Welcome to Quebec

A full-page Newspaper ad featuring Premier Jean Charest last  week stated “Quebec forms a nation through its history, language, culture and institutions.” It also spoke of the equality of men and women, primacy of the French language and the separation of state and religion as bedrock principles. “The word “peoples” is conspicuously absent from Charest’s definition of the Quebec nation; because for him to include it would force the recognition of the true founding members of these lands, its aboriginal people.”. 
 
In a motion adopted unanimously by all parties in the National Assembly,, the motion affirms Quebecers’ “attachment to our religious and historic heritage represented by the crucifix” in the assembly. But the motion also reaffirms the promotion of the French language, “the history, culture and values of the Quebec nation in a spirit of openness and reciprocity,” borrowing language from the report. The commissioners suggest that judges, crown prosecutors, police officers, prison guards and the speaker and deputy speaker of the assembly refrain from wearing religious signs. But teachers, civil servants, health professionals and all other government employees could continue to wear religious signs. “The crucifix is about 350 years of history in Quebec that none of us are ever going to erase and of a very strong presence, in particular, of the Catholic church, and that’s our reality.” “As the premier of Quebec, my first role is the supreme responsibility to protect and perpetuate the French language,” and it’s culture, Premier Jean Charest. Charest called on the opposition parties to join the government in adopting Bill 63, which proposes an interpretive clause, affirming the equality of women and men in Quebec’s human rights charter.    

 The Catholics themselves now have not denied that Jesus Christ is Lord God for 2000 years too..

 

Still today Quebec’s official welcome to non-Catholic immigrants  in addition to the huge crucifix atop Mount Royal in Montreal are crucifix and their prayers. Quebec’s Catholics special religious rights  goes back to the Quebec Act of 1774, and is central to the asymmetrical features of Confederation in the British North America Act of 1867. This The Quebec Act explicitly guaranteed the freedom to practice the Catholic faith. It also restored French civil law alongside the British common law even till today. Furthermore, the Quebec Act allowed Catholics to hold public office, and removed a reference to the Protestant denomination in the office holders’ oath of allegiance to the king of England. It also allowed the Catholic church to collect the religious tax known as the tithe, and permitted the Jesuits to return to Quebec.”  These enlightened and generous gestures by the British occupiers were extremely well received by the population. And they achieved their immediate political purpose. The territory formerly known as New France or Canada did not, after the Quebec Act, join in the American Revolution. In other words, the Quebec Act changed the course of North American history, and enabled the emergence of Canada nearly a century later, ending any thoughts of an American takeover following the U.S. Civil War. It was, in effect, the religious freedoms guaranteed to Catholics, along with the restoration of French civil law, that guaranteed the survival of the French language and culture on the northern half of this continent.” And those laws. rights were next also  reflected in the Canada’s BNA Act, which in Article 93 guaranteed the place of Catholic and Protestant schools in Quebec. The status of the English-language minority was also protected in Article 133, which guaranteed both French and English as recognized languages and legislature.” Asymmetrical federalism wasn’t invented with the Health Accord of 2004, it has been with us since 1867, and is central to the  Confederation agreement.   http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=481dcae6-9207-4d96-b3ad-834c40fe7e99
   
Quebec’s Jean Charest saw this all clearly, immediately when he received his copy of the Bouchard-Taylor report, and even as it was released last Thursday, the government tabled a motion in the legislature affirming “our attachment to our religious and historic heritage represented by the crucifix.” The Quebec legislature unanimously rejected the proposal to remove the crucifix from the National Assembly, a recommendation of the Bouchard/Taylor commission on reasonable immigrant accommodation. And this   appears rather strange for some people who point out that the Quebec province that has the lowest church attendance, one of our lowest birth rates and the largest number (per capita) of common-law marriages. Yet at heart the majority of Quebecers are still catholic and are not about to be forced to fully give up their Catholic religion, religious beliefs.

 Quebec’s Premier  Jean  Charest he has his Quebec history exactly right and  Catholics are still a big majority of the population. For Quebec society to give up religious and cultural symbols to please any immigrants who seem to take offence much too easily does not make sense nor is it a necessary legal, constitutional right. it is the immigrants who should make bigger accommodation to integrate with the Quebec, host  society, not the host society who should compromise its traditions to suit all of cultural demands  of the various immigrants.

In television interviews Quebec’s Premier  Jean  Charest explained that part of his plan will include requiring immigrants to learn French before arriving in Quebec and that they will have to sign a document adhering to Quebec values. Most Canadians support the primacy of the French language in Quebec. Many Canadians still do reluctantly accept Quebec as a distinct society and the House of Commons still even voted to designate Quebec “a nation”. Not much has changed in reality in Quebec for the last many decades too. The same old life and values seem to continue.

The Quebec National Assembly also adopted a unanimous resolution yesterday affirming that the mastery of French is an essential prerequisite for the naming of judges to the Supreme Court of Canada, and this should include the Prime Minister and the leader  of the official opposition party.  The leaders of all three political parties in Quebec argued that the time had come to insist on the French-language requirement as prerequisite to all future appointments. The knowledge of a language is a knowledge of a culture, of a reality. And those who are called on to interpret this reality and make decisions, which will have a very important impact on our lives, must, through our language, know this reality.” He noted that Quebec has a unique civil-law tradition and that the constitution provides that at least three judges be named from the province. “The message we are sending today to the federal government is that it is not optional when a Supreme Court judge is named,” Quebec premier Charest added, saying that this doesn’t just apply to Quebec, but to the Acadian and francophone societies across Canada.

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