By Frank Verpaelst
(In response to the news of the PQ’s upcoming proposal for a “Quebec Charter of Values”, and in support of Peggy Curran’s response at the Montreal Gazette)
Did you think you think “Pastagate” was silly? If Pauline Marois and the PQ get their way on this Quebec Charter of Values they are proposing, we will be reaching Monty Python levels of ridiculousness. They will make the Ministry of Silly Walks look normal compared to what would come next, namely, l’Office Québécois de Bling-Bling Religieux.
I can see them now with their rulers, storming into an office, making sure that a cross worn on a chain was no larger than four centimeters long, and gruffly confiscating anything else that was not of catholic origin. “Mais non, monsieur, zat Toronto Maple Leafs hockey mug is not discreet enough, and does not share zee values of other Quebeckers!” (With apologies to my fellow French Canadians, I know this is not how we sound when we speak English, but it is how it would play out if it were a Monty Python sketch).
After a while, they would of course have to monitor the presence of religious foods in the public workplace. No more matzo bread during Jewish Passover, as kosher would no longer be, um, kosher in the public sector. (We would not want any Catholics to feel uncomfortable, now would we?) Latkes would have to take a bow to poutine. For many people, their daily coffee is like a religious ceremony, so, espresso and cappuccino would have to be replaced by Café au Lait. And of course, the accompanying English muffin or bagel would have to be replaced by either croissants, or baguettes.
Absurdities aside, what scares me most is the equating of values with religion, and that there will only be one religion, Catholicism, that will be allowed to display it’s symbol in the public sector, albeit “discreetly”. In the end, the PQ’s message is crystal clear: It’s OK to be you, so long as you are like us. And if you are not like us, we will single you out by your language first, and your religion second. At that point, can the thought police be far behind?
Peace in oneself, peace in the world.
(Thich Nhat Hanh)
About the author:
François Verpaelst is a blogger and podcaster who shares stories and opinions, mainly about succeeding in life despite (or perhaps because of?) being born with dwarfism.
François’ experiences have taught him that in most cases, the biggest barrier to success and happiness is our own belief. In other words, we are who we think we are.