Democracy and justice for dogs, but send the Muslims and other immigrants
back where they come from
By Dr Clarence Bayne
There is an increasing tendency in Quebec for the far-right and the vote hungry political leaders to offer Quebec society a scented rose with the serpent of systemic discrimination and racism lurking under the lips and between the curls of seductive petals.
We are not racist they say.
We are very tolerant of immigrants and other (non-French) cultures. But our governments are too lenient with immigrants. Thus the far right French nationalist rejects any notion that there should be an enquiry into systemic discrimination and racism in Quebec, because they claim that that would be accusing and judging Quebecers (meaning French Canadians).
This has found support in the ranks of the present government and many French Quebecers. As a consequence the Couillard Liberals’ enquiry into systemic discrimination and racism has been abandoned and the Minister of immigration asked to investigate and consult Quebecers on ways in which to improve the Government strategies for the settlement of immigrants and for promoting equality and diversity within a French speaking Quebec society and economic system protected by the “notwithstanding clause” and Bill 101.
There is an analogy here to the rejection of the Coderre Pit Bull legislation in Montreal and its subsequent withdrawal by the new Plante administration.
The rejection by the Plante administration of the previous mayor Coderre, administrative decision to ban pit bulls from the environments of Quebec as dangerous to life and the security of the public has unleashed streams of empathy from the population of dog lovers. It is so passionate and in the French language presented as no other language can; with such romantic vigour that some segments of the population may have been induced to wish they could be viewed as pit bulls: induce love and respect through fear and the cuteness of our “mugs”.
The following is an excerpt from a comment to an article on the subject in Le Devoir of Saturday, December 9 2017 (Les pit bulls ne seront plus interdits à Montréal):
“Je n’ai pas de chiens, deux chats seulemnt, mais lorsque je me promène dans la rue et que j’en vois, et particuliièrement les pittbulls, je les regarde ave une certaine crainte, mais en même temps je voudrais m’en approcher tellement ils ont un regard tendre. De les interdire n’avait pas aidé ma cause, et je trouvais ça bien dommage, surtout que les maîtres les aiment tellement!
Moi aussi je crois que tous les chiens peuvent être dangereux quand on est cruel avec eux! On dit que parfois ils acceptent leur sort, ces pauvres bêtes ! Un animal est tellement dépendant de nous: on les a domestiqués, il faut accepter de s’en occuper comme «nos enfants» ! On leur doit le respect!” (Solange Bolduc)
Now, it is true that the indiscriminate framing and application of the law may have placed an unfair burden on the owners of dogs and unduly diminished the satisfaction owners derive from the relationship between this animal and the human person.
Moreover, as it is quite effectively pointed out, the damage done in an attack from a chiwawa is not comparable in its seriousness to that done in an attack from a Pit Bull. In some cases the latter has ended in death of the victim. So clearly there is room for differentiation in fines and penalties to fit the seriousness of the outcome of an attack. However, my observation is the swiftness with which the Plante Administration moved to correct the unfairness of the situation, to bring justice through the democratic process and logic to bare on the problem; as compared to the slowness of their response to the Black Community Forum request for a meeting to discuss outstanding business with the Black Community extending from the Tremblay Administration to the Coderre Administration. It also baffles me to understand the urgency, love and concern expressed by Quebecers for this unpredictable killer; while in sharp contrast the provincial politicians and nationalist groups act to ban hijabs and to deny the existence of the destructive impact of systemic discrimination and racism on the lives of immigrants, Blacks and other visible and non-French minorities. It is amazing that the Provincial Government cannot stand its ground with the same arguments and empathetic passion as Solange Bolduc makes for the pitbull. It is amazing that the French leadership does not have the courage to understand that like the “dog” in this case, these human immigrants and minorities are at such a disadvantage in terms of their power position and dependencies on the established French mainstream that” il faut accepter de s’en occuper comme «nos enfants» ! On leur doit le respect!”
We pose the question, Why? Why do they love the killing dog, but want to send us back? I believe it has to do with power relationships and Darwinian adaptation. Dogs have learned to be subservient and loyal to their “masters” in return for care, attention and defence. We even pick up their “shit” after them and build conversation and social spaces for them in our parks. For, they are the slaves that we wish we could have; that amaze and entertain us with tricks or fulfill out need for gladiator sport. They are things in our showcases.
Humans, I captivity and today’s democracies are much more inclined to act persistently, even violently, to free themselves from loyalties that restrict their freedoms at all levels and stages of their lives. The selfish gene borrows, steals, appropriates, collaborates when convenient and by whatever means, but closes the door after.
At the end of the day, everything beyond the fence is suspect and foreign to its central interest, life by any means. Everything outside the gated kinship group is a threat. In the primitive unconscious of the un-evolved, Blacks, indigenous, and other visible minorities are viewed as evolving and not quite capable of achieving, when left to themselves, the excellence of Whites (the Aryan races).
The anger of those human species that Arthur De Gobineau and his modern day followers (Hitler, the KKK, La Muete, and institutionalized discrimination and racism) rank at the bottom of the Mosaic totem scale are not viewed with the same understanding as the behaviour of the Pit Bull that has been cruelly treated by humans.
Our anger, accumulated after years of oppression; of being racialized, stripped of our self-esteem and reclassified as humans without the capacity for developing a soul, is associated with the imperfections and dysfunctionalism assigned to Blacks and indigenous people by Western race theories and the practices of White supremacy.
It is a systemic discriminating and Fascist way of thinking and organizing the world. It is the Mission School way. It produces reconciliations and apologies without change.
The only solution is the continuous and relentless democratic and morally responsible struggle against the persons and systems that support this distortion in thinking and misplaced compassion for pit bulls over other humans: us.