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The Adventures of Diva Rachel: How do you solve a problem like Maryam Monsef?

Maryam Monsef’s “Cinderella story”, from refugee to Canadian Member of Parliament, is the kind of mythical fairytale that reinforces Canadians’ belief their nation is not only welcoming to immigrants, but offers them equal opportunity to ascend to the highest offices of the land.

Even U.S. President Obama made reference to it when he . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: How do you solve a problem like Maryam Monsef?

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Marine Le Pen et les pleutres du Québec

Quand Radio-Canada convoque Marine Le Pen à un tête-à-tête télévisé, les yeux du Québec sont rivés sur l’entretien. Quelle que soit votre opinion sur «l’immigration massive», l’intégration à reculons ou bien le rêve (ou le cau… . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Marine Le Pen et les pleutres du Québec

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Marine Le Pen et les pleutres du Québec

Quand Radio-Canada convoque Marine Le Pen à un tête-à-tête télévisé, les yeux du Québec sont rivés sur l’entretien. Quelle que soit votre opinion sur «l’immigration massive», l’intégration à reculons ou le rêve (ou le cauchemar?) du multiculturalisme utopiste, Marine Le Pen vous offre un franc parlé sur un sujet à la fois ‘sensible’ et litigieux.  Le multiculturalisme et l’immigrantion font autant parler en Europe (Suède, Allemagne, Angleterre, Italie, Danemark, Belgique, etc.) qu’en Amérique du Nord. Le Québec, progressiste par excellence, est vétéran du sujet (la Commission Bouchard-Taylor 2007, la Charte des Valeurs 2013). Pourtant, les entrevues québécoises avec Mme Le Pen laissaient à désirer.

Marine Le Pen, présidente du Front national(FN) depuis 2011, mène le parti de droite – certains diront «d’extrême droite» – qu’a fondé son père. Le Pen 2.0 est à la fois plus raffinée et plus douce que son géniteur. Marine Le Pen, en “campagne de dédiabolisation” depuis son ascension à la tête du FN, ne préconise pas le racisme, ni la xénophobie à découvert. Elle est bien plus habile que ça.

Le Pen est semblablement venue au Canada pour avancer le dialogue binational et symétrique sur l’immigration, l’économie, la culture et leurs intersections souvent embrouillées. C’est un dialogue quasi-quotidien dans les cuisines, sur les campus, et dans les sous-sols d’église et de mosquée à travers le Québec:

  • Comment le Québec accueille-t-il les immigrants – pas dans l’illusion chimérique reprise par l’establishment toujours pressé d’étouffer de clore le débat, mais dans les faits?
  • Est-ce que et comment les immigrants s’intègrent-t-ils: Quebec vs France?
  • L’intégration des étrangers nouveaux arrivants et la «mosaïque multiculturelle» sont-ils contradictoires, voire incompatibles?
  • L’accès à l’emploi étant le véhiclue d’intégration par excellence, comment le nativisme (soit la discrimination basée sur le lieu de naissance) et la xénophobie se manifestent-t-ils dans l’octroi des emplois en France, au Québec et dans le Rest of Canada?
  • Comment le Canada, avare de fécondité domestique, peut-il foisonner son développement sans assimiler la main d’œuvre nécessaire à son épanouissement économique?
  • Et surtout, comment le dynamiques socioculturelle et économique du Québec se comparent-t-elles à celles de la mère patrie? Avons-nous des leçons à apprendre de l’ancien colonisateur gaulois ou de Madame Le Pen elle-même?
  • Enfin, les québécois confondent-ils la confrontation avec Marine Le Pen et la confrontation de la xénophobie made-in-Québec?

Voilà un survol des questions qui auraient dû animer un dialogue sobre et intelligent entre Marine Le Pen et les élites médiatiques du Québec.

Malheureusement, une peur bleue paralyse les pleutres: à peu près personne n’a eu la sagesse d’aborder Mme LePen avec des statistiques et des constatations factuelles quand à l’apport de l’immigrationau sein de la Belle Province. En absence de débat public, l’ignorance généralisée se propage comme un cancer. Les médias du QC ont tous manqué à leur devoir d’éclairer les ignares avec les faits empiriques et de mettre un terme aux faussetés sur les effets négatifs (et positifs) de l’immigration. On dirait parfois que les journalistes eux mêmes ne maîtrisent pas le dossier: Anne-Marie Dussault semble faire l’amalgame entre nativisme et racisme (minute 16:00). Étonnamment, c’est Le Pen qui tente de la corriger! Pire encore: l’absence de dialogue cède la place aux mythes, aux mensonges et à l’imaginaire malicieux des démagogues qui occupent à eux seuls le débat public.

La symétrie se dessine
Il n’y a pas si longtemps que les politiciens fédéraux et provinciaux envisageaient des programmes d’immigration qui voilaient à peine les hégémonies ethnique et raciale qui, certes,se rapprochent de celle de Mme Le Pen et qui résument la pensée de milliers de citoyens canadiens:

Décidément, le malaise par rapport à l’immigration et les communautés culturelles précède de loin la visite de Marine Le Pen.

