Yes, my Canada includes Quebec. It includes Quebec’s unique culture. It includes the French language. It includes Quebec’s different legal system, different traditions. It includes the brave, righteous struggle of Quebecois against being treated as second-class citizens of this country.
Protest against Bill 62 along a bus route on Montreal’s Parc Avenue Friday. (Sudha Krishnan/CBC)
But… My Canada does not include populist intolerance. Nativism. Xenophobia. Political opportunism, the willingness to awaken demons for the sake of winning elections.
Quebec’s Bill 62 is a solution to a non-existent problem. I have not heard of any issues arising from Muslim women in traditional clothing boarding a municipal bus. Or for that matter, from a member of the staff at a hospital wearing a face covering. (Don’t they often wear surgical masks anyway?)
Bill 62 is clearly divisive. I sincerely hope that sooner rather than later, it will be declared unconstitutional by a Quebec court. And that finally, there will be Quebec politicians who will have the guts to go against the majority and educate them against the hate and intolerance that they are so willing to embrace.
But if it remains the law of the land in Quebec… then you know what? I hope Quebec will hold a referendum soon and secedes from Canada after all. Because my Canada does not include a shameful law like Bill 62. Get out of Canada and take your xenophobia with you.
Mind you, I remain hopeful that it’s the law that goes away, and Quebec remains. Because… mon Canada comprend le Québec… un Québec sans loi 62, sans xénophobie.