Why History Matters

Why History Matters

How do you know when a Netflix documentary is groundbreaking? The answer is when it’s available for free for everyone on YouTube.

I never planned on watching “13th”. That’s actually because I never knew it existed. Now, what matters is that I have watched it and I cannot not share what I’ve learned from it.

“13th” is not just a documentary about the prison system in the States and racial discrimination prevalent right now. It is a plea in disguise asking for people to remember and learn from history. What exactly was so elemental about it? You see, the history of the North American continent is not very pretty. While most of us all have somehow decided to move forward towards the future, we are still carrying the wounds and scars from the past that have never been addressed, critically read and discussed. The struggles of our Black communities in the US are inevitably reflected in Canada and many other countries. To overlook the impact and connections of this would be incredibly naive and harmful. 13th, whilst painting us a heartbreaking reality, didn’t shy away from connecting pieces of traumatic pasts to what people have/are facing today.

Law & Order

I’d never heard about it before I saw Trump rage-tweeting about it randomly, multiple times. I always found it comedic because I believed that he just didn’t want to type out complete sentences. Turns out, thanks to the 13th, the phrase is actually dating back to the Nixon-era in America and was used with a malicious intent to paint communities of Black people as being dangerous to the peace and harmony of America. The phrase was a clever way to talk about other races in a negative light while being completely ambiguous.

My issue is that the phrase is not ambiguous anymore. Considering this part of history took place 50 years ago, we would have learned something. But it turns out many haven’t. If you use this phrase now and fail to acknowledge the baggage or somehow are unaware of it, history has failed us. Not only that, it’s not just the words that can be twisted but actions too. If you see a person talking viciously about how to punish people today and paints the imagery from violent, racist incidents from the past, you can tell that he is doing so with no fear because he knows many won’t understand. The alarming part is, those who he wants to understand, surely will. When someone tells you to look back at the “good ‘ol days” it’s important to know the history he is pushing you towards. 

George Bernard Shaw famously quoted,

“ We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.”

I never liked this quote because I always found it to be pessimistic but now that I look back at it, it’s not mistaken.

My love of history makes me realize that the collective ignorance towards our past and I mean not just knowing something, but rather the very intentional absence of critical thinking and reading has somehow made our history books just a bunch of boring textbooks with thousands of words stringed together. While some may find them interesting, interest is not enough. Students haven’t been taught to look at subjects through a critical lens and that reflects in various aspects of our societies.

To make that G.B.S. quote just some rambling, there needs to be a collective initiative. While I know very well that I can’t change the education systems all around the world or how we teach history alone, I believe that documentaries like the 13th tell a very persuasive argument to rethink and relearn all that we have learnt. Don’t think that it’s only just the history of the US that is up for discussion, apply this to everything that you have seen happening today and try to trace it back to your books or wherever you learnt from for similarities and differences.

History isn’t boring or redundant. It is the key to our present and very directly influences our actions of the future. Our failures to not want to think critically will often times come back and bite us. It won’t be very tolerable in the future.

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Rest Is A Right

Rest Is A Right

“It’s okay to rest.” These are really simple words and yet they hit me like a ton of bricks. It was February 21, 2020, and I was attending a short-doc event during black history month, that was part of the Fade to Black Festival. This initiative, sponsored by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, gave these budding directors funding for this project, as well as a larger public platform to release it on. There were five short films being shown, each shot by a young black filmmaker, exploring the given theme of: “Being Black in Montreal.” Each movie portrayed this shared subject matter differently and was individually wonderful. But the documentary “Rest is a Right,” by Sara-Claudia Ligondé, hit me like an uppercut to the chin.

