Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hérouxville, a nest of open intolerance?

Sounds odd, but it's true. The Municipality of Hérouxville, a small town located 100 miles northeast of Montréal, Canada, issued a series of rules that should be observed by the local population, especially newly-arrived immigrants who bring to Canada some habits that allow discrimination and roughness against women and children.
However, not all of the rules issued are as open minded as you'd think. Actually I find some of them pretty frustrating and somewhat offensive towards social minorities and religion diversity. But for you to have a better evaluation of them, here's a summary of the rules that are to take effect immediately (my comments are inserted in blue):
  • Women: They're allowed to drive cars, own belongings, vote, etc. Killing women in public beatings or burning them alive is illegal (that's news! Still, I find this rule valuable, just in case that some people who immigrate don't know the Federal legislation in Canada).
  • Children: Violence against children is not accepted.
  • Festivities: Christmas is part of the local 'national heritage', not necessarily a religious holiday (really...? Oh, I think that I've been fooled for many years then, thinking that it does have to do with Christian and Catholic religions). Thus, Christmas celebrations are authorized in public, and decorations related to it (e. g. Christmas trees, lights) are allowed. (Yeah, Christmas lights provide a nice look to the cities. National heritage? Perhaps, but... why shouldn't Hannukah lights, for example, be allowed as well then?)
  • Health Care: Both men and women can be treated by either male or female doctors and / or nurses. By the way, in case of an emergency, they don't have to request permission to perform blood transfussions in case of need (tough luck for Jehovah's Witnesses). Of course, men can be present to assist the birth of a baby (That's correct, but why not respect other people's habits and beliefs as well? Is it so bad if they request specifically a woman to assist the birth, if their religion says so?).
  • Education: Both men and women can teach lessons at schools as long as they're properly accredited to do so. Children can't carry any weapons (including ceremonial Sikh daggers, which even the Supreme Court of Canada ruled as a right for boys who follow the Sikh faith), and they are allowed to get together with other children. Although the education is non religious and all kind of religious links (like, for example, prayer rooms) have been banned in schools, Christmas trees and Christmas decorations are allowed in schools on December. Children can sing Christmas Carols as well if they want to (as this, probably, is also part of the 'national heritage'. For people who don't follow a Catholic or Christian faith, please don't encourage your kid to sing songs related to your own religion's holidays, that's not part of the 'national heritage' and as such it's not allowed).
  • Sports: Men and women can use simultaneously facilities such as swimming pools, ice rinks and skiing runs. (Nothing wrong with that. It's a free country).
  • Security: Male and female police guards may fine both men and women. Your driving license must include your photo as a result of democracy (so they say in the official document. I'm still not very sure on what's the link between a driver's license and democracy). People can't hide their face in the streets to allow an easy public identification; however, this previous regulation can be disregarded during Halloween (thus if you celebrate another sort of holiday that requires wearing costumes, like Purim for the Jewish population, forget it! You're not allowed to wear masks that day, even if your religion tells you to do so).
  • Work: Bosses don't have the obligation of providing praying spaces. Women and men usually share the same workspaces, too. (That's fair. I find this one adequate. However, everybody should be able to pray if they wish to, as long as such prayer doesn't interfere the performance of the job).
  • Family: Both parents have the same authority over the children. If a boy or a girl wants to get married, they can... parental authority can't do anything about it (I'm sorry for those who regard the marriage arrangements as a tradition. Time to change that, it's obsolete in Hérouxville). Also, children may eat whatever they want, all types of meat and vegetables that they wish, and so on (worried about respecting Kosher or Halal food rules? In Hérouxville you won't have to worry about it, as religious practices are not allowed. You can't enforce such kind of rules to your children too).
  • Miscellaneous: Crosses might be seen in the streets. They remind people's past (whose past? It depends on who are you asking to). They're part of the patrimony.

Some of those regulations are a complete insult towards certain religious and social groups. Fortunately, these rules are only to be applied in Hérouxville and not in the whole Québec province. So, if you belong to a minority and you were thinking to move to Hérouxville, I'd suggest you to think again, unless you're really wishing to give up part of your cultural background if any of those rules affect your way of living.

Fortunately, the rest of Canada is much more open minded and respectful towards minorities. Thus, long life to Canada.

For more information about Hérouxville and its social rules, visit the Municipality's homepage at http://municipalite.herouxville.qc.ca/.

2 Comments:

At 2:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 9:54 AM , Blogger Eddie said...

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