quebec election - 04.09.2012

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Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yes, I understand that lagatta, but with QS going nowhere, why not give the NDP a chance? Otherwise we're stuck with right wing parties governing Quebec forever. Probably some QS supporters would defect to a new Quebec NDP.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Legault thinks Quebec students should be more like 'Asians' and laments that they all want  the 'good life'

I wonder if Legault envies Asia's workforce...Maybe workers all want the 'good life' and should be paid like their Asian counterparts...but I digress.

http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/legault-kids-here-should-work-harder-like-asi...

 

I can't help think that Legault's words are racist.

lagatta

I agree that they are racist. One of those backhanded compliments. "All Asians are good at maths" (how many billion people live in Asia?).

And I most certainly want "the good life" ou "la belle vie". Which does not mean the rat race in a hamster cage to accumulate a lot of useless "stuff".

Note that CAQ is hopeless on environmental and urbanistic issues, and many of their proposals would favour suburban sprawl, car-centric development and planetary destruction.

lagatta

Unlike the dreadful cartoon ads, I really enjoyed this "face cachée d'Andrès Fontecilla" clip on the candidate in Laurier-Dorion. I know all the people in this ad, except for the person portraying an investigative journalist. Laurier-Dorion is just north of where I live now, and I am active in a tenants' association there. Fontecilla, our association and others helped Denise (the older lady) find a subsidized flat in public housing for seniors - it is a very nice building that our association pushed for (it does not have the dread institutional look, and is surrounded by trees). 

http://www.quebecsolidaire.net/laurier-dorion/articles/video-des-allegat...

Fontecilla is the head staffer for Solidarités Villeray, a coalition of community associations. 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Slumberjack wrote:

Not to be outdone I'm guessing, but isn't the PQ promising an edict which would ban the display of religious symbolism from public service?  It's about time someone attempted to get a handle on in-your-face Catholicism.  Or are the 'ethnics' at it again?

PQ: Crucifixes in, hijabs and monarchy out

TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. - Pauline Marois's vision for Quebec includes fewer hijabs and fewer symbols of the Crown.

She announced Tuesday that if her Parti Quebecois wins the Sept. 4 election, it will introduce a Charter of Secularism that would forbid public employees from wearing religious symbols on the job — like Muslim head scarves.

But the Charter of Secularism, it seems, would not be applied evenly.

The ban on religious symbols would not extend to employees who wear a crucifix necklace. Nor would it extend to the crucifix hanging in the legislature, which Marois says is part of Quebec's heritage. The cross first found its way onto the legislative chamber's wall in 1936 under the government of Maurice Duplessis.

The ban on religious symbols would extend, however, to some non-religious aspects of Quebec's history as selected by the PQ. Surprised

6079_Smith_W

Somehow I don't think she'll be including the royal colours blue and white, and the fleur-de-lys in that ban. The Quebec flag is the only one in the country which contains nothing but religious and monarchist symbols.

(edit)

Sorry, you can add Nova Scotia to that list as well.

 

lagatta

Nova Scotia? (Cross of St Andrew, with colours opposite of those in the Scottish flag). Lots of Union Jacks and variations on the Lion and Unicorn elsewhere. 

I don't like the fleur-de-lysé either - we should adopt le drapeau des Patriotes, a republican flag. 

6079_Smith_W

Sure, lots of symbols, but NS and Quebec are the only ones with nothing but religious and monarchist symbols.

I don't have a problem with it; I just question whether Marois has thought this through and plans to act on it, or is it a double standard?

And x-posted my correction with you above. Thanks in any case.

Slumberjack

Well, I think it's clear Marois intends pander to the pure laine racists who populate and support the PQ.  They must find their inspiration in Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Slumberjack

Odd too how it's been in the news for the past two days but not mentioned until now in this thread dealing with Quebec politics.  The finger on the pulse must have slipped.

lagatta

I have friends who support the PQ who are by no means "pure-laine racists". Those exist here, as everywhere, but many also support the Liberals and particularly the ADQ (now part of the CAQ).

