Trudeau government considers legislative changes to make public service more diverse

Of note. The most significant aspects IMO are:

  • ongoing improvements in data (the disaggregated data for visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities is incredibly useful);
  • the push for increased diversity among executives is buttressed by the DM performance commitment on diversity and inclusion;
  • review of the Employment Equity Act and representation benchmarks (review of the Act will likely generate some debate from all quarters although it’s approach of self-identification and annual reporting has resulted in increased in ongoing increased representation of the EE groups);
  • Review of the Public Service Employment Act and possible amendments to reduce systemic barriers (unclear what that will entail): and,
  • It remains to see how effective the various consultation and related initiatives such as the Centre for Diversity and Inclusion will be in affecting change.

For my analysis of disaggregated data see my What new disaggregated data tells us about federal public service … and What the Public Service Employee Survey breakdowns of visible minority and other groups tell us about diversity and inclusion:

The Trudeau Liberals are eyeing changes to the law governing public service hiring to help make federal departments and agencies more diverse.

They also plan to do further research on the makeup of the federal public service and will try to hire more senior leaders with varied backgrounds.

Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos and his parliamentary secretary, Greg Fergus, are spelling out the priorities today to foster greater diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the public service.

The government says while there has been some progress for Black Canadians, Indigenous Peoples and others who face racial discrimination in the workplace, too many public servants continue to face obstacles.

The Treasury Board Secretariat has begun discussions about the framework for recruitment in the public service and is specifically looking at “possible amendments” to the Public Service Employment Act.

The act is intended to ensure federal hiring is fair, transparent and representative.

The move would complement a review of the Employment Equity Act planned by Labour Minister Filomena Tassi.

The government recently released data that provides more detail about the composition of the public service.

Duclos and Fergus say the annual public service employee survey will help the government identify more precisely where gaps remain and what is needed to improve representation.

The government plans to increase diversity through promotion and recruitment, including introduction of the Mentorship Plus Program to allow departments to offer mentoring and sponsorship opportunities to high-potential employees who might currently face barriers.

The government says although progress will take time, the public service can be a model of inclusion for employers across the country and around the world.

“In time, we will build a public service that is the true reflection of our pluralism and diversity,” Duclos said in a statement.

Just last week, Privy Council Clerk Ian Shugart issued a call to action on anti-racism, equity and inclusion in the public service, setting out federal expectations for current leaders.

The government has also launched the Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, supported by a budget of $12 million, to create an ongoing discussion about change.

“There is much to do before all public servants can feel they truly belong in a public service that values inclusiveness and differences,” Fergus said.

“Outlining these key areas of focus is a key step in taking concrete action.”

Source: Trudeau government considers legislative changes to make public service more diverse

And the TBS announcement of the government’s strategy of January 26:

The public service has long made diversity and inclusion a core value and continuously reflects on the treatment of Black Canadians, Indigenous Peoples, and other individuals who face racial discrimination and other barriers in the workplace, and who are often underrepresented at the most senior levels of the public service. While there has been progress, too many public servants continue to face obstacles. It is time to close the gaps and eliminate the barriers that remain, ensuring the public service is truly representative of the people it serves.

The President of the Treasury Board, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, along with Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, has announced the government’s priorities to foster greater diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the public service. Among these efforts, there are several key initiatives:

Generating and publishing data for a more accurate picture of representation gaps

Already, the government has released disaggregated datasets, providing first‑ever views into the composition of public service employees who self‑identify in Employment Equity sub-groups, such as Black or Métis for example.

The annual Public Service Employee Survey, now underway, will generate data and insights to better understand the workforce at even more detailed levels. The results will help us identify more precisely, in particular demographic or occupational groups for instance, where gaps remain and what actions are required to improve representation. 

Increasing the diversity of the senior leaders of the public service

Departments, supported by the Treasury Board Secretariat, will work to increase diversity among senior leaders of the public service and establish a culture of inclusiveness that will combat racism and address systemic barriers. This includes increasing representation through promotion and recruitment and the introduction of the Mentorship Plus Program to allow departments to offer mentoring and sponsorship opportunities to high-potential employees who may currently face barriers. 

Ensuring appropriate benchmarks

The Treasury Board Secretariat will continue to work closely with partners, which includes supporting Employment and Social Development Canada on the review of the Employment Equity Act, to ensure that the public service applies appropriate benchmarks for diversity. 

Addressing systemic barriers

The Treasury Board Secretariat has initiated discussions with key stakeholders about the framework for recruitment in the public service and is specifically looking at possible amendments to the Public Service Employment Act and to support the review the Employment Equity Act, planned by the Minister of Labour.  

In addition to these initiatives, on January 22, 2021, the Clerk of the Privy Council and Head of the Public Service, issued a Call to Action on anti-racism, equity and inclusion in the federal public service. The Call to Action sets out common expectations for leaders to take practical actions that will form the basis for meaningful change.

Engagement, and education will underpin all this work. To that end, the President of the Treasury Board and his Parliamentary Secretary held a roundtable last week with employee communities and stakeholder groups that continue to face barriers to representation and inclusion. And the Government of Canada recently launched the Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. The Centre, supported by a budget of $12M outlined in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, will co-develop initiatives with these communities, leveraging the lived experiences of public servants to foster an ongoing dialogue for positive change. At the same time, the Canada School of Public Service is refreshing its diversity and inclusion curriculum and has launched an Anti-Racism Event Series.

Progress will take time. But concrete steps in these areas will bring the public service closer to its goal: to be more reflective of Canada and a model of inclusion for employers across the country and around the world. 


Paikin: Multiculturalism at 50

Zach Paikin argues for a more externally focussed multiculturalism. Apart from his caricature of multiculturalism “celebration of diversity for diversity’s sake,” various governments have tried to use Canada’s diverse communities to advance Canadian interests with mixed success. And such engagement with all communities is needed and useful, it also runs the risk of becoming engaged in diaspora politics, as we see with respect, for example, Canadian Sikhs or Canadian Jews:

This year marks a half-century since Pierre Trudeau announced Canada’s policy of multiculturalism in the House of Commons in 1971. Much has changed in Canada and the world since then. So, too, should multiculturalism’s place and purpose in our national make-up.

Stephen Marche, writing for Open Canada in 2018, explains what makes Canadian multiculturalism unique: In contrast with societies throughout history that have encouraged cultural openness “to find unity, a common humanity, or even a larger truth,” the purpose of multiculturalism in Canada is “diversity for its own sake. Differences are to be respected, not overcome.” Yet the adoption of multiculturalism was not merely about the ideal of ethnic tolerance. Given the political context in which Canada found itself 50 years ago, it was also a policy with pragmatic and strategic aims.

Increasingly, the strategic rationale that initially underpinned Canadian multiculturalism appears outdated, challenged by the arrival of a post-American world and the shift of global power toward Asia. If it is to retain its purpose as a vehicle for advancing the country’s national interests, multiculturalism in Canada must become more than just a celebration of diversity for diversity’s sake. Rather, Canada’s political leadership should reconceive multiculturalism as a core instrument of national strategy aimed at growing our population, increasing our international clout and rebalancing Canadian foreign policy to reduce our current overdependence on the United States.

