Communicating With Care Includes Political Care

Speaking out to Request the Government of Quebec Review Bill 21.

Submitted by Silvia Mangue Alene.

(Silvia is the founder of Kulea Culture, a non-profit society located in Victoria, BC focused on equity, diversity and inclusion. Kulea Culture’s mission is to raise awareness about and reduce ethno-racial discrimination, prejudice and stereotyping through education, lectures, presentations, workshops, exhibitions, cultural exchange and research).

Inclusive Leadership to me means to include everyone in your leadership by listening to what others have to say and considering their points of view. Leading inclusively is to share not only your knowledge and time but also your vulnerabilities in ways that allow people to see your differences as gifts. Inclusive leaders encourage and elevate and invite others to join and to bring their differences. Inclusive leaders are compassionate, caring, smart and are wiling to serve and to give. And last but not least Inclusive Leadership is satisfactory and fulfilling.

My main goal for taking the “Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential” online course is to learn to communicate with care and compassion: Practice, practice and more practice. After participating in the Anti-Discrimination First Aid Module, “Chardi Kala” became my new motto. According to Canadian Member of Parliament Jagmeet Singh, Chardi Kala means rising spirits and a positive outlook in the face of hopeless odds and despair. I do believe that there is no other way to see the other if it is not with love. And this is something that I need to practice and I will be practicing until my last days.

Victoria Councillor, Sharmarke Dubow.

Communicating with care in all aspects includes political care too. This is a transcript from a speech that I gave to Victoria City Council on July 11, 2019 in which I communicated with care about Quebec’s Bill 21 that was passed on June 17, 2019. Six of us presented (including Victoria Councillor, Sharmarke Dubow). It was a great moment for me as I have never done anything like that. I hope that more cities in Canada can speak against this Bill so that the Quebec government can review the Bill. I believe in human rights and so I will put myself out there if I am needed.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for this opportunity. 

My name is Silvia Mangue Alene, I am the founder and CEO of Kulea Culture Society (KCS).  KCS is an organization that aims to promote the true Canadian values of Equity, respect for Diversity and Inclusion by raising awareness and helping to reduce the impact of discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes that people from different ethnic and/or racial groups face.

I am a first-generation immigrant from Madrid, Spain, although I was born in Central Africa. Spain was the country I first migrated with my parents when I was a child. After Spain, I lived in 6 different countries in Europe. Since 2001 my life is here, in Canada.

I am very proud of being Canadian. Why? Because for the first time in my life I felt like a whole person. I felt that my opinions mattered, that my work in the community mattered and that people in the community appreciated not only my work but me, as an individual, and that is very different from my other experiences. Only in Canada I have felt this way.

Canada is a country that is multicultural, a country that respects the rights of the individual as shown in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Many immigrants choose to come to Canada precisely because of these freedoms. We as Canadians relish the fact that our government is a protector of our rights and we need to speak out and protest when our government is tromping on people’ freedoms.

Therefore, I am here to speak against Bill 21 because I believe that it is against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by discriminating against the individual right to religious freedom.  Religion, for many, is a way of life, it is central to their identity. If the government of Quebec is allowed to pass such law, we, the rest of Canadians, are sending  a message to our fellow Canadians that are affected by this law:  “we do not care about you”. I believe that this is the wrong message if we want to build a strong and united Canada.

But as a Canadian I do care. I care about each individual expressing their freedoms as per our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I care about my fellow Canadians feeling welcome and feeling that they belong to this great country. I care about a peaceful Canada.

As Canadians, we should ask the government of Quebec to re-view this law. A government that boast of being democratic and respectful of the individual’s rights should be impartial instead of making discriminatory laws. What the government of Quebec should do instead is to make a clear distinction between the government position of neutrality and the individual rights of wearing religious artefacts.

Personally, I am opposed to Bill 21. And I support Councillor Dubow’s motion that the City of Victoria supports in principle the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) in their legal Challenge against Bill 21 in Quebec. Thank you.