Les politiciens ont beau casser du sucre sur le dos de Mme Le Pen, mais elle dit parfois tout haut ce qu’ils disent en sourdine laissent échapper avant de ‘clarifier leur propos‘ xénophobes. En la chassant, plusieurs se félicitent d’avoir anéanti l’intolérance. Le Pen nous a quittés mais la xénophobie généralisée est toujours là.

The adventures of a Franco Ontarian Viz Min Woman in Ottawa.

. . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Marine Le Pen et les pleutres du Québec

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Louis Morissette: marabout à cause des Moustiques©

Voilà que le mari à Véro, Louis Morissette, se vide le coeur en trois temps: dans la revue nommée pour sa célèbre conjointe, aux ondes de Radio-Canada, et dans le grand journal.

C’est à cette échelle-là que l’homme, à qui sont accordées toutes les tribunes officielles, a le privilege de pleurnicher.

moustique«…c’est l’attaque des moustiques qui piquent, picossent et bourdonnent jusqu’à te rendre fou au milieu de la nuit.»
~Louis Morissette, dans le dernier numéro du magazine Véro 

Le pauvre plaignant nous livre sa jérémiade: ses patrons l’ont condamné à embaucher un noir. (!)
Vite! Passez la boîte de Kleenex!

C’t’à cause des Moustiques© sur Twitter que Monsieur le producteur de télé-dérision doit rompre l’uniformité raciale qui guette l’antenne du diffuseur public.

Voilà que la diversité entre au Bye-Bye par la porte d’en arrière, ainsi brisant l’omniprésence de visages de blancs beiges et sans saveur multiculturelle.

«Notre télé est blanche comme les chemises de l’archiduchesse, à quelques exceptions près.»
~Stéphane Morneau dans le Métro, Sept. 2015.

APRÈS MOI, LE DÉLUGE!
«Quelle sera la prochaine étape?» poursuit Morissette, semblablement marabout. «Nous devrons avoir un Noir, un blond, une Autochtone, une femme ronde, une personne handicapée, un sexagénaire…?»

Eh, oui. La diversité. Le reflet d’une réelle société. Un véritable cauchemar, n’est-ce pas?

Faut-il s’interroger sur un fantasme dans lequel la créativité qui dépend strictement d’un casting homogène. Dans quel Québec sommes-nous?

«Le petit écran québécois met inlassablement en scène du bon blanc de souche 100% approuvé par le conseil municipal de Hérouxville. »
~Pascal Henrard dans Urbania, janvier 2014.

Et quel est le Québec d’un avenir prometteur?

«Nous avons un bassin d’acteurs issus de la diversité. Je peux bien les proposer à tout le monde, mais si personne n’en veut…»
~Sophie Prégent, présidente de l’Union des artistes (UDA), janvier 2015.

Cet aveu de discrimination positive discrimination à découvert assurera l’hégémonie de souche québécoise, laquelle freine le progrès du Québec. Celle qu’on constate au Prix Gémaux, aux Jutrachez Radio-Canada, et j’en passe. C’est cette lâcheté artistique et culturelle que dénoncent inlassablement ces fameuses Moustiques©.

N’en déplaise à ceux qui narguent la dignité humaine, qui méprisent le multiculturalisme, qui pleurent l’absence du blackface à la télévision québécoise : les Moustiques© s’abreuvent allègrement de vos larmes.

Allez s’y: continuez à brailler.

{Signé}
Les Moustiques©

hastag: #Moustiques

The adventures of a Franco Ontarian Viz Min Woman in Ottawa.

. . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Louis Morissette: marabout à cause des Moustiques©

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Panda PM and the Pandering Patrician #elxn42

pa·tri·cian

n.

1. A person of refined upbringing.

2. A member of an aristocracy; an aristocrat.

PM Stephen Harper got a jump-start on his electoral promise to increase the country’s panda population. Canada added not one but two pandas to its cubs-in-captivity collection this week.

“Canadians will have the opportunity for even more panda sightings in both Toronto and Calgary.”
– Prime Minister Harper, September 2015.

No other PM in Canadian history has paid so much attention to these mammals. In 2013, PM Harper hinted at his political prioritization pyramid when he opted to pose with a pair of pandas instead of meeting Aboriginal youth leaders. The Nishiyuu Journey from Northern Quebec to Ottawa was started by teenager David Kawapit Jr. and six other Whapmagoostui residents. By the end of their 1,600 km trek to Parliament Hill, the group had grown to 270. The prime-ministerial snub was summarized by Vice News as: “Stephen Harper Likes Pandas More than Idle No More“.

In general, the electorate can decipher a party leader’s priorities by observing their conspicuous conduct and strategic silences more so than their words. Actions matter the most. Silences speak volumes. And talk is cheap.
Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau showed his true colours when he honoured a commitment to Vancouver’s Gay Pride Parade over the all-important first electoral news cycle. When the writ dropped in August, Trudeau was noticeably absent from the airwaves — on a cross-country flight to attend the celebration of British Columbia’s LGBT community.

