Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Charter of Values...The Day After
I thought the Pastagate affair plumbed the depths of lunacy and reached into as yet uncharted territory of insanity, a level one would think, hard to beat... and then came the Charter of Values, which makes Pastagate look like a trifle.
The attendant sound and fury attached to the current debate has me scratching my head, after all what does someone in Quebec City or Hérouxville have to get so excited about?
What is it about the hijab that has the entire province in atwitter?
The economic problems at hand seem to matter naught, while thousands of stories over the Charter continue to flood the newspapers and airwaves Ad nauseam.
This for months and months.
Yesterday our illustrious Minister of Natural Resources, Martine Ouellet was forced to drop her mining reform bill, because the resource companies are cancelling Quebec projects like flies in anticipation of increased costs and a hostile business environment.
In the meantime our Premier, La Pauline is desperately announcing job creation projects, this week a meagre 90 jobs at Pratt and Whitney, which still cost Quebec a subsidy of $17 million.
Is that not pitiful?
Companies are mindful of the government's desperation and are jumping to get in on the subsidy gravy train, as underlined by ALCOA, which threatened to take its 3,300 well-paying aluminum jobs elsewhere unless the government maintained its bargain basement price for electricity which was scheduled to rise from 3¢ to 4.4¢ an increase that would cost the company about 100 million dollars. LINK
La Pauline took less than 24 hours to cave and assured everyone that ALCOA is not going anywhere.
Quebec is bleeding jobs while employment figures in the ROC are rising. The budget shortfall is getting so scary that the finance minister Nicolas Marceau, ordered his department to stop supplying the auditor-general with financial data, lest the truth be known. He told employees that they can now provide information on methodology only, but not substance, which can only mean that we are headed for catastrophe and the PQ is sweeping the mess under the rug until the last possible moment.
You'd think Quebecers would be concerned, or concerned enough to push the Charter debate off the front page, but alas such is not the case.
In all of this, I wonder what supporters of the Charter of Values actually think they will accomplish, should the law be passed.
Will Quebec be more French, secular, equal, fair and will there be a higher level of social peace and harmony due to the Charter? Ya think?
This is the fantasy that is the Charter, the idea that in one fell swoop it will eliminate devoted Muslims, Jews and Sikhs from continuing to be pious and observant.
Let us pretend that the law is enacted and peek into the future.
And so those in the public service, schools and hospitals will be told to remove their head coverings and no doubt many will comply.
It won't change who they are and what they are, it will just hide the fact.
How is that an advantage?
The hijab, kippah and turban will quickly become the forbidden fruit and that usually means that more people will want to embrace them as a symbol of resistance. That is human nature.
But what about those that outright refuse and while they will be in a minority, each story of confrontation and resistance will splash across the media at home and reverberate around the world.
What school or day care or seniors home administrator will tell a someone to go home and leave their charges devoid of supervision.
Worse, what manner of hospital administrator will tell a doctor to leave the ER or a nurse to abandon her post or an orderly to stop cleaning the floor because of a religious symbol?
And so it will be up to the public and those who enjoy playing the bad cop, to enter into dangerous confrontations with the refusniks and while incidents are somewhat rare up to now, after the law is passed, we can expect a dangerous escalation of incidents, again all to be reported world-wide.
And what about boycotts?
Could the province stand the repercussion of a Jewish boycott in retaliation to the kippah ban?
Quebec will be in for some nasty push back from the ever-powerful Jewish lobby and a boycott by the sports and entertainment industry as well as the investment community.
What will happen when the NHL lets it be known that Quebec will never get a franchise or that Jewish artists and more importantly Jewish managers and agents will boycott the Montreal Jazz or Comedy festival. What if the Jewish investment community decides to give Quebec a pass.
While defenders will pooh-pooh the idea of Quebec suffering a boycott in retaliation, let me remind them what happened with the turban in soccer.
While the supporters of the Charter, the PQ government included, encouraged the Quebec Soccer Federation to stand firm on the turban ban on the soccer pitch, the world had another idea and the Canadian Soccer federation quickly suspended Quebec over the issue.
All of a sudden the FSQ reversed itself on the issue, understanding that when push comes to shove, you can't fight city hall!
So not only are international boycotts in relation to the Charter a possibility, they are a certainty.
To believe otherwise is to whistle past the graveyard.
Won't happen? Can't happen? It already has!
If you think I'm being an alarmist, think again.
When Jewish, Sikh and Muslim doctors, nurses, health professionals and teachers hold press conferences to resign en masse, it will rock Quebec from top to bottom and make waves across the world.
And what will be the effect of employees claiming harassment, or intimidation and who seek benefits because of burnout or stress related illness. Such are the rules that allow it.
And what about the thousands of lawsuits to be launched by employees deprived of work. There is a committee of lawyers, already forming, tasked to launch challenges against the law and take up the cause.
Should the law fail the test of constitutionality years down the road, the province could be open to billions in damages and back pay.
And finally, what on Earth will happen if real Muslim extremists take exception and decide that action must be taken in order to stop the proliferation of such legislation in other jurisdictions?
I shudder to think.
Alarmist...I don't think so, but to Charter Supporters, all I can say.......Are you willing to roll the dice?
As Dirty Harry said in the movies...."Go ahead... Make my day!"
Posted by Editor on 10/30/2013 06:31:00 PM