Criticism of proposed kirpan ban ignores reality of Quebec culture

Re: Kirpan ban against Canadian Values, Feb. 2

Accusing the Bloc, whose raison d’être is separation, of flying in the face of ‘cherished Canadian values’ is pretty redundant!

The Bloc’s only underlining yet another divergence in values between Quebec (QC) and the Rest of Canada (ROC). They don’t need to clamour for more support, as they remain QC’s go-to party despite Canadian journalists’ best efforts.

The Bloc’s stance reflects QC society, which has formally defined its core values, including a secular state. Since the 60’s, QC has aspired to a rigorous secularism in public institutions. This strict approach is common among free societies with a history of repressive religious intrusion in government. This has nothing to do with xenophobia.

It’s unfair to accuse the Bloc of “re-opening the French–English divide,” since it was never closed to begin with. The author’s suggestion of what Quebecers should do “as Canadians” proves he has tragically misunderstood the past 35 years of Quebec-Canadian relations.

Quebecers believe quasi-unanimously they form a distinct nation. They prefer the melting-pot and believe cultural communities enrich QC culture by joining in and adding their own flair. The majority rejects the Canadian approach, believing it has encouraged the ghettoization of newcomers. They aren’t the only ones (see Andrew Coyne).

It’s simple to criticise when ignorant of the distinct historical and political context QC current events are rooted in. This Quebecer would apologise for raining on the parade, but I’m just not Canadian enough for that.

-James McDonald

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