Thursday, June 9, 2011

Quebec- First They Took Away Language, Now Religion

Back in the day, when Bill 101 was being introduced, the shock in the English community was something quite extraordinary and there were those who warned that if the government was going to legislate what language people could speak, it wouldn't be long before the government would legislate what religion we must all adhere to.

The defenders of Bill 101 scoffed at the notion, denigrating the complainers by telling anyone who'd listen that these were the opinions of alarmists and that the government would never, ever, interfere in religious affairs.

Skip forward forty years and here we are, with the government doing exactly that.

Back then Catholicism was the majority religion, but today it is largely a spent force with most francophone Quebeckers, Christians in name only. It's fair to say that secularism is the religion du jour, with just 6% of Francophone Quebeckers attending church regularly. The baptism rate for newborns has fallen below 60% and most of these are based on tradition or in order to satisfy parents and family. 

Christianity was chased from the public schools and has recently been replaced with a general course on religion that doesn't teach faith, but rather the nuts and bolts of all religions in a sterile and often criticized curriculum.

But there remains a minority, people of faith who object to a type of religious training that teaches children that their religion is no better or  worse than the rest.
Private religious schools which are also forced to teach this course, have objected that they cannot instruct children from a Christian, Jewish or Muslim point of view. One Catholic high school went to court and won its case. Now the issue will be decided by the Supreme Court and it doesn't look good for the Quebec government once again.
Yolande James- Minister of Anti-Religious Affairs

This week a newly formed group, an alliance between Christian and Jewish organizations is launching another court challenge, this one over the recent declaration by the government that state-funded day cares cannot teach any manner of religion. No doubt this is destined once again, to to head to the Supreme Court, which is over-burdened with cases from Quebec, all relating to attacks on personal freedoms and rights by the provincial government.  LINK

Considering that many of these day cares are operated by churches, synagogues and mosques, it seems a bit harsh to tell them that religion is verbotten. The rules are so silly that it is now legal to have a Christmas tree, but not legal to tell the story of the birth of Jesus. Jewish children may light a Menorah on the holiday of Hanukkah, but the teacher may not tell them why they are doing it.

Childrens songs that have religious references must be purged of offending passages or be banned!

Now many of you out there will argue that the state has no business supporting religion and should remain neutral. It's the responsibility of the parents, if they choose to, to give their children religious instruction on their own time and on their own dime.

Makes sense, right? ....not so fast.

The day-care issue is a case in point on how a government can control people through funding.

Ronald Reagan the old US conservative president lived by the credo that if he didn't like certain public policy he would effect change through funding cuts, instead of legislation.

We're getting a bit of that from the Conservative government which is cutting funding to organizations receiving government subsidies that don't share values with the government with the 'Rights & Democracy' group a prime example. This ranges from support of the arts, special interest groups and international aid groups.
It's toe the ideological line, or no money for you!

Now Quebec's state-funded daycare is so successful because of its low price, that it has practically driven all competition out of business. The $7 a day fee that parents pay is topped up by a government subsidy of $28 per child per day.
How is private industry able to compete with that?

And so  parents who want religious training in daycare are priced out of the market by a government who drives off the competition and then imposes a secular agenda on what is left. How fair is that?

Still not convinced? Let me make an analogy;

Let us say that the government decides that in an effort to make sure that each family has enough to eat, it will enact a universal food program.

The program is funded by all Quebeckers who pay a new tax, which averages out to about $100 a week, per family.
No family is exempt and nobody can opt out. Everybody must pay, like it or not.
For this $100 tax the government provides each family a weekly food package worth about $75 per week (The $25 is lost to administration expenses. Hey, it's the government!)
Government nutritionists choose only healthy foods it deems appropriate and no exceptions or exchanges are allowed.

Now certain Jewish families complain that they eat only Kosher food and that most foods in the basket are inappropriate.
"TOO BAD!" -says the government, "we're not in the religious business! Buy your own food if you don't like it."

Certain Muslim families also complain as well. The meat is not Hallal and we don't want pork products!
"TOO BAD!" -says the government, "we're not in the religious business! Buy your own food if you don't like it."

"BUT YOU TOOK OUR FOOD MONEY!"  the Jews and Muslims respond.


And that is how the religion of secularism  can be imposed on an unwilling segment of the population..

It isn't the government's job to tell citizens whether they should or should not be religious and it should not dictate to what extent that faith may manifest itself in society.

