Instead of filling in potholes, Mayor Valerie Plante is taking down the crucifix displayed at Montreal City hall.
You might mentally picture Indiana Jones repeating the trope “that belongs in a museum” but judging by the media buzz and comments I’ve seen on social media, I’d say many Québécois are unhappy.
My ancestors did not work Montreal’s soil nor did they shed their blood for this island—I’m a second generation Canadian—but I don’t like Plante’s divisive politics either.
I believe the decision to remove the crucifix has little to do with faith, and more to do with destroying national identity in favour of multiculturalism and globalism.
Let’s look at some facts:
- In 2017, Montreal changed its coat of arms and flag to introduce a symbol for First Nations. It was a gong show for diversity’s sake: the Iroquois who were seen by Jacques Cartier in 1535 had already left by the time Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603. The island was still uninhabited at Ville-Marie’s foundation in 1642.
- That’s the same Montreal which was threatened with legal action in mid-2018 for refusing to fly the Québec flag, a situation which lasted many uncomfortable months.
- Despite opposition at the provincial level, Montreal maintained its position on allowing religious garb such as the hijab and turban in its police force. Opposition leader Lionel Perez proudly wears his kippah, a Jewish skullcap.
- The city still aspires to be like an American “sanctuary city”, but those words don’t have legal standing in Canadian law. Following a unanimous 2017 vote declaring Montreal a sanctuary city, council dropped the words in December 2018. That’s when it voted instead for an “inclusive immigration” policy, funding housing programs for illegal migrants and promoting their participation in the labour market.
One might wonder why the city of Montreal denies French-Canadians the symbols of their identity – the Québec flag and the crucifix – while taxing them to promote the financial and religious interests of others.
Who makes these decisions?
It seems like everyone has rights to their symbols … except the descendants of the city’s founders.
This is what Montreal gets for electing a mayor who publicly declares having no problem with the radical left and who famously complains of being plagued with “white guilt”. Yes, Valerie Plante actually said that.
In case you’re wondering: white guilt is individual or collective guilt, felt by some people of white skin colour, for harm resulting from historic or current racist treatment of ethnic minorities by other white people.
You might find that delusional, but what do you expect from the mayor who insists Montrealers must learn to live with coyotes? After learning coyotes were killing pets and attacking small children in public parks, the city actually voted in a policy called coexisting with coyotes in Montréal.
Here we have a far-left ideologue who prefers wild animals to the safety of our children and is willing to erase her culture and history while advancing a globalist phenomenon of illegal migration.
Perhaps she will eventually ease her guilt… but atoning for her perceived sin of whiteness while acting as mayor is immoral. It hurts French-Canadians who believe a truly welcoming society should not require their cultural suicide.
Christianity cannot be eradicated from Montreal’s history
So here I will fundamentally disagree with my editor at The Post Millennial who takes exception to our cross-filled culture.
I was born and raised in Montreal. I love its vibrant business community, its architecture, and its people. It’s obvious to me that most people don’t go to church on Sunday (even fewer attend city council meetings, I’d say). Furthermore many Montrealers, like me, speak more than one language.
However, I won’t deny that Montreal was founded by French-speaking Catholics.
We should recognize and appreciate our history: Montreal was founded May 17, 1642 by two settlers: nobleman Paul de Chomedy de Maisonneuve and nurse Jeanne Mance. Both pioneers were baptized Catholics from France.
The day following their historic gesture, a mass was celebrated, dedicating the new city to Mary, who Catholics believe is the Mother of God. In her honour and to this day the central borough of Montreal is called Ville-Marie. That literally translates to Mary’s City.
Ask any VP finance from New York or any London banker to name just one address in Montreal, and he’ll sound off “Place Ville-Marie” without hesitation. The class-A office tower is the prestigious home of a large number of companies.
Can you guess what it looks like?
Place Ville-Marie boasts a unique design maximizing window space, natural light and the number of corner offices. The city’s most iconic landmark is in the shape of … a cross.
Would architects Henry N. Cobb (American), I. M. Pei (Chinese), and Dimitri Dimakopoulos (Greek) make the tallest skyscraper in the Commonwealth into a cross if it didn’t mean anything for Montreal?
Diversity should add to—not subtract from—the culture
In current year, society is more secular and we probably wouldn’t dedicate a new city to the Mother of God.
However, whether we like it or not Christianity is woven into the fabric of our city’s heritage.
It’s in the churches in every neighborhood and in the corporate architecture downtown. It’s in the major streets named after saints, like St-Laurent & Ste-Catherine. Just like the Québec flag, a big white cross lays front and centre of the Montreal flag.
The crucifix should stay—not because people pray—but precisely because they don’t anymore: in the absence of living faith, French-Canadians’ language and religious history is all that’s left of their cultural identity.
And they like who they are.
Much like Québécois all over the province, Montrealers welcome diversity and greet others with open arms, but they don’t want to feel replaced.
The CAQ won the 2018 provincial election by a landslide because French-Canadians wanted a 20% cut in immigration and the protection of Québec identity. Having their symbols removed is not what they want to see.
That’s a lesson Québec Premier Francois Legault will learn once again, as he opens discussions to remove the crucifix in the National Assembly.