*  * *

When first enacted, multiculturalism allowed Canada to advance two core aims: secure national unity and develop a distinct identity from the United States. These goals have been mutually reinforcing throughout Canadian history. Canada was founded as a political project bringing togetherconservative British Loyalists and French Catholics in opposition to the liberal universalism expressed by its southern neighbour. Multiculturalism built on both objectives. By promoting the notion that cultural minorities should be accommodated, it fostered a pan-Canadian framework for addressing Quebec’s grievances. It also articulated an image of Canadian society as a “mosaic” — a clear contrast to the American “melting pot.” Yet if these remain the two metrics by which to judge multiculturalism’s effectiveness, then its continued usefulness could be in doubt.

The demographic and economic rise of Western Canada has gradually shifted the structure of Canadian federalism away from its 19th-century, Laurentian-centric compromise of “two founding peoples.” Taking its place is a heavily decentralized federation featuring a system of competing regionalisms. While multiculturalism may still hold a privileged place in the social fabric of the country’s English-speaking provinces, its role in advancing national unity has waned given the nature of Canada’s new political cleavages.

Perhaps more importantly, Canada has become more Americanized in recent decades, not less. The 1990s saw the advent of continental free trade, along with a U.S.-led effort to expand the liberal international order beyond the western Cold War bloc. In both economic and ideological terms, Canada’s dependence on its southern neighbour deepened. The 9/11 attacks reinforced this trend, forcing Ottawa to focus even more vigorously on how to maintain access to the U.S. market at a time when Washington’s pursuit of global hegemony was sharpening through the George W. Bush administration’s “war on terror” and “freedom agenda.” Today, the growth of protectionist impulses within both major U.S. political parties will continue to pull our focus southward, even as the increasingly multipolar character of world politics suggests that our attention should be directed elsewhere.

This process of Americanization has coincided with a period of decline in Canadian foreign policy. Perceived as too close to the United States and not invested enough in key components of multilateralism, Canada has lost not one but two consecutive bids for a UN Security Council seat, even as fellow G7 countries Germany, Japan and Italy continue to serve as non-permanent members with regularity. Relations with major players in some of the world’s most strategically relevant regions — China, Russia, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia and even the U.S. itself — have reached new lows under governments of both stripes. This almost exclusive foreign policy focus on the U.S. border was epitomized in a 2018 episode when Chrystia Freeland — then serving as foreign affairs minister, not minister of international trade — postponed her speech before the UN General Assembly to pursue NAFTA renegotiation talks with Washington.

It is perhaps not coincidental that the past two decades have also been accompanied by the abandonment of Canada’s traditional national unity debates, or by a six-election-long stretch dating back to 2000 in which no federal political party has managed to rally more than 40 percent of the voting electorate behind it. Rather than pursue the lofty but crucial mission of reimagining the future of Canada’s national community, governments have focused on the managerial and mundane task of tending to the continental trading relationship.

As Canada’s interests on the world stage have come to rest disproportionately on the preservation of a stable trading relationship with its southern neighbour, Ottawa’s pronouncements concerning the rest of the world increasingly centre on partisan discourses directed at a domestic audience. This trend began in earnest under Stephen Harper, whose Conservative Party had the targeting of ethnocultural groups for electoral purposes down to a science. It has continued during Justin Trudeau’s tenure, exemplified by Canada’s ill-timed bid for a UN Security Council seat that was aimed more at strengthening the Liberal narrative that Canada was “back” as a multilateral powerhouse than advancing a long-term, non-partisan national aspiration. (Disclosure: I served on that bid in a minor capacity as a speechwriting consultant.) The recent appointment of Marc Garneau as Trudeau’s fourth minister of foreign affairs in just over five years (and Canada’s 14th since 2000) reflects the fact that the position has become more about domestic politics than actually crafting foreign policy. Co-opting foreign policy into a partisan struggle over national identity makes it difficult to assess Canada’s interests consistently, objectively and as ends worthy of being pursued in themselves.

Over the past half-century, Canada has succeeded in fostering internaldiversity: welcoming the world within our borders to create a cultural mosaic, yet with the aim of building a society converging around a single set of principles and values. This goal reflected the aspirations of Canada’s population at the time of multiculturalism’s adoption. Canada’s initial settlers from France and the British Isles, as well as subsequent immigrant communities such as Jews, Italians, Germans and Ukrainians, had all left the Old World behind in search of a new beginning. By contrast, today’s immigrant communities — hailing largely but not exclusively from East, South and West Asia — are more cosmopolitan. They are, to a far greater extent than previous generations of newcomers, “at home in the world,” often retaining strong personal and cultural connections to their countries of origin.

Canada’s pursuit of multiculturalism must adapt to new strategic imperatives and the country’s changing ethnic composition. In an increasingly Asia-centric world, this requires Canada to embrace externaldiversity: marshalling the focus of its diverse population outwards, with the goal of securing a more substantive place in a politically and intellectually diverse Asian region.

For the bulk of the Cold War following the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as in the immediate post-Cold War years that featured unrivalled American hegemony, a special relationship with Washington and geographic isolation from the rest of the world served as the guarantors of Canadian security. By contrast, in a post-American world framed increasingly by great power conflict, Canadian and American interests are likely to diverge in important ways. In particular, the deterioration of Sino-American relations, now verging on a cold war, threatens the rules-based order and open global trading system on which Canada relies to assert itself as a sovereign international decision-maker. In this context, the struggle for an independent Canadian identity and role in the world will increasingly take place on the world stage rather than at home.

Given the threat posed by the U.S.-China rivalry to Canadian interests, the challenge for Ottawa will be to craft a role for itself as an autonomous, respected and engaged player in Asian affairs. This will require deep, consistent and sustained partnerships with all regional players and a long-term national strategy that transcends partisan politics. It will also necessitate a more active and independent Canadian role in shaping regional trade and security architecture. This does not imply neutrality between the United States and its rivals, merely greater equilibrium in Canadian foreign policy that prioritizes Canada’s unique interests.

In particular, the absence of the United States and India from the region’s two leading trade blocs — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership — presents an opening for Canada to assert its presence in Asia. Canada’s position as the second-largest economy in the CPTPP leaves it well placed to spearhead efforts to explore ways of harmonizing the two groupings, perhaps along with the Russian-backed Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). This could reduce the potential for friction to emerge between rival regional orders — a dynamic that came with dire consequences last decade when Ukraine was forced to choose between moving toward the European Union’s regulatory orbit or aligning itself with the EAEU.

Multiculturalism will continue to provide Canada with the right framework for integrating a diverse range of newcomers in a peaceful fashion, growing its population to a point where it can play a more substantive role in securing its national interests and international peace. But a shifting international order requires that Canada adjust its understanding of multiculturalism from an inward-focused value to celebrate to an outward-focused cause to rally around. Much as the 19th-century risorgimentocreated Italy but not Italians, multiculturalism created Canada out of the ashes of British North America. But what it means to be Canadian beyond being a “kinder, gentler version of the United States” — in other words, not American, but like America — remains unresolved.

Marche’s essay laments that multiculturalism has thus far proven too “polite” and orf“hesitant” to produce an “art of respectful difference,” contrasting with beautiful artistic forms such as jazz that emerged from the “insistence of personhood” in more unjust societies. Increasing Canada’s international clout in the world’s central strategic theatre will indeed require Ottawa to navigate a region rife with moral ambiguity. Yet if Canada emerges from the coming decades as a leading international player in its own right, unrivalled in the uniqueness of its multicultural social fabric, then it will possess the heft, respect and visibility necessary to contribute to the debate over the nature of justice and tolerance in a diverse world. Perhaps, at that point, Canada itself would embody the art of respectful difference.

