Les agences privées écartées du recrutement à l’étranger

Of note (processing delays and impact on regions):

Des régions en pénurie de personnel auraient pu compter sur plus d’une centaine d’infirmières provenant de l’étranger, mais le réseau de la santé a tourné le dos à plusieurs offres de recrutement provenant d’agences privées, a appris Le Devoir.

Parmi elles, l’agence de placement Serenis, qui n’a pas ménagé ses efforts pour présenter un « projet clés en main » afin de faire venir au Québec une vingtaine d’infirmiers et d’infirmières originaires de la France et du Maghreb. « En ce moment, j’ai 20 infirmières et infirmiers hautement qualifiés qui sont en stand-by », affirme Jackie Lamothe, présidente de trois franchises de l’agence de placement Serenis, pour les régions de la Mauricie, du Centre-du-Québec et de la Montérégie Est.

Selon elle, ces professionnels de la santé ont été choisis par l’agence parce qu’ils sont prêts à aller travailler dans les régions éloignées où les besoins sont criants, comme à La Tuque. Et ils ont tous en poche l’évaluation comparative du ministère de l’Immigration qui indique l’équivalent québécois de leur diplôme.

« J’en ai parlé à des chefs de service des établissements de santé, qui en ont ensuite parlé à leurs supérieurs, et ils étaient tous intéressés. Mais ça finissait toujours par bloquer en haut, comme au niveau du ministère. On a vécu ça partout où on a essayé, même en régions éloignées comme la Gaspésie, le Bas-Saint-Laurent et dans le Nord, comme la Baie-James… »

C’est au début de l’année 2021 que, devant la détresse de plusieurs employés en lien avec la pénurie de personnel, Mme Lamothe a commencé ses propres démarches de recrutement à l’étranger. Neuf mois plus tard et après avoir investi 20 000 $, notamment en analyses de CV, en entrevues et en frais de consultant en immigration, cette ancienne infirmière a été en mesure de dresser une liste de travailleurs francophones « surqualifiés » avec de l’expérience à l’urgence et en pédiatrie, dont la formation allait être facilement reconnue par l’Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ). « Pour être membre de l’OIIQ, il faut faire un stage de 75 jours dans le réseau public et j’offrais même aux établissements de santé de le prendre sur mon bras », soutient Mme Lamothe. Son agence allait également s’occuper de l’accueil et de l’intégration des travailleurs, comme le logement et la première épicerie. « Je pouvais même signer un papier pour confirmer que ces personnes-là allaient rester dans le public. C’était gagnant-gagnant ! »

Alors que Radio-Canada a rapporté que le gouvernement Legault mène actuellement une opération sans précédent avec Recrutement santé Québec pour faire venir 4000 travailleurs de la santé hors du Québec — dont 3500 infirmières —, des agences privées s’étonnent que leurs offres de recrutement n’aient pas été retenues. « J’ai trouvé ça très dommage. Si le gouvernement avait pris nos services, on aurait déjà une soixantaine d’infirmières pratiquant en Abitibi, ça n’aurait coûté que quelques centaines de milliers de dollars et on aurait pu économiser plusieurs millions en location de personnel », a déclaré Marc Blais, président de l’Agence de placement et de développement internationale (APDI), qui a près de 2000 CV d’infirmiers et d’infirmières de l’Afrique subsaharienne dans sa base de données. « Il y a eu un manque total de vision là-dessus. »

En 2019, son entreprise, qui fait uniquement du recrutement, avait proposé un projet pilote en collaboration avec le Cégep et le Centre intégré de santé et services sociaux de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue (CISSS-AT) pour offrir une formation de mise à niveau reconnue par l’OIIQ à quelque 400 des Africains de l’Ouest qui avaient été présélectionnés. La force de cette initiative était la promesse que les gens recrutés allaient vouloir s’installer durablement en région, puisqu’ils viennent eux-mêmes de l’extérieur des grands centres. « On a sollicité le ministère de la Santé pour avoir des fonds, et ça a été refusé. [Le gouvernement] préférait travailler à l’interne avec Recrutement santé Québec », a soutenu M. Blais, qui se sent comme s’il s’était fait un peu voler son idée. « Ce programme-là, au fond, c’est nous qui l’avions mis en place. »

Le président de l’APDI constate que les agences privées de placement ou de recrutement sont boudées par le gouvernement. « On dirait que le [ministère] n’est pas très à l’aise avec les agences privées. Lorsque les solutions viennent du privé, il ne les retient pas. On nous met tous dans le même bassin. »

Jackie Lamothe déplore aussi que les efforts de son agence semblent être mal perçus. « Le gouvernement a peur qu’on vole du personnel du réseau, mais ce n’est tellement pas ça ! » lance-t-elle. « C’est le contraire. On prend du sang neuf qu’on met dans le réseau. On évite le [recours au] TSO [temps supplémentaire obligatoire], qui force les infirmières épuisées à partir. »

Longs délais à l’OIIQ

Entreprises privées de personnel soignant du Québec (EPPSQ) dit recevoir une trentaine d’appels par jour de professionnels de la santé de la France et du Maghreb prêts à venir travailler dès maintenant au Québec. « Nous, on pourrait se porter garant, comme agence, de les faire travailler, après validation des acquis et d’un cours accéléré. Mais ce pont-là ne se fait pas », dit Hélène Gravel, la présidente de cette association. EPPSQ a d’ailleurs intenté une poursuite contre le gouvernement, qui veut limiter le recours aux agences privées. Selon elle, le nœud du problème ne se situe pas uniquement dans l’administration du réseau de la santé, mais surtout au sein de l’Ordre des infirmières et celui des infirmières auxiliaires.

« Même pour une personne qui vient de France, c’est très long avant qu’elle puisse venir et gagner sa vie. […] Les délais à l’OIIQ sont encore trop longs. Il va falloir qu’ils s’amenuisent », a-t-elle ajouté.

