The Bouchard-Taylor Commission, was established as an inquiry criss-crossing Quebec to hear from the public on "reasonable accommodations" of religious and ethnic minorities. Following the inquiry Mr. Andre Drouin on behalf of the citizens of Herouxville spearheaded Reasonable Accomodation and after the inquiry Mr. Drouin was interviewed on National Television to state the case on behalf of the Citizens of Herouxville, Quebec and on behalf of all Canadians who feel strongly about the following Commission on Accommodation. The response from the national television interview was to say the least a resounding success, garnering a positive viewer response not only from Canadians but from viewers via emails from around the world.
The following was presented to the Bouchard-Taylor Commission Consultation on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences on October 24, 2007.
BY: MR. ANDRÉ DROUIN AND MR. BERNARD THOMPSON
CITIZENS OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF HÉROUXVILLE, QUÉBEC.
Hérouxville, September 6th 2007
We wish to thank the members of the Commission for giving us the opportunity to propose a viable solution to the numerous interrogations raised by reasonable accommodations.
In reference to his mandate, last February 19th, the co-president of this Commission, Mr. Charles Taylor declared to Mr. Antoine Robitaille, journalist at Le Devoir “I am thinking more in terms of a limited formula that will allow us to conclude our mandate within the anticipated one year time-limit.” It’s goal will not be to end the debate, nor define the solution, but rather to provoke discussion. Recently, last August, Quebec’s Prime Minister, Mr. Jean Charest once more stated this Commission would not bring any solution. Therefore our report will not be an extension of the actual debate nor a census tool for religious or other assented accommodations in Quebec’s recent history.
The study of cause-effect relationships brings us to realize that the question of accommodation is a consequence as such of the perverse effect caused by the absence of clear policies in matters of social management. In our view, a Commission having as its main mandate the discussion of the symptom will never be able to establish the corollaries between the said symptom, it’s effect and the presence of a solution. It would be necessary, first of all, to define the causes that brought such a political situation in Quebec. It is those causes that we will strive to present to you, and particularly the solution we recommend. We thus present this report following the large popular support we received within Quebec and other Canadian provinces.
2. OUR APPROACH
Having been closely involved in the famous “Hérouxville Affair”, we believe that we have the necessary argumentation to demonstrate the vast majority of Quebec citizens will soon loudly call for a solution identical to ours, and such, regardless of their country of origin, their culture or their religious adherence.
We do not represent the opinion of any political parties present in Quebec, and would be unable to clearly define ourselves as communitarists, liberals, conservatives, pluralists, right wing, left wing, multi-culturalists, not even as agents of positive or negative liberty.
We have been called names such as morons, liars, xenophobes, fascists, selfish, obscurantists, dictators, nationalists, secularists, nazis, racists, bizarre, idiots, anti-everything, hollow, a nuisance for regional development, mentally deficient, intolerant, stupid, retarded, one step behind, an isolated case, and a shame for Quebec abroad. Oddly enough, most of these names came from people of the ruling classes, the elected and the non-elected, and from people considered to be part of the intellectual elite. We would also like to mention here how much we appreciated the caricatures that appeared in the media.
In order to solve the mystery surrounding the Hérouxville Affair, renowned as the
Hérouxville Syndrome by the media, we submit to the Commission a copy of the book written by one of the co-signers of this report, Bernard Thompson, entitled “Le syndrome Hérouxville ou les accommodements raisonnables”. A reading of this essay will both guide your reflection and the present argumentation. You will discover amongst other things that our website statistics reveal that more than 65,000 single visitors from 47 countries perused our pages since February 2007, and that more than 6,000 e-mails, written in 7 different languages indicate that the vast majority of senders positively salute our approach. Also, during the peak of the media storm, Internet research motors indicate one-million-two-hundred-thousand enquiries on Yahoo, France, and eight-hundred-thousand on Google. Understand that we had no other choice but to pursue this debate despite the threats of lawsuits by certain groups appearing to reject the rekindling of our “Québecois” identity. We were thus invited to seriously question ourselves on the supposed liberties of some and others, liberties linked amongst other things to the current Canadian Charter of Rights and Liberties.
