My values are clear. I believe in the respect of all human rights, no matter who you are.
I believe in equality between men and women, because it’s the right thing to do. I believe in fighting for this equality and denouncing instances of inequality, and such instances continue to exist because no one can point to me anywhere on a map of the world and say, “There you go, they’ve got equality right there.” I believe in equality in all its forms, and denounce discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or any other grounds.
I believe in respecting each other, because that’s what my mother taught me and that’s what I’m teaching my children and that’s what I expect from others and that’s what I want to give everyone too. Even though sometimes, some people really piss me off.
I believe in a multicultural, pluralistic society where we can all work together to live in harmony, however cheesy that sounds. But the harmony is not assumed, it’s not a given, it has to be achieved together, and I recognize that such work demands open discussions about how people feel and what their beliefs, attitudes, and values are. Such discussions require the importance of empathy and an openness to listen to others. Just as importantly, they require a willingness to question and revise our own attitudes and values, to make sure that no one fully compromises their beliefs for the sake of someone else’s, and to recognize that any values that shape a vibrant society will change over time.
I don’t believe in God, but I respect others who have beliefs in their faiths and who express their beliefs in whichever way they want to – through their dress, or symbols, or how they wear or cover up their hair, or anything else, because it’s their right. And besides, knowing that so many people of different beliefs (or non-belief) can live together in harmony gives me hope that we’re not doomed as a race.
I believe in realizing the full potential of every person, and that means, among other things, creating and sustaining a viable education system with committed educators who are capable of tapping the energy of our youth so that they may not be as disenchanted as some of us old people later in life.
I believe in living a life of value that extends beyond helping those I know and opening an eye to the world by recognizing both the immense suffering we inflict and tremendous joy we bestow on each other. And I believe, however possible, on lending out a hand to strangers in need.
I believe in all this stuff and I’m content (not overjoyed, not immensely happy, but merely content) with paying ever-increasing taxes each year to the Quebec government. Yet the government takes my money and turns around and wastes its time creating a charter of values that is only serving to hurt those most eager and willing to live in a pluralistic society.
Quebec is my home, and it’s deeply upsetting that the government is pushing a charter of values it believes is in the best interests of our society. This charter inherently discriminates against those it purports to include, and for that reason it has no place in our society. Let us define our own values as a society and let the government get on with the job of governing, assuming it can.