Source: Multiculturalism at 50

Thirty-nine words about antisemitism are splitting the Jewish community

Of note:

There’s a storm brewing in the American Jewish community over a definition of antisemitism that appears, upon first glance, quite banal.

“Antisemitism,” it reads in part, “is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.”

But the language, adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016, comes packaged with a host of examples that describe various criticism of Israel as antisemitic. As much of the Jewish establishment makes federal adoption of the IHRA definition a top priority for the Biden administration, it has become a proxy for a wider rift in the Jewish community over the politicization of antisemitism.“These are not people I trust to go after antisemitism.”

“The Jewish community is pushing this because they see it as a tool that they want to use to stop certain speech they don’t like,” said Ken Stern, director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, who helped draft the language on which the IHRA definition is based.

“I can’t totally speak to their intent,” Morriah Kaplan, strategic director at IfNotNow, which is focused on opposing the Israeli occupation, said of the organizations backing the definition, “but these are not people I trust to go after antisemitism.”

The Conference of Presidents, established in the 1950s to give American Jews a unified voice to communicate with the White House and world leaders, sent a letter on Jan. 12 to now-President Joe Biden urging him to use the IHRA definition to combat antisemitism on campuses.

But that letter was only signed by five member-groups and it is unclear how many of the 51 organizations that joined the Tuesday conference statement also support the call for Biden to use it.

In fact, several conference members had joined a competing Jan. 12 statement by the Progressive Israel Network, which cited “strong potential for misuse” of the definition. The Reform movement, the largest Jewish denomination in North America, announced Monday that it had adopted the IHRA definition but simultaneously opposed codifying the language in federal law. Bend the Arc, a major liberal Jewish group, also came out against government use of the definition late Monday.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about whether Biden supports use of the IHRA definition.

Identifying the threat

As the establishment groups ramp up their lobbying for federal adoption of the definition, IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace, another left-wing activist group, plan to launch lobbying and educational campaigns to oppose the definition in the coming months.

Kaplan, with IfNotNow, and others on the left argue that after four years of the Trump administration, during which the antisemitic far-right gained new power, the most urgent threat to the Jewish community clearly comes from violent white nationalists.

Public opinion polls suggest that most American Jews agree: 75% said in an American Jewish Committee survey last year that the political right posed a serious antisemitic threat, compared to 32% who said the same about the political left.

Yet many mainstream groups continue to emphasize a need to fight antisemitism across the political spectrum. And the antisemitism that Jewish leaders call out on the left almost always refers to attacks on Israel that they believe cross a line. The IHRA definition, they say, helps clarify that line.“Nobody has a problem of defining antisemitism if it’s waving Nazi flags.”

“Nobody has a problem of defining antisemitism if it’s waving Nazi flags,” said Abe Foxman, the former director of the Anti-Defamation League. “The definition deals with a lot subtler issues of what antisemitism is, which today unfortunately includes attacking Israel’s existence.”

Foxman said the IHRA language can be used to deal with all forms of antisemitism, but critics say those promoting the definition are doing so at the expense of focusing on right-wing extremists.

They point to a November memo to Biden’s transition team from the Jewish Federations of North America outlining the organization’s priorities for fighting antisemitism. The document listed ISIS and Al Qaeda as threats to American Jews, but did not name right-wing antisemitism. Sandwiched between increased security grants and Holocaust education was promotion of the IHRA definition.

More outrage came following the Conference of Presidents letter, sent six days after a right-wing mob ginned up on antisemitic conspiracy theories stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“To go forward with a letter to Biden saying that college students advocating for Palestinian freedom are the greatest threat to American Jews was truly unconscionable to me,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director of Jewish Voice for Peace, which is anti-Zionist and supports the BDS Movement.


Online forum launched to fight racist backlash Chinese Canadians face during the pandemic

From the more activist Chinese Canadians. Will be interesting to see the information that the forum collects on the backlash and related analysis:

Brad Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-Canadian man who was born in Calgary.

Yet, despite those strong ties to Canada, he still sometimes gets treated like an outsider because of his race — especially since COVID-19 came to Canada.

One instance Lee, a historian and consultant, talks about and that makes this point clear happened just before the first lockdowns in Ontario hit.

It was March of last year, while the coronavirus was spreading. Lee was sitting in a medical office waiting to do a routine test unrelated to COVID-19.

A white woman walked in with her son, Lee recounts, stared at Lee and said loudly while glaring at him: “You guys, you front-line workers are so brave. You never know who will walk in here.”

It was part of the backlash that people of Chinese and Asian descent in Canada and around the world have faced since the pandemic spread.

That’s why Lee, who is also a former Toronto Star editor, decided to launch the #FaceRace Campaign, a new online resource tool that explores the lived experiences of what it’s like to be Chinese during the pandemic.

#FaceRace includes links to stories about Chinese and Asian Canadians and the micro-aggressions, racist comments and outright attacks they regularly face, as well as racism they’ve experienced since COVID-19 hit.

The online resource also provides tips on what to do when faced with racism — “stay calm” is the first step recommended — and how to reply when someone makes a racist comment such as saying “Like you, I’m also stressed and hurting from this virus — but your racism is making it worse, for all of us” and “most Canadians aren’t racist. What’s your excuse?”

Members of the Chinese community are also encouraged on the website to continue building allies in the Black and Indigenous communities, whose members are fighting back against racial inequities as part of a worldwide movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a Black, man slain by a white police officer in the U.S. last year

The online forum is a joint project between the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice (CCNC-SJ) and the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (CSALC), in partnership with other Canadian organizations. The project is funded by the Government of Canada.

Avvy Go, director of the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, says the most important point of the resource is that Canadians don’t understand the long history of Chinese and other Asian Canadians in this country.

“There’s a lot of hidden anti-Asian racism that has existed for a long time and not talked about and addressed in mainstream society. During times like this (COVID) it pops up in the open. COVID made this visible,” Go said.

She said the goal of the project is for Asian Canadians to confront racism.

“Very often Asian Canadians don’t want to talk about race or racism. They want to pretend it doesn’t happen to them,” she said.

Go also wants the issue out there so the federal government and other levels are moved to address anti-Asian racism.

Lee, the content developer of the online resource, says a major motivation for developing the tool kit is the fact that the coronavirus was “deeply racialized from the beginning in a way that is detrimental to my community.”

Reading all the reports about the backlash and the racism against Chinese people sparked by the coronavirus, Lee says he has felt “super disappointed, saddened and ashamed as a Canadian” — to see the attacks in Canada.

“I felt ashamed because we have these vaunted values of multiculturalism, diversity and appreciation for each other and yet the first reaction in Canada — likely out of fear — was racist blaming of Chinese (people).”

The history of Chinese Canadians is one of resilience, he goes on to say. In that vein, Lee says he wants #FaceRace to encourage Chinese people to speak up when faced with discrimination — whether or not it relates to COVID-19.

“Victims become more knowledgeable about racism than perpetrators ever will because the victims have to process what happened, think about it and figure out what to do about it.

“They have to speak out about it. Even if that means talking to a friend, they’re on the pathway to putting their victimhood behind them,” Lee says.