Refusing public funding of religious schools is not a neutral decision, it is a decision towards secularism. Those people of faith who pay taxes have rights as well and those rights should be respected.
It's easy for secularists to refuse funding to religious day cares because they are in the majority. But the Quebec government has long held a principle that fighting for minority French language rights in Canada is laudable and fully justified.

But not respecting its own religious minority acts completely in opposition to the principles it espouses.

What harm is there in funding religious day care?  Only people of faith send their children there and their tax money is used to fund the program. If you don't like religion don't send your children there!

Government exists to serve the people, all the people, not just the majority.
We all pay taxes and should expect expect equal consideration.

Funding religious day care costs not one cent extra and serves those families who wish to avail themselves of the program.

So what is the real objection?


  1. Editor: You wrote: "Government exists to serve the people, all the people, not just the majority. We all pay taxes and should expect expect equal consideration."

    I respond: Editor, did you intentionally or unintentionally ingest or inhale some very cheap crack? I made up my mind at age 16, while still in high school, that I was going to leave Quebec for EXACTLY that reason. Bill 22, the straw that broke THIS camel's back proved to me once and for all Quebec is NOT for me or the minorities altogether.

    Over 35 years later, my hypothesis has solidified into theory, and it has been proven time and time again. When the PQ tabled its Bill 1, the first language legislation, the foundation of the raison d'être of the PQ, that was the icing on the cake. Never mind that Bill 1 was "watered down" and its revision, Bill 101, became the "semifinal solution" in Quebec. Separation, of course, would have been the final.

    Move forward just over 30 years later. The little hicktown of Hérouxville managed to dig, find and open a rather pungent can of worms that ended up costing the Quebec taxpayer $5 million in the form of a "commission" that went around Quebec listening to endless rabid racist vitriol and venom about how Quebec is French and white and how comers must do as the Romans do...or else! started with language over 40 years ago and now it's attacking religion. Nicolae Ceauşescu, the eventually assassinated dictator of Romania near the end of his reign DID impose a maximum allowable daily caloric intake not to mention rationing foodstuffs that were barely edible, with the good stuff being exported for Romania to pay down its debt.

    With Quebec's finances still annually in deficit, and already the sixth most indebted jurisdiction on the planet, it won't be long before Quebec will have to take austerity measures. The Quebec electorate didn't make friends with Harper, and I peronally hope Harper, like Toronto mayor Rob Ford, puts an end to the "gravy train" and all those equalization payments to Quebec and elsewhere, but especially Quebec. They get far more ladles of gravy than anyone else, and yes dear trolls, on a per-capita basis, Quebec gets less.

    You got your $2.2 billion re HST tax collection compensation, so shut the hell up! It's at least $2 billion more than what I would have authorized.

    I'm just waiting to see how the NDP is going to divide itself. You can't be federalist and separatist at the same time, i.e., you can't suck and blow at the same time, but it will be interesting to see how Jack 'n' Uncle Tom are going to die trying to do so.

    What will Quebec think of next (as if it's this time that isn't going to rock their world)?

  2. I need to disagree with the Editor on this one.

    Since the American and French Revolutions the philosophy in democratic countries is the 'separation of church and state', also known as secularism. Secularism does not mean that the population is not allowed to practice their own religion. Far from it. People are allowed to practice and worship as they like, but the government may not have any involvement in the religious affair.

    There are a number of reasons for secularism. First is to guarantee the freedom of religion. Religions tend to have difference between one and the other. If one religion is allowed in power, it has the tendency to eliminate or suppress the other ones. Second reason is fairness. Since the truth in religions can not be objectively proven, adherence to religion is really based on one's belief and faith. How is it fair that the government pay more attention to one's 'fantasy' and not the other?

    Because of that, government is also not suppose to be involved in religion-based education. Getting involved in any kind of religious activity means that there is an unfair advantage given to religious establishment. From daycare to post-doctoral institutions, the government - which translated to public money -must not be involved if there is an element of religious teaching.

    And that situation goes well. Look at the example in the United States. Public education is secular, religious-based education is private. Some of the best universities there are religious-based and they are completely private. Duke, Brigham Young, Notre Dame, Georgetown to name a few. As well in Quebec. College de Montreal and College Notre Dame are two examples of high-quality, religious-based and private schools.

    The solution to daycare is easy, actually. If one needs daycare with religious content, make one in private. If that is what they want, they need to pay. But it is truly unfair to ask the population to pay for the 'fantasy' of some others.

