The Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal is supposed to be the cultural association that brings together the Greek diaspora of the city. But not really. Here is the HCGM webiste FAQ: “How can I become a member”:
“Any person of Greek origin, of paternal and/or maternal line, who has attained his or her eighteenth (18th) birthday, and who has been received into the Eastern Greek Orthodox Church through baptism and/or Chrismation, shall be eligible to apply for membership in the Community. Any person married to a person of Greek origin, of paternal and / or maternal line, who has been received into the Eastern Greek Orthodox Church through baptism and/or Chrismation and has attained his or her eighteenth (18th) birthday, shall be eligible to apply for membership in the Community.”
In other words, it is not enough to be a citizen of the Republic of Greece that lives in Montreal. Membership to the HCGM is for a particular category of Greek people, namely the christian orthodox majority. Oh, and their spouses.
Excepting the spouses, the bylaw excludes roughly 10% of the current population of Greece from membership. Greek jews, Greek catholics, Greek muslims, Greek protestants, Greek atheists and irreligious people? Might as well not be Greek at all. No matter that there are hundreds of thousands of them in Greece proper and around the world that are Greek citizens or descendants of Greek citizens. They do not belong in the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal.
Look, I understand that this is a very old organization. When these bylaws were first created it was indeed a very different world, a very different Greek diaspora, a very different Greece. But this is now the Canada of Section 27 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Maybe it’s time for an update?
(Γιατί το γράφω στα αγγλικά; Γιατί όταν κρεμάει κανείς “εν δήμω” τέτοια “εν οίκω”, μπορεί και να ντραπούν, μιας αυτού του είδους οι παλαιοεθνικιστικές παπάτζες ακούγονται πολύ φάλτσες στον πολυπολιτισμικό Καναδά του 2020.)
PS. There exists a Greek-Canadian diaspora organization in Montreal that does not discriminate on the basis of religion and is intolerant only of fascists. It’s not 114 years old, we have only been around since 1971 (yes, it was founded in that era). When COVID buggers off, come check us out. We play a mean bouzouki.