View Full Version : Québec's Secessionist Party Put Foward a "Racist" Bill: Furor in Anglo-Canada

Saturday, October 27th, 2007, 04:42 PM
This is soooo typical of what's happening in Canada (I'm sure Freydis and a.squiggles would say the same thing). Here are the facts:

Pauline Marois (a woman, that is), leader of the Parti Québécois, largest center-left secessionist party, proposed a few days ago the "Quebec Identity Act" which "limits access to citizenship, ascension to political office and even the right of grievance to the National Assembly unless newcomers to Quebec have an “appropriate” knowledge of French." Nobody in the French-Canadian population ever thought of it as racism, more as some kind of new deal between the host population and immigrants. Now look at the delirium happening right out of Québec:

A matter of prejudice

By Beryl Wajsman, Editor, The Suburban

Pauline Marois cannot seem to understand the furor caused by the proposal of the Parti Québécois’ Quebec Identity Act to limit access to citizenship, ascension to political office and even the right of grievance to the National Assembly unless newcomers to Quebec have an “appropriate” knowledge of French. Let us try and bring clarity to her comprehension. Ms. Marois, the furor arises because this is a matter of prejudice! It is outrageous in a democratic society.
In his historic speech made upon his departure from office Lucien Bouchard sounded a clarion call for freedom. He said, “When issues are matters of principle, there is no room for negotiation. We touch here clearly at the heart of what is essential. I wish to affirm with absolutely no qualifications, that citizens of Quebec can exercise their right to vote, in whichever way they want, without being accused of intolerance.” Marois and today’s PQ, in a desperate bid to pander to Quebec’s hard-line exclusivists, are ready to jettison those noble thoughts to the dustbin of Quebec history with her statement that “Quebec’s francophones must stop feeling afraid of appearing intolerant.” Well, Quebec has long since stopped being afraid of appearing intolerant.

The Quebec Identity Act would not only provide a rationale for intolerance, but institutionalize it beyond anything we’ve seen before. Put aside the Orwellian state-speak of the use of the word “identity” or the obvious fact that Quebec is not yet an independent nation that can grant its own citizenship. What we can ask at this point is just who would decide “appropriate” levels of French competence? The same bureaucrats who make up the language police? Marois’ proposal to create two classes of citizenship, one for those non-francophones already here and another for newcomers, represents just the sort of divisions and discords that we are fighting abroad and trying to come to terms with at home. It does not matter whether the call for separateness is based on religion or colour or language. It still comes down to prejudice. And you can’t build a free society on bigotry.

Ms. Marois asked over the weekend why it was all right for Canadians, but not Quebecers, to use the term “us”. The reason is simple. Canada is a country that reflects the basic organizing principles of civilized nations. Laws of universal application that respect, with equitable treatment, the rights of every single individual. No citizen is excluded from the moral or material bounty of this land based on accidents of birth. Whether those accidents be geographic, religious or linguistic. The linguistic and cultural policies of the federal government, however flawed and cumbersome, are at their heart inclusive and expansionary of rights. Quebec’s policies on the other hand have for some 30 years been characterized by what French (LOL) philosopher Jules Isaac termed “exclusiveness and intolerance” and have been severely constrictive of rights.

In trying to legitimize this proposal Marois brought out the old saw that this was necessary to ensure the future of the French language. It is time to say “ca suffit” to that refrain. No language can have priority over the basic civil liberties of citizens, even if it was in danger — and there is sufficient evidence to suggest French never was. The nationalists in Quebec have for too long been perpetuating this little lie along with the big lie of some great injustice done to a native people in its native land as the raison d’etre for the separatist movement.

Over the years apologists for the separatists, and supporters of devolution of federal power, have argued that all these laws and all these power-sharing arrangements with Quebec were necessary to subdue nationalist fervor. That as long as language and culture were protected, no laws would ever appear that would threaten basic democratic rights. They were wrong. Every time one power was given to Quebec, provincial governments regardless of partisan affiliation demanded more. Every time a language law was passed in one area of jurisdiction, its restrictive, serpentine tentacles would appear in another. Now they have slithered around the basic rights of a free people in a free society. The right to stand up and have one’s say in whatever tongue one chooses. And if you get elected so be it. But when you build on a big lie, this outcome should have come as no surprise.

While politicians make political capital, minorities — whether racial, linguistic or religious — suffer daily in Quebec. The message and metaphor of the struggle here is one of civil rights. Though the prejudice suffered here is not as draconian as in the American South in the sixties — thanks to federal protections we have here that were missing in the South — the damage is just as overt.

