Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Swastikas and the Canadian Way

The ignorance of some people truly sickens me. As I was reading an article titled "French-English divide deepens in Quebec" in today's paper, there is a photograph of Separatist hardliners demonstrating outside a lawyers office who is representing Bill 104 families that allows students greater access to English schools. While I respect the rights and can appreciate the different point of view being held by the Quebec separatists, it saddens me that they wish to take away the rights of families to select what language they wish their children to be educated in. An independent Quebec is a plausible argument (but such arguments could probably hold water in every Canadian province if we base it on culture), but the taking away of rights is unforgivable. This is nothing new in Quebec as Bill 101 that passed years ago, prohibits English on signs in Quebec, even if the proprietor and majority clientele is Anglophone.

But this is nothing new in the endless saga between the seperatists and Canada. However, there was an dark irony in the photograph that accompanied this article - that of a protester holding a Canadian flag with a swastika emblazened on the maple leaf. Doesn't this protester realise that what he is demonstrating for is very much in line with Nazi doctrine,in contrast to a Canada that is attempting to protect all, regardless of language, religion, race or gender? Secondly, does that protester believe that the true Quebecois is French speaking, Catholic with brown hair and brown eyes?

I am sick of how Nazi references are drawn out each time someone opposes the views on another (i.e. President Obama with a Hitler mustache as portrayed by those against his health care reforms - yeah, Hitler really wanted free and accessible healthcare for everyone in the Reich!). I am even more sick of all the tax dollars and appeasement policies being sent the way of Quebec. Yes, they are a massive portion of this nation, but guess what - they aren't the only distinct group in this vast and diverse nation of ours. Up until the 1960's, Gaelic was the common tongue of those living in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, there's a strong Icelandic influence in Manitoba, the Ukrainians of Alberta and so on. I am not advocating that all these cultures receive more funding, but on the contrary! Culture is the way you live. Full stop. Whether trying to protect the Francophone language on an English continent or teaching urban Natives about their traditional ways, it all sounds great, but ultimately, culture will evolve and change in spite our efforts to preserve the past.

Canada is a nation that needs to stop trying to satisfy all of the smaller groups within it, and focus on enshrining the rights of all based on a common set of values. Isolating Quebecers or First Nations Peoples as being distinct and having special treatment is detrimental to them as it fosters resentment on both sides and a false sense of identity. The one thing that all Canadians have in common is that we are here. Lamentations and attempts to re-write the past only make the present more confusing and make the future non-progressive. We should all be proud of our past - I embrace my Irish roots completely, without a cent of funding from the government - but, like it or not, it is a new world, were all here and we have a nation with incredible potential. Now do we invest billions in the perpetuation of idealistic traditional cultures, or do we live in a way that makes us happy and keeps the true North strong and free?


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