I'd like to know what you mean by that: do you mean policies detrimental to minority groups, people of colour etc (and no, I'm NOT including anglophones in "minority groups", though legitimate issues of public service availability exist in regions - right now, under the Libs) or measures to protect the French language from the domination of anglophone North America?

I'm virulently opposed to the former, but support the latter. Not necessarily every PQ measure (for example, QS voted down the idea of restricting English-language Cégep attendance to people who attended English-language schools), but there is a real problem and it is very hard to get many progressive people in the RoC to acknowledge it, precisely because of the domination of English.

love is free love is free's picture

more like the trolls hadn't been paying attention.

here's the important of the latest flaring:

Le maire de Saguenay, Jean Tremblay, a déversé son fiel ce matin sur la candidate du Parti québécois dans Trois-Rivières, Djemila Benhabib.

«Ce qui me choque, ce matin, c'est de voir que nous, les mous, les Canadiens français, on va se faire dicter comment se comporter, comment respecter notre culture par une personne qui arrive d'Algérie, et on n'est même pas capable de prononcer son nom», a-t-il lancé en interview avec Paul Arcand au 98.5.

En tant que militante laïque, Mme Benhabib s'est déjà prononcée contre le crucifix à l'Assemblée nationale. Depuis qu'elle est candidate, elle a décidé de se rallier à la position du PQ, même si elle n'a pas changé d'avis. Ce combat reste toutefois secondaire pour elle. Ce qui est urgent, a-t-elle précisé hier, c'est d'adopter une charte de la laïcité. Le PQ en propose une.

so the pq candidate is being attacked by the ultra conservative mayor of saguenay for being algerian and anti-religious, prompted by that same pq candidate's appearance with pq leader marois to announce a secularist charter.

mindless anti-pq trolling makes sense if you're just talking to yourself, but it doesn't edify or inform.

anyway, this is an interesting assessment of some of the demographic features of the 4 major parties' candidates: http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/elections-quebec-2012/201208/15/01-456...

 

Unionist

Québec is complicated. Here's some stark evidence:

[url=http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/elections-2012/356862/le-maire-jean-tr... Mayor launches racist tirade against PQ candidate of Algerian origin for trying to eliminate Catholic prayer at council meetings and otherwise telling him how to practise his religion[/url]

She also wants the crucifix removed from the National Assembly building, but acknowledges that it's not PQ policy.

ETA: Heh, I cross-posted this with love is free. Yeah, and all those high and mighty purists who attack the PQ for its "racist pure laine" and all the rest of it, should perhaps condemn the Catholic-loving anti-semitic anti-Muslim parties in other provinces (like, the Ontario NDP hmmmm?) who support public Catholic schools to the exclusion of all others. Maybe you should burn your own at the stake before taking on subjects you don't fully understand, hmmm?

Trolling works in many directions.

ETA squared: Oh yeah, and what lagatta said. Thanks for being back here! Hope your internet connection isn't still kicking you off!

 

 

6079_Smith_W

People are going to spin policies in whichever way fits their argument. I don't hold Marois responsible for Tremblay's actions. 

But it is fair to ask what her party's motivation is for bringing this up as a platform now. Personally, I can think of a number of reasons, positive and negative, partisan and non. But again, my real question is whether it is an honest move in favour of equality, or if it is politics of division, designed to promote certain ideas without saying so openly.

 

 

love is free love is free's picture

some folks may not quite realize it, but most quebecois plain do not want an atomised, multi-cultural society where multiple generations of visible minorities remain poorly integrated because of decisions made by successive generations of these parents, slaves to ignorant superstitions and cultural practices.  this is something for which there is a very high level of consensus in the province.

Unionist

Exactly (to what love is free said). We don't want "multiculturalism" for Québec. Nor do we want multi- or bilingualism. Nor do we want Catholicism, nor any religion in the public sphere, nor white supremacy, nor favouring the descendants of some French colonial settlers over the descendants of immigrants or indigenous people. We believe that equality of men and women trumps "freedom of religion" wherever the two happen to conflict. All this leads to complications. It also leads to some elements in the nationalist movement pandering to racism and chauvinism. Marois is not above that, as her "NOUS" campaign (with nary a person of colour in sight) amply shows. But to suggest (as the MSM always does) that this kind of racism is worse or different from the racism endemic to the rest of Canada is, as love is free said, trolling. Look to your own house.