3. STATE OF THE GOVERNANCE.
This unfortunate, yet repetitive habit of modern leaders to manage problems rather than solving them inevitably leads to evident aberrations, situations that get absolutely out of hand and oftentimes, become downright absurd. All good leaders should know that a managed problem would amplify with time if it were not immediately solved when it appears. In addition, the costs related to delaying solutions will increase accordingly. Leaders should then strictly confine their managers to solving the problems rather than managing them. More so, all political leaders, in a democracy such as ours, could very well learn from this teaching... It is easy therefore for us to trace a path for our leaders in matters of accommodations by quoting these famous words attributed to the Turkish leader Mustapha Kemal Atatürk:“The political leader who needs religion to govern is a coward”.
4. THE CAUSES
Realizing how these notions of liberty had generated extremely tensed situations in many great countries including Canada, situations linked to the massive arrival of newcomers
whose integration suffered because of lack of vision and clear policies, the solution we propose appears as the only potentially viable one. It already has the approval of many known and reputed international and Quebec personalities from the political, philosophical, literary and sociological fields.
We can already observe that Canada, and consequently Quebec, is governed by lawyers and judges (all robes confounded). Without being elected, these new Gods, since the adoption of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Liberties and the patriation of the Canadian Constitution, have gradually become the new leaders of the “State”, without any regard whatsoever for the particularities of the Quebec “Nation”. It would appear that Mr. Trudeau understood in 1982 that the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, Sovereign of Canada, was also the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. He had to preserve, for our State, its divine character for Elizabeth II to remain Sovereign of Canada; hence we must not be surprised that the Charter of Rights and Liberties reserves its first article to the primacy of God.
Most certainly, more and more citizens cannot accept this situation. More often than not, they do not take part in any of the debates; these debates being held behind the closed doors of the Supreme Court. Voters would much prefer that democracy be expressed by the representatives they elected rather than leaving their fate on important issues into the hands of this Court. They mostly demand that democracy be guided and governed by the people who are aware of “Québecois” particularities.
In Canada, two opposite forces clash. On one hand, the idealistic policy of Canadian Multiculturalism, supported by the British “Common Law” and the Charter of Rights and Liberties giving primacy to God and individual rights. On the other hand, the Quebec Nation, born from legal notions linked to Quebec’s Civil Code, and the Napoléon Code. Contrary to the rest of Canada, the Quebec Nation long ago abandoned its religious foundations during the “Quiet Revolution” back in the sixties. The theocracy of the past has been replaced by a consensus bringing Quebecers to define themselves as members of the laity. The current debate clearly demonstrates this and opens the path to the definitive annihilation of any will or attempt to someday see religious fundamentalism gain ground again. Quebecers refuse any discussions or comparisons involving subjects related to believers or non-believers. If they accepted such, they would be led straight to the doors of Hell... They have chosen, rather, to interiorize their religious beliefs in order to assure neutrality and social peace within their communities.
These brief legal and sociological distinctions are essential for whoever wishes to be able to identify the problematic of the current identity crisis. Let us now identify the direct causes that consequently diversifies opinions and nourishes the current perversions linked to accommodations, either reasonable, religious or not:
Cause 1) The Canadian Charter of Rights and Liberties.
Cause 2) The strategies of multiculturalism (Canadian Heritage).
Cause 3) The Canadian Immigration policies.
Cause 4) The Quebec Immigration policies.
Cause 5) The Quebec Charter of Rights and Liberties.
May we add another underlying cause that we will define as the absolute absence of political leadership in Quebec, and the permanent state of mistrust of the population towards politicians of all parties? We will not develop this subject further because we are still living in a democracy and are confident that once people will be well informed, voters will know how to fix this problem.
Whether we are proud Canadians or proud Quebecois or both at the same time, in the actual context of Canadian federalism, we must recognize our total incapability to modify the three first causes identified above in a short time frame. The last two causes, being under our jurisdiction, lead us to believe that the benefits generated by our solution will in fact force our Quebec political instances, presently submitted to the first three causes, to implement their own solutions.
