The Quebec Liberals used to stand for something.
Despite some obvious linguistic transgressions, they did believe in civil liberties and now I am not sure what they believe in, if anything.
What happened to the moral centre?
With Bill 62 this week the Liberals are pandering to their base political instincts.
They are perceived as soft on the reasonable accommodation/ secularism file so they passed what arguably is one of the stupidest and meanest laws to ever float down the Grande Allée; it is legislation smacking of dog whistle politics.
It’s all about October 1, 2018: Election Day in Quebec .
It’s part of the Liberal’s grand scheme to steal the soft identity vote from the CAQ and PQ.
The Liberals desperately need to shore up the francophone vote, and in the 340 and some days until the election they will portray themselves as the guardians of Quebec values.
The light version: less filling tastes great. Except it doesn’t.
What this law really amounts to is an attack on religious freedom.
It is designed to target a couple of dozen Muslim women in Quebec with the goal of making everyone feel safer and assuredly more Quebecois.
You may not like the veil but that’s not the point.
What it will do is make targets of these women.
Face-covering vigilantes will no doubt patrol the buses and metro to call out offenders and perhaps rip the scarves or veils from their faces.
There is no way a law like this can be enforced; bus and metro drivers certainly won’t do it.
Will we need another layer of inspectors in Quebec?
What about in any government building? What about at a museum?
What is reasonable is to ask for someone to lift their veil when taking an oath of citizenship or when asked to produce a driver’s license or health care card.
There are times when showing one’s face is important .
But this is all about political gain and opportunism.
We don’t need to set the majority off against a few citizens because of fear.
The minister trying so hard to show it was not a discriminatory low went so far as to say big sunglasses would not be permitted either. Franchment madame, we aren’t that stupid.
This is not about state neutrality.
It’s a bad law designed for political expediency by people who should know better and it certainly will not pass the test of the Canadian Charter.
And once again, Quebec kept its double standard.
The crucifix in the Blue Room of the National Assembly will stay because it has been classified as part of Quebec’s cultural heritage.
Like Orwell’s Animal Farm, where the pigs run the government, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.
Added to this, the Liberals are squirming their way out of a commission on systemic racism.
In an election year it just wouldn’t do to air the dirty laundry.
I mean, can’t we just deal with all those pesky minorities some other time?
In the meantime the government says it will hold a forum on diversity.
They may as well hold a forum on hugs or milk and cookies because it might feel good but that’s about it.
Finally, we lost Gord Downie this week.
He was a true legend, someone who made us feel so proud to be Canadian.
He was one of us. He will be missed: the man who now walks among the stars.