Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Status Update: Pauline Marois Still a Wad

You've probably heard about it already, though if I know you, my compatriots, as well as I believe I do then you have yet to read the actual wording of the Quebec Identity Act. This is a hateful piece of legislation which - while the rest of the modern world hurtles towards a more open and accepting society, replete with the freedoms and rights that Mill and his ilk yearned for one hundred and fifty years ago - seeks to turn back the clock of Québec's social development something on the order of two hundred years; minus the catholic church, of course.

It proposes a "Québec Citizenship" in which new applicants cannot "(1) run in municipal, school and legislative elections; (2) participate in the public funding of political parties; [or] (3) petition the National Assembly for the redress of grievances" unless they "(1) has been a Canadian citizen for at least three months; (2) is domiciled in Québec; (3) has effectively resided in Québec for six months, including the three months preceding the date of the person's application; (4) has an appropriate knowledge of the French language; and (5) has an appropriate knowledge of Québec and of the responsibilities and advantages of citizenship." This is essentially an attempt at exclusionism, an attempt to keep not only immigrants but also anglos moving from elsewhere in Canada from having any say in Québec's political process.

Besides the fervent nationalism, redundant ammendments to the Quebec Charter of Rights & the provocateur BS this bill - which is destined to die on the floor of the National Assembly - obviously represents, there are far more insidious motivations at work here than most people understand. This bill is an attempt at pushing further the meter of acceptable legislation in Québec, legislation being set up in order to further isolate - hermeticize - Québec's legal system from the Canadian one which - you no doubt anticipate me here - is another step towards, say it with me, referendum!

That's right, even from the back bench, the PQ is harping after their founding goal which, let's face it, most of us are fed up with hearing. So they don't talk about it out loud, instead they lay the scaffold & the foundation; they attempt to create a seperate and complete social, legal, judicial, diplomatic and political infrastructure within Québec so that it shall be a simple matter of cutting the umbilical when their prophecied national rapture pops back onto the provincial radar and we're once again - for the third time - asked to endorse an unrealistic and unfeasible goal which will, whether it passes or not, decimate our provincial economy for at least a decade thereafter.

Who else is tired of repeating history?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Atheist Movement

There is a certain amount of steam building up behind the current global Atheist Movement (yes, capital letters, now. It's that big); there has always been good atheist material (hey, Thomas Jefferson questioned the validity of religion, that's a ways back. He weren't the first one, either) available to people, but not so much as has been available in the last 15 - 20 years; the advent of the internet has made much of that old material accessible & the outrage of that great network's denizens at the wool that has been pulled over the eyes of the world is becoming palpable.

This outrage has led to a more forceful, if not necessarily more widely accepted entrance of this debate into the public sphere & has brought about the works of such authors as Professor Richard Dawkins and the ever-surly, ever-petulant, though often sharp & quite intelligent Christopher Hitchens. The new (admittedly low - I wouldn't call it a flood) tide of writings on the subject has, itself, sparked further debate and brought the subject, aswell as the contrasts between religion & atheism further into the light of day; there's a ways left to go, but with reason, logic, research, determination, science and anger on our side, we'll continue making headway.

The debate isn't a semantic one; as little as the existence or non-existence of God affects anyone in their day-to-day life (I'm not talking about belief, which can make a, er... Tangible difference in a person's life), the argument for and against the continued existence of religion - and, let's face it, that's what it really is - has entered the sphere of science education, scientific research ethics, medical ethics, social attitudes with regards to sexuality & the propriety of certain types romance; it is there that real damage is being done. I won't go into any specifics right here (it would be redundant, Greta Christina has already taken care of that - see the anger link), but I think that, in some people's case, this is well & truly an infringement on their day-to-day lives. In such light, the need for mobilization becomes immediately apparent.

This Atheist Movement, while it certainly isn't new is definitely experiencing a rebirth &, one might argue, a growth spurt. I have been hesitant in the past to claim that there was a genuine movement afoot, for fear that it might be misunderstood as a faith-based movement, but the need for a change of attitudes - a paradigm shift, as they say - is undeniable and only an organized, concerted effort on our part can make that happen.

It must be said, if there was ever a social movement composed of more intelligent, rational and well-informed people, it has yet to be brought to my attention; I couldn't be prouder of belonging to a group of any meaningful import.

(Yes, I know, it's taken a while between posts; sorry)