Selon les données fournies par l’OIIQ, il faut de deux à trois mois pour obtenir une réponse à une demande d’admission par équivalence d’un dossier une fois que celui-ci est complet. À cela s’ajoute un programme de formation de 10 à 14 mois que doivent normalement suivre l’ensemble des infirmières diplômées à l’étranger, sauf les Françaises, qui bénéficient d’une voie rapide en vertu d’une entente France-Québec. S’ajoutent aussi les délais d’obtention des permis d’étude et de travail auprès des autorités en immigration.

À l’heure actuelle, environ 90 dossiers sont en traitement, selon l’OIIQ, qui précise que, généralement, seulement 40 à 50 dossiers parviennent à être complets et sont présentés à son Comité d’admission.

Source: Les agences privées écartées du recrutement à l’étranger

Urback: François Legault’s nationalist brand can’t handle the words ‘systemic racism’

Another commentaries:

The coroner’s report into the preventable death of Atikamekw woman Joyce Echaquan in a Joliette, Que., hospital last year is one long, illustrated definition of “systemic racism.” It describes a system that functions off implicit assumptions (this Indigenous woman is agitated, maybe she’s on drugs) and differential treatment (let’s just strap her to the bed; no need to give her options), all of which, according to coroner Gehane Kamel, led to Ms. Echaquan’s death.

The same forces of structural discrimination and bias killed 45-year-old Brian Sinclair of the Sagkeeng First Nation, who languished in a Winnipeg emergency room for 34 hours with a treatable infection in 2008. And they explain why staff at a Northwest Territories care home assumed Aklavik elder Hugh Papik was drunk when he was actually having a massive stroke in 2016.

Individual acts of anti-Indigenous racism certainly contributed to each outcome. But nurses don’t mock patients crying out in pain without someone intervening, as happened in Ms. Echaquan’s case, unless bias and racism have seeped into the walls.

And yet, Quebec Premier François Legault has refused to yield to the coroner’s finding that systemic racism contributed to Ms. Echaquan’s death. His intransigence is odd, not only because the evidence presented in Ms. Kamel’s report is so unequivocal, but because the remedies Mr. Legault’s government has instituted are distinctly systemic in nature. Indeed, there would be no reason to introduce mandatory sensitivity training for all employees at the Joliette hospital, or to name a representative of the Manawan community to the board of the health authority overseeing the hospital, if the problem was just a couple of rogue nurses.

Clearly, Mr. Legault understands there is a systemic problem in Quebec’s health care system, but the phrase “systemic racism” is to the Premier what Macbeth is to theatre actors: It cannot be said aloud.

For Mr. Legault, this goes beyond bog-standard political stubbornness. The Premier has been largely successful in building a new brand of Quebec nationalism, which is less about traditional sovereignty and more about autonomy within Canada, protection of the French language and a collectivist, shared identity for Quebeckers. His government introduced Bill 96, which seeks to amend the 1867 Constitution Act to recognize that “Quebecers form a nation.” Mr. Legault also got the party leaders in recent federal election campaigns to yield to his demand to let the province control its immigration agenda and succeeded in making Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole promise to respect Quebec’s “distinct system” of child care.

Mr. Legault’s popularity among Quebeckers – which did drop last month but has nevertheless remained remarkably high throughout the pandemic – is rooted in this unapologetic nationalist pride and perceived control over the players in Ottawa. And he’s made headway in the perennial struggle to have Quebec recognized as a distinct society within Canada.

But to admit that the province’s health care system is systemically racist, even in response to a coroner’s report that pretty much spells it out, is to yield to the idea that Quebec’s distinct society is a broken one. It’s off-brand for Mr. Legault. He couldn’t say it after the Viens Commission report was tabled in 2019 – and he still can’t say it now.

The other impediment to Mr. Legault stating the obvious is that it would be somewhat contradictory for the Premier to acknowledge systemic racism in Quebec health care while defending legislation, Bill 21, that enshrined systemic racism in law in regards to hiring and employment practices in the public sector. Mr. Legault knows that prohibiting people in certain jobs from wearing religious symbols is unconstitutional, which is why his government pre-emptively invoked the notwithstanding clause when it introduced the bill. And it’s unmistakable that the law disproportionately affects certain groups of people – such as Muslim teachers who wear hijabs – which renders this policy of state-imposed secularism not universally oppressive but systemically discriminatory.

Anyone with eyes and a modicum of reading comprehension skills would come away from Ms. Kamel’s report with an understanding of how systemic racism contributed to Ms. Echaquan’s death. Mr. Legault has both, but he also has a brand to protect. And as long as that brand is thriving off the Premier’s unapologetic nationalism and lack of introspection, the words “systemic racism” cannot leave his lips.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-francois-legaults-nationalist-brand-cant-handle-the-words-systemic/

Nicolas: Une confusion cultivée [regarding systemic racism]

Good column by Nicholas:

Soixante-six pour cent des Québécois reconnaissent que le racisme systémique existe. À l’échelle du pays, 67 % des Canadiens admettentsans problème que le concept a un sens. Du moins, ce sont là les résultats d’un sondage publié la semaine dernière par Léger Marketing pour le compte de l’Association des études canadiennes. Sur cette question, le caractère « distinct » du Québec ne tiendrait donc qu’à un seul petit point de pourcentage.

La donnée est remarquable, car si le racisme systémique existe partout, le discours sur le racisme systémique n’est pas le même d’un océan à l’autre. Depuis qu’une coalition d’acteurs de la société civile (dont je faisais partie) a interpellé le gouvernement du Québec pour demander une consultation publique sur la question en 2016, la notion est devenue, particulièrement au Québec, la cible d’une campagne politique et médiatique continue de désinformation et de confusion. Il y a aussi, bien sûr, de la désinformation qui circule ailleurs. Simplement, sur ce point particulier, c’est ici que les démonstrations de mauvaise foi se sont montrées les plus énergiques, disons, dans l’histoire récente.

