|Protest image from Les Janette Facebook page.|
Des milliers de personnes: Marche des «Janette» pour la charte à Montréal
You'll notice I am referring to the French media here. I'm finding the English media to be a little sparse and often downright hostile - to the point that I'm unable to read it, frankly. More on this further down.
And who are these Janettes? They appear to be a group of around 20 or so prominent Quebec women who are rallying for the Charter. They are rallying around journalist, author, comedian and feminist Janette Bertrand.
As far as I can see, much of the English media either ignored this group or printed stories with headlines like this: Janette Bertrand doesn’t regret support for Quebec charter. Or this piece describing the : The Janettes? It’s more like the Julies. Right, I get it, English media doesn't like the Charter, but the least they can do is report on it with some semblance of neutrality.
Anyway, the rally was fuelled by an open letter to the Lapresse newspaper written by Janette Bertrand and endorsed by said 20 or so women. I found the letter in the English press here along with an English translation so Anglophones can better understand the local nuances that are contributing to a desire to support the Charter....
... No... Wait... they left the letter untranslated. You'd think Global would be able to hunt down someone to translate a few paragraphs, wouldn't you? It's like they don't want the rest of Canada to understand what's going down over here.
Here's my crappy translation for all my Anglophone friends in the Rest of Canada.
Une charte pour les femmes
(A Charter for Women)
Toute ma vie, je me suis battue pour l'égalité entre les hommes et les femmes et j'ai toujours pensé que si nous voulions garder cette égalité, il fallait être vigilantes. En ce moment, le principe de l'égalité entre les sexes me semble compromis au nom de la liberté de religions.(All my life I fought for equality between men and women and I always thought that if we wish to keep this equality, it was necessary to be vigilant. At this moment, the principle of equality between the sexes appears to me to be compromised in the name of freedom of religion.)
J'aimerais vous rappeler que les hommes ont de tout temps, et encore de nos jours, utilisé la religion dans le but de dominer les femmes, de les mettre à leur place, c'est-à-dire en dessous d'eux.(I would like to remind you that men have forever, and still in our days, used religion with the goal of dominating women, to put them in their place, that is to say, under them.)
Devant la perspective d'un retour en arrière, je sens le besoin de prendre la parole. Je suis donc d'accord qu'il y ait une charte des valeurs québécoises - souvent appelée à juste titre la charte de la laïcité - et que le gouvernement légifère.(Faced with the prospect going backwards, I feel the need to speak. I agree that there should be a Quebec Charter of Values - often rightly called the Secular Charter - and that the government legislates it.)
À ce propos, nous n'aurions jamais eu le droit de vote, nous serions encore sous la domination des hommes et du clergé si le gouvernement de l'époque n'avait pas légiféré. En ce temps-là, je me souviens, beaucoup d'hommes et même des femmes ne voulaient pas de cette loi. Et pourtant, sans ce droit de vote, où serions-nous aujourd'hui?(In this regard, we would never have had the right to vote, we would still be under the rule of men and the clergy if the government of the day had not legislated. In that time, I remember, a lot of men and women do not want this law. And yet, without the right to vote, where would we be today?)
I believe she's comparing this new Charter with Women's Suffrage. What I've found more and more is that the Parti Québecois may have gotten things more right than I thad thought. This fight is much more than a campaign for State Secularism. The Charter of Quebec Values is, indeed, meant to protect ideals such as equality of the sexes, for example.
Abla Farhoud, Chantal Renaud, Denise Filiatrault, Denise Robert, Djemila Benhabib, Édith Cochrane, Évelyne Rompré, Isabelle Le Pain, Joëlle Morin, Julie Snyder, Louise Mailloux, Marie-Anne Alepin, Michelle Blanc, Naïma Lamghoupi, Rakia Fourati, Rivkah Katz, Stéphanie Crête-Blais, Valérie Vennes.
I wasn't able to find some of them in English and others have rather poor web presence. I did find this Huffington Post article explaining why they are supporting the Charter. I leave you with this so I may put my kid to bed. Anyone who doesn't read French will need to set their Google translate on stun.
Pourquoi les «Janettes» ont signé la lettre appuyant la Charte: 12 signataires expliquent leur position
Editor's Note 2013-10-29: Changed "At this moment, the principle of equality between the sexes appears to me to be a matter of freedom from religion." to "At this moment, the principle of equality between the sexes appears to me to be compromised in the name of freedom of religion." after MrPopularSentiment offered a much better translation below. Thanks!