Her doc interviews and showcases Shanice Nicole, a local young activist, educator, writer, spoken artist and McGill staffer (the latter title being her full-time job). She explains the pressure she feels to fill her days with projects, and goals to reach, in and out of the workplace. Whether it’s devoting herself to her professional career, her art, or her community involvement. For the rearmost, she facilitates and fundraises for disadvantaged POCs (People Of Color), and LGBTQIA2S+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, etc.) POCs. She explains that the black female role models she had growing up (her mother and grandmother), worked so much in the workplace and in the home, that she knows no other way to be. Intellectually she understands that this way of living is unsustainable, but she finds it hard to make time for respite. Things being easier now than when her predecessors were her age, makes it difficult for her to quantify the need to take it easier than they ever did.

This movie touched me because her narrative, which the director shared, feels very much like mine. I consider myself less successful than Shanice Nicole and Sara-Claudia Ligondé. In that, they have already put forth art that lives on in others, in their distinctive disciplines. Which is something I have always wanted to do, outside of my full-time job. In Shanice’s case her level of community involvement is incredible, and giving back in this way, is something I have dreamed of doing since I was sixteen. But I always feel that I am running after professional accomplishments that must be prioritized over personal projects, or even personal enjoyment. Like both the interviewee and the filmmaker, I am a black woman. My parents and I were both born on the continent of Africa, and, my mother worked hard to ensure I would grow up in the West. So likewise, ‘rest’ being a right, sounds sacrilegious to me somehow, although intellectually I also know it to be true.

Women in my culture are the rock of the family. We work in and out of the home to ensure matters run as smoothly as possible. We give of ourselves so that our children can reach higher than we could. We are expected to be all things, and to handle everything, on our own if need be (the rearing of children included). I find that the trope of the black woman is similar (in qualities and responsibilities placed on her shoulders), from one continent to the next. Regardless of, whether one comes from the continents of Africa, the Caribbean or America, it creates this endless wheel that we exhaust ourselves on, trying to make the previous generation proud. While carrying just that bit further, our own descendants.

 ‘Rest’ being a right, was a lie for our ancestors since all black people originally came from a colonized continent (Africa). Before, being dispersed in the Americas and the Caribbean as slaves for hundreds of years. Slavery and colonial rule are over now, but the effects of historically being “beasts of burden” remain for black folks to this day. The global social activism that rose to record highs during the second half of 2020, is in direct relation to this issue. Under the banner of BLM (Black Lives Matter) and local social activism organizations worldwide, our youths are seeking to rectify the modern remnants of the legacy of slavery in our societies.

Although Africa and the Caribbean are still rich in resources, their majority-black populations are somehow permanently disadvantaged, under (often violent) authoritarian governments that do not benefit them. So the members of their population that can immigrate to the West, for a better future for themselves and/or their children, do so. For many, our ancestors were slaves, so in that sense, ‘rest’ was not permitted, and that is what was passed on. Those whose predecessors were not slaves, still initially grew up under colonial rule, or totalitarianism, in a system that did not repay their endless labour with much more than survival. For them too, ‘rest’ was impossible, and that experience was passed on.

Coming from that history as a people, regardless of the continent your ancestors got their specific experience of subservience from, ‘rest’ was not a right for our parents or our grandparents. In my generation, systemic inequity based on race, religion, gender, and/or sexuality is still rampant, even in the West. So ‘rest’ being a right, remains somewhat of a dream for me still. One which I hope becomes mine to enjoy someday. Not because, I’ve gotten too old to work as long or as hard as I did in my youth, but because society would truly have changed. And my efforts as a black woman would have equal impact, unaffected by my gender, race, creed, or sexuality. Because a lifetime of exhaustive work is a legacy I hope to be the first in my family (and immigrant social circle), to not pass on to the next generation. All the while, continuing to forge the path to success which my mother opened up for me, for my future offspring.

