Conservative activists adopted two resolutions at the end of the week. The first says that “we will prohibit life-changing medical or surgical interventions for children under 18 to treat gender confusion or dysphoria and encourage positive support (for these young people) on mental and physical health issues.” The second establishes that “women have the right to safety, dignity and privacy in spaces differentiated by sex, such as prisons, shelters, locker rooms, bathrooms, and to the benefits of categories reserved for women, such as in sports, prizes, subsidies, scholarships.” The word “woman” is defined as “person of the female sex.”
Criticism came immediately. Federal Minister of Diversity and Inclusion Kamal Khera was quick to write about the face of Canadians. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh criticized the Conservatives for their “blind ideology” and accused them of “preying on children.” The Globe and Mail published an op-ed calling the resolutions “transphobic,” and the Hill Times published an op-ed calling them “homophobic.”
Of course, gender issues are not as vital as housing or inflation issues, but they concern citizens. As long as we listen, it is difficult to find people indifferent to the gender theory that infiltrates everywhere. Many citizens feel overwhelmed by these new concepts that have not been the subject of collective discussion before being presented as incontestable realities.
And why did these debates not take place? Because of this propensity to shout “controversy” every time an entity, political or otherwise, tries to attack them. It is no coincidence that at the conservative convention the real discussion took place behind closed doors. They would have taken us down in front of the media, the activists interviewed confided.
Therefore, we only offered four interventions before the public per resolution, two in favor and two against, limited to 30 seconds each, during which the speaker also had to say his name and where he came from. Result: we did not hear any constructive arguments that could be educational, only slogans delivered with enthusiasm. It was a perfect example of what the absence of debate creates: a war of shocking statements that are unlikely to change anyone’s mind.
The Quebec exception
Once again, Quebec is an exception in daring to talk about these taboos. About fifteen years ago, she debated reasonable accommodations. More recently, she has legitimized issues around immigration. Today he reevaluates gender theory when it translates into the disappearance of girls’ bathrooms in schools.
Quebec will thus create a scientific committee that will guide it in its decisions regarding trans and non-binary people. However, he refuses to hold a parliamentary commission as proposed by the PQ leader. Certainly, Paul Saint-Pierre Plamondon has unnecessarily inflamed tempers by describing as “radical left” all the ideas that he would like to debate, but he still points out something.
Again this week we learned that a Toronto school discarded all of its books published before 2008 to comply with an instruction requiring the re-evaluation of titles based on a diversity table. In his essay Woke Fiction, published these days, Samuel Fitoussi exposes how the cultural environment forces the insertion into works of diatribes about systemic racism, toxic masculinity and gender fluidity.
Citizens are tired of all this, if Angus Reid’s survey on the polarization of society is to be believed. We asked 3,016 Canadians what they thought of the “culture wars,” whether it be the purification of works, the cancellation of controversial figures or even trauma warnings. The specificity of Quebec was highlighted.
It is Quebecers who are most opposed to “safe spaces” that allow students not to be exposed to competing ideas. It is in Quebec that we are most likely to say that society is more careful with its language than before and that this is a bad thing. Respondents were also asked to describe, in three words, the culture wars. Everywhere we answered “divisive” and “exhausting,” but only in Quebec did “unnecessary” not make the top three. Instead, we answered “important.”
In short, in Quebec we not only refuse to avoid angry topics, we find it necessary to talk about all of it. Which explains why Pierre Poilievre is crucified for the departure of his activists, but that the Quebec political class can condemn mixed bathing or interrogate Mx Martine without too many problems.
For the moment, Pierre Poilievre refuses to comment on the positions taken by his activists and states that he first wants to study them with his group. We understand his hesitation. Medical practices fall under the jurisdiction of the provinces, not Ottawa. However, we are entitled to ask whether the work of the Trudeau government, which powerfully propagated some of these ideas, would continue. It is normal to want to know from a politician who makes freedom his motto if this will include the freedom to debate more calmly. Being ahead in surveys comes with obligations, including saying what you’re wearing.