Our sole objective is to present a simple solution that will completely eliminate the irritants linked to legal accommodations granted in Quebec. We thus advocate the total elimination of the “legal right” that accommodations have become, and believe its replacement by the notion of “services” will find echo in the population of Quebec and its leaders. We are referring here to services granted in virtue of an agreement made in good faith between two parties excluding all demands of religious order. Furthermore, any demand submitted by an individual to an organisation or an enterprise operating in the public domain would be strictly subjected to obligations and collective rights. In that manner, we assure that an individual right will not jeopardize the collective rights of the majority in a society that seeks public peace. The negotiations of a services would be subjected to the elementary rules of civism. The Quebec Civil Code abounds of such laws and obligations and the ethical codes of Quebec businesses and public institutions already implement such services, even enunciating behaviours to maintain goodwill within their communities.
In order to adopt such a concept, we could believe that a sole declaration from the National Assembly, a government decree or the creation of a Quebec Constitution would suffice...Wrong!
The primacy of Canadian laws would prevent the Quebec Nation to assume this new vision. We do not believe that Canada wishes to favour this avenue; but is not the mandate of this Commission limited and confined to the Quebec Nation?
In addition, this concept can only become reality with the approval of people other than those taking part in the Commission you preside, and other people besides those elected and sitting in the National Assembly; hence, our patience is at great risk of being over-tested. Nevertheless, many official declarations having proclaimed Quebec as a Nation, we have the right to consequently demand that Quebec defines its future, proclaims its laws and has them recognized as inalienable and independent from all other legal instances.
It is in this context and state of mind that we endorse the declaration of the co-president of the Commission, Mr. Gérard Bouchard to the effect that: “ Each time a society finds itself in a state of crisis, begins to worry about itself, of what it is, of what it will become, of its capacities to do what it should do, it turns to the founding act that is always a virtuous act, heroic, full of strength and courage, to which generations constantly refer. That is the magic of a founding act” (Voir newspaper, March 23rd, 2007). Was Mr. Gerard Bouchard indicating to us that the only way for Quebec to rediscover and preserve its identity was to choose independence? We could wish so inasmuch as this new Nation remains master of all the legal aspects concerning it.
Knowing the limits that are imposed on us here, and wishing to avoid harming the success of your reflection, we present you with a document entitled “Building Quebec – version 2”, version 1 belonging to the dilapidated heritage of the Honourable Robert Bourassa in 1991.
The document is presented here in declaration form such as “Portail Québec” presents it on it’s Immigration Québec website. It surely could be inserted in a future constitution of an independent Quebec, in that event.
5. THE DOCUMENT
Building Quebec – version 2
Declaration of the National Assembly of Quebec
Since its very origins, Quebec has fought a permanent battle to defend its language and culture. This has gone on for four hundred years. It is an ongoing battle that is transmitted from generation to generation. Our slogan is “Je me souviens”.
Over these four centuries, we have built roads, hospitals, schools and all the necessary infrastructures for the efficient functioning of our society. Passed down by our ancestors, we consider the whole as our heritage and collective patrimony.
Quebec is a Nation; notably by its history, it’s language and its institutions. We are proud of it. The Quebec Nation has its values, values that are solid such as, amongst others, equality between men and women, the primacy of French, the separation between State and religion. These values are fundamental; they come with Quebec. They cannot become the object of any accommodation. They cannot be subordinated to any principle.
For us in Quebec, the objective of immigration is to integrate newcomers into the francophone society. We have a flag on which the cross and “fleur de lys” symbolize our traditions and patriotic nature. Social development and territorial security are comprised in the major integral objectives strived for by the democratically elected MP’s of the National Assembly.
The goal of this communiqué is on one hand to demonstrate to our citizens that we are listening to them, thus attempting to reassure them that the social peace they enjoy will remain, and on the other hand, to clearly communicate to newcomers all the necessary information so that they may make an enlightened choice when deciding to live on our territory. We believe that doing so will give them the assurance that the living conditions that often led them to flee their country of origin will not be re-enacted here. Consequently, the fact that the only recognized power on our territory is that of the Nation, and that religions are without any form of legal power, we can therefore offer them an additional guarantee.
We are looking forward in the future to greet and welcome without discrimination all people coming from abroad and wishing to live on our territory. For us, without discrimination means regardless of race, colour of skin, language spoken, sexual orientation, practised religion or any other form of belief. We realize that it may be as hard to leave one’s country as it is to integrate into the lifestyle of one’s new country, and wish to inform these newcomers that an adaptation mode is necessary to acquire the social identity of our Nation.
