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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 11.14.08
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

In Quebec, I do declare!

STANSTEAD, QC | In keeping with the Quebec government's new policy requiring immigrants to sign a mandatory declaration stating they will commit to learning French and respecting the province's common values, we, the people of Quebec, hereby request that political candidates sign the following mandatory declaration.

(Note: Candidates who fail to sign this declaration will be barred from running in the current provincial election and the next federal election, which, the way things are going, ought to be in a month or two.)

1. I declare that, historically, Quebec is a French province whose working and legislative language is French, BUT (and it's a big but) that Quebec is a diverse community whose First Nations, English, and multicultural communities also play a major, if not decisive role, in the history and current vitality of Quebec.

2. I declare that, historically, Jacques Parizeau is also a big butt.

3. I agree to learn English, publish flyers in English, and post signs in English in those ridings with a significant English population ("significant" being defined as enough to fill a Legion Hall). Moreover, I will use said English respectfully, and I will wipe that smirk off my face!

4. I commit to keeping cultural indoctrination out of the schools and especially out of textbooks, in particular when it comes to promoting the significance and influence (in fact, nil) of the Bloc Québécois, time that might be better spent teaching Quebec children to actually spell and write goodly.

5. I freely agree that the current provincial election has been called due to blatant opportunism and has nothing to do with the economy or good governance. (Liberal candidates, that means you. Hey, don't skip to No. 6! Don't pretend you can't hear us! Get back up here!)

6. I agree to re-read Article 5. (Ha! Gotcha, Liberal candidates!)

7. I admit that the War on the Economy is the new War on Terror, which used to be the new War on Drugs, and that Wars on Anything are oversimplified, expensive, generally unproductive, and a means of distracting from the real issues of the day, in our case poverty, global warming and ensuring that Céline Dion permanently stays in Las Vegas.

8. I understand that one way to help the economy is not to dip into the public purse to pay for referendums, inconclusive public consultations and -- oh, I don't know -- ELECTIONS!

9. I appreciate the fact that floggings are passé.

10. As a Quebecer, I agree to hold honesty as one of my highest ideals. To that end, I make the following statement (please select according to party affiliation):

a) Liberal: That there is tremendous irony in emblazoning Liberal campaign posters with a giant "OUI."

b) Action Démocratique: That in elementary school I was regularly beaten up at recess for snitching on my assailants -- and those were just the teachers!

c) Parti Québ&eacue;cois: Absolutely my party's going to call another referendum!

11. I understand that anyone who calls an opposing candidate a "jerk" or a "liar" or any such childish insult will be subjected to noogies.

12. Over the course of the election campaign, I will not use the phrase, "Yes we can!" nor will I describe myself or my party leader as "Obama-esque." By the same token, I understand that I refer to myself or my party leader as "Harper-esque" at my own risk.

13. Like most Quebecers, I am slightly suspicious. So no No. 13.

14. I acknowledge that legislating identity is a form of domestic cultural imperialism and makes as much sense (and is bound to be as effective) as legislating language.

15. I acknowledge that declarations are ultimately pointless and unenforceable, and that, in the case of this one for political candidates, likely to become just another empty promise.

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