 

6079_Smith_W

love is free wrote:

some folks may not quite realize it, but most quebecois plain do not want an atomised, multi-cultural society where multiple generations of visible minorities remain poorly integrated because of decisions made by successive generations of these parents, slaves to ignorant superstitions and cultural practices.  this is something for which there is a very high level of consensus in the province.

Like I said, I can think of positive reasons for promoting secularism. On the other hand, I stop short of assuming I can best decide which parts of other peoples' cultures are leaving them ignorant and oppressed. I seem to remember we have tried that already.

For one thing, if someone wanted to burn some sweetgrass or tobacco as part of a political or legal process, I am sure not going to presume to say that is not allowed. Not that I think it only applies only to Native Canadian culture.

Also, I don't think the PQ's whole platform should hang on this one issue. But they did put it out there, so it is fair game.

(edit)

Unionist, I held back from saying this in my last post, but we are talking about THIS here. That kind of deflection is not a valid argument. Many of us have spoken out against the catholic school system, and personally, I was mightlily pissed off when our province got rid of the wheat sheaf with no debate, and started plastering the coat of arms everywhere.

(edit...again)

I should add that I agree with your sentiment that it is VERY complicated.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

As well, I look at it in the opposite way.
I don't see this as the PQ being necessarily more biased than other political parties. I am, however, skeptical of it as an attempt to appear LESS biased.

Unionist

Surprise - La Presse compares the use of videos by the parties, and decides QS and Option Nationale are doing it best:

[url=http://www.lapresse.ca/videos/actualites/201208/14/46-1-le-meilleur-et-l... meilleur et le pire des vidéos[/url]

 

lagatta

Québec siolidaire has squarely condemned Saguenay mayor Jean Tremblay's xenophobic and racist comments against PQ candidate in Trois-Rivières, Djemila Benhabib.

http://www.quebecsolidaire.net/quebec-solidaire-condamne-les-propos-xeno...

I haven't read or heard the reactions of the PQ and the other parties yet. I hope they will be unanimous in condemning this racism of another century and wilful ignorance (the jerk takes pride in not being able to pronounce her name, and frankly, except for the Dj perhaps, it really isn't a difficult name for a francophone to pronounce. 

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
But to suggest (as the MSM always does) that this kind of racism is worse or different from the racism endemic to the rest of Canada is, as love is free said, trolling. Look to your own house. 

Who is suggesting that?  To paraphrase Hegel, you don't have to be a shoemaker to know when a shoe isn't fit.  And I don't need anyone's permission here to speak out against this kind of shit when it surfaces.

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
Maybe you should burn your own at the stake before taking on subjects you don't fully understand, hmmm? 

I understand well enough to know that this type of circle the wagons insularity where it concerns the fair treatment of marginalized groups at the hands of crass, opportunistic politicians is never very impressive to observe.  Not surprising either.

josh
Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

Unionist wrote:

Exactly (to what love is free said). We don't want "multiculturalism" for Québec. Nor do we want multi- or bilingualism. Nor do we want Catholicism, nor any religion in the public sphere, nor white supremacy, nor favouring the descendants of some French colonial settlers over the descendants of immigrants or indigenous people. We believe that equality of men and women trumps "freedom of religion" wherever the two happen to conflict. All this leads to complications. It also leads to some elements in the nationalist movement pandering to racism and chauvinism. Marois is not above that, as her "NOUS" campaign (with nary a person of colour in sight) amply shows. But to suggest (as the MSM always does) that this kind of racism is worse or different from the racism endemic to the rest of Canada is, as love is free said, trolling. Look to your own house.

For the most part, I agree with this statement.  I don't think there needs to be much room for religion in public life.  However, that's not really what Marois is proposing (and Unionist - I suspect that you are not defending her). 

First of all, it shouldn't matter to me if the person mopping the floor at the hospital is wearing a turban. As long as the floor is well cleaned, I think I can let the public servant wear a turban, head scarf, skull cap or nose piercing for all I care.

Seconly, Marois isn't proposing one standard for all.  She's said some exceptions will be made for catholic symbols.