Source: Online forum launched to fight racist backlash Chinese Canadians face during the pandemic

Germany Expected To Put Right-Wing AfD Under Surveillance For Violating Constitution

Of note (perhaps the USA could consider a similar initiative for those that disputed the election results in Congress and the Senate):

Germany’s Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, is constantly on the lookout for potential threats to Germany’s democratic constitutional system, and it has wide-ranging powers when it finds them.

“This agency has the power — and not only to do surveillance on fringe groups, domestic terrorist threats, but also to keep an eye on any political institution, like a political party,” said Melanie Amann of the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel and the author of a book about the Alternative for Germany, or AfD.

“Like if their program becomes more radical or if they notice that a political party, maybe that’s even sitting in the parliament, goes into a direction that might be harmful to our political system.”

The agency has wrapped up a two-year investigation into the Alternative for Germany, the country’s largest right-wing opposition party, and is expected to announce soon that it will place the entire party under surveillance for posing a threat to Germany’s political system and violating the constitution. The unprecedented move would mean that all AfD lawmakers, including several dozen in Germany’s parliament, would be put under state surveillance.

The driving force behind the creation of the Verfassungsschutz agency and its surveillance powers was the American-led Allied forces, who, after World War II, helped write a new German Constitution with an eye toward preventing the return of Nazi ideology. That’s why the first article of the constitution guarantees the right to human dignity — an article that the agency determined a far-right branch of the AfD violated. It placed that group, known as der Flügel (“The Wing”), under surveillance nearly a year ago.

Amann said the agency has identified instances of AfD politicians denigrating Muslim migrants to Germany. “They were all treated as potential terrorists,” she said. “They were dehumanized in the speeches. They were compared to animals. The [agency] report made it quite clear that these people had crossed a line.”

Some AfD politicians have also trivialized Germany’s Nazi past. Speaking at an AfD event in 2017, the leader of the Flügel wing, Bjorn Höcke, called the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin a “monument of shame.” A year later, AfD parliamentary leader Alexander Gauland likened Germany’s Nazi era to “a speck of bird s*** in more than 1,000 years of successful German history.”

“If you look at how the AfD has been behaving for some time now, it’s clear it’s acting against our democracy and our constitution,” said Social Democrat parliamentarian Thomas Hitschler, a member of the parliamentary committee that reviews Germany’s intelligence agencies. He said the Verfassungsschutz agency has spent two years gathering evidence to inform the decision that is expected to put the entire AfD under watch.

But AfD politician Georg Pazderski claims the process is political. The agency is run by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, staffed with members of her own conservative Christian Democratic Union party. Pazderski said the CDU is worried about how fast the AfD has become a presence in Germany’s parliament; the party now has 88 members of 709 in the Bundestag, more than 12% representation.

“If you have an opposition party which is very successful within a very short time, we become a danger for the ruling parties,” Pazderski said, “especially for the conservative CDU. And this is a reason why they are trying to stigmatize us and to really put us in the Nazi corner and also to spread strong rumors.”

Hitschler insists the process is not political and the agency’s findings must withstand tough legal scrutiny.

“Its decision must be so watertight legally that it will stand up in the courts,” he said. “The AfD has legal recourse to contest the decision, and the agency isn’t about to lose face in court with a poor case.”

The AfD is already preparing for the decision. This week, the party published a position paper that represents a U-turn in how it sees immigrants, insisting that it is a party for all Germans, even naturalized citizens.

AfD politician Jens Maier, already under surveillance for being part of the Flügel, told NPR by email that last year’s decision to put his section of the party under surveillance has had real consequences.

“A lot of members fear for their civil reputation or even their jobs, especially if they are employed in public service,” he wrote. “This is clearly an unfair method to lower the election results of the AfD.” Germany’s federal elections are scheduled for September.

Der Spiegel’s Amann says tightened surveillance on the AfD will affect civil servants such as police officers and military personnel, who may cancel their membership out of fear of losing their jobs.

While the Verfassungsschutz agency is able to tap phones and use informants to gather information on whomever it monitors, Maier said he hasn’t noticed the surveillance. But he said it has changed the way he and his associates communicate.

“We don’t talk about confidential topics on the phone or online anymore and people from the outside contacting us do so with care now, knowing that somebody is possibly listening,” he wrote.

When Germany announces the AfD is under surveillance, Pazderski said it can expect an immediate lawsuit challenging the decision. And that, he said, may take years to resolve.

Source: Germany Expected To Put Right-Wing AfD Under Surveillance For Violating Constitution

Clerk’s Call to action on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in the Federal Public Service, DM performance commitments

While the call to action is the high level message, the implementation approach is covered by the 2020-21 DM commitments on diversity and inclusion, included below the call.

These are significant given that DM commitments cascade down to all executives, with the strongest one, from a measurement and accountability perspective, being:

Deputies will be required to present a staffing plan demonstrating the rate of hiring and promotions of individuals at the executive and non-executive levels, who self-identify in at least one of the EE groups, that will aim close the gap within the next 4 years, with demonstrable and steady progress made annually starting in 2021.

As the above chart shows, there has been a steady increase in visible minorities and Indigenous peoples representation at both the all employee and EX levels.

I have obtained from TBS disaggregated date for visible minorities and Indigenous peoples covering hirings, promotions and separations for the years 2017-19 and will publish my analysis when complete in a few weeks which will refine the baseline by which to measure the impact of the performance commitment and call to action:

The past several months have precipitated deep reflection on the unjust treatment of Black people, other racialized groups, and Indigenous peoples in our society. As public servants come forward and courageously share their lived experiences, the urgency of removing systemic racism from our institutions and from our culture becomes more evident.

Our leadership across the Public Service must be more diverse. Unless swift action is taken, we will fall short of effectively supporting the Government and serving Canadians. We have an obligation to our employees, and to all Canadians, to do better by ensuring that we are putting the full capacity of our entire pool of talent at the service of Canadians.

Grassroots networks and communities have opened conversations, often reliving their own personal traumas, in an effort to increase our collective awareness and to build paths forward. More data is being disaggregated, helping us to further understand where gaps exist and to inform direction and decisions. Training and new recruitment models are being developed. We are by no means where we want to be and much work still remains, but these efforts across the Public Service are creating a foundation for change.

As we focus on combatting racism, it is not sufficient to simply equip ourselves with knowledge and tools. We must take action in ways we know will be meaningful in addressing all barriers and disadvantages. Being a leader means taking an active role in ending all forms of discrimination and oppression, consciously and constantly challenging our own biases, and creating an environment in which our employees feel empowered and safe to speak up when they witness barriers to equity and inclusion. Inaction is not an option.

With the Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada, we have seen how concerted, system-wide efforts, together with strong commitment and leadership, can generate necessary momentum. Although much work remains, setting out a plan with concrete actions, bringing the voices of those most impacted to the forefront, and holding ourselves accountable for success is a model worth following.

We must encourage and support the voices that have long been marginalized in our organizations. We must create opportunities where they have long been absent. We must take direct, practical actions to invoke change. This is a true test of leadership, and one we must meet head on. Now.