In order for all immigrants to integrate more easily and participate in our community and social lives, we have unanimously decided to publish certain established norms that are well ingrained in the lifestyles of our citizens. These norms derive from our municipal, provincial and federal laws, were democratically voted and are linked to the history of our Nation. They were inspired by the multiple social behaviours generally accepted by the population occupying the territory, and thus are part of the manners and customs of the residents. Consequently, these norms are an integral part of our national culture.
Considering the fact that the people we welcome may come from a multitude of countries whose manners and customs, rituals, values and even political systems differ from ours, we have taken the inventory of certain behaviours we prohibit in order to facilitate the adaptation of immigrants to this new way of life that their host, Quebec, will impose upon them. We acknowledge that certain newcomers may have to ask their God, or his earthly representatives to accommodate them or validate their decision. We will however communicate all the necessary information so that they may make an enlightened choice before their definitive settlement in our homeland.
Although there is no absolute legal obligation to welcome via our Ministry of Immigration forty eight thousand (48,000) new immigrants per year, but living in a society where working is considered a virtue, one of our responsibilities is to make sure they are able to find jobs that suit them upon their arrival. The French language being compulsory in the work place, learning French will become an asset for newcomers. Also, the knowledge of a second and third language will be beneficial during their adaptation process and for sharing their experiences.
Planning and prevention remaining major motives for action, we are conscious that current climatic changes could well force us to welcome millions of immigrants in the coming years. Given the situation where we would conclude through adequate measuring methods, that we cannot meet their basic needs such as finding jobs to at least ensure their survival, we would consider that it is our duty to reduce the number of selected applicants and put into place the necessary infrastructures to be able to welcome them properly.
We believe that our diversity will become one of our main assets providing we are able to build Quebec around common values linked to our patrimony and the history of our Nation. We maintain that any person remains free to choose Quebec, well aware that they must share the heritage that our Nation is so proud of.
Unanimously approved by the National Assembly of Quebec
Adding to the subject, we include in this report a document entitled “Way of life in Québec”,
describing the morals, manners and customs of Quebec. This document strongly affirms the identity that one must seek when wishing to become part of the “Québecois” Nation. More so, we wish to manifest loud and clear that the values that forged the “Québecois” Nation over the last centuries must remain intact, as they constitute the unique francophone presence on the North-American continent.
André Drouin Bernard Thompson
OUR WAY OF LIFE IN QUEBEC
We consider that men and women share the same status of equality. To this effect, a woman can amongst other things, drive a car, vote freely, sign checks, decide for herself, speak her peace, dress as she sees fit while respecting common decency, walk alone in public places, study, have a job, personally own things and be able to dispose of them as she pleases. This constitutes our living standards and our way of life.
Consequently, we consider as undesirable and prohibit any action or gesture that would be contrary to the above statement such as: killing women by lapidation or burning them alive in public places, burning them with acid, excising them, infibulating them or treating them as slaves. Out of respect for women and in order to ease the application of civil laws on divorce, polygamy is prohibited in Quebec. Also, a marriage or a divorce only becomes legal if it was carried out in accordance with the Quebec laws in force.
Our children are required to attend schools that are uniquely recognized by the Ministry of
Education of Quebec in order to ensure that proper social development is provided to ease their integration into our society. Save exceptions, the teaching language is French. At a very young age, children are encouraged to draw all that is visible and non-visible, abstract or real. Once they become adults, they will be able to appreciate caricatures.
All forms of violence towards children are prohibited. Boys and girls are born equal and have rights. They cannot be associated to any caste making them inferior or superior. In Quebec, the marriage of young girls cannot be either arranged or imposed by whoever it may be, parents, relatives or friends. Children cannot become members of the Armed Forces before they reach legal age.
We listen to music and we drink beverages, alcoholised or not. We feast, dance, and towards the end of our calendar year, we individually or collectively decorate a fir or a spruce tree with ornamental balls and lights. This is what we commonly call “Christmas decorations” or “Christmas trees” which recalls our notions of patrimonial rejoicing but does not necessarily confer to this practise a religious character. These festivities are authorized as much in public spaces, schools, institutions or private places. In these places, no area is reserved for prayer or religious manifestations. These customs and traditions should not offend whoever chooses to relate them to ancestral Pagan values.
