There remains in Quebec a serious conundrum, a situation whereby immigrants are needed to shore up the population because of the anemic birth rate amongst Quebec francophones.
These immigrants are selected first and foremost on their ability to speak French and so many of those chosen are Muslims from the former French-speaking colonies of the Maghreb.
But most of these above-mentioned immigrants are observant and many of the women wear the hijab, something that is an anathema to franco-Quebecers who are not only largely areligious, but virulently anti-religion as well.
The hijab is seen as a symbol of enslavement, an anti-feminist sign that women are either forced to wear by their dominant male or foolishly embrace on their own.
But the hijab is also a symbol that those who wear it will never embrace the current political anti-religiosity of mainstream Quebec, something that is unforgivable in the present political climate.
Last week, the Jewish member of the Quebec National Assembly David Birnbaum, wore a kippa on the day Jews choose to commemorate the Holacaust. Birnbaum doesn't wear the kippa regularly but decided to pay tribute, a symbolic gesture, perhaps like those of you who put out a hockey stick at your front door to commemorate the victims of the Humboldt tragedy.
But for the PQ leader Jean-François Lisée, it was a provocation too good to pass up, the sight of the cursed kippa in the hallowed halls of the National Assembly. Deciding to make political hay out of the religious symbol it was an opportunity to rail over the unfairness of it all. Lisée complained loudly that if Birnbaum wore the kippa in the National Assembly as a symbol then he too should be permitted to wear a PQ lapel pin, something he was asked to remove by the speaker because of the rule against partisan symbols in the National Assembly.
He complained to the Press that he wasn't against the kippa, but rather the fact that he could not wear his PQ pin, an argument without equivalency.
But Lisée does not see himself as a racist, or at least an overt one, he is like many franco-Quebecers who see complaining about minorities as fair, with the reality being that they continue to hold onto the idea that until minorities like Jews and Muslims give up their faith, they cannot be 'good' Quebecers.
Mr. Lisée's comparison of the Holacaust to a PQ lapel pin was petty and stupid but unfortunately might play well in 'Hérouxville' where the so-called foreign barbarians at the gate are perceived as a clear and present danger to the ethnic purity of Quebec. While Lisée cleverly said that he was in favour of the kippa, he was in fact knowingly sowing the seeds of fear and hate.
He has done so before in the nasty Bonjour/Hi debate where he crowed that he had sprung a trap for the government that precipitated a pathetic nasty linguistic debate over how merchants greet customers.
named Sondos Lamrhari, who is studying towards her goal of becoming a police officer.
The problem being of course that she wears a hijab.
Sensitive to the political climate around her and determined to avoid confrontation, Lamrhani (as you can see in the photo) trimmed the Hijab as best she could, in order to be less 'offensive.'
How very sad...
You would think by the vicious outcries against her by the media and politicians that she was an Islamic terrorist. The idea that a police officer might be allowed to wear a turban or hijab evinced an outpouring of hate by journalists and politicians.
Francois Legault, leader of the FAQ wants to make the seventeen-year-old teen an election issue.
People will have a choice on October 1st. If they want authority figures like the police to be allowed to wear religious symbols, they should vote for the Liberals. If they are against, they can vote for Coalition avenir Québec !
|Agnes Maltais-- Not on Quebec!|
You'd think that someone like her would be sensitive to discrimination against those who are different, but alas it just seems to have sharpened the venomous attack and utter contempt she directed towards the student.
She told reporters nastily that the student had no place in a Quebec police force and should consider a job in the RCMP because unlike Canada, Quebec doesn't accept multi-culturalism. Yikes!
This very morning I read a disgusting story in the Journal du Montreal written by an ex-employee of a temp agency who was told by his boss that for a certain job posting for several employees, the employer stipulated that no Blacks were to be considered because the unionized shop didn't want any. Really?....
I remain haunted by the statuesque Black African immigrant who told the Bouchard-Taylor commision in perfect, but differently accented French that to be accepted in Quebec she is being forced to eat poutine and maple syrup, a wonderful metaphor for the reality that new Quebecers face.
If this is modern Quebec, it looks pretty much like the old racist and xenophobic Quebec of yore.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.