Monday, 18 February 2013

Feb 17th, 2013 : Quebeckers Stand in the Blistering Cold to Fight for What They Believe In

Coffee in hand and bundled up doing their best to combat frostbite, protesters spilled onto Sherbrooke St W Montreal, Quebec in the hundreds right in front of Premier Pauline Marois' office to protest Bill 14. The bill that the minority PQ government are trying to table may possibly be one of the most ominous bills to be passed in Canada.

Some of the highlights or “low lights” of Bill14:

  • Would give the PQ language minister Diane de Courcy judicial type powers of seizure and the ability to seize personal computers, files, documents and whatever they feel admissible.
  • Close a loophole that allows francophone military families a right to send their children to English schools.

  • Force high school and CEGEP students to have a “mastery” of the french language in order to graduate. Please note high schools and CEGEPS already have french language immersion and requirements to graduate. What the PQ considers “mastery” is unknown at this moment. 
  •  Strip municipalities and their citizens of bilingual status and publications

The media loves to spin the rally against Bill 14 into an ANGLO RIGHTS issue, however nothing could be further from the truth. You can find francophones and citizens from EVERY cultural background protesting. This rally had absolutely nothing to do with anglo rights, and ALL to do with human rights. You do not have to be anglophone to exercise a human rights issue.

A Canadian expat who had been following the news was amazed at the great turnout, despite the cold and -26 windchill and had this to say:

Dear Canada,

Today I listened to speeches made at a rally from a cold and windy street in Montreal, speeches made before several hundred of your countrymen and women.

They weren't there to celebrate a hockey win, they weren't there for some corporate sponsored event giving away trinkets with a red Maple leaf on them.

They were there to show solidarity against a government hell bent on taking away more of their rights. This is a government dedicated to marginalizing them even further. What they WERE there to do is tell the current PQ government and anyone supporting these ominous laws "Enough is enough!”

They WERE there to express how they love freedom, equality and liberty. They WERE there to tell them they want a Constitution that you may very well take for granted, to apply to them as Quebeckers and Canadians and not just the rest of Canada.

The next time you gauge your pride in your nation by donning a Team Canada jersey, the next time you sew on the flag to your backback before you travel, the next time you hold your head high and think, "I am proud to be a Canadian" you need to ask yourself the following questions:  

Ask yourself how would you feel if your rights were being taken away in the most offensive and apparent ways? And what if your fellow countrymen have remained silent and abandoned you for over 40 years?

These Quebecers and proud Canadians who, despite insurmountable odds, threats and acts of violence against them, and regardless of laws that already exist which classify them as second class citizens came out to stand in solidarity. 

Francophones, anglophones, immigrants and people from all cultural backgrounds in finger numbing cold and despite every  justifiable reason to believe an entire country has forgotten them, today they stood arm-in-arm to say they still love their country. And regardless of the odds, they stood together to say, "We are proud to be Canadians!".

After today, I feel a very strong case could be made for them being the greatest Canadians in the nation. So the next time you take a moment to reflect on what Canada means to you, take a moment to think of them. The Quebec protestors that stood there in the cold for hours and remember that on Feb 17th 2013, they showed the rest of Canada that they DO care.

So please do not abandon them,  they have not abandoned you Canada.
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Special thanks to the “unity group” for their hard work on security media and the ground work for the protest.


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