This latest affront to democratic discourse is not happening in a vacuum. Sir Wilfrid Laurier once said that, “It has been my lot to run the whole gamut of prejudices. From being excommunicated by Roman priests, to being condemned by Protestant parsons.” Well, amidst the Bouchard-Taylor commission hearings and the debate on reasonable accommodation it is instructive to look back on just the past 18 months’ “gamut of prejudices”. We will be able to understand why the ground is so fertile here for the PQ proposals.

The current debate on “tolerance” can be traced to comments made earlier this year by Mario Dumont on how much can Quebecers “accommodate” others and the Herouxville declaration against Muslim particularism. But it certainly didn’t stop there.

A group of francophone daycare teachers in Quebec’s largest school board raised their voices to object to the fact that Jewish and Muslim teachers got paid for their religious holidays as well as the Christian ones. Would they then be willing to give up their paid religious holidays and have everyone take a set number of paid pedagogical days off? Ah no. They wanted to keep those days and the Christian holidays.

ADQ leader Mario Dumont weighed in again with his opinion that “Quebec’s values were first inspired by old-stock Europeans and their religious traditions”. Yet he still asserted that Quebec is welcoming to all. Well that should give “les autres” comfort.

A Léger Marketing poll commissioned by Quebec’s largest French newspaper and television network demonstrated that 59 percent of Quebecers considered themselves racist to one degree or another. (LOL this survey was as shitty as one can be) An astonishing figure outside of Okeefenokee Swamp if the percentage was half that. Yet what was even more troubling were the ads promoting the poll. Below the question “Êtes-vous raciste?” were pictures of Hasidic Jews and Chador-clad Muslim women. Since when do religious beliefs have anything to do with race? About as much as language does with the right to exercise democratic rights. Nothing! Yet in today’s Quebec that is the subliminal message that still goes out more than 50 years after Premier Maurice Duplessis used his infamous Padlock Law to close Frank Roncarelli’s restaurant because Roncarelli had become a Jehovah’s Witness and Duplessis hated the Witnesses with a passion.

On the heels of the Mouvement Montréalais Français’s successful boycott threat against Esso’s plan to change the name of its gas station shops from “Marché Express” to “On the Run” as they are everywhere else — and as permitted by Quebec’s language law — even provincial Liberal Minister Line Beauchamp decided to declare that there was still not enough French in downtown Montreal and that more should be done to promote “the common language” of Quebec society. Didn’t she get the memo that English is an official language? Somebody should also tell her that the population of the island of Montreal is now more than 50 percent non-francophone and non-anglophone.

The message that is being propounded in Quebec, and expanded with the PQ’s latest proposal, is that this province is still wedded to “sang and langue”. Blood and language. “Ein volk! Ein Kultur! “One people. One culture.” And that message is being proclaimed, both directly and subliminally, so often and so egregiously that it has created a culture characterized by one overriding veneer. Prejudice. A prejudice that makes Quebec incapable of putting into place what should really characterize a progressive civil society in Canada. An inclusive, secular, bilingual civic structure of public institutions and services that gives no privilege or preference to any group based on parochial particularities but rather celebrates principles of our universal commonality. There need be no “reasonable accommodation” to anything but those principles.

MORE (http://thesuburban.com/content.jsp?sid=101643622720806852461972 54825&ctid=1000000&cnid=1013262)

Another one, as cheesy as possible:

It's racism- in any language
Don Martin, National Post
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2007
OTTAWA -The floundering Bloc Quebecois couldn't wait to join in the campaign against an "unreasonable accommodation" for visible minorities. They rushed forward a bill this week to block Muslim women from voting behind their burkas.

Never mind that the ruling Conservatives last week proclaimed their intent-to-legislate on this contrived controversy or that Muslim women already comply with face-revealing requirements to obtain a driver's licence or passport, the risk of a covered female face in a ballot booth was so horrifically galling, two federal parties raced to put their name on its prohibition. (Note to the million rural residents in Canada now ineligible to vote because they don't have a street address: Hang in there. Your government will help you after fixing this farcical threat.)

Given the various actions of separatist forces this month with a surprising assist from the provincial Liberals, the only face that needs to be uncovered is that of thinly veiled racism now raging in Quebec politics.

In the scramble for a purified and cleansed Quebec identity, various politicians are proposing or mulling over a shocking series of democratic limitations on anglophones or "foreign nationals," including newcomers from the other nine provinces.
The right to run for office, vote in any election, even pick a neighbourhood to live in would be limited by a person's French-speaking prowess, if assorted proposals of highly questionable constitutionality come to pass.