Des définitions du racisme systémique plus farfelues les unes que les autres ont en effet défilé en ondes au fil des années, souvent à heure de grande écoute. « Procès des Québécois ». « Être systématiquement raciste ». « Se lever le matin avec l’intention de discriminer les minorités ». Le premier ministre François Legault a ajouté une nouvelle couche de désinformation, mardi, en réaction au rapport de la coroner Géhane Kamel sur la mort de Joyce Echaquan, affirmant que reconnaître le racisme systémique, « ça voudrait dire que tous les dirigeants de tous les ministères ont une approche discriminatoire qui est propagée dans tous les réseaux ». On aurait pu en rire, si la mauvaise blague était venue d’un quidam.

Dans un de nos grands médias (vous savez lequel), vous pourrez retrouver plusieurs dizaines de billets sur le « racisme antiblanc », une notion qui n’a aucune crédibilité scientifique, et qui a été popularisée par le Front national de Jean-Marie Le Pen. On « thèse » aussi un peu partout sur le « wokisme », que personne n’a défini, sinon Fox News. Mais François Legault répète que le racisme systémique est un concept trop « mal défini » pour être utile.

Pourtant, la Commission des droits de la personne et de la jeunesse du Québec a une définition du racisme systémique, comme ses équivalents à travers le pays ont aussi les leurs. Le Barreau du Québec en a déjà proposé une. La Ville de Montréal en a aussi une, depuis la consultation municipale sur la question. On ne compte plus les rapports et les articles scientifiques, ici et ailleurs, qui font appel à la notion.

Chaque organisme formule les choses à sa façon, pour essentiellement dire la même chose. Tout comme chaque organisme scientifique ne met pas exactement la virgule à la même place dans sa définition des changements climatiques, et que vous n’arriverez pas, en mettant tous les économistes dans une même pièce, à une définition immuable de l’économie. Mais que personne (de sérieux) n’utilise cette réalité pour avancer que les changements climatiques ou l’économie n’existent pas.

Le racisme systémique fait référence aux façons de faire (processus, décisions, pratiques) qui favorisent ou défavorisent certaines personnes en fonction de leur identité raciale. Il s’agit de dire que nos grands systèmes — de santé, d’éducation, de justice, de services sociaux — ont été pensés par et pour la majorité. Encore aujourd’hui, ce sont les approches qui conviennent le mieux à cette majorité qui dominent, et elles ne sont pas présentées comme culturellement spécifiques, mais comme « le sens commun », voire des « règles objectives ».

Si le système de santé est conçu par et pour la majorité plutôt que pour les personnes autochtones, par exemple, cela veut dire que des professionnels de la santé peuvent être diplômés après 3, 5, 10 ans de formation universitaire sans avoir aucune compétence culturelle pour interagir avec une clientèle autochtone. Si ces professionnels, faute de formation, agissent avec les mêmes préjugés que le citoyen moyen exposé aux stéréotypes véhiculés par la culture populaire, il n’y a pas non plus de processus interne efficace pour reconnaître le problème et le corriger. Dans un système par et pour la majorité, rien de tout cela n’apparaît comme un besoin criant.

Autre exemple : une formation médicale conçue par et pour la majorité blanche utilise presque exclusivement des images de personnes blanches pour apprendre aux futurs médecins à reconnaître les symptômes d’une maladie. Plusieurs études ont déjà démontré que les patients à la peau foncée reçoivent souvent un mauvais diagnostic, plus tardif, pour des problèmes de santé visibles à l’œil nu. Est-ce que l’infirmière ou la dermatologue qui ne reconnaissent pas un problème sur une peau foncée haïssent personnellement les Noirs, ou, pour reprendre les propos du premier ministre, « ont une approche discriminatoire propagée dans tout le réseau » ? Non. Le problème vient des écoles de médecine, de leurs curriculums qui mènent à désavantager certains patients en fonction de leur identité raciale. Soit la définition du racisme systémique. Déclarer qu’on n’est « pas raciste » ne réglera rien si l’on n’est pas prêt à investir temps et énergie pour corriger les failles de la formation de base (lire : pour la majorité). Quitte à passer pour un « woke ».

Dans les pires cas, ces deux exemples peuvent mener à des morts inutiles. Soixante-six pour cent des Québécois arrivent à comprendre cette réalité du racisme systémique, malgré la désinformation ambiante. On peut imaginer que si ce n’était des efforts particulièrement soutenus pour embrouiller les gens, les Québécois accepteraient la notion dans une proportion bien plus importante que la moyenne canadienne.

Il y a là, il me semble, un signal assez encourageant sur la teneur de ces fameuses « valeurs québécoises ».

Source: https://www.ledevoir.com/opinion/chroniques/638610/chronique-une-confusion-cultivee?utm_source=infolettre-2021-10-07&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=infolettre-quotidienne

Shachi Kurl on the question [Quebec discrimination in Bills 21 and 96]

Good rebuttal to the unfair criticism and cravenness of Canadian federal leaders:

The question to Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet created a controversy in Quebec, taking on a narrative and a legend of its own. It led the National Assembly to censure me, cartoonists to ridicule me and party leaders to demand an apology.

So here was the question: “You deny that Quebec has problems with racism. Yet you defend legislation such as Bills 96 and 21, which marginalize religious minorities, anglophones, and allophones. For those outside the province, please help them understand why your party also supports these discriminatory laws.”

To those asking me to take it all back: I stand by the question. Unequivocally.

I stand by it because the question gave Mr. Blanchet the opportunity to talk to people outside Quebec, about secularism, about laïcité. He could have shared the Quebec perspective with the rest of Canada. He chose not to.

