EDITORIAL: Politics, religion and … Well, two out of three ain’t bad

EDITORIAL: Politics, religion and … Well, two out of three ain’t bad

This editorial first appeared in the June 2017 issue of Life in Québec Magazine.

Life in Quebec Magazine is a lifestyle publication covering Quebec and is published 4 times per year.

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At Life in Québec, we pride ourselves on covering the full spectrum of topics, even those traditionally considered taboo . As the saying goes, “out of line” is what you call the person who says what everyone else is thinking. If that’s true, we prefer to be out of line.

Public discourse is too often at a premium, it seems, and we are bombarded every day with issues that beg open and frank discussion. That’s how conflicts get resolved, adversaries find common ground, and friendships flourish, whether they involve neighbours or nations.

We find it heartening that in the wake of the Québec City mosque shooting, Quebecers came together in solidarity with the victims, their families and members of a community of citizens whose humanity is no different from those who speak another language or identify with another culture.

In the same way, when we talk about “gun culture,” we are simply referring to firearms enthusiasts, not necessarily “gunmen” in the sense that media reports have given to the word.

We’re still talking about all of this because we need to, just as we need to talk about the existence in the province of a far-right movement whose adherents have their own concerns and fears for an uncertain future.

Rather than keeping these topics in the shadows or sweeping unpleasant issues or events under the rug, we as individuals need to address what ails us, what scares us and what keeps us from coming together as equals in society.

We hope some of the articles in this edition of Life in Québec will provide food for thought and fuel for debate, both of which seem sorely needed nowadays.

Perhaps the tastiest morsel of wisdom you’ll read in these pages comes from Maryam Bessiri, a Moroccan-born urban planner who now co-hosts a radio show in her adopted city of Québec , on the difference between assimilation and integration of cultures:

“Assimilation is tearing away the identity of an individual and enforcing another one upon them. Assimilation is what the [Canadian] government tried to do to First Nations, and it is what the French have done to the Maghrebi [North African] community in France. Integration is keeping your roots and developing a new identity that brings one’s past and present together… Identity, after all, is a process of knitting all the different aspects of oneself together to create the whole.”

As for politics, well, that too remains a hot topic, as the Progressive Conservative leadership race concludes, the NDP leadership race heats up   Quebecers – and the Bloc Québécois – contemplate the volume of our collective voice in Ottawa and the volatility of our  sometimes colourful and controversial elected officials.

The rumblings in the hallowed halls of power, as always, blur the line between politics and entertainment. Sometimes the line disappears altogether, as in the examination of our once-venerated Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, still struggling to heal itself from the axe blows delivered by the Stephen Harper government, down but not out. As much as the discourse around identity has been influenced in recent years by international events, there is no questioning the vital role the CBC has long played in shaping, defining and unifying what it means to be Canadian. We wish it a full and speedy recovery.

Such weighty matters require some balance, and now that the long-rumoured arrival of summer appears to have come to pass, at least on some days, we offer our readers the opportunity to meet Marie-Christine Leblanc, the darling of Québec’s arts and entertainment media world, and to discover the quirky sport of KinBall.

Quirky? Well, as you will read, KinBall distinguishes itself from other competitive sports in more ways than one, most notably in that it is played with three teams instead of two, the idea being to foster teamwork that crosses “party lines” so that co-operation becomes essential to success.

Perhaps our politicians, pundits and anyone still opposed to open, friendly debate should give KinBall a try.

Have a safe and happy summer.
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