Quebec: Education charter chill

An in-depth piece on recent history of Quebec headgear debates, starting with efforts, under then Education Minister Marois to open up, and concluding with PM Marois’s current focus on the Charter, proposed reversing some of that opening.

Speaking the day after the head of the Quebec women’s federation was booed and heckled at a discussion at Université du Québec à Montréal, McAndrew said the debate is bringing out the worst in Quebec society. She added that it also might encourage teachers to dismiss any efforts to adapt to students of diverse ethnic backgrounds — in the way they teach their history course, for example — or accept different eating habits, or have patience with parents who haven’t mastered French.

“We are encouraging people to say OK we’re done with being open to different religions, but also to different cultures and languages, especially given the early ambiguity of the charter of ‘values’ before coming back to ‘laïcité’ (secularism) and the attitude that we must ‘put our pants on’ to deal with immigrants. …

“There’s so much tension and so much aggression,” McAndrew said. “It’s very worrisome. Will we feel it in the schools? I won’t say this is the end of our openness to pluralism, but we’re taking two steps backward for one step forward. And there are so many other things we should be working on in the schools for both the majority and the minority students.”

Education charter chill.

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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