The fact Marois is proposing these positions suggests she's not very tolerant of people from different faiths.  The fact she is proposing them in an election campaign leads me to suspect she wants to take advantage of other people's fears for political gain.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

From a  law student in Montreal: In Quebec You Might Soon be Forced to Trade Your Hijab for a Crucifix

excerpt:

The xenophobic and francosupremacist rhetoric that has plagued the PQ base for years is now ever more unambiguous, which is frightening in and of itself. What I find truly alarming, however, is that the PQ is poised to form the next government, which can only mean that in addition to lengthy and costly constitutional battles with Ottawa, certain Quebecers can now be expected to have their basic civil liberties trampled on in order to appease an increasingly intolerant voting population. Vive le Québec libre indeed.

 

lagatta

Boom Boom, I agree with most of what she wrote (although it is rather bigoted and anti-French, as one hears a lot of redneck crap in the RoC, trust me). But I strongly disagree with her about the French Language Charter: sure, I think it is important to speak up for access to health and social services in English, and for that matter in any other language where population warrants - including Aboriginal languages, and I'm fine with the clause Canada for schooling instead of the clause Québec.

But this Charter was a means of overcoming discrimination in work and services to the MAJORITY, who very often had to work in English and suffered extreme employment and income discrimination, and to ensure that immigrants integrated into the French-speaking population (which defused what had been a very ugly "war between the poor" in working-class East-End districts).

I don't think Marois is a bigot, but she is a dreadful opportunist. She supports whatever she thinks will sell.

Her history isn't only foggy about the origins of the crucifix (and the fleur-de-lysé for that matter; we had a secular, republican flag, le drapeau des Patriotes) but also about secularism, even the hard-arsed French version. In France, secularism was essentially and above all a matter of controlling the influence of the Catholic Church. That is why the religious minorities of the day (by and large Jews and Protestants; there were still very few Muslims from the African colonies, and even fewer Buddhists from Indochina) supported it, as it meant the right to practise their faith in private without discrimination or persecution.

In Italy, the secular democratic left actually supported the building of large synagogues in major Italian cities such as Rome and Florence, as a way of showing the Vatican they didn't have a monopoly on the God stuff.
The cross around neck stuff is ridiculous, as I hope to God (???) any religious person can wear what they want under their street clothing, and except for clergy and religious orders, there is no imperative to wear those "distinctively".

I think the only real problem in terms of dress is if someone in a position of authority such as a police officer or a judge wears a hijab, turban, cross or cassock, kippa etc.

Stockholm

Meanwhile Marois is continuing with her Marine Le Pen imitation and seems to only care about persecuting women who wear hijabs,(while turning a blind eye to Catholic symbols). Rene Levesque must be rolling over in his grave to see the party he founded turn to such hateful populist appeals to xenophobia.

Its funny how 40 years ago we all yelled hip hip hooray at the statement "the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation", but now in 2012 Pauline Marois seems to want to the state to be sticking its nose into the wardrobes of the nation and regulating what people can and cannot wear.

6079_Smith_W

@ lagatta

Well that's an unfortunate backlash when your platform is built on a foundation of "us". Why would someone even use that distinction except to imply that there is  a "them", whether it is the federalist construct or something else - because it can be read in a lot of ways.

Yes, secularism should be something different than cultural discrimination, and the whole issue is distinct from protecting the French language. But that usually gets muddied when you open a Pandora's box like this.

I agree with you in blaming opportunism (and not a little stupidity) rather than racism.

I do support stronger secularism, and as someone who went to a public school where the library was staffed by a nun, and the lord's prayer was piped over the loudspeaker in the morning, I know that rule can be ignored. But I am less convinced that should extend to the personal dress of workers, and I have no problem with RCMP officers wearing turbans, or crosses, or whatever. I am far more alarmed by religion as policy -  things like the City of Winnipeg giving public money to an evangelical church youth centre, right across from Thunderbird House.

And yes, some of the strongest proponents of the separation of church and state have been religious - including fundamentalist Christians.

Sorry if I am being unclear, but I think this is a very important social principle, and burns me to see it exploited in a way that will probably just wind up setting people against each other.

