Thursday, September 20, 2007

Unreasonable accommodations…

So today, September 20th is “in the city without a car” day, meaning that the downtown core was closed to vehicle traffic…which itself therefore means that the city of Montreal is doing what it does best: putting on a grandiose and poorly thought-out gesture that in the long run does more harm than good.

Organizers will talk about the reduced carbon footprint that the “day” (actually from 9:30 to 3:30) will have, but in truth the downtown core between De Maisonneuve and Dorchester (renamed after the separatist traitor to Canada to Rene Levesque) and from McGill to St Urbain will be the only area closed to traffic. Cars will actually be diverted to the surrounding streets.

This means an increase of traffic on those surrounding streets, major traffic slowdowns, more cars idling and producing exhaust as they inch along towards their destination. This actually means an overall INCREASE in the carbon footprint put out by the city today.

Likewise, by “encouraging” people to leave their cars at home, all the city is doing is forcing more people into an already overcrowded, overworked public transit system. There are already not enough busses on the road or trains on the metro line. Any morning the busses are packed beyond standing room, oftentimes not even making their stops because they’re too full to take on passengers. The metro system is just as overtaxed, overcrowded and unreliable. Add to that the fact that McGill Metro is falling apart, the transit workers driving the busses, metros and working the ticket windows are disgruntled and performing union-mandated pressure tactics because they aren’t happy at the obscenely ridiculous deal they’re getting from the STM and what you get is an absolute nightmare of a day.

Generally, this stupid project will do nothing more than inconvenience everyone and produce even more greenhouse emissions than it’s supposed to reduce.

That’s rant number one.

Rant number two is about the ongoing commission here in Queerbeck about “reasonable accommodation”.

The backstory behind this is that there is a racist little town in this racist little province that sent a letter to Muslim immigrants telling them they weren’t allowed to behead their women in Quebec. This touched off a huge controversy and debate about the level of ignorance and bigotry in Quebec, and what is considered reasonable accommodation in the province; IE should observant Muslim women be allowed to weir the veil, etc.

The thing is there is no reasonable accommodation in Quebec, because it is ingrained in the mentality of the French majority in this province that they are an endangered species. They are especially intolerant of the English speaking community in Quebec, particularly Jews and any English immigrants. Anything foreign in this province is seen as a threat; veiled Muslim women, turban-wearing Sikh men, Buddhists in traditional robes. Anything non-French is decried…not a day goes by when I don’t see “Quebec En Francais” stickers plastering walls, mail boxes, phone booths and any other available surface. This morning as I walked to the bus stop I counted several examples of crudely-drawn anti-Semitic, anti-Black, anti-Immigrant hate literature jammed into billboards and taped onto junction boxes.

This is not a province of diversity or tolerance. Recently, former premier, avowed separatist and unabashed racist Bernard Landry boasted that Quebec was not and never would be multicultural.

There is an ongoing effort of ethnic cleansing by attrition in the province…English place names are erased by the Orwellian “Commission de la Toponymie”; English schools are being systematically closed; Jewish synagogues and cemeteries are constantly vandalized and English-speaking citizens are continually harassed and berated for daring to speak English in public. There is a culture of bigotry, racism and xenophobia in this province…the commission on reasonable accommodation is nothing more than lip-service, a false and outright insincere attempt to make “les autres” feel at home in a province where the only thing that matters is being White and speaking French.

If Quebec cannot even accept its English speaking citizens, who have been here for hundreds of years and whose history is as rich and as old as the French history, what hope do minority immigrants from other countries have of ever feeling at home in this province?