I Walk With You Part One
Quebec City, Quebec, National Assemby
Members of the Assembly filed into the hall and took their seats without any rush. Just another day in government, with more discussion and debate on what needed to be done in the province. There was some rumour that one of the members was planning on bringing a very odd subject to the forefront. Member Richard Papineau, minister of culture, had returned from an overseas trip to France. Many had already assumed what the suggested discussion would be, and it even reached the ears of those on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. So much so that the Minister of Foreign Affairs deemed it necessary to witness the proceedings. With a minimal entourage, Michael Day took a seat in the viewing gallery for the public. The only other that arrived with him was his ministerial aid, Jean Pierre Turgeon.
“I don’t like debates like this,” Day muttered as he made himself comfortable in his seat. “To place a ban on something what you’ve described to me, Jean Pierre…” Day let his statement hang as he shook his head. “And you know I’m still rusty with my French.”
Jean Pierre chuckled as he recalled the few lessons Michael had taken. “As I recall, Michael, you’ve been doing very well.”
“It helps that I grew up in St. Boniface,” Michael replied with a chuckle. “But Winnipeg as a whole isn’t known for being a French city.” Both men turned as members of the National Assembly began filtering into the gallery and taking their seats. “When do you think Papineau will bring forward his bill for recommendation?”
“I’ve heard he plans on doing it the first moment he gets,” Jean Pierre replied as he put on a pair of reading glasses and looked through his papers. “Papineau went to France to discuss the ban on religious covering, such as the burka, niqab and others.”
“That’s very dangerous, you know that,” Michael remarked with a sigh.
“I know,” Jean Pierre replied. “It open the doors for anyone with a problem with any form of dress to challenge it. Just think what people might say about a nun or a Bishop in the Catholic church.”
“And there’s a lot of Catholics in Quebec,” Michael said as he shook his head.
“My family is protestant,” Jean Pierre said with a small smile. “We go to the United Church.”
“Small talk aside, Jean Pierre. The mere suggestion of a ban like this is a slap in the face of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” He sat back in his chair and watched the members taking their seats. The day at the National Assembly was about to begin. “I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”
“Chloe!” Monika Turgeon called as she stood at the base of the staircase. “Chloe, you spend enough time getting ready. Come on, we have to pick up Dr. Englen at the airport.”
“Oui, mama,” a whiney voice replied from upstairs. Eventually, the youngest of the Turgeon daughters came plodding down the stairs. “I don’t know why you need me anyway to come along.”
“Because I don’t want to leave you alone in the house, Chloe,” her mother replied as she gathered her purse and car keys. “Beside, it would be nice if the whole family were there to greet her when she arrive. She will be staying with us anyway.”
“Whole family?” Chloe said with a shock in her voice. “Papa is in Quebec City an’ Dom is off screwin’ around. It just the two of us.”
“Dominique is at the Salvation Army doing her volunteer work, an’ you know dat,” Monika replied in a rushed voice, trying to get her daughter to hurry up. “Honestly, Chloe. You should try doing some of de thing she do.”
Chloe started to glare, only to be met with a glare from her mother. Monika knew exactly how her youngest daughter acted, and instead of attempting reason or words of any kind, she’d often make the most outrageous imitations of Chloe. Which most often resulted in Chloe bursting out into laughter. “Okay, dat no’ fair, mama!” she said through her giggles.
Monika smiled as she opened the front door of their home. “It got you to smile. Plus you actually movin’ faster now.”
“How come you never do dat to Dom?” Chloe asked as she grabbed her jacket. “She’s actually lazier den I am, you know.”
“Ah, you admitting you lazy, hmmm?” Monika replied with a smirk as the pair walked out to the car. “I just kidding. Beside, you sister is ticklish. She go into a fit o’ laughter, if you just think about touching her.”
“I know, she ticklish, I do dat sometime to her,” Chloe replied as she climbed into the passenger seat. She smiled softly as she buckled up, thinking back to a few moments with her sister. “I admit dat I do rub my feet on de floor before hand.” She chuckled lightly as her mother turned to her, finally smiling as she started the car. “So why are we picking up Dr. Englen again?”
“She is coming her from Silver Spring, Saskatchewan to help with Ramadan,” Monika explained as she pulled out of the driveway. The sky was over cast and threatened to rain, but the gloomy weather wasn’t putting any kind of damper on the conversation. At least Chloe had begun to open up and talk more with her family since her return from Paris. “She needed a place to stay, and you father and I agreed dat she could stay in de spare room downstairs.”
“I didn’t know dere would be any Muslims in Saskatchewan,” Chloe said, rather impressed. “I remember a few o’ my friends in Paris at school were Muslim. Dey had some of de nicest headscarf I’ve ever seen. Dey look so pretty.” Chloe looked out the window as they passed by the houses along their street, thinking back to her time at modelling school. After a while, she looked back to her mother. “So, what is Dr. Englen like, mama?”
Monika smiled as they drove along the residential streets. “Why don’t you ask her yourself, hmm?”