 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Good reply, lagatta - I was kind of struck a bit dumb that the article was written by a law student. I expected better.

lagatta

"Us vs "them" often indicates a class divide, at times compounded by racism, sexism or another form of discrimination. We had a lot of union campaigns about "nous" (le monde ordinaire) and it certainly wasn't above all a matter of ethnicity. 

Boom Boom, yes. Of course some of what she said was correct, but it was very sloppy. I don't feel like re-reading it now, but I think she referred to the longstanding French language charter as "bill 10100

6079_Smith_W

@ lagatta

Well yes, but is that the case here?

And frankly, I think the strategy is ALWAYS a bad one. If a policy is ultimately good, then it should be framed in terms of how it is good for all people, not terms of allies and enemies, winners and losers.

Case in point - the fact that it seems to be going sideways here.

love is free love is free's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

From a  law student in Montreal: In Quebec You Might Soon be Forced to Trade Your Hijab for a Crucifix

i hate to say it, but this person would probably be happier some place else.  the "repressive and draconian" language law is bedrock consensus policy, it's never going away.  multi-culturalism is not a quebec value, any more than catholicism is.  the crucifix staying in the national assembly (i doubt it'll be there for long under marois, by the way) was clearly explained as an exception to a pro-secularism that will target the remaining vestiges of catholicism as well.  that the person writing this column, obviously not from quebec, wants to call the pq's voters xenophobes speaks far more to the values disconnect between canadians and quebecois than it does to any objective reality.  basically, it comes down to a very strong, very consistent francophone culture that quebecois are universally proud of and want to keep at the core of the national identity against a canadian vision molded by waves of immigration and change over a much larger territory, with its far greater focus on individual rights and freedoms.

anyway, that crop poll noted above was also interesting for where it showed the plq in francophone quebec:

pq 39
caq 26
plq 21

this is very clear pq majority territory with the plq smashed everywhere but the west island.  very much to be desired, even if it leaves us with a pq government and legault as leader of the opposition.  oddly, it also follows an interesting trend of canadian liberal parties being obliterated at the polls.  maybe if the plq sinks low enough and its corporate backers jump to the caq, the plq could be ressurected as a progressive party.

Caissa

What is SQ polling?

Bärlüer

With the rise of the CAQ in recent polls, it's possible that PQ majority might get more fragile... We'll see.

The best possible scenario, from my point of view, would be a minority PQ government with a couple of QS MPs holding the balance of power...

Bärlüer

Caissa wrote:

What is SQ polling?

7%, I believe. (Assuming you meant QS and not the electoral fortunes of Sûreté du Québec [i.e. the provincial police]...)

(I'll be doing door-to-door canvassing in Gouin this evening. Should be fun!)

6079_Smith_W

love is free wrote:

Multi-culturalism is not a quebec value.

Really? If I were to make that statement about my province (not that I support it; I do not) I'd get pilloried.

 

love is free love is free's picture

7% for qs is right, with no numbers yet released for the francophone percentage (it'll be higher).  another interesting set of numbers from that poll note marois' big lead among women - pq 40, plq 27, caq 20 - a 20 point lead on legault's formation!  the pq and plq's partisans are most the most firm ~65% won't change, which the caq's firm voters are only 45%.  that's still a lot of fluidity out there.  all of this will be more clear next week, after sunday's debate.

speaking of debates, option nationale leader aussant's legal moves to force his way into the debates seem not to have much traction, a decision is expected tomorrow (or saturday, i guess theoretically).  it's a shame, as his entry into the tva debates would basically ensure the qs's ticket.

6079_Smith_W wrote:

love is free wrote:
Multi-culturalism is not a quebec value.

Really? If I were to make that statement about my province (not that I support it; I do not) I'd get pilloried.

yeah, as i said, it's a basic difference between quebec and canada.

lagatta

It is certainly a difference between France and Britain. In France, multiculturalism is not very popular ON THE LEFT - that is not how anti-racism is framed, and hasn't been since the Dreyfus case issue. 

Not that this is necessarily the same on this side of the pond, just saying that there are different ways to frame anti-racism (and probably different ways to frame racism and xenophobia, for that matter) in different societies. 

