This is a largely Catholic province populated by people who, against all common sense and conventional wisdom, have consistently polled as among the most socially liberal in the country, particularly on gay and women's rights. Go figure. And yet, there has always been this deep abscess of conservatism and xenophobia in Quebec that bubbles up to the surface once in a rare while. Parizeau's post-referendum meltdown and the anti-Muslim nonsense in Herouxville are two examples that come immediately to mind.
Historically, though, this Gallic tendency has been mitigated by a combination of urban diversity and rural pragmatism. The city folks (ok, Montrealers) are tolerant because they have always lived cheek by jowl with people of many colours and creeds. Rural Quebecers are tolerant by default because they've never really had to deal with anything more exotic than that Presbyterian family up the road. And up until recently, everybody has gotten along just fine.
But now they have the ADQ peddling the same old neo-con shite that's been selling so well out west and south of the border. Specifically, that all those 'outsiders' (Anglos, immigrants, Muslims, the Federal Government, hippies - take your pick) are taking their jobs and their tax dollars and eroding their family values and are somehow responsible for whatever they think is wrong with their lives. And suddenly that pustulating abscess of intolerance is walking and talking and getting votes and sporting a really fine Republican hairdo.
(Ya know, I really wasn't going to get into all this.)
With all this nurdling away in the back of my brain, and with the polls going the way they have been, I’ve been feeling a little... pessimistic. I even bought myself a copy of "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America", thinking it would make me feel better somehow to read about just how bad things have gotten in the States and to reassure myself that it could never, ever happen here. I haven’t started reading it yet, but I have a feeling it’s not going to work.
On the other hand, this just might improve my mood:
Blog Against Theocracy is an idea started by BlueGal, and picked up by a bunch of other bloggers on both sides of the border. Very loose guidelines - just post sometime between Friday and Sunday Easter weekend (Apr. 6-8). Some ideas:
No religious discrimination.
PRO End-of-Life Care (no more Terri Schiavo travesties)
Reproductive health decisions made by individuals, not religious "majorities"
Democracy not Theocracy
Academic Integrity (like, a rock is as old as it is, not as old as the Bible says)
Sound Science (good bye so-called "intelligent" design)
Respect for ALL families (based on love, not sexual orientation. Hellooooo.)
The right to worship, OR NOT.
The specific goal for the Americans is a constitutionally guaranteed separation of church and state (believe it or not, they don't actually have one yet). For we Canadians, it will be about showing our support and sending our own message. As Dave at the Galloping Beaver pointed out, "the people they are fighting against all have branch offices in Ottawa and lobby-shops within view of Parliament Hill".
I am SO all over this. I feel better already.