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Assorted thoughts

March 30, 2010

Well, life is still boring up here. The goddamned teachers strike at the University of Montreal is still ongoing (although that’s unlikely to be the case much longer: the university has announced that if it isn’t solved by next monday, the term is canceled. Either way, this ends soon).

The weather has taken a turn for the worse, too (which is to say it’s actually been merely a week or two ahead of schedule instead of one month. Unfortunately, the difference largely consist of, well, rain. Also rain. And some more rain.  So not so much walking.

A few days ago, I ran in a hockey discussion forum that shall remain nameless where English-speaking hockey fans were complaining about how French announcers pronounce the name of the players, ridiculing the claim that “This is how you’re supposed to say it”, because apparently that’s now how the players tell English medias to pronounce their names.

And? I don’t k now about those players, but the right way to pronounce my name in French, and what I usually tell English speakers to use (not to mention what I usually let them use) are very different things. No, “Guillaume Hébert-Jodoin” is not “Gweeyaoome Hibert-Jodwin”. It isn’t even Geehome Haybur (Jodoin is just plain impossible to get even an approximate pronunciation of in english), which is what I usually tend to settle for from my friends. The point being, it’s entirely possible both pronunciations are correct, one closer to the original, and the other an English form that the player accept because they’re used to it.

In other news, Quebec has officialy begun waging its own little culture war, with a new law being passed that, among other things, ban people from receiving public services with their face veiled. The law doesn’t come outright and say it, but everyone pretty much knows that this is the Anti-Niqab-and-Hijab law. Anglo-Canadian medias are of course bitching about it, comparing Quebec to the Talibans (dixit the Grope and Flail…sorry, Globe and Mail, among others) . On this one, though, the medias are fighting a one-against-the-mob last stand: a poll released today shows that for once Quebec has done something which has majority backing…well, pretty much across the board. Overwhelming majority backing overall, in fact, with 80% of respondents in support.

Not sure I altogether like it, personally, but it’s pretty much unavoidable, to be honest. Quebec has never be strong on approaching Separation of Church and State from the angle of Freedom of Religion (from the State); because of how history has gone, it’s always been more about the opposite angle, Freedom from Religion (of the State, and public life in general). (Organized) religion meddling, not government meddling, is what we’re allergic to, because historically, (one) organized religion (Roman Catholic Church), not the government, is the hated, autocratic force against which we eventually “revolted”. When religious precepts tell somebody to go in public openly defying one of our most dearly held belief (that both gender are equal)…people are bound to have a pretty intense reaction (95% of Quebecers support the bill). And our conception that the government should be free from religious diktats gets…pretty much this.

My prediction is that this will not only become law, but that should the Supreme Court of Canada chose to strike it down (a possibility), it will result in (repeated) invokating of the Notwithstanding clause of the Canadian charter (which allow a province or parliament to have a law come in force notwithstanding certain provisions of the Canadian charter of human rights that it happen to violate).

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