Hmm. Couldn't sleep this past night. In part because Quebec just had a provincial election, and as the winning party leader was giving her thank-you speech, some nutcase shot two people. One is dead, the other in critical condition. Just outside the entrance to the club where the speech was being given.
In 1995 Quebec held a referendum on whether to separate, become a country. The final tally was 49.42% yes vs 50.58% no.
After that the language shit died down for awhile. Everyone was just sick of it. But this last election brought it all bubbling up again. Well, it probably started at our last federal election when the Quebec pro-separatist federal party (Bloc Quebecois) got demolished, which no one was expecting. At one point in time they had enough seats that they actually formed the official opposition, and now they were down to something like 2 seats. The Liberal party got killed too.
Everyone voted for the more leftist labor party, in part because it had a charismatic and much loved / inspiring leader; and because no one trusts the Liberals anymore; and Quebec is a bit lefty so we all dislike the Conservatives. The Conservatives won their first majority since the 80s (yes, now we have a Bush president, except he's not stupid), but because of Quebec the NDP got its biggest ever number of seats. And by the way, the inspiring leader (Jack Layton) died soon after of cancer.
Anyway, the separatists got pretty worried by this result, and starting ramping up the rhetoric. The leader of the Parti Quebecois used to be a moderate, but last summer lots of party members started defecting, so she had to go more hardline on the separatism. A lot of her election promises have been language based, and affect immigrants and non-Christians more than Anglophones. Like immigrants not being allowed to go to Cegep (college between high school and university that almost everyone attends) -- not being allowed to go in English. And government employees not being allowed any religious symbols... except a small cross, and Christmas decorations. Because that's considered Quebec history and culture.
But I don't want to blame Francophones for heating up the rhetoric. Canada made a lot of concessions to Quebec, to keep it part of the country, and a lot of English outside Quebec are pissed off about that. They have absolutely no comprehension of the Francophone side of the argument, and they don't give a crap.
And there's the Anglophones who become Outraged! over every little fucking thing. And they too make no attempt to understand the other side.
And finally there are people of color who are frightened by what a majority PQ could do.
Everywhere I read, I see fear and anger. In both languages, on the comments at every news site. I'm not really afraid of another shooting happening... not now, anyway. The shooter was in a house coat for heaven's sake--this doesn't strike me as a Movement, a Rebellion. But if we don't stop all the angry comments, and casual hatred, and automatic assumption that everyone else is wrong, then things are going to get worse. We have to see our own part in this. And figure out what we can do / say to people when they start spouting their anti-______isms.
I'm worried about the racist graffiti, and people harassing each other in public, and public fights and beatings--that's the stuff I'm afraid will increase. And frankly I'm worried it's people of color who'll get the brunt of it. (When the referendum was "lost" the leader of the Bloc Quebecois publicly blamed immigrants.)
Well. Maybe the shooting will have a good effect and people will smarten up. But.... I was just reading more comments and they don't look substantively different to me.
There's a lot of "nessun dorma" ("no sleep tonight") going around.