Quebec Values Charter Round-up

A bit of a longer round-up today.

Starting with Lysiane Gagnon in the Globe:

In Quebec, as in France, secularism often serves as a screen for plain xenophobia. Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right Front National, constantly invokes the tradition of laïcité to justify anti-immigrant policies. In Quebec, the discovery of the concept dates from around 2007, coinciding with the rise of Muslim immigration and a few incidents involving unreasonable demands by fundamentalists.

Quebec wants secularism – for some – The Globe and Mail.

And Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne weighs into the debate:

Asked directly about the Quebec proposal, Wynne said her government will continue to promote diversity in its policies and practices.

“Respecting that diversity, being inclusive and finding the shared Canadian values that we all believe in, that’s what our strength is as a province, so that’s how I will proceed,” she said.

“Other provinces, you know, will make their decisions, but I see our strength as our diversity.”

Ontario’s premier criticizes Quebec’s secular charter, says diversity is strength

And Nahid Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary, continues to play one of the strongest roles in commenting on the negative aspects of the Charter:

‘What we’re looking at under this charter of secularism is intolerance. Plain and simple,’ Calgary’s mayor said, continuing his criticism

Nenshi calls PQ ‘values’ charter ‘social suicide,’ suggests that upset Quebecers move to Calgary and

Calgary’s mayor gives PQ a refreshing blast of mockery over xenophobic ‘values’ plan

And a reminder about the likely real goal of the PQ in proposing the Charter, using wedge politics to support another referendum:

Quebec’s Marois eyeing another sovereignty referendum

While PM Marois helps create a less welcoming, inclusive society with the Charter, she of course also denounces the recent vandalism, likely a hate crime, of the Mosque in Saguenay, but in Montreal, not with a visit:

Marois dénonce le vandalisme commis sur une mosquée de Saguenay

But Muslim Québécois are understandably worried about how the Charter may feed such intolerance and encourage more vandalism and hate crimes, even if other parts of the country also suffer from such incidents:

Des musulmans craignent une montée de l’intolérance

And on a more encouraging note, and broadening the discussion beyond Muslim Canadians, Mindy Pollack, a 24-year-old Hasidic woman is running for municipal office to reach the divide between Hasidic Jews and their neighbours. A reminder that the issue is participation and integration with the broader community that counts:

“It’s really revolutionary,” Ms. Pollak said. “But if we focus on what we have in common rather than what divides us, then we can work toward solutions.”

 Montreal candidate aims to bridge divide between city and its Hasidic heartland 

And lastly, a somewhat confused article by Tahir Gora on what is included in multiculturalism or not, i.e., whether it is deep multiculturalism, with parallel institutions and rights, or shallow multiculturalism, with all living under the same legal system and Canadian and other charters. The Canadian version is the latter, although every now and then, people will push the limits (as we all do in a democracy). The key point is to maximize the common space for all, and whether one wears a kippa, turban or hijab is less important that being with, and interacting with, others of different or no faith

Would Quebec be Able to Deliver True Multiculturalism?

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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