The Bloc has been kicking up a daily fuss in the House of Commons this week, demanding that provincial French-language handcuffs be applied to all federal employees, lest the few workers now exempt from Bill 101 utter a few words of illegal English in the process of earning an Ottawa-issued paycheque.

That line of attack was so bizarre, even lightweight Cabinet minister Josee Verner sounded uncharacteristically forceful in denigrating the Bloc for taking 17 years to raise objections to a 30-year-old language situation.

The hullabaloo continued with a Parti Quebecois bill filed in the National Assembly by leader Pauline Marois, proposing a Quebec citizenship that would require French language testing for future election candidates. That went too far even for former PQ leader Bernard Landry, no stranger to ethnic-bashing himself, but it was given the okeedokee from Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe.

Even while that bill was being ridiculed by federalists in Quebec, the PQ language critic was musing on an open-line radio show that anglophones in Montreal might lose the right to vote if Quebec became sovereign. To be fair, he did beat a slight backtrack in the angry aftermath.

Sadly, it's not just a separatist purge of linguistic impurity that should be giving civil rights advocates the shivers. Current Immigration Minister Yolande James (addendum by Kurtz: black woman, by the way), who lives in Montreal, was caught in a memo proposing immigrants be forced to "live their Quebec values concretely" through forcible confinement to francophone communities. After a few years of French-only isolation in Jonquiere, she figures, the internment would "awaken them to the realities, the language and the ways of Quebec."

I wish I were making this up. Alas, no.

All this is playing against the soundtrack of the "reasonable accommodation" hearings of the Cultural Differences Commission, where witnesses sound increasingly unreasonable in accommodating anti-immigrant sentiment.

The drift is impossible to miss: Non-francophones are not wanted or welcome and may, if Quebec ever achieves sovereign status, be denied taken-for-granted Canadian freedoms of voting, working, speaking and living according to their desires. And you thought Afghanistan had trouble with the democratic concept.

Imagine, if you can, Albertans engaging in such aggressive cultural protectionism -- rolling out special oilpatch citizenship and demanding all job-seekers live, speak and limit their religious practices according to standards backed by a skill-testing question on Ian Tyson music.

There'd be coast-to-coast condemnation, a frenzy of national outrage against knuckle-dragging rednecks who apparently married inside their immediate family a tad too often to accept worldly cultures.

The studied silence from the federal government as Quebec turns increasingly and inwardly xenophobic has been unsettling. Clearly they don't want to be seen badmouthing the Quebecois as they struggle to define their newly recognized "nation" as an unjust francophone society built on ethnic suspicion and cultural intolerance.

But the emotions, opinions and party positions dominating political discourse in Quebec smack of a class-divided racism that should not be tolerated-- in either official language. LINK (http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/columnists/story.html?id=c28a61f1-5dd6-484c-b9ff-991e669850e7&p=2)

And there are other articles like this, endlessly whining about Québec's racism and xenophobia. A last one, a cartoon:


LOL. THE PQ IS A LEFT-WING PARTY! It has many immigrants in its ranks, it simply considers language more important than race and other factors. BTW, I heard very few whining about this bill in the immigrant population here, and even less by the Europid population.

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008, 05:20 AM
LOL. Holy hypocrisy! Anglo-Canadians can be quite intolerant, moreso than the BQ. I faced quite a bit of discrimination when I lived in an Anglo-majority city.

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 03:22 AM
Oh dear gods! I could barely get through the drama-queen tirade from the first journalist, never mind reading the second article. I think I'll have to keep that reading for another time when I have a better supply of Tums nearby. Ma foi! Quelle folie!


Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, 08:14 PM
It is total hypocrisy, because there are no Francophone services outside of Quebec and New Brunswick.

If you want to do anything in Anglo Canada, you had better do it in English or the institutional hurdles will be greater than anything put forward by the identity laws.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, 08:33 PM
It is total hypocrisy, because there are no Francophone services outside of Quebec and New Brunswick.

If you want to do anything in Anglo Canada, you had better do it in English or the institutional hurdles will be greater than anything put forward by the identity laws.

There most certainly are Francophone services outside of Québec. You should come visit the francophone communities in the country known as Canada sometime. You would get a real eye-opener.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, 08:44 PM
There most certainly are Francophone services outside of Québec. You should come visit the francophone communities in the country known as Canada sometime. You would get a real eye-opener.

There certainly are no such services in Toronto. I had tried to utilize the offered services only to discover that they were merely offered for show.