                                                            An original blog by:

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Deathly Loneliness Attacks

Deathly Loneliness Attacks

In today’s blog post, I would l like to discuss one of my favorite songs titled “Deathly Loneliness Attacks” by Hifumi. I am particularly fond of the cover by Mafumafu, a Japanese artist who I listen to frequently. As the song is in Japanese, I originally listened to it without paying attention to the lyrics themselves. And without lyrics, this song seems so cheerful! The tune played on the guitar, the quick beat of the drums, and Mafumafu’s voice instantly improves my mood and gets me dancing in my chair. I’ve even attempted to sing-along to the song despite not knowing a word of Japanese. My mother sometimes thinks I’m weird, but I don’t mind. Recently, my enthusiasm has rubbed off on her. Now when she hears the song being played in my room, she charges in to dance and sing with me. It feels nice to share something you enjoy with the people you love. In these moments, I feel more connected to my mom. We don’t have many things in common, my mother and I, but listening to Mafumafu’s songs bring us closer together. Quite ironic for a song titled “Deathly Loneliness Attacks.”

With all this being said, once I read the lyrics, my perception of the song changed a bit. The song became much more painful, meaningful, and relatable. The first few lines of the song read:

“You’ll breathe on, even if you just live just doing whatever works. Living depending on someone else; Even if your support disappears, you’ll continue to breathe, becoming dependent on the next thing.”

When I originally read these lines, I felt a sense of hopelessness in these words. I imagined the author being quite lonely and sad, trying to fill the hole in his heart with the company of others. Being alone with himself seems to be much too painful for him. When one friend would grow distant, he would attach himself to another. Throughout his pain and sorrow, he is still breathing. He is still alive. When I first read the lyrics to the song, the fact that he was still alive despite being so lonely made me quite sad. Despite his struggles, he still lives, and time continues to flow. Why do we live and breath when the world is crumbling around us and no one comes to our aid? But reading these words again today, I think I can see them in a more optimistic light. It’s amazing that we can still breath and move forward even when others abandon us. If the author would have stopped breathing, then he would have never gotten the chance to better himself and find a support system that truly loves him.

The song continues with:

“Before I even realised loneliness began to turn. My heart alone notices and yearns for another. Amidst the pin and needle-like pain, I sunk in the powerlessness of being alone.”

I love the way the author was able to describe their feelings of loneliness through their song. I can definitely relate to these lyrics. There have been moments in my life where my loneliness would get so overwhelming, it would make me feel as though I was drowning. On the occasions where I would see my friends, I would cling onto them for dear life. It was like their company was sustaining my life force, and without them I was completely empty. As the song suggests, I was dependent on them. As the years went by, I actually made quite a few friends. However, I noticed that I would still be lonely despite being surrounded by people. I realized that in order to truly shed my feelings of loneliness, I needed to be comfortable being alone with myself. It’s definitely easier said than done, and it might be a lifelong struggle, but I think I have been slowly getting better at being okay with being with myself. I’m not actually as bad of a person as I thought!

The singer then sings:

“The punishment for curling up all those times. Tightens around my chest and digs in its fangs […] Cracks run their way through my heart. So it wouldn’t break. So I wouldn’t break it. Even though with my inexperienced hands, I so tried to protect it. I ended up straining myself and crushing it.”

In these lines, the author is describing a time he distanced himself from others and his pain. He tried to protect himself, but it ended up backfiring, and his negative feelings became even worse. I can relate to this as well. I am quite a shy person. While I’ve always wanted to make friends, I’ve mostly watched people from a distance. I would eat at lunch alone and imagine having conversations with people in my head. I was trying to protect my heart from pain and rejection, but as the song says, I ended up straining myself and crushing it. I tried to shield my heart from others by talking to no one. How can someone hurt me if I never give them a chance? But at the same time, I didn’t give anyone the chance to heal my heart either.

The song itself casts a hopeless light on the authors loneliness with the lyrics:

“Even if I hug my knees and cry, there will be no change. Not even to my sobs that echo in this quiet room. Even if the night swallows it, even if the moon shines down upon it, it won’t disappear, it doesn’t disappear.”