6079_Smith_W

Frame it how you will - after all, multiculturalism is not the same in the U.S. as it is in Canada either- but they still have a whole bunch of people who need a wake-up call when it comes to cultural reality - on a number of fronts.

I am skeptical of the claim that "that is just not how we do things here".

 

love is free love is free's picture

what claim is there to be skeptical about?  in quebec, there's massive consensus against multi-culturalism as it is seen to be practiced in canada, it's just the way it is, and we're seeing that reflected in the parties' platforms.  it certainly has its pratfalls and, like most anglophones, i identify much more strongly with montreal than i do with quebec writ large, but without understanding that basic fact, you cannot understand the evolution of the quebec left, nor can you understand the basic parameters of the debate.  like, i click over to newswatch and virtually every opinion article on the election touches on this 'xenophobia' line, which is understandable, the quebec political consensus very consciously excludes those who do not accept its basic precepts.  but they're ignorant and not at all informative or edifying - you learn nothing about what's going on.

when we look at how the qs campaign is failing, for instance, understanding the structure of political competition, the issues at play, is key to understanding qs' strategy and its folly.  qs is trying to engage the electorate on the left of the provincial spectrum, instead of focusing its attentions on where its voters are: montreal.  montreal's politics are much more recognizable to the average canadian living in a city, and certainly amir speaks to that (his accent is french-accented, inconsistent, and definitely appris, as we say).  it seems to me like they're shifting gears somewhat, but we'll see at the consortium debate.  anyway, the point is that this sort of analysis (off the cuff as it is) isn't really possible without the basic understanding of quebec society that canadians seem not to possess.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Quote:

what claim is there to be skeptical about?  in quebec, there's massive consensus against multi-culturalism as it is seen to be practiced in canada, it's just the way it is, and we're seeing that reflected in the parties' platforms.

You just don't understand that Canadian "multiculturalism" does not exist. Besides the fact that the term is virtually meaningless I think it astounding that you would think the practice of multiculturalism is the same in Moncton as it is in Burnaby, or in Saint John's or Toronto.  Yes it is all the "other" in comparison to Quebec but it certainly does not make Canada a monoculture. Canada has many very distinct cultural regions whether separatists acknowledge it or not.

love is free love is free's picture

obviously culture is fluid, and there are major regional differences in quebec.  but the national story, as told and understood in quebec, the imagined community of ethnie, shared mythology, shared experience, shared language (obviously) - the very understanding of what it means to be quebecois is comprised of these, and not simply residency in the territory administered by the quebec provincial government.  even on the left, there's a basic understanding that participation in quebec culture (capital c, if i were bound by the tyranny of the case writing) occurs within the shared narrative.  this structure is very common in countries that have determined that they are 'national' polities (most of europe, japan, ethiopia, etc) but relatively uncommon in post-colonial states (including canada).  while canada has had growing pains as it has shed the dominion skin and become a multi-racial, multi-cultural country with a sort of civic nationalism at its core (no matter how unevenly that is distributed across the country), quebec has gone a completely different way, following a path similar to great awakening nationalism of the early-middle 1800s central europe.  at this point, the nationalist dream is at a crossroads - much has been achieved and though most people are still on board the "national" train, there are significant differences of opinion on both the character of the nationalism, and the best means by which the state itself out to be governed.  has enough been achieved that we can be safe in our identity and still participate in the economic arrangement that is the canadian federation?  and the usual left-right stuff, with solidaire on the left and caq on the right and the pq and plq sort of muddling through as coalitions.  the anglophones and many allophones refuse even to participate in this debate, they just reject wholesale the premises.

all of this to say that quebec is, i guess, de jure, a region of canada, but it's not really canadian.

genstrike

lagatta wrote:
I think the only real problem in terms of dress is if someone in a position of authority such as a police officer or a judge wears a hijab, turban, cross or cassock, kippa etc.

So, your opinion is that religious minorities should be allowed to exist and practice their religion, but shouldn't be in positions of authority?

