For many, its easy to confuse linguistic intolerance with religious intolerance and while Quebec does officially discriminate against English, it has nothing to do with religion.
Understandably, this distinction is lost in the rest of the country, but in Quebec anglophones and minorities should be able to make the distinction.
That is why it is galling that two prominent Anglophone newspapers, the Montreal Gazette and the community based The Suburban ran editorials repeating the nonsense that Quebeckers are religiously intolerant.
Now before one writes off The Suburban as a lightweight newspaper, "one that is worthy of wrapping a bloody pig in," (as René Levesque described it after an unflattering article) let us not underestimate the newspaper's profound influence in the western neighbourhoods of Anglophone Montreal.
"If the state is the protector and the state grants supremacy of one group over others, then the logical outgrowth is that the “others” – the minorities – are marginalized. Not by overt assertion, but by subliminal seduction. And young minds are the most affected.Shades of Jan Wong, who years ago blamed the three Montreal serial killings at Concordia, Dawson and Ecole Polytechnique on Bill 101 and "decades-long linguistic struggle".
It opens the door to any person with a gripe against society, or frustrations with their own lives, to take it out on others. The others. “Les autres.” It is about the demonization of those who are different in order to soothe our frustration with ourselves. It makes hate easy and, sadly, satisfying." read the entire article
It's always easy to arrive at illogical conclusions when ones draws inference from facts which are not facts.
The Suburban is somehow making a connection to the antisemitic acts of vandalism with language policies related to making French the predominant language of Quebec society.
The logical conclusion of that premise is that the perpetrators were angry francophones, whose 'young minds' were conditioned to hate, by the state.
However, if history repeats itself, there is little likelihood that the vandals were francophones.
Sorry to burst the Suburban's balloon, but almost all antisemitic acts of this kind are perpetrated by young disaffected Muslims, and religious intolerance, rather linguistic intolerance is the prime motivation.
If language policy (which doesn't exist elsewhere) is the driving force behind violent acts against minorities, why is it that Quebec has the lowest rate of hate crimes in Canada? As I wrote recently, in 2008, there were 271 hates in Toronto compared to 38 in Montreal. LINK
British Columbia is the hate capital of Canada and if one would ascribe to the Suburban's logic, perhaps we should blame the violence on Canadian 'multiculturalism.'
Most hate crimes are related to religious fanaticism, poverty, disaffection and ignorance. That plays out across the country, regardless of language.
If statistics prove anything, it is that Quebeckers are more tolerant than Canadians, something that Quebec bashers will find hard to swallow.
The Suburban does a disservice to the Jewish community it serves by telling readers that hate crimes are related to Bill 101 and language, when clearly evidence proves the opposite. Hate crimes in Quebec remain so isolated that any statistical conclusions are impossible to reach and all we can say with certainty is that these crimes occur significantly less in Quebec than in Canada.
The Suburban owes an apology to all Quebeckers.
As for the Gazette, the assertion of its editorial board that those in favour of barring the kirpan from public facilities are 'shameful,' and by inference intolerant, is unacceptably arrogant.
"There is certainly no reasonable justification for banning the wearing of kirpans by Sikhs in public venues, including the National Assembly building or the Parliament buildings in Ottawa,....
"Although it is a knife, the kirpan is not held as a weapon by its wearers but rather as a symbol of their faith, much like a crucifix by Christians or a star of David by Jews." A shameful violation of religious freedom
|Repeat after me, "This is not a knife!..this is not a knife!|
"On April 16, 2010, the day prior to the annual Vaisakhi Parade held in Surrey, B.C., one of the parade organizers issued a statement indicating should Dosanjh and BC Liberal backbencher Dave Hayer choose to attend the parade, their safety could not be guaranteed." LINK
Extremist Sikh Violence in British Columbia: Why Must It Always Boil Down to This?
High Spousal Abuse in South Asian Marriages
Surrey Sikh parade's martyrs float angers mayor
I haven't included the above links to humiliate or denigrate the Sikh community, just to underline that a measure of violence has been brought over to Canada from the old country. While not all Sikhs are violent, the vast majority of violent Sikhs are religious purists that wear the kirpan.
That the Canadian Parliament grants Sikhs the right to carry kirpans is more an act of political expediency than anything else. The Sikh community represents almost 2% of electors and the community directly controls the election of over half a dozen federal seats. Coming out against the kirpan would be the kiss of death to any federalist party and this is the real definition of an accommodation.