I stand by it because the Quebec government has or signalled it will override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect Bills 21 and 96 from legal challenges over discrimination. And because the National Assembly included provisions in Bill 21 and 96 to override the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, leaving many Quebeckers feeling vulnerable and as Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc-André Blanchard put it in regard to Bill 21, dehumanized.

I stand by it because what does it say about the state of our democracy that a question is deemed unaskable? Who gets to decide which issues are appropriate to discuss during a federal election campaign? What does it really say about the convictions of our political leaders when they choose to make me a target to divert from their own position on a critical issue of personal freedom?

What does it say about journalism when seasoned reporters and political commentators were shocked that I dared to “go there?” Is the state of our federation so weak that we cannot even raise questions about it?

Alexander Tytler, the 17th-century Scottish philosopher, wrote democracy lasts only about 200 years. A quote commonly attributed to him says that part of the cycle moves from courage to liberty, then to abundance, to selfishness, to complacency, then apathy, and eventually back to bondage. I hope we are not on the downslope of this cycle.

During my silence – appropriate during the election campaign – people encouraged me to educate myself about Quebec. I don’t live there, but I have spent time in places like the Saguenay-Lac Saint Jean and La Malbaie. Operating entirely in French, I experienced a lasting immersion in Québécois pride and history, and in Quebeckers’ outlook on secularism, survival and the strong desire to maintain culture and language. Learning is never finished.

I have heard and listened to what people have said about the question, and the hurt it caused in Quebec. Could it have been phrased differently? Yes. Do I ultimately believe a change in wording would have prevented Mr. Blanchet, Quebec Premier François Legault, and party leaders Justin Trudeau, Erin O’Toole and Jagmeet Singh from exploiting it all for their own purposes? No.

Becoming the story was not a life goal. Yet what happened was just craven politics. What else would Mr. Blanchet have done in the midst of a sagging campaign? Politically, it made sense that Mr. O’Toole, Mr. Trudeau, and Mr. Singh piled on in order to protect their Quebec campaigns rather than stand on principle.

Other things were a little harder to take. Columnists wrote that I was “aggressive,” or “shrill,” likening my tone to that of a “mom,” using “chains” to keep order. The only square they didn’t blot on that particular bingo card appears to be “nasty woman.”

But this isn’t about them. It’s about Canadians. I did the debate as a public service, not to earn gold stars. Some people didn’t like it or didn’t like my style. That’s okay. Polling from our own organization found that 53 per cent of older men found the debate engaging, I’ll take that split. It is notable that number rose to 65 per cent among women 18 to 34. Past, meet the future.

For all the disagreement, and there has been a lot, I’ve had thousands of messages of appreciation from across the country, including Quebec. Notes of thanks for not taking the leaders talking points at face value. People who wrote saying they don’t usually watch the whole debate, but did that night with their children. Teenagers who talked about the debate in class and concluded I was “badass.” Women thanking me for being prepared, fierce, professional and strong.

On the way out of Ottawa, I stopped in Toronto, where I was met at the hotel door by a bellman.

“I think I saw you the other night.” Here we go, I thought to myself.

“And what did you think?”

“It was great!” I could tell he had more to say. He was holding back.

“Look, it’s okay. I can take it.”

“I just want to tell you … I just … I’m really glad you asked that question.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-i-was-asked-to-apologize-for-my-question-in-the-leaders-debate-i-stand/?utm_campaign=David%20Akin%27s%20🇨🇦%20Roundup&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

Black, Indigenous mothers say they were sterilized without full consent at Quebec hospitals

Recent. And discussions should have taken place earlier:

On a cold autumn morning in 2018, a 44-year-old Haitian woman was in labour at a Montreal hospital, hours away from welcoming her seventh child into the world.

After learning that she would have to undergo an emergency C-section, the woman was asked whether she’d like to have her tubes tied at the same time.

She recalls telling the obstetrician on duty that she didn’t know what the procedure — called tubal ligation — was or what it entailed.

Source: Black, Indigenous mothers say they were sterilized without full consent at Quebec hospitals

Bouchard: Un multiculturalisme montréalais?

On the Montreal and rest of Quebec divide. Those who live the reality of diversity and those who do less. And maybe the rest of Quebec needs to approach Montreal with its greater ease with diversity rather than. vice versa:

Il faut reparler de l’interculturalisme. Le débat public sur les relations interculturelles au Québec est en retrait alors que nous sommes toujours en quête d’un modèle institutionnalisé indiquant la marche à suivre. Et cela en dépit des engagements pris depuis 20 ans par les partis au pouvoir.

Sur le plan des politiques, il s’est ainsi créé un vide. Mais comme il arrive souvent, c’est un vide qui se remplit imperceptiblement, et pas toujours comme on le voudrait. Dans ce cas-ci : c’est une forme de multiculturalisme émergent dont la métropole montréalaise devient l’épicentre. Une vision gagne du terrain parmi une bonne partie de sa population selon laquelle on est Montréalais bien avant d’être Québécois. Suivant cette logique, la métropole risque de se transformer en un électron libre où s’élaborent une identité et une appartenance en marge de l’ensemble du Québec, favorisant ainsi l’essor d’un bilinguisme non officialisé. Il ne s’agirait plus d’élaborer une conception générale de la nation reposant sur l’intégration de tous les citoyens québécois, ceux de la majorité et des minorités, en respectant les droits des uns et des autres (comme le veut l’interculturalisme).

Plusieurs observateurs voient progresser à Montréal une forme latente de multiculturalisme sans programme dont la gestion est laissée aux transactions microsociales et à la vie quotidienne, c’est-à-dire à la mouvance de la mondialisation. Ceci ouvre la voie, au cœur du Québec, à une vie civique progressivement affranchie du cadre national.

Des facteurs structurants favorisent cette évolution : le rayonnement croissant de l’anglais à l’échelle planétaire, la dynamique démographique qui laisse prévoir un plus grand nombre d’immigrants au cours des prochaines décennies, la très forte concentration des nouveaux venus dans la région montréalaise, la fracture à la fois ethnoculturelle et politique entre Montréal et le reste du Québec — une fracture que déjà en 2010 Guy Rocher qualifiait de « dramatique ».