That's kind of patronizing:  y'all are welcome here, but don't get too uppity!

lagatta wrote:

It is certainly a difference between France and Britain. In France, multiculturalism is not very popular ON THE LEFT - that is not how anti-racism is framed, and hasn't been since the Dreyfus case issue. 

Not that this is necessarily the same on this side of the pond, just saying that there are different ways to frame anti-racism (and probably different ways to frame racism and xenophobia, for that matter) in different societies. 

Being racist against religious minorities is a curious way to "frame" anti-racism.

Ghislaine

This is my first time posting in the new "babble" and I am surprised to see we are at 130+ comments and counting. So, basically can these threads go for an infinite number of comments? 

I find the Quebec election interesting because it is so different from elections in the rest of Canada, in terms of the parties involved and the issues discussed. My only real opinion is that I think Quebec definitely has the right to seperate if they want to, but wish they didn't and hope they don't. 

In terms of multiculturalism, I wish the rest of Canada would reject this as a "value" as well. Really, it is a meaningless term. Canada's culture should have a very strong focus and protection of  equal rights between women and men, freedom of speech, religion, etc.  Fine, don't agree - but in a public space and the public sphere you have to be secular, you are not allowed to violate someone's rights based on religion, etc. 

The idea that sharia or any other religious law was being proposed in Ontario was scary to me, as is the fact that they still have public Catholic schools. I think Quebec has been much better the past few decades at insisting that women's rights (for one example) come above all else and at insisting that public schools be secular. I also think that integration with the wide community, ie emphasizing diversity, is a good value to have. Quebec seems to me to be much more self-confident in terms of its culture and values than the ROC. 

Unionist

genstrike - with respect, you're way off base. Whether you approve or not of letting a cop wear a turban or a nun's habit, this issue isn't about racism, or about uppity minorities. It's about integration and secularism. I don't agree with Marois's pushing identity buttons or pandering to xenophobia, but many on the left think it's important that state authorities confront no one with their private religious beliefs. I fully agree with lagatta on that score. Don't forget that Québec (and Newfoundland) abolished religion in public schools. Some "minorities" may not like that, but racism it ain't.

As I said way above, we don't believe in multiculturalism here. The challenge is to defend equality and justice. We can't look to the PQ for that.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

love is free

You seem to have a good understanding of Quebec culture and a comic book version of the rest of the country. But no problem I understand that I as an outsider cannot define the Quebec nation and no nothing at all abpout "your" culture but any resident of Quebec can not only define but also wax poetic on the inadequacies of the mythical ROC.  It is the Canadian way n'est pas?

lagatta

This is just plain weird:
quote: "Being racist against religious minorities is a curious way to "frame" anti-racism".

I started out with the first major modern anti-racist movement I can recall in French history: The campaign to defend the Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus against fabricated charges of treason. (There were of course earlier expressions of solidarity with enslaved and oppressed African-origin people in French Caribbean colonies, but the Dreyfus case was a major flashpoint in French history.

I could go on with others, up to the contemporary Marche des Beurs, anti-racist associations such as MRAP and SOS Racisme, the mobilizations against le Front national and against racist murders (including police "bavures" against Frenchpeople of North and West African origin, against unsalubrious "foyers" and for housing rights, and many, many others. In France these tend to be framed in terms of the rights of "citizens" - not referring to legal nationality but humans in society.

I most certainly was not defending any racist act or practice, whether by commission or omission! Such an accusation is utterly ludicrous. Moreover, I wasn't defending either the "French" or "British" approaches to these questions, just describing them or rather just alluding to them.

As for conspicuous symbols among people occupying roles of authority - one could narrow this down to "penal" or "punishment" authority, the conspicuous symbols that scare me the most in a society with a Catholic or other Christian background are the cross, cassock or habit etc. The idea is not to keep anyone "down" but to ensure that vulnerable people (of MANY ethnic and religious origins) receive a treatment that is not only fair but has the appearance of fairness. I sure wouldn't trust Catho wingnuts for anything having to do with the provision of abortion or contraception. Or perhaps, her or his CONSPICUOUSLY Muslim counterpart if I were to be accused of being, say, a bad mother because I had the occasional beer or glass of wine.

It is a complex argument, but there can be different responses without insinuating that people who would weight these conflicting claims a bit differently are necessarily racist.