The pangs of loneliness that plague the author’s heart feel so everlasting, they cannot even imagine a world where they can finally be at peace. Throughout the entire song, the author does not give us any indication that he believes that his situation might change one day. No matter how much he cries out for help, not even if the darkness hides his pain, or if the moon draws attention to it, no one seems to be coming to his aid. This is a dark reality to perceive. However, I would disagree that the author’s pain will never heal. While I do not know him, in my own personal experience, it is possible to channel loneliness into determination. This year I made the most friends I have ever had by putting myself out into the world. I joined the anime club at my school and chatted with strangers in the library and online. I put myself in worthwhile but uncomfortable situations, and I am better for it. I would suggest the author of this song do the same. It might hurt even more at the beginning, since it is quite awkward to speak with people you have never met, but I promise you it will be worth it. All of the friends I have made this year have helped me so much. They support me, challenge me to be a better person, and cheer me up when I am feeling down.

Still, the fact that we are currently living through a pandemic, without the chance to see our friends and family, even during Christmas, is painful. I was hoping to see my younger brother, who I haven’t seen since September. I know that during Christmas my feelings of loneliness might creep back up, so I already made plans to video call with some friends and watch anime with my younger brother. I am trying to take steps to combat my future loneliness.

This has been my own way to relate to this song. If you guys would like to listen and come up with your own interpretation, you can check it out at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhV57_EH3AA. In the end, I hope you all are doing well. Wishing you all a happy holidays!

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The Power of Naruto

The Power of Naruto

Out of every television show I have ever seen, there is one that holds a special place in my heart. It is simply titled Naruto, and it is the show that changed my life for the better. While you may be skeptical that a mere television show can change someone’s life, I must assure you that it is not a hyperbole. Let me explain. It all started on a cool summer’s night when I was only thirteen-years-old. That year I was on a nostalgia kick and I watched many shows from my childhood. One show that I could never bear to watch was Naruto. It seemed too violent for my younger self, but once I became thirteen, I felt like I had matured enough to handle it. And so, I searched it up online and after the first episode, I was hooked.

naruto poster 2

Naruto is an anime that follows the story of a young boy who was left without parents as an infant and must struggle for survival and acceptance in a world that rejects him. I do need to mention that Naruto is set in a world where people fight as ninjas to protect their villages from their enemies. Ninjas are able to manipulate their spiritual energy, called chakra, to create powerful attacks. Some ninjas can create fireballs, others can manipulate water, some can heal injuries while others can create multiple shadow clones of themselves. It is hard to describe in words, but I would definitely recommend searching up some fight scenes from Naruto, the animation can be amazing at times.

nine tailed fox

On the day of Naruto’s birth, his village was in the midst of destruction by a rampaging demon fox spirit. To protect the village and its people, a powerful ninja sealed the fox spirit within Naruto. Unfortunately, as Naruto grew, the people of his village ostracized and bullied him. This is because when they looked at Naruto, they did not see a child, but a demon. Despite this, Naruto becomes a high-spirited goofy kid who likes playing pranks on his teachers and classmates. He isn’t the best student, if fact, he is one of the worst. And yet, he believes in his ability and potential. This belief is the core theme that is presented throughout the show. While no one really believes in him, in actuality most people look down on him, Naruto believes in himself and fights to protect his friends.

This message is one of the reasons Naruto changed my life. I am quite a shy person and I never had much self-confidence. I’m not sure why, but I always had this idea in my head that I am a failure and will fail at everything I do. I thought that everyone was better than me, so there wasn’t any use in trying. However, once I started to watch Naruto, this idea began to shift. The show did not completely cure me of my insecurities, but it did give me a small boost of encouragement. When faced with a challenge, after watching Naruto, I would start thinking, well what would Naruto do in this situation? Would he give up? No, never! I mostly focused this newfound self-confidence into school. My high school would rank its students by overall averages and would post your average on the school’s Honor Roll list. When I was thirteen, I started on the bottom of the list. But, after 3 years, I was able to consistently be ranked number one. I attribute this gradual growth to perseverance in the face of difficult subjects.

