Assault on the collective consciousness of the Quebec people: Promotion of backward views a sign of desperation

By PAULINE EASTON

150328-Ottawa-IdleNoMoreC51-3 (1)In Quebec a concerted effort is being made by the media to promote backward views claiming that they are the views of the people. This assault on the people’s collective consciousness is a sign of desperation.

To understand how the people in Quebec are targeted so that they cannot consolidate their unity in the political domain in this election, the media arrangements tell the story.
For instance, recently two “reports” appeared side by side in Radio-Canada, TVA and La Presse saying that the NDP is in free fall and the Bloc has the “wind in its sails.” This is what they decided to promote and that is that. Fiction becomes fact. What is the aim? Who is setting this aim?

Media ownership is highly concentrated and it plays a role in disinforming the polity. For instance, when “the crisis of reasonable accommodation” surfaced a few years back following which the Liberal government convened the so-called Bouchard-Taylor Commission, the entire fiction that Quebec is divided between “old stock” Quebeckers and “immigrants” and that “old stock Quebeckers” are racist was created, amongst others, by the Journal de Montreal. This paper is owned by the current head of the Parti Québécois, Pierre-Karl Péladeau of the Quebecor media monopoly. For months it propagated falsified accounts and exaggerated misrepresentations to promote the nonsense that Quebeckers are xenophobic, islamaphobic and racist and that if you are a true Quebecker and want sovereignty then you must adhere to these positions as well.

The fact is that Quebeckers stand second to none when it comes to defending the rights of all. They are staunch defenders of secularism because they suffered greatly under the tutelage of the ultra montaignist Catholic Church imposed on them in the 19th century by the British to keep them in check. This Church followed the ultra-reactionary dictate of Pius IX who issued the Papal Bulls on immaculate conception and the infallibility of the Pope. The Church was fiercely opposed to anyone who stood for enlightenment and science and had them ex-communicated, defamed and pilloried. That church even opposed farmers that sought modern farming technologies, not to say those who read books, especially those which contained enlightened ideas. It was the worst oppressor of women and made life miserable for families, all in the name of family values. The abuse of children was beyond the beyond. The kind of treatment churches all over Canada meted out to Indigenous children and sexual predation was coupled with locking up orphans in mental institutions because it was more lucrative than keeping them in orphanages. This was still going on in the mid-20th century. It is living memory which touches entire families which suffered greatly under the tutelage of the powerful Catholic Church in Quebec.

To their greatest merit, throughout their history Quebeckers have fought the stranglehold of the Church over their lives and in the fifties and sixties they finally managed to smash its political power and establish secular arrangements. This means that no ecclesiastic authority is permitted to regulate social, cultural, political or economic affairs. The field of education was liberated from the stranglehold of church dogma. Since then, Quebeckers are determined to have matters pertaining to the Church stay in the Church. They cannot dictate state policy.

This is where utmost confusion is being created in Quebec using the issue of values, mixing up the people’s demand for secular arrangements in public life and equality for women with the Harper government’s backward position which misuses the issue of rights to incite passion and divide the polity. In this regard, in this election, even Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Québécois seems to have established common cause with Stephen Harper over the issue of the niqab. What is gained by portraying this as being in Quebec’s interest is beyond the comprehension of many.

Also, it should be made very clear that many artistic personalities and other Quebeckers who have expressed themselves against the use of the niqab during citizenship ceremonies are not islamophobic either. Many times their views are taken out of the context and made into political statements where they are used by the media to inflame passions. Many times, such personalities have made public statements afterwards to clarify that their concerns were distorted, exaggerated or decontextualized. The media use these misrepresented positions to declare that Quebeckers support the views of Stephen Harper on questions of war and security.

The same Quebeckers who stand in the front ranks of those demanding justice, rights and anti-war governments and who are made targets of attack in Canada by so-called security legislation are portrayed as being pro-war and pro-police state measures. It is self-serving indeed.

Where is the serious discussion in Canada and Quebec about how to guarantee security by defending the rights of all? Where is the summation of the nation-building projects in Canada, Quebec and amongst Indigenous peoples so that together Canadians, Quebeckers and Indigenous peoples can define themselves, establish a modern identity for themselves which is fitting and helps them face the challenges the 21s century poses to their right to be and establish a modern polity on that basis.

The time is now to strengthen the unity in action of all the peoples who comprise the country called Canada by upholding the rights of all. It is by providing rights which pertain to us by virtue of being human that society’s path to progress can be opened and our right to be can become the condition for all human beings to develop their potential and flourish. Let us together activate the human factor/social consciousness to defeat the anti-human factor/anti-social consciousness which is threatening humankind with extinction. This is what will humanize our social and natural environment!

Source: Democratic Renewal, October 9, 2015 • No. 186. Previous Issues

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