Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Manifesto in defence of liberalism and federalism in Quebec

A manifesto in defence of liberalism and federalism in Quebec
Globe and Mail web-exclusive commentary
October 11

The following comes from grassroots liberals and federalists for the promotion of liberal and federalist values in Quebec:

The current political situation is of grave concern to Quebeckers who share liberal and federalist values. The resounding defeat of the federal Liberal Party in the Sept. 17 by-elections and the Quebec Liberal Party's relegation to the bottom of the polls demonstrates not only that these parties are politically weak, but that the very existence of political liberalism and a resolutely federalist vision are threatened in the province.

As federalists and full-fledged Quebeckers, liberals (both independent and card-carrying) refuse to be defeated by this state of affairs; we are determined to overcome it. We take this position because of our attachment to liberalism — a political ideal based on the primacy of individual freedom; on peaceful and democratic changes in political, social and economic institutions; and on commitment to the protection of personal rights and civil liberties.

A liberal strain certainly runs through Quebec society. This movement has fought for modern ideas, social progress and economic development. It has relentlessly upheld the rights and freedoms of every individual. It has courageously promoted a spirit of tolerance, understanding and openness to the entire world, as well as Quebeckers' active participation in the building of Canada. The champions of the liberal cause have always distinguished themselves by their constructive spirit, their creative audacity, their tenacious defence of free thought and speech, their ceaseless concern for social equity. And among the most dearly held liberal beliefs is that each member of society must have access to opportunities essential to his or her fulfilment as an individual.

In contrast to ideologues who were focused on the past and insisted on isolating Quebec from the rest of the world, the liberal movement fashioned Quebec's modern identity. To Lionel Groulx's doleful cry of Notre maître le passé (Our master, the past), the liberal tendency responded with a resonant Notre maître l'avenir (Our master, the future) — an ideal proclaimed in 1944 by Liberal premier Adélard Godbout, the man who founded Hydro-Quebec, recognized women's voting rights and was the architect of free and mandatory education in the province.
Steadfastly devoted to the promotion of the French language and culture, the liberal tendency identifies with (and has always identified with) the words of the great liberal thinker and eminent forerunner of the Quiet Revolution, Jean-Charles Harvey: "French has a chance of survival only if it becomes the synonym of audacity, culture, civilization and liberty." Quebec's liberals cling to this idea more than ever at the turn of a 21st century characterized by globalization. In no way do we fear for the survival of Quebec's linguistic identity or culture.

Unlike those who constantly sound alarms about the so-called anglophone or immigrant menace, we fully trust that Quebeckers have the capacity to take their language and culture into the future.

The issues that now concern the planet concern us too. Liberalism embraces multilateralism. Great figures such as Lester Pearson and Lloyd Axworthy have forged Canada's formidable reputation in the world and advanced causes we hold dear, such as human security.
The liberal movement is alive and well in Quebec. We are proud to be part of it. Many of our fellow citizens share these ideals and values, but the precarious situation of liberal-minded parties threatens to weaken the voice of political liberalism — a voice that has contributed so much to the creation of modern Quebec, that has proclaimed ideals and values worth defending now more than ever.

This is why we are asking all Quebec's liberals to reassert their vision with boldness and self-confidence. Let us remain firmly committed to our convictions and ideas, but in doing so, let us always be open to adapting them to the challenges of today and tomorrow. So, let's roll up our sleeves! As our predecessors have proven throughout history, abdication in the face of difficulty and adversity is not a liberal trait. We pledge to keep that very same spirit alive, for the movement must strengthen its capacity to build a confident Quebec, one that can take its proper place in Canada and the rest of the world.

More than 350 Quebeckers have signed on to this manifesto, including: Jennifer Crane, public-affairs consultant, Pointe-Claire; Mary Damianakis, professional mediator, Baie d'Urfé; Stéphane Desjardins, pulp and paper worker, St-Jérôme; Jean-Pierre Dufault, agricultural worker, Brôme; Nathalie Goguen, journalist, Waterville; Catherine Grégoire, student, Quebec City, Daniel Laprès, freelance writer, Montréal; Philippe Legault, student, Laval; David Simard, master's student in political science (UQAM), Montréal; and Francis Tourigny, lawyer, Montréal.

If you doubt that now is a time for rallying, take a look at this article from the same Globe. It may be fortunate for us that Gilles Duceppe is making liberalism's alternative very clear.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Gun crime in schools? Boys will be boys

John Tory has taken advantage of a recent spike in school violence to rail against the McGuinty government:

“Dalton McGuinty has been missing in action for years when it comes to dealing with violent youth-related crime... A real leader would be doing everything he could to starve these gangs of new recruits and keep the most dangerous offenders off the streets."

His star recruit candidate Randy Hillier, however, sees things rather differently:

"...Political correctness and authoritarian rule bring the greatest harm and danger to children…Boys must be docile and learn to be passive, as masculine behaviour is outlawed and re-named 'bullying.'" (courtesy of apply liberally)

In other words, we shouldn't concern ourselves with young offenders. We should get off their backs. Because boys will be boys.