Encore une fois, rien de formalisé ou de programmé dans la marche de ce multiculturalisme ; il suffit de laisser aller les choses. L’administration municipale ne semble pas avoir de vision intégrée de la situation et n’a toujours pas de politique officielle.

Les Cités interculturelles

Il s’est présenté depuis 10 ans une occasion d’atténuer cette fracture, mais on se demande si Montréal en a tiré tout le profit escompté. En 2010, j’ai fait des démarches auprès des dirigeants du Conseil de l’Europe afin qu’ils admettent Montréal comme membre du prestigieux projet international des Cités interculturelles. Quelques intervenants (surtout Gilles Rioux, un acteur de longue date dans ce domaine) ont ensuite amené la direction de la Ville à poser sa candidature, qui fut donc acceptée. C’était en 2011.

Actuellement, 140 villes réparties sur quatre continents participent à ce projet. L’objectif est d’encourager chacune à innover en matière de gestion de la diversité, à échanger avec les autres et à enrichir ses programmes. Fondé en 2007, ce réseau est devenu le lieu d’un formidable bouillonnement de réflexion et d’innovations dont chaque membre peut tirer un grand profit (on trouvera sur Internet des informations détaillées sur le sujet). Qu’est-ce que Montréal a fait depuis 10 ans ? De l’avis de divers informateurs proches du dossier, le bilan serait mitigé. On voudrait avoir l’assurance que la participation à ce grand projet a reçu toute l’attention qu’il méritait de la part des deux administrations municipales qui se sont succédé depuis.

En vertu d’une orientation adoptée par le Conseil de l’Europe, l’interculturalisme est l’éclairage général sous lequel les travaux se déroulent. Voilà une veine de réflexion qui a mobilisé de nombreux chercheurs québécois depuis 30 ans. Montréal, en puisant dans ces travaux (axés sur la conception d’un interculturalisme d’inspiration québécoise), pouvait donc apporter quelque chose d’original au réseau. En retour, elle en retirerait des enseignements substantiels conduisant à la mise en place de politiques originales, de programmes novateurs.

Mieux raccorder la conscience collective montréalaise à celle du Québec est une tâche complexe. Il faudrait d’abord provoquer une prise de conscience, prendre la mesure exacte du problème, amorcer une réflexion puis appliquer un plan à l’échelle tant nationale que métropolitaine. Le projet de loi 96 en discussion à l’Assemblée nationale peut constituer une avancée importante (en dépit du pessimisme de plusieurs démographes). Il est essentiel de raffermir notre identité et notre culture nationale. Sinon, il sera difficile de créer le sentiment d’appartenance et la solidarité permettant de mobiliser notre société autour d’idéaux collectifs. Et en cours de route, d’inspirer la fierté de ce que nous aurons fait ensemble.

La CAQ ne devrait-elle pas s’y engager davantage qu’elle ne le fait actuellement ?

Source: Un multiculturalisme montréalais?

Nicholas: Why the English election debate tripped the Quebec campaign

Good sophisticated and nuanced discussion of context. That being said, the pandering of all political leaders to Quebec’s sensitivities and calls for apologies miss the point that Bill 21 is intrinsically discriminatory hence the use of the notwithstanding clause:

As someone who has played an active role in the fight against ill-advised secularism bills as well as the push for the Quebec government to recognize systemic racism, I know very well how communicating publicly around those issues can feel like walking on eggshells. You’re out there, trying to speak your truth, while navigating accusations of “putting Quebecers on trial” (of course not) and “stigmatizing Francophones, like the British elites used to do” (do I look like a Red Coat to you?). Frankly, it’s exhausting.

Then, invariably, someone from the rest of the country walks in. They often have more resources than local voices, and feel like this positions them for ‘national leadership’ despite relative cluelessness in the local context. If they are not careful, their communication style can be the equivalent of bringing matches in a basement full of gas that they (alone) cannot smell. BIPOC advocates and their allies in Quebec are left to clear the mess, deal with the consequences, and fend even stronger accusations of “Quebec-bashing” (are we not Quebecers?) and “undermining Quebec values” (don’t we also get to decide what Quebec values are?).

Such interventions feel many things. Helpful is rarely one of them.

In the last weeks, many Canadians have felt frustrated to see federal leaders repeating they would not initiate a federal court challenge against Bill 21. Yet it rarely occurs to them that several progressive Quebeckers have advised Justin Trudeau, Jagmeet Singh and others not to, fearing it would only make the francophone social dialogue even more acrimonious—on top of being useless, given that people within Quebec are already challenging the law themselves. If a federal party was to take such an initiative, they would create a wedge amongst some of the strongest local voices against the bill. Most probably unhelpful. Again.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand why people across Canada would want to join the opposition movement against Bill 21 and would like the Quebec premier to acknowledge that systemic racism exists there like everywhere else. And it’s certainly not my place to tell anyone how to feel or what to do. Most people would agree, however, that taking your cues from people most-impacted by an issue and being curious of local context are good organizing principles.

So here’s some of that context.

***

In 2013, Parti Quebecois premier Pauline Marois put forward the Charter of Quebec values, the (failed) predecessor of now (in)famous Bill 21. On television, I watched commentators repeating that separation of church and state in Quebec was complete since the 60’s Quiet Revolution, and that religious minorities wearing ‘ostentatious’ religious signs were the main threat to that accomplishment now.

I would have laughed if it wasn’t so sad.

I was baptized in the Catholic faith a few weeks after birth. The baptism certificate was used to enroll me in the Quebec public school system. Only with the 1994 Civil Code reform did such church documents cease to hold legal value in the province. Since obtaining an official birth certificate from the state was often expensive, generations of  poor families have been enjoined to baptize their children when they came of school age. This way was often faster, and always free.