I am therefore calling on all Public Service leaders to:

  • Appoint Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees to and within the Executive Group through career development and talent management
  • Sponsor high-potential Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees to prepare them for leadership roles
  • Support the participation of Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees in leadership development programs (for example, the Executive Leadership Development Program) and career development services (for example, official language training)
  • Recruit highly qualified candidates from Indigenous communities and Black and other racialized communities from across all regions of Canada

I am further calling on all Public Service leaders to invest in developing inclusive leadership skills and in establishing a sense of belonging and trust for all public servants, as well as those joining us now and in the future, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender expression by:

  • Committing to personally learning about racism, reconciliation, accessibility, equity and inclusion, and fostering a safe, positive environment where these conversations are encouraged throughout our workplaces
  • Combatting all forms of racism, discrimination and other barriers to inclusion in the workplace by taking action on what we have learned, empowering employees to speak up about bias and oppression, and better equipping managers to address these issues
  • Enabling and advancing the work of grassroots networks and communities within the Public Service by providing necessary resources and bringing them into discussions at senior executive tables
  • Including voices from diverse backgrounds in the identification of systemic racism, discrimination and barriers to inclusion, and the design and implementation of actions to address them
  • Measuring progress and driving improvements in the employee workplace experience by monitoring disaggregated survey results and related operational data (for example, promotion and mobility rates, tenure) and acting on what the results are telling us

This call to action represents specific and meaningful actions. My expectation is that progress will be measured and lessons shared. While senior leaders are accountable, this set of actions demands our collective responsibility – at all levels – and a recognition that the existing equity work underway must continue. We have already seen the value of this work in early implementation of recommendations from reports such as Many Voices One Mind: A Pathway to Reconciliation.

As we are bringing these actions to life, we must also recognize that experiences vary across different regions of Canada, and that interconnected dimensions of identity, such as race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identification and expression, physical or mental ability, and other individual characteristics, often create varying and complex experiences of bias. As persons with visible and invisible disabilities continue to face physical and technological barriers, the approaches we develop must be truly inclusive by also being truly accessible.

Building a diverse, equitable and inclusive Public Service is both an obligation and an opportunity we all share. We must advance this objective together, acting both individually and collectively, and recognizing that our progress will rely on amplifying the voices of those within our organizations to help lead the way. In my role as the Head of the Public Service, I will keep close to the voices of public servants. I am calling on you to do the same.
Ian Shugart
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet

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And the substance behind the statement:

2020/2021 Deputy Minister Commitments on Diversity and Inclusion 

The Federal Public Service is stronger and most effective when we reflect the diversity of Canada’s populations we serve.  While progress has been made in recent years to achieve gender parity in the Deputy Minister community, there is more progress to be made in increasing representation of Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities. At the enterprise level, strong partnerships are in place between departments, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, the Public Service Commission and the Canada School of Public Service on horizontal initiatives, such as data analysis, training and development programs as well as recruitment.

To further expand on actions meant to tackle racism and improve representation at all levels, the April 1, 2020 Treasury Board Directive on Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion requires Deputies to designate a senior official responsible for developing a comprehensive action plan, in collaboration with equity-deserving groups that will explain how barriers to inclusion will be identified, removed and prevented, and that:

  • Establishes a baseline of where the Department is at today;
  • Sets out objectives, to increase representation through recruitment and promotion within the organization and to respond to Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) results related to the perception of harassment and discrimination;
  • Explains how equity-deserving groups are engaged in the plan’s development and will continue to be; and
  • Is updated annually, and results reported publicly.

Targets play an important role in driving organizations to achieve measurable change in advancing diversity and inclusion objectives. As a goal for 2021, departments will consider their Workforce Availability statistics as the floor and not the ceiling with regards to diversity targets.

Deputies will be required to present a staffing plan demonstrating the rate of hiring and promotions of individuals at the executive and non-executive levels, who self-identify in at least one of the EE groups, that will aim close the gap within the next 4 years, with demonstrable and steady progress made annually starting in 2021.

In keeping with the Treasury Board Directive and the Performance Management Program’s Corporate Priorities, Deputies must also add focus on efforts and results to build a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Therefore, they are to select three measures from the list below that will enable their leadership teams to advance measureable change in their organizations. As such, they are encouraged to select these measures from one or more themes that go beyond what is currently being done in their organizations, and recognize the different scope of authority at various executive levels within the organization. In reporting on these commitments, Departmental management teams will need to provide clear and measureable results on what the measures have accomplished in achieving progress to address under-representation.

Changing the Public Service Culture
Establish a culture of inclusiveness that values diversity and will combat racism and address systemic barriers
  • Fostering inclusive leadership by:
    • Ensuring all executives complete anti-racism and unconscious bias training by March 2021; and
    • Engaging senior management tables on anti-racism via facilitated group discussions on unconscious bias and systemic racism to start the de-stigmatization of discussions on racism and particularly anti-Black racism.
  • Providing adequate support by:
    • Ensuring that employee mental health and wellbeing supports are culturally sensitive and adequately tailored to address issues of racism, discrimination and hate in the workplace; and
    • Ensuring departmental Ombudsman Offices are trained and equipped to create safe spaces for employees facing racism or experiencing discrimination. Also, providing concrete tools for employees to respond to micro-aggressions in the workplace.
  • Engaging in dialogue that will de-stigmatize discussions on racism and systemic barriers by:
    • Hosting monthly organizational fireside chats where subject matter experts deliver relevant presentations on racism, ableism or other discrimination-related topics;
    • Developing a value statement on anti-racism and ableism and proactively seeking opportunities to talk about the value of diversity and inclusion;
    • Promoting and supporting the planning of organizational initiatives, celebrations and respectful incorporation of diverse histories and cultures into the workplace; and
    • Frequently meeting departmental employee equity committees and/or networks and inviting representatives of these committees and/or networks to attend meetings of the senior executive on a regular basis in order for a diversity of perspectives to be considered.
Reflecting Diversity and Promoting Inclusion
Increase the representation of Black, other racialized and Indigenous People as well as persons with disabilities within all levels of the organization
  • Actively supporting the recruitment and retention of Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities by:
    • Establishing clear targets to increase the representation of Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities within all levels of the organization through recruitment, with particular attention to and especially key organizational communities such as human resources and communications;
    • Partnering with equity-deserving communities to attract and retain new talent that reflects Canada’s diversity;
    • Reviewing and ensuring that hiring processes are culturally sensitive and driven to remove barriers to appointment for Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities;
    • Supporting non-imperative staffing and language training for managerial positions where Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities are being considered for appointment.
  • Actively supporting the promotion, sponsorship and career development of Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities by:
    • Establishing clear targets to increase the representation of Black employees and other racialized employees, Indigenous employees, and employees with disabilities within all levels of the organization through promotions, with particular attention to and especially key business lines, including human resources and communications;
    • ADM or DM-level sponsoring of Black employees and other racialized employees, Indigenous employees, and employees with disabilities who are identified by their managers as high-potential for executive roles or to advance to the ADM level;
    • Reviewing and ensuring that talent and performance management processes are culturally sensitive and driven to remove systemic barriers to Black employees and other racialized employees, Indigenous employees, and employees with disabilities;
    • Supporting language training for career development of Black employees and other racialized employees, Indigenous employees, and employees with disabilities;
    • Adopting the Aboriginal Leadership Development Initiative (ALDI) operating at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada / Indigenous Services Canada to identify and cultivate Indigenous talent;
    • Implementing a mentoring program for Black employees and other racialized employees, Indigenous employees, and employees with disabilities within the organization and requiring that all DMs and ADMs shadow mentees that belong to one of the aforementioned equity-deserving groups.
Updating Policy and Programs: Our Future Workplace
Ensure that internal and external policies and programs are inclusive and free of systemic racism and barriers
  • Reviewing and adapting all external public oriented policies and programs to ensure they meet the government requirements for accessibility, equity and transparency by:
    • Identifying and addressing systemic racism and barriers to accessibility and disability inclusion within those policies;
    • Ensuring transparency and accessibility of departmental Grants and Contributions’ programs with specific initiatives targeted at equity-deserving groups and individuals;
    • Reporting on the year over year incremental departmental measures in place to support the intent of s. 10.1, 10.2 and 11 of the Indigenous Languages Act if applicable.
  • Establishing and overseeing a review of all internal systems, policies, programs and initiatives by:
    • Setting up panels to hear how existing programs and policies are being experienced by equity-deserving groups and what they think needs to be addressed;
    • Reviewing HR, Procurement, Communications policies, programs and initiatives using Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and considering various identity factors including race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identification and expression as well as and mental or physical disability to identify systemic racism and barriers to accessibility and disability inclusion;
    • Ensuring Black employees, other racialized employees, Indigenous employees and employees with disabilities have membership and their view represented at executive tables, advisory councils, occupational health committees and other horizontal committees to foster diverse perspectives on internal policies, programs and operations.
  • Increasing accessibility internally by:
    • Ensuring new systems, including internally developed or procured hardware and software, meet modern accessibility standards;
    • Requiring that any documentation distributed across the organization (e.g. presentations, videos, briefing notes and papers, publications) be accessible and ensuring staff have the necessary training to achieve this goal;
    • Addressing systemic discrimination and barriers to accessibility and disability inclusion within all internal operational policies, programs and initiatives;
    • Developing and communicating proactive, streamlined workplace accommodation processes and practices in the organization, including for those working from home, as well as putting in place the necessary supports for employees and their managers.

