(Shelby L. Bell / Flickr photo)
“We took a measure that was moderate,” Quebec Premier Francois Legault told Radio-Canada after Quebec passed a law preventing public school teachers, government lawyers, police officers and other civil servants from wearing religious symbols while working. He added what CBC called a “blunt message:” “We could have gone further.”
With Quebecers now blessedly protected from those terrifying head coverings, can the Poutine Police be far behind? Indeed, legislation introduced to the (very) Provincial Assembly, will follow Bill 21, “An Act respecting the laicity of the State,” with Bill 13: “An Act Destroying the Pepticity – good digestion – of the State.” All Quebec residents will then be forced to eat poutine weekly.
Just as Bill 21 risks turning everyone who dislikes a teacher, a lawyer or a cop into an enforcer – or blackmailer – or a narc, the new bill will require individuals to show up to multi-million-dollar Poutine Places, built only by contractors who pay off, I mean, are approved by, the premier’s political party. At regular check-ins or weigh-ins all citizens will have to prove their felicity to this bill disrespecting anyone else’s ethnicity by gaining 20 kilos monthly and displaying at least one really-embarrassing gravy stain on your nicest clothes at all times.
“Yes, it’s the Quebec whey,” the premier boasted, insisting that only a province that eats poorly together can live happily together. The premier scoffed when vegetarians and Jews (also known as people with gastric issues), lobbied for a vegan alternative to the goop. “Just as we strive to make this province only welcoming to French-Canadians who are pure laine– of pure wool – so, too, we will only accept PP – Pure Poutine,” the premier said.
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Evoking that magic year in (very) provincial history, 1958, when Jean-Paul Roy began serving the mix of French fries, cheddar cheese curds and chicken gravy with beef stock in his Drummondville Drive-In, the premier added: “We are a very welcoming province. But our ancient culture is under attack.
Just as we pass laws to protect endangered species, we protect Quebec’s endangered patrimony. We will have zero-tolerance for the lactose intolerant and other Francophonies trying to make our Francofood healthier, more nutritious, or suited to others with different gastronomic traditions. Let them move elsewhere.”
The premier explained his Tongue to Head to Stomach master plan. “First, we conquered everyone’s tongue by invading their brains, dictating who should speak which language when, a profound intrusion into every person’s private interactions – notwithstanding any constitutional guarantees of free speech. Now, we’re patrolling their heads and monkeying with their belief systems. Clearly, the next frontier is their diets.”
Parallel legislation will force everyone to acknowledge that poutine comes from the French word poutité “hodgepodge” and not pouting “bad stew” or, (only-the-Catholic) God-forbid, the English word “pudding” or the Quebecois slang meaning a “damned mess.” “We will resist the mongrelization and mocking of our culture,” the premier added.
Aides are already drafting sweeping legislation to eliminate any suggestions that Anglo culture ever affected French culture positively, while banning any criticism or satire. Meanwhile, until that law passes, the premier is recruiting a QQQ – a Quebec Qlan of Quislings. Corporate executives from across the (very provincial) province will be deployed to send bullying letters using their firms’ letterheads, typed by their secretaries, calling all criticisms “spurious” and “gratuitous,” while demanding retractions any time anyone dares to compare the freedoms Quebecers have lost to all the freedoms everyone else in North America enjoys.
Sound absurd? Well, this column’s first paragraph is absolutely true. As for the rest, imagine how ridiculous the language laws and language police sounded in the 1960s. And for true perspective, try explaining this latest assault on civil liberties to anyone else anywhere else in North America.