  3. "Whoever we are
    Wherever were from
    We shoulda noticed by now
    Our behavior is dumb
    And if our chances
    Expect to improve
    Its gonna take a lot more
    Than tryin to remove
    The other race
    Or the other whatever
    From the face
    Of the planet altogether

    They call it the earth
    Which is a dumb kinda name
    But they named it right
    cause we behave the same...
    We are dumb all over
    Dumb all over,
    Yes we are
    Dumb all over,
    Near n far
    Dumb all over,
    Black n white
    People, we is not wrapped tight

    Nurds on the left
    Nurds on the right
    Religous fanatics
    On the air every night
    Sayin the bible
    Tells the story
    Makes the details
    Sound real gory
    bout what to do
    If the geeks over there
    Dont believe in the book
    We got over here

    You cant run a race
    Without no feet
    n pretty soon
    There wont be no street
    For dummies to jog on
    Or doggies to dog on
    Religous fanatics
    Can make it be all gone
    (I mean it wont blow up
    n disappear
    Itll just look ugly
    For a thousand years...)

    You cant run a country
    By a book of religion
    Not by a heap
    Or a lump or a smidgeon
    Of foolish rules
    Of ancient date
    Designed to make
    You all feel great
    While you fold, spindle
    And mutilate
    Those unbelievers
    From a neighboring state

    To arms! to arms!
    Hooray! thats great
    Two legs aint bad
    Unless theres a crate
    They ship the parts
    To mama in
    For souvenirs: two ears (get down!)
    Not his, not hers, (but what the hey? )
    The good book says:
    (it gotta be that way!)
    But their book says:
    Revenge the crusades...
    With whips n chains
    n hand grenades...
    Two arms? two arms?
    Have another and another
    Our God says:
    There aint no other!
    Our God says
    Its all okay!
    Our God says
    This is the way!

    It says in the book:
    Burn n destroy...
    n repent, n redeem
    n revenge, n deploy
    n rumble thee forth
    To the land of the unbelieving scum on the other side
    cause they dont go for whats in the book
    n that makes em bad
    So verily we must choppeth them up
    And stompeth them down
    Or rent a nice french bomb
    To poof them out of existance
    While leaving their real estate just where we need it
    To use again
    For temples in which to praise our god
    (cause he can really take care of business!)

    And when his humble tv servant
    With humble white hair
    And humble glasses
    And a nice brown suit
    And maybe a blond wife who takes phone calls
    Tells us our God says
    Its okay to do this stuff
    Then we gotta do it,
    cause if we dont do it,
    We aint gwine up to hebbin!
    (depending on which book youre using at the
    Time...cant use theirs... it dont work
    ...its all lies...gotta use mine...)
    Aint that right?
    Thats what they say
    Every night...
    Every day...
    Hey, we cant really be dumb
    If were just following gods orders
    Hey, lets get serious...
    God knows what hes doin
    He wrote this book here
    An the book says:
    He made us all to be just like him,
    If were dumb...
    Then God is dumb...
    (an maybe even a little ugly on the side)"

    The immortal Frank Zappa


  4. QC is all about having decisions made for you, and if you question the govt, you'll be spat on for years. Dehors Gouvernemama!
    I proudly send my daughter to a religious school, b/c anything the govt touches ends up with the nivellement vers le bas au complet (imposed mediocrity).

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  6. Usually, Editor, I'm with you, but not on this one. This just opens up a whole can of worms that's best left closed.
    Nobody seems to have any problem with secular parks, libraries, community centres etc., all of which are funded by your taxes, so we know that people can exist without religious exposure in every aspect of their lives. Why can't kids get their religious exposure at their home or church/mosque/synagogue? If I'm Catholic and the closest daycare to my house is Jewish, can I send my kids there and request no exposure to Jewish themes? How would that ever work? But if not, then aren't they being discriminated against in a government funded daycare? It's so much simpler to keep all religion out of it. There are enough messes in the world without trying to create a new one.
    As a final note,without the $8.5 billion in transfer payments, there's virtually no chance that Quebec would be able to afford $7/day daycare so, effectively, it's not Quebec taxpayers that are paying for it, but taxpayers in the ROC.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Diogenes: You're getting my message. I've written in this blog many, many times about programs not otherwise affordable without the equalization payments. Incredible how only Quebec can afford these programs, and even others that do not exist in the Real Canada.