Tuesday, February 6, 2007

André Drouin's Legendary Clumsiness

On Sunday, André Drouin, a municipal councillor of a village called Hérouxville, went on the set of the French Canadian talk-show Tout le monde en parle. Obviously, Drouin was there to talk about his village’s secular “Way of Life” (it forbids “the stoning of women” and religious accommodation), which is a short document newly approved by Hérouxville’s municipal council.

Before André Drouin gave his interview to the host Guy A. Lepage, who is assisted by Danny Turcotte, it was easy to understand the motives behind the approval of Hérouxville’s municipal “Way of Life”.

From left to right: Danny Turcotte and Guy A. Lepage

The initiative of Hérouxville’s municipal councillors that is meant to tell their exasperation (caused by the incapacity of many Canadian politicians to adopt a stance on the issue of religious accommodation to minorities) was certainly noble; to be very honest with you, it’s about time that Canada fully becomes a real secular country like France and the Netherlands in order to proceed to a behavioural assimilation of ethnic minorities.

However, on the set of the talk-show Tout le monde en parle, André Drouin displayed a legendary clumsiness because of his ambiguous remarks and arguments about the legitimacy of his village’s municipal document dictating the unique “Way of Life”. Is André Drouin a racist? I don't think so. Besides looking like a clown at times, he was just unable to bring nuances in his arguments.

André Drouin on the set of Tout le monde en parle

Canada, at this very moment, is being more divided than it looks. On one side, regardless of the ethnicity, some people are demanding that this country becomes fully secular and embraces a common set of values, or in other words a creed, for all citizens. On the other hand, there are a bunch of immigrants, coming from religious minorities, who want to be religiously accommodated.

During the show, what was André Drouin referring to by talking about “the people’s values” (“les valeurs du peuple”)? Was it about the values of Canadians or about those of the people living in the village of Hérouxville (which is located in the Canadian province of Quebec)? Unfortunately, he still looks like someone who will enlarge the gap between religious minorities and other Canadians, because it seems that he was exhorting immigrants to conform to the values of white French and English Canadians. In short, he looked more like an ethnic nationalist rather than like a proud Canadian who advocates a doctrine of melting pot meant to unite people, regardless of the ethnicity, around one culture and a common credo.

By talking about “the people's values”, André Drouin gave to immigrants with a particular religious background the feeling that they just don't fit into our society. In fact, these immigrants, up to now, are having the feeling hat they must adopt a set of values of the dominant ethnic group in Quebec (i.e. white French Canadians). In spite of his intentions' nobleness, did André Drouin mention who are the Canadians or in his case, who are the people of Hérouxville?

André Drouin is not Mario Dumont or French philosopher Pascal Bruckner, who was also another guest at Sunday's edition of Tout le monde en parle. In fact, Drouin should have said that secularism is a common value that must be shared by everybody regardless of the ethnic background just the same way all Americans have to commonly recognize themselves in their national Creed.

At this very moment, the government must abolish the policy of multiculturalism and change the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Afterwards, secularism must be declared nationwide just the same way it was done in France. André Drouin's intention was certainly noble; it was just a few words used in his arguments (stoning women is already forbidden in Canada) that undermined his credibility. Up to now, Drouin, regardless of his intentions, will have the difficulty to fix his minor blunders.

Here are the two parts (only in French) of his interview found on YouTube:

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