There was a bright ray of sunshine emanating from Quebec this past week … and I’m not referring to the decision itself that saw Quebec’s xenophobic separatists/nationalists back down.
Quebec’s bigots backed down … not because they saw the light themselves and repudiated their racist move… but because the WORLD-WIDE soccer body FIFA told them how ridiculous their stand was: because the Canadian Soccer Association told them to get stuffed and TWENTY other Canadian teams pulled out of a Quebec tourney; and …. and this point many people have missed… because Quebec’s younger people, for the first time, signalled “NON” to the racists in their midst.
I’m talking about Quebec’s “new” generation: young people who are more educated, more worldly and … thanks to the Internet, Facebook, travel, television and just mature thinking … are more sophisticated than their bigoted and ignorant parents and grandparents.
In the town of Brosssard, the coach of an 18-member youth soccer team aged 14 and under … and not a Sikh among them … had a talk with them about the exclusionary rule. And, even facing possible disqualification …. they ALL decided to don Sikh headgear in a game against rival Granby. The ref raised no objection in pre-game equipment checks, but then the Granby coach objected, and the ref told the Brossard boys the mini-turbans had to go.
But the Brossard team stood its ground and THEIR coach pointed out there was NO FIFA rule banning the kerchiefs, so the ref allowed the mini-turbans ..and the game took place: no injuries: no sky fell in; no lightning bolts.
The Granby coach called the Brossard kids’ move “stupid” …. and his team won 2 to 1.
But the real winners, of course, were the Brossard kids. And tolerance. And respect. And a growing indication that a “new” Quebec is finally emerging … led by its young people.
Meanwhile, a public opinion poll (they don’t lie, do they?) showed that while 47% of Quebecois backed the turban ban, as a safety question, a WHOPPING (for Quebec!) 36% disagreed …and said turbans should be allowed.
Sure, that’s not quite up to the results in the rest of Canada: where only 30% supported the ban and 46% said turbans should be ok….but I don’t think five or ten years ago in Quebec, you’d find even 25% rejecting the ban and publicly voicing support for the Sikh kids.
And I have not been able to find an age analysis for the latest Quebec poll …but I have NO DOUBT that support for the turban ban was highest in the OVER 50s and support for the Sikh kids was highest in the UNDER 50s.
And how’s this: a city councillor in Montreal was going to introduce a motion “denouncing” Quebec Soccer Federation.
With people speaking up … the bullies backed down. Bien fait! Well done!
It is all a good concrete sign that younger Quebecois have had enough of all the divide-and-conquer rhetoric and strategies of the Parti Quebecois, its separatist activists, nationalist supporters…and just plain old Quebecois xenophobic bigots!
Bravo encore un fois!
Times ARE changing there …in terms of acceptance, tolerance and diversity … slower than the rest of the country and much slower than many of us would like … but this smack down IS significant.
And it happened for much more than just a FIFA ruling. Remember, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois had said earlier “NO ONE” would tell Quebec what to do … it would decide on its own.
Clearly, the separatists saw the writing on the wall from their own people …and the message was not what they wanted to see.
Of course, they won’t stop: I suspect right now, there are little groups of separatist sympathizers thinking of new ways to encourage “les autres” to pack their bags and get out. The aim … in the next referendum (and there WILL be one if the PQ gets another term) the “pure lain” Quebecois numbers will represent an even greater proportion of voters … and the referendum will have a better chance of passing.
A pox on their heads … and a mini-turban on ALL Canadians required by their faith to wear one.
(P.S. While writing this one, I had a terrific craving for a Wilensky’s Special. Montrealers … ex and present …will understand. 🙂 )