africa, as Apartheid was nearing its end, there was the AWB, a race of multi-generational White Afrikaners who wanted a separate state called the Orange-Free State, where Blacks would be subservient and segregated, and only Afrikaans would be the official language. Afrikaans is a derivative of Dutch developed by underclass Dutch emigrants in South Africa. It is a grammatically poor derivative of Dutch, spoken by Boers, i.e., farmers. As far as I'm concerned, Afrikaans is to Dutch what Joual in Quebec is to French.

    These Joual speakers in Lac St-Jean (and I have to practically clutch my bowels at times when I speak with them on the telephone every single working day here in Southern Ontario) are just a bunch of isolated ignoramuses who have probably never left their region to see how the real world is progressing since the 1920s! That's pathetic considering how TV, e-mail, the internet and other media have made communication with the rest of the world instantaneous and NOBODY in an affluent society such as ours should be left out of the loop.

    Unfortunately, the old cliché "A closed mind is an empty mind" resonates here...sad to say.

  3. Good article.

    I have a few observations:

    1.As you observed before, this assault on anything religious is just an offshoot of Bill 101’s mentality. Because once you start to experiment with banning and “promoting by restricting”, it just gets addictive and spills out into other areas. At this point it almost seems like this society is addicted to social engineering and (what’s even scarier) does not mind to be the subject of these experiments (note that almost 40% of Francophones are OK with being denied access to English schools - that’s still a lot)
    2.It was Alexis de Tocqueville, a great 19th century French philosopher, who pointed out that while the British tended to pursue a policy of multiculturalism in their colonies (with subjugation and exploitation of the conquered notwithstanding), the French always tended to be hell bent on assimilation. Tocqueville criticized the French model, and praised the English one.
    This assimilationist mentality survived and is very pervasive in this Quebecois society.
    3.Ironically, it was because of the multicultural approach that separatists so hate today that Joual survived to this day. If the British were anything like the French (or Americans), there would be no Joual today. There would only be English speakers with French last names in Quebec, like there are in Louisiana or Maine.
    4.I don’t like to make these kinds of generalizations, but the evidence points to this – are French-speaking people predisposed to overregulation and infringement into areas that should not be regulated?
    Language – Quebec: Bill 101, France: Toubon Law
    Religion – Quebec: banning of burkas, France: limits on religious symbols, Belgium – banning of burkas, Switzerland – crackdown on mosques

    Are there any other examples in the civilized world with such far reaching regulation?

    5.It really bothers me that despite such huge disparity between Montreal and the regions, the 3-4 million of people in the regions can still dictate the fate of people in Montreal, be it through referenda, or through the pequiste MPs that they dispatch to the national assembly - MPs who then pass laws which in no way reflect the reality of the vibrant and multicultural Montreal. It makes me think sometimes that maybe Montreal should separate from Quebec, and become an independent unit affiliated with Canada and Quebec, but at the same time immune from decisions made miles* away in the so called “national” assembly.

    *A couple of hundred miles away geographically, a million miles away mentally.


    A photo of a protest against cuts to the French-Second-Language instruction. We see a lot of visible minority people: Asian, Indian, Arabic, Hispanic. One man is holding a sign that says: "Nous voulons un Québec francophone. Ne coupez pas les cours de français!"

    How much do you want to bet that that person is NOT a student, but rather some RRQ/SSJB/MMF zealot that infiltrated the rally?

  5. adski's points are informative, and interesting. When Michel Gratton wrote his book entitled French Canadians for the English market, his way of describing the language legislation following the Quiet Revolution as the new Holy Grail in Quebec.

    With the [Roman Catholic] church being abandoned in droves, the sheep needed a new shepherd to lead them, so government, whether by nature or by design, became the new shepherd.

    One big problem at the time of the Quiet Revolution was the economic disparity between the badly misled Francophones who, by direction of the Church, had oversized families but were told it's okay to be the "small bread" of society.

    Meanwhile, many of the minority immigrants came with the doctrine of rugged individualism because many arrived with little more than the clothes on their bodies, and had to build their prosperity from scratch. English speakers who had already established their roots generations earlier lived by the Protestant Work Ethic that encourages hard work and enjoying the fruits of that hard labour. Too, they didn't have the sprawling families their French speaking neighbours did.

    Interestingly, in light of what adski above wrote, there is an on-line book available absolutely free entitled "Why Canada Must End", and the website for that is

    It was written by a fellow named Tony Kondaks. He lives in Mesa, Arizona. I found his work very detailed and interesting, and like adski pointed out, Montreal and the rest of Quebec are distinct societies, and Kondaks believes the only way for Quebec to get English speakers on their side to separate is to create a sort of "special administrative region" à la Hong Kong.

    There is another interesting article by Michel David, but despite my best efforts, I could not find it at this time. He discusses that Montreal should be trilingual (doesn't specify the third language, but my guess would be Spanish as I anticipate the Americas will eventually form an economic and trade bloc). He goes on that Montreal should be somewhat of a tax haven to set up further investment and attract more jobs and development.

    So there you have it. There are those who figure Montreal should become either a separate entity or a special region. Montreal is not like the rest of Quebec because most of the English and other minority population resides there. Messrs. Tremblay and Labrie (with the name of a cheesehead) prove Quebec is really as backward as American states like Alabama and Mississippi. Sadly, Montreal too has its backward zealots like SSJB, Action français, and a host of others. Even Premier Goldilocks won't remove the crucifix in the National Assembly.

    Maybe it IS time for the partitionists to get together and separate Montreal from the rest of Quebec. Let the péquists and Bloc-heads stew on THAT one!

  6. I'm no friend of my mayor, precisely for his defence of his Catholic faith with taxpayers money, and do not like living in this region but I must say your image of the area is slightly outdated. Of course, I encounter many many rednecks in my daily life but I have met those everywhere, even big cities.

    Saguenay parents sued the government for the right to go to English schools for French children. At the English school in Jonquière, almost all 290 students are Francophones who are using their right to attend Anglophophone school.

    As for the highway, so much money is being spent on improving it that it's now taking 30 minutes less to reach the outside world.

    And, thanks to the UQAC students, the city centre is much more diverse than it used to be. Now you hear Chinese at Loblaws, the Muslims have a prayer room and I once went to a sushi restaurant where only the manager spoke French.

    Besides, the lack of diversity can be very easily explained: if there are no jobs even for locals to stay, how can you attract people for elsewhere?

    P.S.: As this is my first comment here, I wish to say that I agree with many of your positions even if I feel that the hate you perceive from Francophones is not representative of what I'm seeing. As someone stated, many people in the regions don't mind Anglos simply because they don't feel threatened - unlike people like Préfontaine.

  7. Andre Drouin is Un vrai fou de village avec un brin de foin dans bouche. If he thinks he is going somewhere with his palinism he is sadly mistaken.

    Here is another Quebecois moron attempting to make himself look like a man of stature, when he has the brains of a GOAT. Boy what a croc?