Friday, April 13, 2018

Rampant Discrimination Alive & Well in 'Modern' Quebec

Only in Quebec can politicians and journalists unload unashamedly with impunity on religious minorities with vicious and vitriolic outbursts that boggles the mind. This week reminds us once again as to how exactly many franco-Quebecers feel about minorities who don't look or act as they are supposed to in the eyes of the great unwashed.

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.

The second nasty incident was over one ambitious seventeen-year-old Muslim 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!
Then there is Agnes Maltais, a PQ stalwart who is incidentally a lesbian and at 61 years old, someone who likely lived through a homophobic period of time in her life, no doubt suffering the slings and arrows of discrimination.
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.


  1. You know Philip I have mixed feelings about this debate. There is no doubt that the PQ and CAQ are pandering to the nationalist vote who feel threatened by all these funny looking foreigners.

    However I also believe at some point you have to defend some basic principles of any country. This country was founded by Christians and based on christian principles. It seems that we are at a point now that you cant even use the word Christmas as you will offend all the ethnic minorities and heaven forbid anyone wear a crucifix even though this country was essentially built by christians and for christians.

    At some point if you want to maintain an identity for your country you have to defend some fundamental traditions. I have a problem with Muslim women walking around with their faces covered..a real problem..if you come to Canada a christian country then you should dress and act like a Canadian. I can guarantee you that western women are not allowed to dress anyway they want in Saudi Arabia. The turban in the RCMP and military also to me should be disallowed. Get another job if you are not willing to dress like a Canadian and representing our country in its most overt traditions.

    I have lived in France and their immigrant policy is a total disaster especially with respect to fundamentalist Muslims..there are all sorts of tensions between these immigrants and the native french population because of the clash of cultures and they are now large enough in numbers to threaten the identity of France. Look at the constant terrorist attacks there often by native born Muslim men.

    At some point there has to be some limit to the number of immigrants you let into a country with cultural values that are very different to that of the country of immigration. Hence the rise of Le front national and other nationalist parties in France. We are not at that point yet in Canada but at the rate we are going we will be there in another generation. There are muslims who immigrate here and who integrate very well and dress like us and have similar values to us and then there are those who do not and its time we question how many of these immigrants we allow into our country.

    The notion of multiculturalism works to a point but when you start to have too many immigrants with vastly different cultural values then it becomes a problem as the very nature of your country is at threat of changing and eventually you could literally lose your country. Just look at the thousands of people walking across our border and we house them feed them and often let them stay here permanently even though they have broken the law. Look at how we absolutely flipped out over the Syrian refugees somehow deciding that we needed to bring in tens of thousands within 6 months even though we did not have the resources to deal with them. The schools in Montreal are overflowing with newly arrived immigrants and the school boards do not have the resources to deal with this. And why did we suddenly vault Syrian refugees ahead of all the other refugees int he world..because of one picture of a dead boy on a beach..very sad dont get me wrong..but there are countless horror stories as bad as this from other areas all over the world and we dont prioritize those people. And lets not forget that the intervention of the west in the middle east way back in 2003 essentially destabilized countries like Syria so another argument for not interfering..anyway I digress.

    So its easy to point the fingers at the CAQ and the PQ as being racist..but at some point we all need to be realistic about this issue also and stop being so scared of defending our basic traditions. And please dont label me a racist or xenophove..I have many friends who are grandparents were immigrants but I believe there are desirable immigrants and undersirable immigrants..those that will fit in well and those who will not..lets call a spade a spade and stop being so politically correct about this.

    1. Mr. Sauga here. complicated, hold it right there, buster! This country was founded on CHRISTO-JUDAIC principles! Judaism came before Christianity, and since you study the same "Old Testament" (Torah, really, or the Five Books of Moses).

      Having lived in France partially gives away your point of view, because God knows, they're rabid racists over there, many of them. Being the Motherland, that tells you right there why western white Francophones are small-minded xenophobes (think Le Pen, think bigots).

      You write "There are muslims who immigrate here and who integrate very well and dress like us and have similar values to us...". Yeah, and yet the girls (daughters and wives) have husbands, fathers and brothers who will commit "honour" killings against their own flesh and blood. If they want to commit such barbaric acts in their sick, backward countries, what can I say? If they want to do this in their own country, they should be put to death in a most cruel and unusual way. Death by a thousand cuts comes to mind. I have neither time nor mercy for animals of that magnitude. The same should be done to Al Assad of Syria. Another evil incarnate, and a chip off the old block!

      As for those who walk over the border, to the best of my knowledge, only about 8% were given asylum, the rest sent right back where the came from, or back to the Old Country.

      The Syrian refugee fiasco was a "Gorgeous" Trudeau staged performance to show what a great open-minded liberal person he portrays himself to be. He's also a Muslim lover and a Jew hater à la Papa! Move the Canadian Embassy to Jerusalem? When pigs could fly! While Sheer said he would, I wouldn't bet on it.

      In all fairness, though, I am inclined to agree with you to a point, i.e., "When in Rome..." I too see the hijab and burqa as signs of subserviency, but some women choose to wear them completely of their own free will. It's frustrating because we can't tell those who choose against those who are coerced.

    2. Mr. Sauga here. WHOOPS...ONE VERY BAD TYPO! Where I wrote If they want to do this in THEIR OWN country that should instead read OUR country. My bad!

      There are moments I wonder if we should have abolished the death penalty even though I favoured it being prevented from being discussed back in 1988. I can't stomach honour killings, but let's face it. Most wars and hostilities take place over religion. Maybe our world should become areligious!

  2. You make some very interesting points, much of which I agree with. What drove me to write this blog piece was the personal and gratuitous vilification of this young Muslim girl by the media and politicians. If the province decides to restrict policewomen from wearing veils so be it, but do so in a respectful manner. There is in Quebec an undeniable racist undertone to what may be a legitimate debate.

    1. Something tells me that the timing of the fulmination was not an accident.

    2. Mr. Sauga here. Philip, I can't possibly thank you enough for writing above, "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.

      Look at that...they've become self-loathing, these "Québécois de vieuille souche", and I love it! They mercilessly criticized the late Mordecai Richler for his book Oh Canada! Oh Quebec! where he described women producing babies like sows under the oppressive thumbs of the community pères, curés, monseigneurs and abbés. For 200 years, ending with la Révolution Tranquille these numbnuts decided to stop getting busy in the bedroom and end la revanche des berceaux. Ya live by the sword, ya die by the sword. The duped numbnut majority had and has it coming for living by the sword.

      Mel, if a fulmination didn't take place for this reason, it would have been by another.

  3. Si on ne m'avait pas dit d'avance qu'elle portait un "hijab", je ne l'aurai même pas remarqué.

    En plus, à lire les commentaires, je pense que j'ai vu plus de gens en colère contre elle que contre Bissonnette.