I grew up in the small town of Lévis, near Quebec City. In my (yes, public) elementary school, catechism was part of the curriculum. The parish’s priest used to come to class and explain to us what lent was. He also enrolled us into the church basement after-school activities, where we prepared for our first communion and confirmation sacraments.

Back then, Quebec secularism in a ‘région’ meant that the one kid who was not baptized and the set of twins who happened to be Anglicans  were allowed to leave the catechism class to attend a non-denominational ‘moral’ lesson while the rest of us sang about Jesus and prepared a nativity scene for the Christmas mass. Of course, children are curious. The three outliers have been subjected to many a ‘why aren’t you normal’ type of question during recesses.

I attended a private high school. When I say that in Ontario, it creates confusion. No, my family wasn’t rich. Private schools in Quebec are subsidized by the state. Why? The Catholic church used to basically control the Quebec education system. The Quiet Revolution created the public system as we know it today, but also funded the long-established denominational schools (of the French-Canadian elites), as a way to ease the transition. The measure was supposed to be temporary. It still holds today. The tuition fees are too high for the working class, yet low enough (much less than what Ontarian parents pay annually in childcare) that many middle-class families make sacrifices and put their kids through the selection process. The result is a two-tier education system, the most unequal in all the country.

How was it to attend a publicly-funded private school that had just crossed ‘convent’ from its official name? Unlike in the Ontario system, non-Catholic children were allowed to enroll—and gaze with us at the crucifix above the blackboard. The priest would still come to school. Want to volunteer in the community? Go see the pastoral officer. Some of my teachers were nuns. One even made us say our prayers before starting class. I’ve learned some basic Latin. Our sex-ed classes (also taught by a nun) were…interesting.

Lévis is quite socially conservative, but still. I’m a 33 year-old millennial. I’m describing the 2000’s here. Not the 1950’s.

Things are different now, it’s true. With the 2008 school reform, the generation of small-town kids that follows me doesn’t have to actively opt out of general Catholic education anymore.

Pauline Marois and others were not wrong to say, in 2013,  that the role of religion in Quebec changed drastically over the course of the 20th century. But there is still a wide array of attitudes towards faith today. There is an urban-rural and an intergenerational and a cross-cultural and a linguistic and an ideological divide, as well as several cultural and institutional leftovers from the former Catholic domination. In short, it’s messy.

***

Civil society opposition to the 2013 Charter of Quebec values, which I was a part of, was led by a collection of strange bedfellows. There were of course Sikh, Jewish and Muslim human rights activists, including hijab-wearing women who were afraid to be barred from certain professions. There were the small-l liberal lawyers, who did not necessarily see how systemic discrimination and racism could tarnish everyday life in pernicious ways, but were not about to let pass a legislation that flew in the face of established Charter rights. There were the life-long sovereigntists, who felt it was profoundly dangerous to associate the proposed bill with nationalist pride, and that on the long-run, such policies would kill their dream of a country. And there were people like myself, not a religious minority yet racialized, who knew first-hand how explosive public debates can make the prejudiced even bolder in their words and actions.

Indeed, hate crimes against religious minorities increased in the years that followed. Even though the Parti Quebecois had lost power before passing the bill, some the media commentary aired in the context of that debate led to many feeling confident in expressing that Islam was fundamentally incompatible with ‘our values’. The bill intended to ban religious symbols from certain jobs. Some misunderstood that as a license to harass visibly religious folks on the street. Attacks against mosques became banal. We all know where that led.

Now, the people who backed the Charter of Quebec values then and the Bill 21 afterwards are also a motley crew, to say the least. Yes, there are some overtly Islamophobic groups. Yet there are also those who were fighting for laicité long before the post-9/11 identity politics became fashionable, and who vehemently oppose the school “catho-secularism” I just exposed. Some of them go further, and push for laicité to mean the establishment of atheism as the new state religion (basically). They are part of a French intellectual tradition that goes back to the Enlightenment, and associates all faiths, including Christianity, with irrationality and dark ages.

Proponents of such bills also included some of the most prominent figures of Quebecois feminism. For example, the 2013 Janettes movement was led by Janette Bertrand, a former TV host who could remember the days when the clergy would force French-Canadian women to have more babies, and then some, until they would die in childbirth. She represented a generation that associated freedom from religion with women’s liberation. Of course, there is ethnocentrism in that view: why would one’s own experience of religion be the only valid one? But there is also deep, valid trauma there. Convincing Quebec’s mainstream feminist organizations (including Quebec solidaire) that French-Canadian trauma could not be equated with a universal experience took time. And a lot of tact. It was messy, and at times violent. Several intersectional feminists burnt out in the process. Yet thanks to their efforts, many in the Quebec institutional left have come to see things differently by now.

Most people in the rest of Canada also do not realize that if they were to debate Bill 21 in a mainstream Quebec media today, their vis-à-vis would probably be someone like Bloc Quebecois candidate Ensaf Haidar, whose husband is a political prisoner in Saudi Arabia. While the overwhelming majority of Muslims oppose the legislation, some new Quebeckers with personal experience of political violence in Muslim-majority countries have been active in the Bloc, the PQ and the CAQ, telling party members that political Islam is a threat in Canada and that they are right to support the bill. There again, understandable trauma, and blurred lines.

Those are some of the many reasons why it’s fundamentally a trap to oppose Bill 21 by speculating on intent (“All those who support it hate Muslims”) rather than insisting on impact (the legislation bans some Quebeckers from certain jobs, which is the textbook definition of employment discrimination).

During last week’s English-language debate, the moderator could have asked: “Mr. Blanchet, what do you say to Quebec Superior Court Marc-André Blanchard who has described Bill 21 as discriminatory? And if you believe it not to be discriminatory, why do you support the preemptive use of the notwithstanding clause?” If the question had been phrased as such, the English Debate Commission would not have become the main story in the Quebec campaign, overshadowing actual candidates.

