Canada Joins the Tea Party

with 63 comments

What does American health care reform and the Québec government’s proposed bill 94 have in common?

Why, they’re both collectivist ploys to take away your rights and guns, of course!

This morning the Montreal Gazette prints an editorial in which it argues that bill 94, a proposed rule that would require citizens to show their faces before receiving government services, is nothing short of an attack on human rights:

On July 1 1960, proposing his Bill of Rights in Parliament, Diefenbaker concluded with these much-quoted words: “I am a Canadian, a free Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship God in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and for all mankind.”


Quebec’s Bill 94, meanwhile, shows how “collective rights,” even so badly defined as this new right for bureaucrats to see people’s faces, can overrule individual freedom of attire. (…) Basic freedoms keep coming under attack from forces seeking more control over our lives. Ultimately laws and lawyers will not save us unless there is a strong public understanding that the limits on free choice, imposed by mobs or governments or both, will keep growing unless we all resist them.

This is the exact same reasoning the American right and groups like American Majority are currently using to convince people that Obama’s health care reform is only the first step towards the transformation of the USA into a Spanish-speaking slave labour camp:

On March 23, 1775, 235 years ago today, Patrick Henry gave his immortal speech, closing with the lines, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”


I think the American people have a very important choice: are they going to resign themselves to the ever growing chains of government control over their lives, submitting willingly like sheep to acquire some false illusion of peace and prosperity? Or are they going to fight against the forces of statism and push back? That is the great question of the day.

From the defence of the right to hide your face to the government to the discovery, year after year, of illegal religious and linguistic schools who operate in total impunity, civil disobedience by assorted creationists to Québec’s ethics and religious culture high school course (that teaches, G-D forbid!, that all religions carry some wisdom), constant legal challenges to Québec’s elected officials constitutional prerogative to determine the language of education in Québec, the hysterical reaction to the merger of English-speaking municipalities in a united City of Montreal and Louise Harel‘s run for mayor… All this is starting to look more and more like the obscure reaches of the USA where “sovereign citizens” and “tax resisters” oppose the very legitimacy of the democratically elected government.

There seems to be, in Québec, as in the USA, a weird coalition between Anglo Conservatives and various ultraorthodox religious minorities against the very legitimacy of  a State run by people who are not like them.

More than a decade ago, Josée Legault demonstrated in her book L’Invention d’une Minorité how the rhetoric of “individual rights” was highjacked by so-called activists to defend the “collective right” of Québec’s english-speaking minority to opt-out of Québec institutions and build their parallel network of (fully subsidised) institutions.

Today a new cast of minorities: ultra-catholics, orthodox Muslims and and uniformed Jews, are re-enacting the fight for the right to opt-out of Québec society with full compensation, play-by-play, with English-Canada’s elites cheering them on.

That’s no surprise.  The English-Canadian media has been able to come up with arguments for surprising shit, from segregation to organized crime and now to giving self-appointed clerics veto power over the laws of the land, as long as it’s been able to squeeze an argument against the legitimacy of Québec’s government and it’s democratically elected officials out of it.

In that way they are no different than American Tea Party leaders who welcome anyone, from Birthers, to Minutemen and the Militia movement to their rallies, just as long as they oppose The Government.

The good news is that the vast majority of English-Canadians agree their media elites are idiots.

Written by angryfrenchguy

March 29, 2010 at 12:17 pm

63 Responses

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  1. More belt tightening by the rich needed?

    Only in Quebec, surrounded on 3 sides by high English walls can we contemplate demanding so much of our businesses without them getting up and leaving. But it is possible…?

    But something has to be done. Frankly, illegal though it would be, I would like to see a surtax on the money people and businesses made from stock and real estate speculation from 2000-2008. Those who profited the most were the very ones who are at least indirectly responsible for the crash. Those who lost big during 2009 could get a write-off of the losses against the surtax.

    It is only with the clarity of hindsight that we can pinpoint which economic activities led to the downfall of the markets, and the depletion of pensions. Can we tax irrational exuberance?


    April 5, 2010 at 2:52 pm

  2. “Only in Quebec, surrounded on 3 sides by high English walls can we contemplate demanding so much of our businesses without them getting up and leaving. But it is possible…?”

    Unless you’ve got some different information than I do, Québec has some of the lowest corporate taxes in North America…


    April 5, 2010 at 3:54 pm

  3. Our big business tax rates are OK.

    11.9% in QC, compared with 12% in NB, MB, & SK, 11% in BC and 10% in AB. ON is 14% and PEI as usual wins with 16%.

    Small business rates (<$500K) are brutal though: 8% vs. 5.5% in the next highest province ON. But this is makes sense as small businesses are less mobile in general.

    QCs strengths are its low energy costs, strong universities and somewhat lower operating costs (but highly taxed). And strong tax incentives for certain targeted industries like biotech.

    In fact our main advantage is that Canadian federal corporate tax rates are much lower than US rates. But doing business in the US has other advantages like lower personal income and consumption tax rates.

    The real question is how much higher is the local gov't willing to go to deal with a crisis.


    April 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm

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