This really pisses me off as for decades, I've been involved in advocating for tenants facing discrimination and substandard conditions, whether because of their racial or social group, or similar reasons. And before that, in promoting immigrant worker issues in a Québec labour federation.

Kropotkin, "Separatists"??? Really??? Are you stuck in 1963?

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

Unionist wrote:

Exactly (to what love is free said). We don't want "multiculturalism" for Québec. Nor do we want multi- or bilingualism. Nor do we want Catholicism, nor any religion in the public sphere, nor white supremacy, nor favouring the descendants of some French colonial settlers over the descendants of immigrants or indigenous people. We believe that equality of men and women trumps "freedom of religion" wherever the two happen to conflict. All this leads to complications. It also leads to some elements in the nationalist movement pandering to racism and chauvinism. Marois is not above that, as her "NOUS" campaign (with nary a person of colour in sight) amply shows. But to suggest (as the MSM always does) that this kind of racism is worse or different from the racism endemic to the rest of Canada is, as love is free said, trolling. Look to your own house.

For the most part, I agree with this statement.  I don't think there needs to be much room for religion in public life.  However, that's not really what Marois is proposing (and Unionist - I get that you are not necessarily defending her). 

First of all, it shouldn't matter to me if the person mopping the floor at the hospital is wearing a turban. As long as the floor is well cleaned, I think I can let the public servant wear a turban, head scarf, skull cap or nose piercing for all I care.

Seconly, Marois isn't proposing one standard for all.  She's said some exceptions will be made for catholic symbols.

The fact Marois is proposing these positions suggests she's not very tolerant of people from different faiths.  The fact she is proposing them in an election campaign leads me to suspect she wants to take advantage of other people's fears for political gain.

DaveW

Bärlüer wrote:

With the rise of the CAQ in recent polls, it's possible that PQ majority might get more fragile ... We'll see.

The best possible scenario, from my point of view, would be a minority PQ government with a couple of QS MPs holding the balance of power...

Actually, the recent CROP poll showed the PQ at 34%, with the other 2 parties in the mid-20s may seal the deal.

CAQ is basically poaching on Liberal demographics -- middle class, right of centre, anti-PQ -- and in the many three-way races across the province on Sept 4, the CAQ's new votes will largely be taken from the Liberals and help put the PQ over the top.

Hence the PQ could have a lopsided majority with only a modest , 30-something share of the popular vote. Let's hope not, but the math seems clear in a first-past-the-post electoral system with 3 major parties.

Cf. the British election results of 2010:

Tories 36 per cent (306 seats),

Labour 29 per cent (258 seats),

 Liberals 23 per cent (57 seats).

Notice the steeply diminishing returns for the 3rd party.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

I'm not sure why this is getting steered into some amorphous discussion about multiculturalism. We are, after all, talking about people. My concerns about this have more to do with the specific proposition  - the prospect that if someone wears certain visible cultural symbols they shouldn't bother applying for work with the public service, and the province does not want them as their public face.

IF.. that is the PQ's intention (and we don't really have any details, do we?) What does it imply? That seeing someone wearing such items is somehow going to pervert, upset or indoctrinate people, and we need to protect the public from them? It begs the question of what sort of people they DO want to present as the face of their government.

Have they demonstrated ANY real harm or way in which it gets in the way of service to the public?

As I said, I think the notion is ridiculous, and it pales in comparison to the ways in which governments actively DO promote religious indoctrination - far more than seeing the clerk in my local grocery who happens to wear a hijab, which I happen to think is a GOOD thing for people to see and get used to. The only thing a superficial move like this will do is discriminate against workers and keep some people out of the public service.

After all, one can be compelled to take off such certain clothes. Cutting hair or chopping off braids is another matter.

And the fact that there is going to be an exception for Christian symbolism only shows how opportunistic, and poorly thought out this is. What is the point? And what does it say to people who are told they are not wanted, and are shut out from jobs if the PQ don't challenge the one church that is causing virtually all the damage, and has all the control? If this ever comes to fruition, and I seriously doubt it will after the election is over, the only people I see winning are the lawyers, and the hate mongers.

 

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