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Quebec and A Question of Values

The Montreal Rally for "Peace"

Beryl P. Wajsman/Nathalie Elgrably

9 August 2006

“They made a desert and called it peace”
~ Julius Caesar, “Commentaries on the War in Gaul

Sunday, Montreal witnessed a demonstration for peace for Lebanon and Palestine.

As usual, Israel was not mentioned. We guess it is not entitled to peace.

As usual the media focused on Lebanese flags, not the sea of Hezbollah flags. We guess Israel, and all freedom-loving Canadians, are supposed to ignore these fifth-columnists within our midst whose mouths dripped all afternoon with words of nullification and interposition against the free world.

As usual, the media played up the numbers game stumbling over one another as with the RDI (French CBC) anchor who said 15,000 attended while the RDI reporter on the ground said 3,000-4,000. We guess we have to accept the disinformation that has spun like a whirlwind around this Mid-East conflict from CNN correspondent Nic Robertson’s confession of faked reports from Beirut due to Hezbollah threats, to the blind acceptance of Hezbollah’s accusation that Israel killed 60 people at Qana when the building that killed the victims collapsed eight hours after the Israeli bombing raid ended.

Too many have become too immune to these double standards. Somehow Israeli blood is cheap even though this conflict was started by a rain of Hezbollah rockets and kidnappings aided by the complicity of a Lebanese government that has refused to undertake its responsibility under UN resolution 1559 adopted six years ago that obliged it to disarm Hezbollah and take control of south Lebanon.

But the most dangerous immunity that Quebecers have succumbed to has been to the question of values.

Oh how often "values" were mentioned during the comments by the nest of night -crawling moral hypocrites and political opportunists who organized this rally! And what strange bedfellows they were. Liberal MP Dénis Coderre, detested by organized labour, standing with the FTQ. Coderre, the "staunch" federalist, suddenly finding common cause with Bloc Québecois leader Gilles Duceppe and Parti Québecois leader André Boisclair. Trade-unionists who remained neutral in the last provincial election suddenly shoulder-to-shoulder with the PQ again. And the PQ, furious at the creation of Québec Solidaire, sharing the stage with its leader Françoise David. What a sight!

Now let’s see…what values could have brought all of them together.

Hezbollah fighters use people as human shields forcing them at gunpoint to stay in war zones; forcing them upon pain of death to store machine guns and rockets in their homes, schools and hospitals and forcing them with destruction of their property if they refuse to put up with Katyusha emplacements. Israel gives advance notice of attacks; rains leaflets on the Lebanese to leave dangerous areas and instructs its soldiers not to attack until after they have taken a hit from Hezbollah, all to preserve not only its own citizens’ lives and liberties but those of its enemies as well. Quebec sacrificed more sons and daughters, as a proportion of population, for the defense and expansion of freedom in both World Wars than any other part of North America. Clearly Hezbollah’s values are more in line with Quebec’s. Right?

Hezbollah, with the backing of Syria and Iran, opposes pluralistic secular democracy in Lebanon and seeks to impose a theocratic tyranny. Israel is an open democracy with Muslim parliamentarians, judges and diplomats and Quebec turned it’s back on state faith 45 years ago with "La révolution tranquille" that ended "le noirceur" and gave full emancipation to all minorities in 1837, twenty years before England. Clearly Hezbollah is more reflective of Quebec. Right?

Hezbollah opposes trade unionism. Israel and Quebec are the world’s, yes the world’s, most unionized jurisdictions outside of the remaining communist countries. Obviously Hezbollah is closer to Quebec on this one too. Right?

Hezbollah opposes gay rights and equal status for women. Israel has a gay pride parade in Jerusalem, just like Montreal, and women serve equally in all areas from the army on up. So let’s see….Hezbollah or Israel….hmmmmmm?

Well maybe it’s the question of "proportional response" that bothers Quebecers? But then we have to remember that at the time of the FLQ crisis in 1970 Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa specifically asked then Prime Minister Trudeau to impose the War Measures Act, send the army into Montreal and suspend civil liberties after six mailbox bombs went off and British Trade Commissioner James Cross was kidnapped and Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte was killed. Bourassa called the actions of some twenty, that’s right twenty, FLQ cell members an "insurrection". No rain of hundreds of rockets. No daily killings of civilians. No bombardment of cities. No 2000 deaths from terrorist attacks. Was his response "proportional"? Yet he got re-elected three years later with a majority.

We could go on but we think you get the point. It’s none of this. This rally got the support of so much of Quebec’s political and labor elite because of a transparently base, cynical and unprincipled grab for votes and union memberships after a simple calculation pitting Quebec’s 250,000 Muslims versus its 90,000 Jews. Denis Coderre won his seat largely through Muslim votes; the FTQ’s organizing drives have stagnated for ten years; and the BQ/PQ/QS "progressives" needs every bit of help they can get because of their internal fratricide. Ward politics at its bottom-feeding worst.

It got the support of much of the Francophone media and "intelligentsia" because too many members of those "estates" have a knee-jerk anti-Americanism inspired by nothing more than a fear of competing on the North American playing field, and condemning any ally of America, like Israel, to the same political purgatory gives them smug self-satisfaction and lets them rest slothfully in their protective womb-like isolation.

It got the support of many ordinary French Quebecers because of their inbred jealousy of anyone’s success and power - particularly a nation as small as Israel — a jealousy driven by a self-doubt arising from the mirror of their own lack of self-belief. A lack of self-belief that compels them to cut down anyone of purpose and principle such as Prime Minister Harper, because they have become so divorced from the best of their own legacy that their reason cannot comprehend, in Robert Kennedy’s words,  that "…courage is the cardinal human virtue..."

Where were Quebecers protests through more than 9,000 terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians that sliced limbs from bodies and killed thousands? Where were Quebecers protests when NATO bombed Kosovo back to the Stone Age to protect Muslims? Where were Quebecers’ protests when French President Chirac, just four months ago, stood on the French nuclear submarine "Vigilante" and threatened to use weapons of mass destruction if radical Islam ever threatened the French Republic? Quebec was silent.

Israel becomes a flashpoint for many Quebecers’ hate because Israel has a citizenry ready to take responsibility for its liberty. Too many Quebecers accept failed states right to be wrong; accept bankrupt notions of moral relativism, and accept the expediency of political equivalency because so many of them dread the responsibilities that come with freedom.  Like children, all they want is diversion, distraction and direction and so they willingly abdicate individual consequence and sovereignty to any state dictate or fiat. Just like so many in the Muslim world do in their submission to Mullahs and madmen.

But Quebecers will not be able to escape the reality that the free world is in a global conflict against an old tyranny wrapped in new cloaks. Israel is merely the frontline state in the family of free nations that is doing the fighting first. The winds of war will eventually encompass Quebec as well. As they did New York and London; Madrid and Mumbai; Bali and Beslan; Toronto and all the other outposts of free peoples. As we approach the Fifth Anniversary of 9-11, Quebecers would do well to reflect on how they will be looked upon when the war is finally won - as it inevitably will be - and they sought to appease the foe by feeding its crocodiles in the vain hope, as Churchill put plain, "…that the crocodiles would eat them last…"

Beryl Wajsman is president of the Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal; publisher of BARRICADES Magazine; and host of 940AM’s "The Last Angry Man". He can be reached at: info@iapm.com

Nathalie Elgrably teaches at the HÉC-Montréal; is a columnist for the Journal de Montréal and is the author of “La face cachée des politiques publiques”. She can be reached at: nathalie.elgrably@hec.ca

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