Tuesday, 17 September 2013


My father once told me that he didn't realize he felt like an immigrant living in his own country until he moved to Ottawa.  

I didn't understand what he meant until I too joined him in moving to Ottawa.  At that point I realized that I always had a weight upon my shoulders no matter where I went.  

My French was, and still is, very basic.  So every time I went into a public place I was always worried that I wouldn't be able to communicate.  I felt obligated to attempt to speak French and if, after engaging in conversation, I realized there was a word that I didn't know in French coming up I would feel quite a bit of anxiety.

That anxiety was compounded exponentially when dealing with things other than just a fast food place but instead something like renewing a health card or getting a drivers license.

And that was when I was speaking with friendly people.  There were many instances of times when I would get dirty looks or get curt responses of Francais or simply be ignored.

Luckily the rude people were the minority and it didn't shake my faith in humanity.  

I did however feel like I was the one who needed to make the effort to please those I was interacting with even though, for the most part, I was the customer who was attempting to hand over my money.

It's a strange thing to feel as though you don't feel included in a society that you were born in.  

Now for the most part it wasn't that big a deal but I can definitely say that I felt a huge burden lifted off of my shoulders upon moving to Ottawa.

Now why do I write this now?  I have no qualms over my childhood or young adulthood living in Quebec.  In fact I loved my childhood.  I left because my lack of French was becoming an issue when it came to me finding a job.  (Please let's not get into why I didn't learn the language.  I tried.  I could have tried harder for sure.  But even when I put in the effort I had extreme difficulty.  So rather than struggle with it my whole life I decided to move on).

So again why am I writing this now?

Well up to this point I thought Quebecers, like the rest of Canadians, were friendly inclusive tolerant people.

That view is starting to change with the media portrayal of all the discrimination that is going on right now in light of Pauline Marious recent legislation proposal.  And that comes on the tail end of all the language police issues that were being reported.

At first I believed that the media was simply reporting the few rare instances of discrimination that ,added up, seemed widespread but in actuality did not represent the view of Quebecers.  

Even when polls initially came out that stated a strong majority of Quebecers support her proposed legislation I thought it was faulty polling.

However the news reports keep coming in and the polls are consistently showing a majority of support.  (A most recent poll showed a dramatic decline in support but still brings a small majority).

Here's where I become woefully ignorant and start talking on issues that I have no heavily researched, if I haven't been already.  

What I believe Pauline's current legislation is attempting to do is ban public workers, including teachers, doctors, day care workers, from displaying any religious symbols.  It appears as though a few modest pieces of Christian attire will be permitted however.

The belief is that Quebec values are based upon inclusion and that religion has no place in the public sphere.  Therefore keep your religious beliefs at home.  

Now I've already hinted at the obvious hypocrisy in this.  They are permitting small crosses on necklaces so apparently it's not so much the Christian faith they are concerned with.  But that is really besides the point.

The point is this:


I'm having a hard time right now figuring out how to write this because it's just so obvious...

I suppose it could go something like this:

Life is very simple.  Do whatever you want as long as whatever you are doing isn't also infringing on another's right to do whatever they want.

I'm an atheist.  I have no way of knowing for sure that God doesn't exist but I've decided that I do not believe that he does.  The reasons for that are numerous and could fill up many many blog entries.  But that's not what this one is about.

I have the right to not believe in God.   Somebody wearing their religious attire does in no way infringe on my right to believe that.  They are simply exorcising their right to religious freedom.  We can work side by side in harmony.

And yet I've heard people say that those people should leave their religion at home and stop throwing their religion onto all of us.  Keep it private.

Now again I believed those people to be in the minority and quite frankly purely and simply dumb.  So I didn't even bother trying to figure out their rational.  

However with the high level of support I'm deeply troubled about what is currently going on in Quebec.  And quite honestly it's not just in Quebec.  The initial polls had something like 45% of the rest of Canadians also in favor of this legislation.  

I hate that as I get older I think less and less of humanity.  

I loved the fact that, what I believed to be, the Canadian identity was actually a lack of a strong Canadian identity.  What I mean by that is that to be Canadian is to be unique and different.  There are all kinds of Canadians and we don't all represent one belief system.  What holds us together is our sense of individual rights and respect for others.  

What I fear going on in Quebec right now is a backlash against multiculturalism.  What Pauline Marious is attempting to do is create a single identity and that is strictly anti Canadian as well as anti human rights.

My bigger fear is that it is only going to get worse.  

And I believe it will get worse as Quebec's economy gets worse.  Quebec has a huge debt issue.  And I believe, with the earlier language laws, businesses and talented professionals have already begun leaving Quebec.  

Now Quebec, with its current discriminatory laws, is going to further encourage talented professionals to take their law or doctor degree where somebody doesn't care that they wear a hat on their head.  

This will further damage the economy.  

As the economy gets worse the people of Quebec are going to look for somebody to blame and it's really hard to blame oneself.  So instead they will look at further tightening immigration laws, since they are the reason for this downward spiral.  All the while failing to realize that Quebecers aren't having enough babies and the immigrants are actually keeping the population afloat.  

With professional and talented immigrants going elsewhere we are both losing their brain power as well as their younger numbers to help pay for an increasingly aging Quebec population further damaging the economy.

What I really fear is what happens at this point.  The blame will only intensify and then what?  Well I've said it before.  We as a species seem to love a scapegoat.  We've seen in throughout history and while I hate to play the Hitler card it is how Hitler came to power.

I just made several leaps.  But honestly even if you don't believe in my doomsday prophecy for Quebec I'm sure you can at least agree with my belief in basic human rights.  

Let others practice whatever religious belief, in whatever way they please, as long as it doesn't pose a threat to society.  And your not agreeing with a popular faith is not a threat to society.

And as a white, male atheist i'm not standing up for the rights of religious people.  I'm standing up for my own.  The right to live in a free society.  Free from hate, free from fear, and free from all those who attempt to impose THEIR beliefs onto my own.  

Fuck those people.


  1. Your writing has gotten a lot better, Chris. I don't read all your blogs but I've read a few and you can see a big difference. I wish you didn't play th Hitler card though.

    And I purposely did not respond to the political content of you blog cause frankly, I'm sick of talking about it, but I pretty much agree with your point of view.

  2. I too hate it when people play the Hitler card but I believe I used it appropriately.

    Most people play the Hitler card to make their point of view seem more important by equating a much smaller issue with something horribly evil like Nazi Germany.

    I'm not doing that.

    I'm not at all saying that what Pauline Marois is doing is what Hitler did. I'm simply pointing out a modern example of scapegoating. What Pauline Marois is currently doing is not scapegoating.

    However I am worried about a worsening Quebec economy and potential blaming of immigrants for that weak economy. If that does occur it would be similar to what Hitler did while rising to power.