In homes for elderly people, hospitals and shelter homes, men and women are treated by responsible men and women. No law can prevent a woman from being treated by a man, or vice-versa. Furthermore, female doctors may treat both men and women, and male doctors exercise this right also. Staff wear work clothing befitting their tasks may it be male or female nurses, male or female ambulance drivers, male or female fire attendants. The personnel responsible for care, have no obligation to obtain an authorization, if they must perform a necessary blood transfusion that will improve the health or save the life of their patients. Their judgement and competence guide them in their decision. To carry out their duties professionally and timely, it may occur that a woman will be alone in the presence of a man she doesn’t know and vive-versa. Patients must submit to the dress codes established in healthcare facilities.
In Quebec, assisted suicide remains illegal until now.
For many years, future fathers have assisted their wives during childbirth. Pre-natal classes are given in many institutions; men and women attend these classes together.
In all public institutions, patients eat the traditional food that is served to them. It is frequent to hear music, or see magazines, newspapers or other multimedia materials that comply with the community spirit that governs our living standards.
In our schools, certified men and women teach. Men and women can teach to boys and girls without sexual discrimination. Male and female teachers carry out their functions with their face uncovered and adopt a decent dress code. Male or female teachers may assess their pupils. Students are prohibited from carrying weapons or imitations of such, loaded or unloaded, real or fake, symbolic or not. They may sing, clap their hands, have fun and practise sports. Group gathering is encouraged and distinction regarding their sex, religion or origin is never associated with their school activities.
In virtue of ethics and decency, to avoid all discrimination, schools having adopted a dress code must enforce its application. For many years, due to the laicisation of our schools, no space is provided for prayer or other forms of religious manifestations.
School management have complete liberty to determine and choose the dates of exams with the exception of days decreed by the State as legal holidays or other holidays linked to union contracts. During exams, students may not be accompanied, unless they suffer from a handicap requiring such. The teacher has the sole authority to judge and determine accordingly the note given in the exam.
Many schools offer cafeteria services and serve traditional food. Students may, by religious conviction or medical advice, abstain from going there or bring their own food. The objective here is to control costs and provide efficient, yet profitable services. Parents must make sure their children are sufficiently nourished to have the necessary energy to follow their classes and sport activities. The use of water services is common to all.
In our school institutions, the learning of Quebec’s national history is privileged. Also, all sciences, including biology, are taught. By respect for religious diversity, faith in God is not taught. The teaching of music, considered as a universal form of language is an integral part of the learning process of students, therefore, no derogation is consented.
Sports and Leisure.
Since time immemorial, boys and girls have practised sports, and often, together. Boys and girls even swim together in the same pool. That was not the case fifty years ago, but our society has since evolved. Thus, you will see men and women, skiing together on the same slopes simultaneously. You will frequently meet men and women who are part of the same or different hockey teams play on the ice with or against each other at the same time.
In public pools, we have male and female lifeguards who supervise males and females swimming together or amusing themselves in the pool. Many sports require wearing appropriate security headgear in order to practise them, from cycling and motorcycling right up to combat sports.
Sports are compulsory for students in our schools. The practise of most sports requires a dress code ruled by municipal, national or international laws. The State favours the practice of sports to improve the health of citizens, and regulates it to eliminate as much as possible the risks of serious accidents while attempting to reduce the medical costs they generate.
Our large territory is patrolled by male and female police officers of the Sûreté du Québec
and other municipal police corps. Since always, in Quebec, a male police officer may question, advise, moralize, and give an infraction notice (ticket) to either a man or a woman; a female police officer has the same prerogatives and obligations. Their role is not to encourage repression, so you will not feel compelled to run and hide at their sight. It is appropriate and advisable that your face be uncovered at all times in public places to facilitate your identification and encourage cordial exchanges. To respect our democratically voted laws, we accept to have our picture on our passports, medical insurance cards, and driver permits.