Okay, now back to Naruto. The show begins with Naruto at thirteen-years-old, who just graduated from the local ninja academy. Once graduated, he is placed in a team with his sworn rival Sasuke Uchiha, his crush Sakura Haruno, and his new teacher Kakashi Hatake. Throughout the show, Naruto and his team are faced with enemies that are either planning to destroy their village (Konohagakure) or capture Naruto himself so that they may gain the power of the demon fox within him. While some ninjas are bent on killing Naruto, he still sees the good in them. He speaks to their pain, tries to understand why they have decided to hurt others, and ultimately helps set them on a better path (usually through lots of heart wrenching battles and intermittent discussions). This is one of my favorite parts of Naruto. No antagonist is truly evil, they have their own personal backstories and trauma that lead them to hold certain beliefs, which affect their goals and actions. No one is considered a lost cause. People can grow, change, and become better people.

naruto poster

There is also a sub-plot in the show regarding the character Sasuke, whose entire clan was killed in a single night by his brother Itachi. Now, Sasuke’s goal is to gain enough power to kill his brother, no matter the means or the cost. This leads Sasuke towards a dark path of moral disengagement, and away from his village and his friends. One of Naruto’s main goals is to save Sasuke from himself, bring him back to the village and restore their friendship. The bonds of friendship is another main theme of Naruto. Friends help and support each other, both in battles and through emotional struggles.

This theme even carried over into real life. Naruto, and anime in general, has brought me closer to so many special people in my life. As a young girl, I would watch Naruto with my younger brothers. My youngest brother was only three-years-old at the time. While we all grew into different people, Naruto will always be something that brings our family together. This show even helped me make a friend. In 2017, I was at one of the lowest points of my life, and all I wanted was a friend. Then, one day, I decided to wear a shirt with Naruto and Sasuke printed on it. As I walked into statistics class, something magical happened. A girl called out to me, and said that I had a nice shirt, which then prompted me to ask her if she wanted to be my friend. Since then, we have become quite close friends and I love her very much. I can’t imagine my life without her. And yet, without Naruto, our friendship might have never happened. Finally, watching Naruto thrusted me head-first into the world of anime. From there, I watched Death Note, Bleach, Dragon ball and more. Anime became part of my personal identity. I’m not sure what draws me to Japanese animation, but there are many people who are drawn to it as well. So much so that McGill has its own anime club. I joined the club last year and have met so many kind people, and even made some wonderful friends. This is why Naruto is so close to my heart. Not only does it tell its audience to believe in themselves, but it also brings people together. And for that I am eternally grateful.

amber lee tag


 

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The Dilemma Of Social Media

The Dilemma Of Social Media

The Social Dilemma, one of Netflix’s most recent and popular documentaries, had been sitting in my To-Watch List for weeks and I finally gave it a go.

First, the movie discusses something that is basically an “open secret” right now. Algorithms tracking your web activity and making personalized recommendations, like clothes, favoured new channels, social groups etc. Not only that, we also get a story of a fictional family getting torn apart because kids can’t keep their phones away and a teenager getting pulled into activism which leaves him distant from his family and friends. But its message is, no doubt, very relevant today because of the fact that in today’s political and social climate, it brings out how algorithms and companies are creating alternate realities for different people. 

All this is not surprising but then why has this documentary taken the world by storm? Were we pretending that social media companies weren’t manipulating us for the past few years or were we simply not aware that what happens to others can affect us too? These questions need answers from each one of us and to change the situations that left many bewildered in The Social Dilemma.

Why do we pretend that things are alright? I’ve seen people use Instagram, FaceBook etc. and be in complete ignorance of how a software is able to give you information exactly how you need it. People know that their data is being used by companies for generating personalized ads, feedA close up of a womans face

Description automatically generateds and even helping you build your virtual friend group. People don’t question much of this general. Sure it makes our lives easier but in 2020, everything comes at a cost. If our news is personalized to satiate our own realities, how do we comprehend somebody else’s opinion and not find it wrong? Why are we pretending that it’s ok to live very different realities online when it comes to politics and science? It should be surprising to us how a small, non-threatening, now very much life-saving piece of cloth left thousands of people polarized. Is it fair to have this ignorance where some people find masks life-threatening and some don’t? When does this manipulation become unacceptable? Questioning how our ignorance gives leverage to companies to affect somebody in ways that will indirectly/directly affect us, answers our second question. If we are going to be affected by people who don’t wear masks, it’s time for us to start questioning why it’s alright for companies to give such varying, irresponsible information to the masses.