***

Personally, I’d like to see the problematic articles of Bill 21 revoked, yet I also worry about the consequences of Canadians focusing the fight against, say, Islamophobia, on the National Assembly’s bill. I know that depictions of Islam as politically incompatible with Western values and of Muslims as infiltrated enemies have spread all across North America and Europe since 9/11. I worry that with the political climate created by the advance of the Taliban, we could see even more Trump-like country bans and Harper-style no-fly lists in the near future. I see that virtually all Western leaders speak as if their Geneva-convention duty to welcome Afghan refugees did not extend beyond the group they used to employ. I fear the proliferation of hate speech and attacks like the one we just witnessed in London, Ont.

During the campaign, I’ve watched Yves-François Blanchet, the only party leader who is not running to become prime minister, becoming the target of all questions relating to the treatment of religious minorities—leaving everyone else off the hook. I fail to understand how that serves the interests of anyone who cares about such issues.

Or am I missing something?

One thing is at least for sure. Both François Legault claiming he alone defines what Quebeckers stand for, and people from Ontario, B.C. or Alberta deriving from Legault’s speeches a general characterization of Quebec operate from the same premise. They reduce Quebec society to a rather conservative brand of nationalism. They speak as if millions of people of all walks of life in the province—especially younger generations—don’t exist. They paint homogeneous blocks, and completely erase the complexity and diversity of the place.

Those are not the most insightful takes, to say the least.

Quebec-ROC feuds like the one we’ve been going through this last week usually lead to minorities within Quebec being even less heard when they beg to differ from dominant narratives. Consequences could be felt long after the federal campaign is over. Is this really what we want?

Source: Why the English election debate tripped the Quebec campaign

Erna Paris: The leaders’ sycophantic acceptance of Quebec’s Bill 21 is dangerous for all of Canada

Sad but true:

In his famous 14th-century work The Inferno, the Italian poet Dante Alighieri created a special abode in hell for wily flatterers. He considered sycophancy a wrongdoing against the entire community – a deceit with the potential to alter society for the worse.

Dante might have nodded knowingly had he observed Canada’s leader-courtiers line up to pay obeisance to Bloc Quebec leader Yves-François Blanchet’s defense of the indefensible during last week’s federal election debates. The quid pro quo was each leader’s personal support for Bill 21, the Quebec legislation that prohibits the display of religious symbols by public-sector workers in the workplace, in return for potential electoral support in the province.

Although Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh have previously implied that as prime minister they might challenge Bill 21, they and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole have confirmed their support for a noxious law that discriminates against the rights of religious minorities. To back such legislation is not only hypocrisy on the part of Canadian leaders, but an affront to the fundamental commitments we espouse in this country. During the debate, it was striking to note that in the same breath as the main party leaders refused to challenge Quebec’s right to discriminate, they simultaneously mouthed their support for the Canadian shibboleths of human rights and equality.

Bill 21 is not innocuous. Some religions require a dress code as an element of orthodox worship. Think the Jewish kippathe Sikh turban and the Muslim headscarf, to name just three. This is frequently a religious obligation – which, if rejected, places the individual in contravention of his or her faith. While it is likely that everyone on the debate stage understood the true nature of the law, they succumbed to Mr. Blanchet’s assertation that they agreed, although sheepishly. Given that he would presumably be denied the right to work in Quebec’s public sector because he wears a turban, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s long-time acquiescence seems particularly ingratiating. “Quebec has the right to make its own determinations,” he has repeatedly said.

We are inured to degrees of pandering during election campaigns, but the collective compliance of our leaders with legal discrimination against minorities is galling. Because, as Dante understood centuries ago, there are larger consequences at play.

To understand this, let us consider that from the time of Confederation, nation-building has been the job description of Canadian governments. To keep this unlikely country from fracturing, Canadian leaders have practiced compromise, especially with Quebec, while our courts balanced civil rights using case-law precedents. This hasn’t been easy; for the first half of our history our policies were overtly racist, as the uncovering of residential school realities has laid bare. In the 1920s and 1930s, Canada’s immigration policies favoured British arrivals while denying entry to other “lesser” peoples.

These attitudes slowly changed in the years following the Second World War – culminating, in my view, with official multiculturalism, which confirmed that no group of Canadians was superior to another, and with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Like all social transformations, these remain controversial in many quarters, but they have become the foundation of contemporary Canada.

It is for this reason that the sycophantic acceptance of discriminatory legislation in Quebec is dangerous for Canada as a whole. When our leaders trade foundational principles for electoral purposes, they undermine the country at large.

The pushback has been so weak that the most egregious distortions of language have gone unremarked upon. During the debates, Mr. Blanchet said that Bill 21 cannot be described as discriminatory because it reflects the values of Quebec – perhaps the most specious argument for discrimination that we have heard since the pre-war years. When Catholics and Italians were undermined in an earlier Canada, was this acceptable because the “values” of Canadians were in favour? Was it acceptable for Indigenous children to be maltreated in Canada because those were the “values” of the day?

In 1995, three generations of my family travelled to Montreal to appeal to our Québécois co-citizens not to separate from our shared country, but what is even more harmful today is that Quebec no longer has to leave. By consenting to an injurious law, our federal leaders have joined the rest of Canada to that province. In doing so, they separate usfrom the underlying vision of equality of opportunity and the protection of minorities that today characterizes this country.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-leaders-sycophantic-acceptance-of-quebecs-bill-21-is-dangerous-for/

Freeman: Quebec Premier François Legault is our most dangerous politician

Valid concerns:

I’ve long believed that Quebec Premier François Legault was the most dangerous politician in Canada, and that his right-wing Quebec nationalism is as serious a threat to the future of the country as René Lévesque’s Parti Québécois (PQ) was in the 1970s and 1980s.