Such documents are regularly required for identification purposes. We hope that the Canadian citizenship will not become the object of any compromise to this effect, and believe that it should not be shared with any other citizenship. Thus, a Canadian citizen abroad, fighting against the Canadian Armed Forces, would then have his citizenship withdrawn. Let us take note that a public territory cannot be divided in whole or in part by groups wishing to control, often by violence, the lives and actions of the people living there.
Employers must respect the government laws that rule working norms. To this effect, legal holidays are known and accepted in advance by employees. These legal holidays apply to days decreed as compulsory by the State. Collective labour agreements are democratically negotiated and require the respect of the clauses agreed between all parties. No collective labour agreement should authorize employers to assure their employees of special space(s) reserved for praying, or leaves of absence for religious motives. The working conditions obtained through union negotiations require that compulsory dues be deducted from salaries at the source to assure the survival of trade unions.
When the security of the worker calls for it, and the working laws require it, the wearing of protective clothing and/or security hats is compulsory. Taxi drivers must accept passengers accompanied by dogs or carrying alcoholic beverages.
Working schedules stretch over a daily period of 24 hours; having to work after sundown is frequent.
Our businesses are governed by multiple laws deriving from our democratic system. In our businesses, men and women work together at the same time. Both can speak with male or female colleagues and clients.
The products that are sold in our businesses are of all nature. For example, food products must be approved by different government instances before distribution and sale. The State agencies must assure and control health quality standards; incurred costs are thus paid by taxpayers.
No other organization can certify a food product and pass on certification costs to consumers. Regardless of utilized means, no additional steps or phases for certification are authorized. Once the sale of the product has been approved, businesses can distribute, promote, and sell it in all liberty.
It is common to see, in the same stands, different kinds of meat such as beef, chicken, lamb, pork, horse, rabbit, and other wild meats. Male or female personnel can handle one or the other. No State laws exist concerning the disposition of dairy products in businesses in relation to meat products.
Other businesses offer their clientele appropriate facilities and equipment for physical exercising; they generally dispose of windows allowing clients to see outside. Their clientele consists of both men and women that wear appropriate clothing for their physical exercises. Certain townships even allow women to circulate bare breasted in public.
Parents manage together the needs of the family, both sharing the same legal authority
bestowed by democratic conventions. People who form a couple may be of the same race or not, same country or not, same religion or not, same sex or not. If young men or women wish to get married, they can do so and have the entire and sole liberty of choosing their spouse. The application of these democratically gained rights assures equality to all individuals within our society.
State laws have priority, are inalienable, and must be respected by all. Different religious teachings must adjust to this principle. When incarcerated for not respecting the established State laws, criminals are considered as having disobeyed their own religious laws. Consequently, civil and religious liberties are abrogated inside prison walls. Prisons, being funded by taxpayers, atheists or believers, the same meals are served to everyone at normal hours, with certain exceptions allowed for medical considerations. The objectives here are to control costs, simplify detention procedures, and provide efficient services. In addition, there are no areas allocated for prayer.
People are free to accept or not the multiple professed religious teachings, and to adhere to a group whose beliefs are linked to the same dictates. Regardless of these groups being linked to astrology, horoscope, numerology, fan clubs, political parties, religions or any other form of beliefs, the liberty to quit these groups must be equal to the liberty of joining them.
Therefore, groups or religious associations must not plan any form of hindrance aiming to prevent or stop a person’s religious beliefs. A group that would incite by it’s speech any form of violence or would suggest the suppression of people who think differently is considered illicit; State laws related to hate literature or the preaching of hatred recommend such an approach. Groups should have the mission of preaching in favour of the advent of worldly peace and advocate equality between all people. The principles of universal charity must be encouraged and promoted.
Rules of the Road.
On Quebec roads, rules of the road are carried out on the right side of the road while respecting different other driving laws. Maximum speed limits are imposed; and certain roads call for minimum speed limits. This approach should not be considered as an infringement on the rights and liberties of individuals but rather as the means the State takes to assure security on its roads. Considering that all countries do not have the same laws in this matter, a certain adaptation period may be necessary.
Different services offered by the Government require telephone communications or face-to-face meetings to obtain information. The people you will meet may be male or female, regardless of the sex of the person requesting these services. Often, the same situation occurs in private enterprises. Government employees, male and female, wear appropriate clothing on the job.