Questioning is more important now to hold companies responsible and The Social Dilemma is a good place for people to get into dialogues. So, I recommend everybody to watch the documentary, see how it affects your online activity. Start somewhere and question why we let things be ok.

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Illness In The Era of Covid-19

Illness In The Era of Covid-19

I want to discuss a topic that might be slightly unpopular during this pandemic that the world has been bravely battling for over seven months, and that is the underlying non-Covid health crisis we are presently in, whether we are all aware of it yet or not. I have been diagnosed with several chronic illnesses so I have been lucky enough to have had a family doctor for most of my life in Canada. I currently live in the largest city in Quebec (Montreal) where very few locals under the age of 50 have general practitioners, as I believe the last 20 years have seen an exponential explosion in the population growth of the Greater Montreal region where I reside.

In 2001 Montreal island’s population was 1.04 million inhabitants, whereas it is currently home to 4,220,566 people. This quadrupling of the population has not found its equivalence in the number of medical practitioners that are attributed to this region by the health ministry, once they get their medical degree in Quebec. And those that choose to operate in Montreal without being posted there are docked 30 percent of their pay as a deterrent. It seems that in the past the off-island regions were understaffed medically and it was a political selling point to redress this. This was positive at the time, except now only 65 percent of citizens actively trying to get a family doctor in Montreal (as of 2019), get registered with one. With vulnerable patients (not in the Montreal region) able to be placed with a physician as of 205 days, while those without pre-existing conditions wait a minimum of 499 days, if not more. Whereas off-island, 90 percent of residents seeking a general practitioner (with and without chronic illnesses) are successfully placed. Any change to the current imbalance in doctors assigned to the most populated sector of our province has not been redressed, in part due to politics. The potential loss of votes from off-island residents as a result of such a change has turned this rapidly worsening problem into a “political hot potato” that no party wants to touch (at least not once they are in office).

Our prime minister acknowledged this summer, post-George Floyd’s murder and the civil unrest that ensued that there is systemic racism in this country. Each province’s premiers, however, have chosen to disregard the many commissions, and deluge of academic proof that has always existed concerning racism throughout Canada. And they have instead decided on whether systemic racism exists in their jurisdiction, seemingly predicated on voting base. In my province our premier has decided it does not exist, that race does not factor in the inner workings of Quebec. However, there is a horrible lack of acceptance here of medical and other degrees that do not either come from Quebec, Canada, or France, and that is also a fact. Even doctors with a Canadian license are subject to equivalency requirements to practise in Quebec, which is a deterrent. What incitement do they have, which would make them choose to go through these financial, and time-consuming hoops in order to be able to operate here? Yes there is a huge demand and backlog and crazy delays to see a specialist in any sector you can think of, here. But any metropolitan city in Canada has a steady flow of residents in need of regular medical assistance, and follow-ups too. Also, Montreal or any of the top five cities in this province are not necessarily the highest paying markets for them to operate in. Deterring equivalencies and qualification requirements, as well as lower income levels here than in other provinces such as Ontario or British Columbia (for general physicians for example), equals to so few doctors available for these millions of Montrealers even in non-pandemic times.

France, however, has an agreement with Quebec which was enacted under President Sarkozy in 2009 called the Quebec-France agreement, which allows French professionals to practise in Quebec with French education, licenses, etc., without equivalencies required. Any degree acquired there is automatically admissible in Quebec, no deterrents, no hoops, just a strong welcome and acceptance of French professionals in any field. So although we have a lot of international, licensed, professionals from other countries living here, many of them French-speaking as well, they are not given that same welcome, not even close. Instead they are shown an impressive number of qualification requirements regardless of their past expertise in their field, and equivalencies which often leave them with little choice. They can either eventually give up on operating in their profession here, as they are unable to be accepted for whatever “non-discriminating” reason they are provided with. Despite the pressing need that exists in most highly educated sectors, and whatever financial hoops they have already gone through. Or they’ll just move to a different province or country that will allow them to work in their specialty without requiring them to, basically go back to school all over again (in Quebec, at the international rate of course), in the hopes of being able to resume their vocation.

