The Friday Inbox featured a listener email that got such a huge response, we decided to post it here. This is definitely worth a read. Thanks to our listener Marc for such a well-written submission and I hope you all enjoy his open letter to Philippe Couillard:
I am worried for my province. I am worried that our political system has become more of an exercise in the manipulation of people’s emotions instead of helping formalize people’s opinion. I’m worried that our political discourse is increasingly xenophobic or on the other side of the fence, alarmingly complacent and subdued.
I’m worried that my existing government is quite clearly involved in a campaign designed to pit myself against my neighbor instead of harnessing the potential and celebrating the accomplishments that can only come from an open minded, diverse society such as our own. And I’m worried that Québec, this unique island of assorted culture, history and tradition is going to lose its true identity in the name of those old soldiers who are still fighting a war that was won a long time ago.
But what I am most worried about Mr. Couillard is that, although everyone seems to fear for the future of Québec, no one is really doing anything about it. And I am at a complete loss on why.
I am French Québecois, pure laine, and I do not agree with most things that Pauline Marois stands for and neither do most French Quebecers. Many of them would no longer support Mme Marois if someone would take the time to explain the tremendous step back we would take if we allowed this type of intolerant individual to have a majority government.
Someone needs to introduce the term “slippery slope” to this debate. Although not religious myself, I am not in favor of removing people’s religious freedoms especially under the false pretense of promoting human rights. It is actually quite obvious to me that this strategy was designed to escalate a climate of intolerance thereby reinforcing a false perspective that the Quebec culture is at risk. It also serves to minimize the amount of non-PQ votes through attrition, alluding to potential government persecution and aimed specifically at those who are prone to be more sensitive to the reality of an oppressive government, having already uprooted their families in search of an “enlightened people”. Are we still an “enlightened people”?
Someone needs to point out that any government that attempts to gain power by ostracizing part of its own population is at the least perilously short sighted and at the most, blatantly intolerant and that does not bode well for anyone.
Now I am not trying to compare our existing leadership to Nazi Germany but I do want to draw a correlation between the roads such behavior may set us on. It may not be as brutal, it may not be as widespread but it does teach our children that under certain circumstances, forsaking the rights of a group of people in the name of personal ideology is acceptable. And we all know how quickly circumstances can change and how easily perspectives can be manipulated. Ask any Ukrainian, they will paint you a vivid picture I’m sure.
I consider myself quite lucky to live in a country where we are the example to the rest of the world of how wonderful life can be when we can accept and embrace one and other. How strong we have become because of our common values and principles and how rich and unique we are because of our diversity and differences.
Mme Marois is using a different approach, one that I believe we had grown up from; one that I thought was left to elementary schoolyards with children to naïve to know the difference. Divide and conquer, through ridicule, ignorance and intolerance. She wants us to revert back to an era where we first seek to persecute what is different or not familiar instead of trying to understand it.
She wants us to stunt our evolution as a people and as a country for a goal that has long become obsolete. We are part of a global economy; we should not only try to speak 2 languages we should speak as many as possible. We shouldn’t ignore various cultures and traditions we should study and understand them as others should ours. That’s the society we, Quebecers of every culture, color, religion and background, have worked long and hard to create.
Mme Marois wants to make a U-turn and go back to the 1970’s where her opinion and movement had a semblance of validity. And she wants to do it in spite of her own people. It’s time we made this clear to every voter, in every language, before it’s too late. And just in case someone isn’t positive about her intentions…
“I joined the PQ in the 1970s because of the issue of sovereignty. And that's why I wake up in the morning. A woman who gives birth to a country, that would be interesting”. Pauline Marois
It doesn’t get clearer than that. We are not voting for a party, we are voting for the future of our province, our country, our families, our friends and our countrymen. This is what we should be shouting from every rooftop, in as many languages possible. And I have no problems if the French version is twice as loud, because we are the ones who stand to lose the most when it’s all said and done.
M. Couillard, you wanted to represent us, to be our voice.
But I can’t hear you yet.