Because Legault doesn’t explicitly urge independence for Quebec, Canadians, including federal politicians, have been lulled into thinking that his government isn’t a threat to the country’s future.

Yet there are no signs that Legault, a one-time PQ minister, has ever dropped his separatist views. Rather, he’s parked them away for short-term electoral purposes, and instead pursued a wildly successful policy of destroying Canadian federalism and the idea of Canada from within.

He’s convinced Quebecers that the National Assembly is the only legitimate representative voice of Quebec voters, and has worked to transform the federal government into a servant of the Quebec state. According to Legault, Ottawa has two purposes: to transfer powers to Quebec, or to hand it unlimited amounts of cash, with no strings attached. If you can get both at once, even better.

Legault has also done immense damage to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as Quebec’s own Human Rights Charter, by pushing through legislation that clearly discriminates against residents of Quebec simply because of their religious beliefs. And in his proposed draconian changes to the province’s language laws, he will further undermine the historic rights of Quebec’s English-speaking minority.

Rather than defend these minorities, federal politicians, led by Justin Trudeau, have quivered and surrendered to Legault’s attacks on fundamental Canadian values. Trudeau has promised to eviscerate the Official Languages Act by turning it into an act to promote French language, rather than to protect linguistic minorities equally, wherever they live. And he’s only weakly challenged Bill C-21, the despicable law against religious minorities.

With Legault’s remarkable outburst on Thursday — which included telling Quebecers whom to vote for on Sept. 20, so as to elect a Conservative minority government — he’s pursuing his policy of undermining the federal government and making it accede to his every demand.

In his statement, Legault instructed Quebec nationalists not to vote for the Liberals, NDP, or the Greens, who he claimed would give Quebec less autonomy. “I am a nationalist,” he said. “I want Quebec to be more autonomous.” When Legault says “autonomy,” we all know what that means. For him, it’s all about eroding federalism until it disappears.

He then added that Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives were a lesser evil, because O’Toole would give Legault more of what he wants. He likes O’Toole’s “approach,” and says it would be easier to negotiate with him. In other words, he considers O’Toole a potential useful idiot.

But Legault doesn’t like the fact that O’Toole would rip up the Liberal daycare policy, depriving Quebec of its $6-billion payout under the deal. Who knows? Maybe O’Toole is so desperate, he’ll now promise that cash to Legault, as well. The Conservative leader has already promised to hand over administration of federal income tax to Quebec, a crazy idea that will further erode federal sovereignty in a key area.

Legault also likes O’Toole because he’s promised to finance 40 per cent of the costs of a Quebec City tunnel, a Legault boondoggle Ottawa has no business being involved in.

As for Trudeau, he looks like a dupe. The daycare deal shows how Legault has taken the naive Trudeau to the cleaners and gets zero credit for the operation. Instead of devising a well-thought-out federal daycare plan and asking that all provinces adhere to certain principles to be part of it, Trudeau claimed that the flawed Quebec program was perfect and should be copied by all provinces. And instead of insisting that Quebec correct the flaws in that program, he opened his cheque book to Legault, effectively paying him for something he was doing in the first place.

Trudeau has shown the same kind of spineless approach to defending religious and language minorities in Quebec, figuring that accommodation was always better than confrontation. His father never operated under those illusions when dealing with Quebec separatists, and still managed to get elected. But Pierre Trudeau had principles.

Will Quebec voters follow Papa Legault and do what he says on Sept. 20? Hard to say. It’s unlikely they’ll vote in droves for O’Toole, but this could be the boost the Bloc Québécois has been looking for. Without picking up extra seats in Quebec, Trudeau might find that his quest for even a minority government has become more difficult.

But what about voters in the rest of the country? If I were Erin O’Toole, I’d be worried. If Legault thinks the Conservatives are an easy mark, English Canadians might figure they’re better off sticking with the Liberals. Trudeau might be squishy when it comes to Legault, but at least he doesn’t have the covert blessing of a man who would destroy Canada.

Source: Quebec Premier François Legault is our most dangerous politician

Legault lays out Quebec’s demands, criticizes ‘centralist’ Liberal and NDP campaigns

Of note, the call for Quebec to have responsibility for family class immigration:

Quebec Premier François Legault weighed into the federal election campaign on Thursday, making health care and immigration his priorities and criticizing the Liberal and NDP platforms as out of step with nationalists in the province…

Immigration excerpt

Mr. Legault said health care and immigration reform are the two “crucial” issues on a list of requests he laid out in a letter to all federal parties. He said he’s calling on federal leaders to support giving Quebec control over the family reunification category of immigration so it can impose language requirements.

“We need to remember that Quebec is an island of francophones in a sea of anglophones in North America. It’s math. If new immigrants don’t integrate, don’t learn French, well then, it’s the future of the French language, the future of our nation, that is at stake,” he said.

Quebec is a key battleground for all federal parties as it accounts for nearly a quarter of the 338 seats in the House of Commons. Quebec voters have also been the source of dramatic swings in party support in recent federal campaigns, adding a sense of unpredictability to how the province may vote on Sept. 20.

The Liberals won 35 of the province’s 78 seats in 2019, followed by 32 seats for the Bloc Québécois, 10 for the Conservatives and one for the NDP. Several candidates won by the slimmest of margins, including Liberal cabinet ministers Jean-Yves Duclos in a Quebec City area riding and Diane Lebouthillier in Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

….

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-legault-lays-out-quebecs-demands-criticizes-centralist-liberal-and-ndp/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Morning%20Update&utm_content=2021-8-27_6&utm_term=Morning%20Update:%20Canada%20ends%20Kabul%20rescue%20flights,%20texts%20those%20left%20behind%20to%20stay%20indoors&utm_campaign=newsletter&cu_id=%2BTx9qGuxCF9REU6kNldjGJtpVUGIVB3Y