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Biden wants to remove this controversial word from US laws

Words matter:

It’s just one small part of the sweeping immigration overhaul President Biden is pushing.

But the symbolic significance is huge.

Biden’s proposed bill, if passed, would remove the word “alien” from US immigration laws, replacing it with the term “noncitizen.”
It’s a deliberate step intended to recognize America as “a nation of immigrants,” according to a summary of the bill released by the new administration.
The term “illegal alien,” long decried as a dehumanizing slur by immigrant rights advocates, became even more of a lightning rod during the Trump era — with some top federal officials encouraging its use and several states and local governments taking up measures to ban it.
“The language change on the first day of this administration, with Kamala Harris the daughter of immigrants, to me it’s not just symbolic…it’s foundational,” says Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant whose organization, Define American, pushes for more accurate portrayals of immigrants.
“How we describe people really sticks. It affects how we treat them,” he says. “How we talk about immigrants shapes the policies. It frames what are the issues really at stake here. It acknowledges that we’re talking about human beings and families.”

What the laws say now

US code currently defines “alien” as “any person not a citizen or national of the United States.”
Officials in the past have pointed to the term’s prevalence in US laws to defend their word choices.
In 2018, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed prosecutors to refer to someone who’s illegally in the United States as “an illegal alien,” citing the US code in an agency-wide email.
The term “alien” was often invoked by President Trump in speeches as he warned of what he saw as the dangers of unchecked illegal immigration.
Speaking at the Mexico border last week in one of his final addresses as president, Trump used the term at least five times.
“We were in the Trump administration the perennial boogeyman,” Vargas said.
“Whenever Trump was in trouble, he started talking about the ‘illegals’ and talking about the border.”
But not everyone in the Trump administration was a fan of the language.
In an interview with the Washington Post published shortly before he resigned as acting secretary of Homeland Security in 2019, Kevin McAleenan told the newspaper he avoided using the term “illegal aliens” and instead described people as “migrants.”
“I think the words matter a lot,” McAleenan said, according to the Post. “If you alienate half of your audience by your use of terminology, it’s going to hamper your ability to ever win an argument.”

This isn’t the first effort to change such wording

California struck “alien” from the state’s labor code in 2015.
New York City removed the term from its charter and administrative code last year.
Throughout President Trump’s time in office, immigrant advocates criticized dehumanizing rhetoric.
In guidelines issued in 2019, New York City banned the term “illegal alien” when used “with intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person.” Violations, the city warned, could result in fines up to $250,000.
And last year two Colorado lawmakers introduced a bill to replace the term “illegal alien” with “undocumented immigrant.” The bill never made it to the state Senate floor for a vote.

Prank callers targeted the term early in the Trump administration

One of the first times the use of the term “alien” drew widespread attention during the Trump administration was in 2017 after officials publicized a hotline for victims of “crimes committed by removable aliens.”
Prank callers swiftly flooded the line with reports about space aliens, sharing examples on social media of their comments about Martians and UFOs.
But Vargas says the term and others used to demonize immigrants are no laughing matter.
“Language has power. And I think we saw that in the Trump administration, how it used dehumanizing terms and how it debased language and in turn debased people,” Vargas says. “If you call them ‘alien,’ of course you’re going to put them in jail, of course you’re going to lock them up, of course you’re not going to care that you’re separating little kids from their parents.”
Vargas says the new administration’s effort to use more respectful language gives him hope that some Americans’ views on undocumented immigrants could also shift. Changing just one word, he says, could have a far-reaching impact for millions of people.

Rioux: Réconcilier les Américains?

Rioux on what he perceives to the the extreme left in the USA and his attack against programs targeted towards minority communities. A caricature of these programs and an ignorance of the reality lived by those communities, not to mention the ample evidence of worse economic and social outcomes.

Of course, it is a political risk, but one that has historical and current justifications, particularly after the Trump presidency.

And should the general policy changes work (economic recovery, COVID measures, immigration reform etc) unlikely that there will be major negative political consequences despite some of the political rhetoric:

Lorsqu’il a juré sur la Bible, perché sur les hauteurs du Capitole devant des rangées de drapeaux plantés dans le sol, Joe Biden avait l’air bien seul. Le nouveau président américain a évidemment juré de rassembler l’Amérique et les Américains. Les accents paraissaient souvent sincères. Mais le pourra-t-il ?

Pour ce faire, ce vieux membre de l’establishment démocrate peut miser sur sa longue expérience de négociateur. Mais il lui faudra pour cela prendre en compte le fossé grandissant qui sépare le peuple américain de ses élites et qui a servi de marchepied à Donald Trump pour se hisser au pouvoir.

Lorsqu’on veut se réconcilier avec quelqu’un, il faut commencer par le traiter poliment et éviter de l’insulter. En jouant l’hyperbole sur les événements du Capitole, les démocrates et les médias n’ont fait pour l’instant que jeter de l’huile sur le feu. Si cette profanation d’un lieu sacré de la démocratie est un geste gravissime, il faut une imagination débridée pour comparer ces personnages de carnaval venus faire des égoportraits dans le bureau de Nancy Pelosi aux marins de Kronstadt, aux milices de la Nuit de cristal ou aux incendiaires du Reichstag.

La génération des « safe spaces » biberonnée aux jeux vidéo a peut-être eu des sueurs froides. Mais ce qui s’est passé le 6 janvier a plus à voir avec la jacquerie des gilets jaunes français qu’avec une insurrection ou une tentative de coup d’État. En novembre 2018, les gilets jaunes avaient bien tenté d’envahir l’Élysée. La garde républicaine eût-elle été aussi empotée que la police américaine, les manifestants auraient paradé en Robespierre dans le bureau d’Emmanuel Macron. Mais ce n’aurait été qu’une parodie de révolution.