For millions of years, people have evolved and came to appreciate different foods and drinks.
Using their own analysis capacity, they were able to distinguish with time what was good for their survival and pleasure. In Quebec, traditional cuisine (cooking) is generally liked and appreciated by all. In our homes, boys and girls eat together; eat the same food, at the same table. They eat all kinds of meats, fruits and vegetables. They don’t have to eat meat exclusively or vegetables exclusively, and can eat both anytime of the year. More so, the majority of our restaurants use recipients and kitchen tools to cook meat dishes of all kinds, and also a variety of dairy products in the process. Regardless of the shape of the animal or its hooves, regardless of the shape of the fish be it covered by scales or a shell; we will enjoy eating its flesh if it is prepared properly and presented tastefully.
Food nourishes the body, the soul is nourished differently.
It is accepted and known that men and women can participate in the different processes of fabrication or distribution of foods and beverages. Generally, we believe that different Gods, out of respect for their own creatures and their nourishment, cannot impose nor proscribe certain foods. It is up to an individual’s conscience to decide.
Many laws assure the protection of animals. In order to ensure the survival of certain species, they cannot be killed. Excluding these exceptions, all other animals can be slaughtered. Cruelty towards animals is prohibited. Regulations also govern slaughtering methods. In Quebec, no animal is considered sacred or protected out of religious considerations. The most popular pets, and consequently the most numerous, are cats and dogs.
Hunting and fishing require permits issued by the Government. The permits to own or carry firearms are severely regulated. Only official security forces are authorized to circulate in public with firearms.
Our traditions, manners, customs and values reflect our history over the last four hundred years. The names associated with different sites reflect important events in our history, beginning as a French colony, then becoming an English colony, to finally end as a province of Canada all this while under the total domination and control of the Catholic Church.
The names of our streets, cities and townships testify of our past and are part of our patrimony. The fact they may be called King, Queens, or Saint-Émile should not offend anyone. Our Judeo-Christian traditions, deriving mostly from Protestantism and Catholicism are revealed by the existing churches and crosses. They are part of our history, of our patrimony, must be considered as such and not meant to inconvenience anyone.
Salaries or earnings of all workers in Quebec are subject to income tax. The Government, confirming its neutrality in matters of religion, and in all equity towards its citizens, cannot grant income tax rebates or deductions for financial contributions given to religious groups or charitable organisms. Charity, as religion, is considered to depend on the decision and the conscience of each citizen. All organisms receiving subsidies from the Government must have non-religious vocations out of respect for both believers and non-believers. Also, like businesses, the different religious organisms must produce the required documents to determine the amount of income tax they must pay. By respect for the citizens sharing the territory with these organisms, they must in addition conform to the municipal laws who also establish the amount of their municipal taxes. School taxes are treated in similar fashion.
You may come to live in Canada by using the services of Immigration Canada and then decide to live in Quebec. Immigration Quebec will have the responsibility to complete the necessary authorizations, in such case.
Our recent history clearly demonstrates that it is possible to be accommodated by God in order to be able to subscribe to modern society. Fifty years ago, when employers asked us to work on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the Catholic God permitted that we break our obligations to assure the welfare of our families. This enabled us to avoid asking our employers to build churches on our working premises. Recently, the National Assembly allowed the opening of retail stores on Sunday. This same God accommodated us once again, sparing Hell to the faithful. After many years of observance of God’s order to fast during Lent, we had to give up this religious practise to have sufficient energy to work and study hard. Then again, by the grace of God and his sense of accommodations, we were able to avoid the promise of roasting in Hell after death.
To publish all the norms and living standards linked to our identity would be a tedious exercise. The norms and standards described herein are samples. We wish that newcomers may read them in order to enlighten their choice when deciding to join us on the territory of Quebec. We are convinced as citizens of Quebec that we will be able to give newcomers the assurance that the living conditions they fled from in their countries will not be reproduced here, and that the peace of mind and social peace we are so determined to preserve will last forever.
It must be clearly established that any person or group of any nature, legally constituted or not, that wishes to modify this way of life or the laws that govern it, will only be able to do so by a referendum process and assume on their own all costs related to such a measure.