---Is decency possible in a racist province?
Some sixteen years ago, youth gathered from across Quebec to hold a summit on the future of Quebec. It was held in Alma, the editor of the Bulletin was a youth representative for Outaouais, as President of the Pontiac Youth Table and Vice-President of the Outaouais Youth Table.
In a stunning plenary session at the end of the weekend, these 480 youth were to establish a direction for the province that would help improve society. It was stunning in the utter absence of anything innovative – and in lack of First Nations representation.
Today, these youth are parents, some might work in the health care system, some might even work in places similar to Joliette, where nursing staff where caught on tape saying wretchedly racist comments about a dying First Nations woman.
The problem of poor governance in Quebec is at the root of why those nurses felt it was okay to treat her with lethal racism. Known to anyone of visual minority communities, this province is not a safe place for First Nations women. Because this newspaper is published in Quebec, comparing it to other regions is not at issue. The issue is how to cease raising people in this province who treat each other so poorly. What happens in the province is reflected in the home, and views learned at home are then brought to civic society.
In Aylmer, during the Quebec consideration of various social legislative tools (banning religious symbols, for example), the Bulletin fielded a number of complaints about racist actions. A woman wearing a head-covering was pushed by a white woman in a grocery store, while muttering racist slurs. Another incident in that time frame included an STO bus driver miss-treating a young woman wearing a head-covering. There was a beating of a brown-skinned young man by white boys in the Park des Cèdres parking lot. These are but three examples locally of people who clearly act as if it is okay to miss-treat those who are different.
The time has really come to insist that living properly with each other must come at every level of society. There is no good time, there is no better group of social leaders who will fix Quebec with a magic wand. The youth can’t do it, the Bulletin saw for itself at that Alma convention of pan-political youth leaders. Seniors aren’t fixing Quebec for everyone to live safely, they didn’t last generation, and they are certainly not doing so now. In fact looking for a group or a generation to make changes is really part of the problem.
Tolerance zero is where we stand now, in Quebec. There are some 15,000 Algonquin people in Gatineau. Like the rest of readers, they stand with decency.