What is strange about the current system which, to any minority professional encountering it, is clearly not colour-blind, and is very financially driven, is that those that suffer are not only the professionals being discriminated against. It’s also the very population, the bureaucrats upholding what appears to be a systemically racist system, is meant to serve in its majority. If European qualifications are upheld, and its workforce is headhunted by our healthcare system, sent work contracts with visas, and reimbursed a set amount to immigrate here. Whereas non-European newcomers immigrate of their own accord, qualify based on income earned in their existing countries as likely to similarly contribute to our economy. And yet, their licenses and degrees are basically thrown in the trash once they attempt to continue the very professions they were selected as suitable immigrants to this country for, to the detriment of the entire province. The majority of the population cannot afford private healthcare, and thus are not able to see a regular family physician as a result of this discrimination against tens of thousands (if not hundreds) of qualified immigrants. As well as whatever politics make the lower population numbers in the regions have more doctors per inhabitant than the residents powering the economic sector of the entire province.

This leads us to the health crisis that people that were sick before coronavirus were already struggling with. The very doctors that could have helped complement a system that has seen an explosion in population which overwhelmingly came from international migration, are to this day being refused comprehensive acceptance of their qualifications. They’re told in legalese that they need to start all over again at triple the local rate, rather than be viewed as just as important and as qualified as the French professionals, and university students whose degrees and licenses are accepted with no barriers whatsoever. Had these systemic “nonracial” roadblocks facing these newcomers been resolved instead of mentioned at every election season with no follow-through, our lack of doctors per Montreal resident could have been greatly reduced if not fixed already. According to the 2016 Census, the number of recent immigrants to the Montreal region between 2011 and 2016 was 179,270. Out of that number, only 14,995 originated from France, and therefore had their education, degrees, and occupations viewed in Quebec as admissible. I wonder what the percentage of qualified physicians, scientists, you name it, made up the other 164,275. Could it be 40 percent or more? When migrating from a non-European country, and depending on your age, your: education level, occupation, degrees, etc., are all factored into the score you tally. This can either result in a migration application that is denied or granted, based on your final score. So that overwhelming number of approved applicants, unless they were mostly international students, had to be educated, and seen as capable of filling in the professional gaps that were needed in Quebec at the time. 

These numbers have continued to increase since then, and a great sum of French citizens are immigrating to Quebec, since it has been the best place for them to find work in their field as of 2009, with no barriers in terms of qualifications of any kind. But there are also a large quantity of visible minorities migrating from non-European nations whose landing status is being granted, without their full contributions to our society being accepted as well. Our province is being impoverished by this decision-making instead of strengthened. As it would be, were we to welcome these international non-European migrants into the upper financial echelons of Quebec society that their education allows for, regardless of the country they immigrated from.

Quebec’s medical system has not functioned very well pre-Covid for at least 20 years, and has worsened considerably in the past 11 years. Since coronavirus it has become a nightmare trying to see a doctor for an in-person consultation of your non-Covid symptoms, even with a family physician. Most general practitioners and specialists are only offering tele-consultations right now, so are most walk-in clinics. The provincial referral databases also do the same currently. As the strained medical resources we have, have all been pooled to deal with the pandemic, and the rising numbers of cases our governments are expecting. Coronavirus is predicted to last for several years, and who knows what other pandemics the future might bring. In the desperate times we find ourselves in, I wonder how much longer our bureaucracies will continue to squander the potential contributions of these hundreds of thousands of immigrants that we have welcomed into our province, without accepting what it is they truly have to offer.

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