Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fuck you rest-of-world barbarians

Most notably, the Québec Act allowed the free practice of Catholicism in Québec, and modified the oath of allegiance in order to allow Catholics to hold office in the government. It was another 50 years before Catholics in England would be granted the full freedom provided under the Québec Act.

This pragmatic approach turned out to be effective in Québec, but it was definitely contentious elsewhere. The Québec Act was among the provocations that led to the revolution in the Thirteen Colonies to the south. It was denounced both by the First Continental Congress, and in the text of the Declaration of Independence itself. But the challenges of governing a New World territory such as Québec simply could not be ignored, and the Colonial administration wisely chose the controversial but pragmatic solution that included religious tolerance and minority accommodation. In a sense, this policy was vindicated to the extent that the colonies that would later join the Canadian confederation declined to participate in the revolution that broke out in the American colonies.

Note that the Yankees denounced the Quebec Act--which allowed the free practice of religion in Canada.

Fuck you, Yankee savages, when you talk about American freedom. Whether it was religion in the 1770s or torture now, you're wrong. And you have always been. You aren't more free than we are; you just persuade yourself that you are. And fuck you too, Yankee barbarians, that the idea of religion or creation is even an issue in schools now.

And remember we stopped slavery almost a hundred years before you killed each other to try to save it. Barbarians. You're the only serious country that actually debates abortion and health care. And nominates some idiot to be your VP.

But then, you also re-elected Bush.

Dissing American barbarians aside, this is a more affirmative point:

Somewhere among the examples of France, with its civil law heritage, Britain with its common law and unwritten constitution and the United States, with its melting pot and its near-absolute framework of rights, Canada forged its own unique constitutional settlement. In doing so, it honoured a proud New World tradition of pragmatism and accommodation. Moreover, these initiatives went beyond lofty pronouncements in constitutional documents. Commissions and tribunals were established to ensure that citizens whose constitutional rights had been violated could obtain a meaningful remedy.

And isn't that the point. American law is lofty in sentiment, but the little dude ends up fucked. We actually make it happen. Examples (aside: anyone advocating "this is our national language and all golf players and school kids must only speak it" would be laughed at as a lunatic):

I am thinking of the extent to which our parliamentary institutions have strived to ensure the accommodation of persons with disabilities – both for members of the public and members of the assembly. We see the use of sign language in television broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings, level access to public areas and to the Chamber alike. In the Senate, I recall the example of Senator Gauthier, whose full participation in debate in the Chamber and in committees was accommodated by the provision of real-time transcription, which allowed him to overcome his severe hearing impairment. I think of my colleague in the House of Commons, Steven Fletcher, the first quadriplegic Member of Parliament in our history. He has been elected, and re-elected, in Winnipeg. The House of Commons took steps to ensure that he is able to participate fully as a member in the Commons and in its committees, and as a Parliamentary Secretary to a Minister. Making this possible required pragmatic accommodation on a “micro” level. This included modifying the rule that excludes “strangers” in order to allow an assistant to sit with Mr. Fletcher on the floor of the House. These are specific cases, but they are not merely anecdotes. They are illustrations of the extent to which the impulse to accommodate has entered our collective consciousness – not just on an abstract and theoretical plane, but in every day real-world situations.

Fuck you, rest of the world. You got it wrong. You've slaughtered each other and locked each other out of your schools and courts and water fountains, all because you can't handle someone with a different language or colour or religion or slaves. I'm looking at you, Africa, Yugoslavia, the US, continental Europe. Oh ya and everywhere else too. I'm not saying Canada got it all right. But let no one lecture us about tolerance. And the next time some idiot says "We (speak different languages)(practice different faiths)(are different ethnic groups) (come from different tribes) (etc)" I'll point out that the most advanced, just, kind, progressive country that has ever existed manages all of that. Without killing each other.

Some of you backwards foreigners could bomb our cities to the stone age. You could never rebuild them.

You think you win on the strength of your arms; we will win with the strength of our ideas, the breadth of our minds, and the size of our hearts.

And one day Canadians will wake up and realize we are the most privileged and blessed 33 million people that have ever existed, and the only people that will have it better are our children.

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