There are millions of civil rights violations every day. And there are millions of people who speak out against those violations — at least, in most cases, when they are directly affected by them.
The reality is that unless such violations directly affect an individual, chances are most people will ignore them and even vote in favour of politicians who will oppress them by denying them equal civil rights.
Take the #cannabis laws in Quebec, for example.
Canada has legalized recreational cannabis, effective Oct. 17. With that comes the right to grow up to four plants at home for personal use.
But the Quebec Liberals, who were opposed to legalization in the first place, passed a bill that bans people from homegrowing, thus denying ALL Quebecers the federal civil rights being given to other Canadians. The ban will probably face a court challenge, because cannabis comes under federal jurisdiction and the Quebec law may not be legal.
In the meantime, during an election campaign, the message is clear to the #CannabisCommunity in Quebec: no equal #CivilRights for you under a patriarchal provincial Liberal government.
Even worse for Quebecers, the party leading in the polls — the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) — is not only in favour of banning homegrowing, it also vows to raise the legal consumption age to 21 from the current 18.
Only one major party has promised to allow homegrowing and keep the legal consumption age at 18: the Parti Québécois (PQ), which is in third place in the polls, will allow Quebecers to grow two plants at home. It’s not four, but it’s better than nothing.
The PQ has a serious image problem in Quebec, especially with the vast majority of anglophones who will NEVER, EVER vote for the party. The PQ is a sovereignist party, seeking to make Quebec a country. They have promised not to hold an independence referendum (because they know they can’t win it) and to stick to bread-and-butter issues while simply governing the affairs of the province in their first term in office.
That’s irrelevant for anglophones. It doesn’t matter to them if the PQ are now the province’s champions of the #CannabisCommunity and are offering to give ALL Quebecers equal civil cannabis rights with other Canadians. Older anglophone cannabis consumers/supporters who wouldn’t grow it at home, anyway, will vote to be oppressed, in principle, by the Liberals — the only party they ever vote for out of the three. No worry. Screw the civil rights of those who do want to homegrow it.
In short, anglophones will sooner vote to be oppressed by the Liberals than to see a PQ government.
However, the majority of Quebec’s population are francophones, and the true battle for votes lies with them. Francophones will choose the next provincial government, not anglophones. And this is where the PQ has to hammer home its message of equal rights being denied to them by the other parties.
Will they be successful on this point? Perhaps, to some degree. They should be able to pick up the votes of young people between the ages of 18 and 21, who will be denied the civil right of cannabis consumption as well as homegrowing if the CAQ wins. Problem is, that age group is not very good about showing up at the voting booths.
And older francophone cannabis consumers/supporters are no different than anglos: those who wouldn’t grow it, anyway, may not give a damn if the government is denying them that civil right — even though, under federal law, they are entitled to it, I remind you. So, many of them will vote to be oppressed, in principle, by the CAQ or Liberals. And they don’t care if people who do grow it illegally are persecuted.
Support for the CAQ is particularly strong in the outlying blue-collar regions, where the party’s leader is seen as some sort of salt-of-the-earth guy in the same way Donald Trump was hailed by a certain segment of similar electorate. (I am pretty sure there won’t be any Russian meddling in the Quebec election on Oct. 1.)
I’m one of the rare anglophones who will vote for the PQ, solely on the cannabis homegrow issue. It’s a human rights issue. And I just want the damn right to grow some legal weed at home! It’s not asking too much.
I’m confident the PQ can run the daily affairs of the province, as in Housekeeping 101. And if they were to win and they screw up, we vote them out in four years.
No big deal.
But during the four-year term, I’ll have been able to try out my indoor gardening skills with some cannabis plants — which I wouldn’t be doing for smoking, by the way.
Alas, the PQ will probably not win, and we will have to live under an oppressive government. Which means I’ll have to continue lobbying for equal rights.
And I will . . .