Graeme Hamilton: The one gesture Philippe Couillard used to slam the door on Marois’ Parti Québécois

Not bad messaging:

But it was a subtler gesture by Mr. Couillard that truly slammed the door on Pauline Marois’ 19 months in power. Kathleen Weil, it was announced, would be “Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion.”

After the division wrought by the PQ’s charter of Quebec values, which sought to ban minorities who wear religious symbols from public-sector employment, the immigration department’s new name was clearly intended to send a message: The days of homogeneity and exclusion are over.

Addressing Ms. Weil in his speech after the 26-member cabinet was sworn in in the National Assembly’s Salon Rouge, Mr. Couillard said immigration is essential to Quebec’s future, and diversity is an asset.

“To welcome is to grow and to open oneself. In Quebec we are going to grow together,” he said.

“You will have the difficult but essential task of helping to heal the wounds of recent months by participating in the construction of an open, inclusive society proudly sharing an identity based on our language and our shared values.”

We will see how this is captured in the proposed Charte de laicité.

Graeme Hamilton: The one gesture Philippe Couillard used to slam the door on Marois’ Parti Québécois | National Post.

Martin Patriquin in Maclean’s makes the same point:

Kathleen Weil will be minister of “immigration, diversity and inclusion.” The name itself is an apparent middle finger to the former PQ government, which pushed a so-called Quebec values charter that sought to remove religious accoutrements from the heads and bodies of Quebec’s public-sector employees. Weil, an early Couillard supporter, and newly ensconced justice minister Stephanie Vallée will likely work together to bring about legislation on the “reasonable accommodations” file—and deflate a major PQ electoral cudgel in the process.

A government of low expectations for Philippe Couillard

La Presse‘s take:

Lors d’un point de presse, jeudi matin, en marge du premier caucus depuis la prestation de serment des libéraux, elle a dit juger que le gouvernement, dans une démarche d’inclusion, devra déployer des «gestes concrets» pour se rapprocher de ces communautés qui auraient été victimes «d’intimidation» en raison de la charte péquiste.

«Il y a des blessures», selon elle.

Le titre de Mme Weil, qui exerçait la même fonction dans le gouvernement Charest, a été modifié pour devenir «ministre de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion».

Elle dit souhaiter que la société québécoise «s’ouvre» davantage aux nouveaux arrivants. «L’inclusion, ça va au-delà» de l’intégration, qu’elle décrit comme une «dimension nouvelle».

«Il faut revisiter toutes ces questions», selon Mme Weil, qui juge le moment venu de «rebâtir des ponts», loin du message «d’exclusion» prôné par le gouvernement précédent.

Laïcité: Québec juge nécessaire de rebâtir les ponts

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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