Nous avons assisté en direct au suicide politique du Dr Folamour qui a dirigé les États-Unis pendant quatre ans. Dans cette société éminemment violente qu’ont toujours été les États-Unis, le geste répond, comme en miroir, aux longues semaines d’émeutes qui ont suivi l’assassinat de George Floyd et qui ont fait, elles, une trentaine de morts. Avec la bénédiction de nombreux élus démocrates !

Il faut néanmoins reconnaître les efforts que Joe Biden a déployés pour reconquérir les États de la Rust Belt que Trump avait ravis aux démocrates en 2016. Mais ces gains ne seront que de courte durée si le président persiste à obéir à son extrême gauche en introduisant, notamment, des critères raciaux dans le programme de relance du pays. Un programme conçu, dit-il, « spécifiquement pour aider les entreprises possédées par des Noirs et des Bruns » (Black and Brown people). Des mots dignes d’un nouvel apartheid !

Peu importent les appels du président à la réconciliation, cette pensée racialiste est la recette parfaite de la guerre civile. En Oregon, le fonds de 62 millions destiné à aider spécifiquement « les citoyens et propriétaires d’entreprises noirs » est d’ailleurs l’objet de poursuites devant les tribunaux. Car cette épidémie « n’est pas une affaire de Blancs ou de Noirs. C’est l’affaire de tout le monde », a déclaré l’entrepreneur d’origine hispanique Walter Leja, qui fait partie des plaignants.

Joe Biden ne peut pas ignorer que, selon l’Institut Gallup, 74 % des Américains sont contre l’utilisation de critères raciaux dans l’embauche. Un consensus confirmé en novembre par le rejet, pour une seconde fois en 25 ans, de la proposition 16 en Californie. Soutenue par les lobbies ethniques et les grandes entreprises, elle visait à réintroduire ce qu’on nomme là-bas la « discrimination positive » dans l’emploi, l’éducation et l’octroi des contrats publics.

Or, cette réaffirmation des principes d’égalité républicaine ne vient pas cette fois des perdants de la mondialisation, ceux-là mêmes qu’Hillary Clinton avait qualifiés de « déplorables ». Elle vient de l’un des États les plus modernes, les plus multiethniques et qui est de plus un fief démocrate. Aux États-Unis, l’attachement au principe de l’égalité républicaine dépasse de loin les 74 millions d’électeurs de Donald Trump. Il est même un des fondements du pays. Biden ne pourra pas le renier sans en subir les conséquences.

« Réconcilier l’Amérique », cela ne se fera pas non plus en légitimant la censure pratiquée par ces milliardaires du numérique alliés aux démocrates qui, du haut de leur supériorité morale, ont supprimé les comptes d’un président démocratiquement élu. Cette nouvelle alliance de la « cancel culture » avec les magnats des GAFA a de quoi faire se retourner dans leurs tombes tous les « progressistes » d’hier et d’avant-hier.

Joe Biden ne doit pas se tromper sur les raisons qui lui ont permis de l’emporter de justesse au Sénat et au Congrès. Si les Américains ont voulu se débarrasser d’un président égocentrique, incohérent et narcissique, ils n’ont pas plébiscité la politique racialiste et la culture de l’Index que caresse la gauche du Parti démocrate.

Réconcilier l’Amérique suppose que l’on croie dans la nation et une citoyenneté qui ne soit pas fondée sur des critères raciaux. Faute de tenir compte de ces avertissements, l’épisode Biden pourrait bien prendre fin dans deux ans, à l’occasion des élections de mi-mandat. Et la guerre civile larvée symbolisée par l’émeute du Capitole se poursuivra de plus belle.

Source: TO ADD

Multiculturalism Is Not Pluralism

Another example of those who use a caricature of multiculturalism against a similar simplified view of pluralism. The reality is that both terms, like interculturalism, are relatively plastic terms, ranging from versions that are more integrative to those that are less so.

And like most of these commentaries, they fail to note that Canadian and Australian multiculturalism policies and practices are on the integrative side that reinforces Canadian values and practices, while allowing for recognition and accommodation where possible in conformity with the Canadian constitution and related laws:

On the last day of his tenure, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Twitter to declare, “Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the -isms — they’re not who America is. They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about. Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker.”

Pompeo’s claim, unsurprisingly, set off a torrent of moral indignation regarding the beauty of American diversity from people who couldn’t take the time to learn the difference between pluralism and multi-culturalism.

The Jew, Muslim, Christian, atheist — all die on the same battlefield for American ideals, not for some parallel cause or any residual grievance from the Old World. By doing so, they reject a certain kind of multiculturalism, one that emphasizes cultural insularity.

We celebrate our ethnic heritages and customs, but we don’t subordinate American ideals to them. There has been a largely tacit expectation that newcomers leave their ideological baggage outside and integrate. The multiculturalism celebrated by progressives makes no such demand.

Pompeo may have “celebrated his own Italian-American heritage,” but his argument is steeped in the Founding, not in the writings of Garibaldi. My surname is Hungarian, and though I may have some innocuous attachment to goulash, I don’t let Hungary’s legal systems or historical problems with the Romanians forge my outlook. I’m here — and so are you — because America’s liberal traditions and capitalist institutions are far superior to Hungary’s. This probably sounds jingoistic to some, but pretending that all groups have equally beneficial ideas to offer is perilous. And if we can’t acknowledge that the tenets undergirding our society are exceptional, why would immigrants?

On this front, there is a giant controlled experiment called Europe for us to study. One of the continent’s biggest mistakes in recent decades has been embracing a multicultural approach to immigration rather than an American pluralistic approach. Christopher Caldwell, one of the sharpest social observers of contemporary Europe, speaks of the “ethnic islands” that dot major European cities, where the worst habits of newcomers aren’t abandoned but reinforced.  They are areas that “look like a seizure of territory rather than a multicultural enrichment.” British writer Kenan Malik argues that multiculturalism, once considered “an answer to Europe’s social problems,” has become a fraught reality of “fragmented societies, alienated minorities, and resentful citizenries.”

Former British prime minister David Cameron admitted as much back in 2011, arguing that state multiculturalism had “failed” his country: “We need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism.” German chancellor Angela Merkel, even as she was allowing the continent to be flooded with refugees, noted that multiculturalism “leads to parallel societies, and therefore multiculturalism remains a grand delusion.” French president Emmanuel Macron wishfully claimed that his nation’s “model is universalist, not multiculturalist.”

Source: Multiculturalism Is Not Pluralism

L’inquiétante intolérance de la nouvelle commissaire antiracisme

Provides the flavour of Quebec debates over racism and laicité. And while anti-religious attitudes and behaviours technically are not racist, they are similar in their xenophobia, discrimination and biases:

Le rôle de choisir une personne chargée de faire reculer le racisme, bien réel et vécu à Montréal, n’est pas chose facile. Informé des objections qui pouvaient être faites à l’endroit de la commissaire désignée, Bochra Manaï, un des porte-parole de la mairesse a indiqué que « la Ville ne peut pas, légalement ou moralement, rejeter un candidat qualifié sur la base de ses positions ou emplois passés. »

Tout au contraire, les positions et les emplois passés ne sont-ils pas un indicateur essentiel pour juger de la capacité de la personne choisie d’accomplir sa tâche d’écouter, de rassembler, d’agir sur un sujet délicat avec le plus de nuances possible et par conséquent d’obtenir des chances de succès ?

Sa définition du racisme

La définition que Mme Manaï a du racisme est évidemment au cœur de la question. Rappelons que le racisme est fondé sur une idéologie, sur la croyance qu’il existe une race supérieure.

Or, la religion n’est pas une race !

N’en déplaise au parti municipal au pouvoir et au conseil municipal qui ont condamné à l’unanimité la loi 21 sur la laïcité. À l’encontre des 65 % des Montréalais qui favorisent l’interdiction des signes religieux pour les policiers et 58 % pour les enseignants (Crop sur la RMR novembre 2018).

Mme Manaï a donné en 2019 un discours rempli d’amalgames où elle a inscrit dans la même logique l’adoption de la loi sur la laïcité, l’attentat de la mosquée de Québec et celle de Christchurch (Nouvelle-Zélande). Elle a même indiqué que « le Québec est désormais une référence pour les suprémacistes extrémistes du monde entier ».

Estime-t-elle que la loi 21 sur la laïcité est raciste ? Cela semble être le cas puisque cinq fois, en entrevue au 98,5 FM avec Bernard Drainville, elle a refusé de se prononcer sur cette question. Qui ne dit mot consent !

Pense-t-elle donc que la forte majorité des Montréalais favorables à cette loi présentent des symptômes de racisme ?

Les défenseurs de la laïcité bafoués

Désormais, la commissaire chargée de faire reculer le fléau raciste, ne devrait-elle pas se prévaloir de cette forte tradition historique québécoise favorable à la séparation des religions et de l’État ?

On sait qu’un bon nombre de Québécoises musulmanes ou nord-africaines ont soutenu le combat pour la laïcité, celles qu’elle accuse d’être des « laïcardes ». Loin de se montrer respectueuse des divergences d’opinions au sein de la diversité québécoise, irresponsable, Mme Manaï a nommément accusé ces femmes d’avoir précipité « les Québécois dans une chasse aux musulmans » faisant d’elles des cibles à abattre pour les islamistes, les réduisant à de « pseudo-intellectuelles assurément exotiques ».

La critique confondue avec la haine

Sa définition du racisme est également problématique et dépasse le simple mépris pour ses contradicteurs au sujet de la laïcité. Dans un texte sur l’islamophobie, elle explique clairement que toute critique de l’islam est une forme de racisme contre les musulmans :

« Les détracteurs du terme islamophobie évoquent l’idée qu’il est possible de « critiquer » l’islam, sans pour autant « détester » les musulmans. Or, cette hostilité qui s’exprime à l’encontre de l’islam comme religion semble directement liée au rejet des musulmans eux-mêmes. »

Elle souscrit donc à « toutes les définitions de l’islamophobie comme racisme. » Ne distinguant pas la lutte contre l’islam radical, la critique de la religion et le racisme.

Avis donc à tous ceux qui osent dire que l’islam, même modéré, est fondamentalement inégalitaire, — comme d’ailleurs le judaïsme ou le christianisme. Ils sont, au vu de la commissaire, des racistes.

La commissaire Manaï juge-t-elle avec moins d’ouverture d’esprit les Montréalais qui critiquent l’islam radical ? Ou encore estime-t-elle que des imams et des ayatollahs extrémistes qui endoctrinent ceux qui décapitent et tuent au nom du prophète ailleurs sont des victimes ?

Ne serait-ce que pour ces amalgames qui ne distinguent pas la lutte contre l’islam radical et la critique de la religion, la mairesse de Montréal n’aurait jamais dû la nommer.

Les coupables sont-ils les démocrates ?

Dans un texte intitulé « Le quiproquo de la radicalisation », elle qualifie de « vaste supercherie » l’idée que des imams radicalisés poussent au crime et au djihad des jeunes Montréalais. Il s’agit, écrit-elle d’une « pseudo-théorie de la radicalisation comme processus théologique » promue à son avis, par les services de renseignements occidentaux. On convient que le processus de radicalisation des djihadistes occidentaux est un phénomène complexe lié à plusieurs facteurs.

Cependant, la négation obstinée de Mme Manaï du rôle joué par les réseaux islamistes violents, radicaux et financés par l’Iran, l’Arabie saoudite ou le Qatar, relève d’un dangereux aveuglement, d’un manque de discernement et de nuances.

Montréal a été épargnée, ces toutes dernières années, par le phénomène, mais l’Europe occidentale en constate les dégâts quotidiennement.

On pourrait penser que la nouvelle commissaire estime au moins que les assassins des caricaturistes et du personnel de Charlie Hebdo et de l’Hyper cacher à Paris ont répondu aux appels aux meurtres lancés par les imams et les ayatollahs violents du Moyen-Orient, appels relayés par des prédicateurs djihadistes locaux. Pas du tout !

L’occident responsable du manque d’intégration ?

Dans un texte ahurissant consacré à cette tuerie, Mme Manaï porte la totalité du blâme sur la France et les écueils qu’ont connus ses politiques d’intégration. La nouvelle commissaire s’attriste même du fait que son analyse sur l’échec des valeurs républicaines françaises « échappe à ces millions de marcheurs » réunis dans la foulée de l’attentat pour défendre le droit à la liberté d’expression et réprouver la haine de la civilisation occidentale portée par les djihadistes.

Si le texte juge que la politique française envers sa population arabe et ses banlieues a créé des conditions de l’aliénation d’une partie de la jeunesse, on est surpris de ne pas y lire à tout le moins un mot sur la coresponsabilité des recruteurs islamistes.

Une nuance ici, la France qui nous a précédés sur ce chemin a compris que pour vivre harmonieusement il faut séparer l’islamisme de l’islam.

Les forces maléfiques occidentales

Mme Manaï introduit bien dans son texte un élément géopolitique. Elle parle de « l’union des forces maléfiques » qu’elle décrit ainsi : « une solidarité inconditionnelle des États les plus meurtriers de l’Histoire ». Elle qualifie de « forces maléfiques » les pays occidentaux qui ont participé à des opérations militaires au Moyen-Orient. Elle ne parle ni de l’Iran, ni de l’Irak, ni des talibans, ni de la Turquie, etc.

Tous ces écrits sont disponibles sur le site du Huffington Post Québec.

Ne serait-ce que pour ce délire spirituel, la mairesse de Montréal aurait dû choisir un/e candidature avec un profil de rassemblement, de tolérance et surtout de pédagogie citoyenne.

L’idée que se fait Mme Manaï du racisme et des racistes, des Montréalais et des Québécois, est qu’ils portent en eux ce dangereux stigmate du racisme, qu’elle a pour mandat de les accompagner et de les redresser sur les chemins de la tolérance et de l’acceptation de l’autre, c’est-à-dire sur le chemin de l’acceptation de l’islam radical et contre cette dangereuse loi de la laïcité.

Faire, entre autres, cet amalgame entre race et religion revient à la négation totale de la liberté de conscience, une liberté des plus fondamentales qui est au cœur de la démarche laïque. Comment peut-on lutter contre le racisme et contre la discrimination tout en bafouant complètement cette liberté fondamentale ?

Alors que la laïcité permet justement une neutralité viable pour TOUS les citoyens, quelles que soient leurs convictions religieuses.

Source: L’inquiétante intolérance de la nouvelle commissaire antiracisme