“I made a promise to the half a million British Columbians who will be celebrating Pride this afternoon, celebrating Canada’s diversity.” Trudeau explained.

One month after the writ drop, Trudeau gave lip service to Syrian refugees by suggesting Canada accept 25,000 of them ‘immediately’. Weeks later, Trudeau upped the ante: he said he’d consider airlifting Syrian refugees to fulfill his promise by January 2016. Trudeau later qualified Canada’s current refugee policy as “disgusting”.

By mid-campaign, both the Liberals and Tom Mulcair’s NDP argued against placing a ban on the niqab at citizenship ceremonies. Mr. Mulcair argued that the choice to wear this religious garb — a veil which covers the whole face, save the eyes – belongs to the individual. Trudeau, too, defended the pair of Muslim women who sought to keep themselves covered at the moment they ascend to Canadian citizenship. What better way to project adherence to women’s issues than to defend a woman’s right to choose? The absence of women’s chief grievances from the general discourse might be more telling.

Last Spring, the Conservative government made changes to the Citizenship Act, which included expanding the grounds for the revocation of citizenship. Naturally, the legislation applies to convicted terrorists, such as the Toronto 18. (They plotted to bomb downtown Toronto). During the electoral writ, several convicted criminals received federal notice that their citizenship would be revoked. In an atypical case, a Canadian-born convict could also lose his citizenship.

Mr. Trudeau jumped to the convicted terrorists’ defense when they were threatened with deportation.

“[…] The Liberal Party believes that terrorists should get to keep their Canadian citizenship,” Trudeau said. “Because I do. And I’m willing to take on anyone who disagrees with that.”

Trudeau and his fans liberal supporters love to brandish the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when they mine minority voting blocs defend Canadian values. To Liberals, the Charter is a fetish point of reference for upholding LGBT Rainbow Rights, protecting religious prerogatives or defending convicted criminals.

All the grandstanding about minority rights fades to radio silence for one demographic: Justin Trudeau defended the Charter rights of convicted terrorists ahead of innocent Afro-Canadians.

Trudeau’s Liberals recruited the champion of carding, former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, to represent the party in Scarborough, ON. The controversial police practice of ‘randomly’ stopping dark-skinned citizens who are not crime suspects has come under scrutiny in around the country. First Nations leaders have also decried the racist practice. Trudeau’s tacit endorsement of this Charter violation flies in the face of the ‘Just Society‘ his famous father stood for. In the dying days of the electoral campaign, some erudite liberal-minded leaders have read Trudeau’s deafening silence as a betrayal.

Much has been said of ‘weapons of mass distraction‘ this election cycle. The ‘Panda PM’ may have brought forth an array of red herrings to discourage undesired discourse, but there isn’t a niqab large enough to conceal the Liberal Party’s indifference towards the lives of those most vulnerable to civil rights abuses.

The adventures of a Franco Ontarian Viz Min Woman in Ottawa.

. . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Panda PM and the Pandering Patrician #elxn42

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Panda PM and the Pandering Patrician #elxn42

pa·tri·cian

n.

1. A person of refined upbringing.

2. A member of an aristocracy; an aristocrat.

PM Stephen Harper got a jump-start on his electoral promise to increase the country’s panda population. Canada added not one but two pandas to its cubs-in-captivity collection this week.

“Canadians will have the opportunity for even more . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Panda PM and the Pandering Patrician #elxn42

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Harper hacks federal election cycle and I think it’s great!

This article was published in the Huffington Post on August 2 2015.”An election is no time to discuss serious issues.”That is how a reporter summarized then-Prime Minister Kim Campbell’s poorly-received pontification about the relatively short writ of … . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Harper hacks federal election cycle and I think it’s great!

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Harper hacks federal election cycle and I think it’s great!

“An election is no time to discuss serious issues.”

That is how a reporter summarized then-Prime Minister Kim Campbell‘s poorly-received pontification about the relatively short writ of Canadian elections. The Right Honourable PM Campbell’s observation was widely derided in 1993, but many political observers later reconsidered their knee-jerk dismissal of Campbell’s quip – most . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Harper hacks federal election cycle and I think it’s great!

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Don’t Break Out The Bubbly! Carding Continues Across Canada :-(

In Ontario (and elsewhere in Canada), race has been a factor in determining who rightfully belongs here, and who is, by default, an intruder to be wary of. Betraying Canada’s mantra of multiculturalism, a constant cloud of suspicion follows dark-skinned Canadian citizens every day. Whether they are walking while Black, driving while Black, flying while Black, banking while Black, bussing while black… People who look Aboriginal or Arab tell similar stories of being presumed risky guilty before being proven innocent.

All over Canada (not just in Toronto), police regularly stop law-abiding citizens in the hopes of finding a needle in a haystack gathering evidence or intelligence to supposedly reduce crime. There is no evidence to support this race-based targeting actually works, but the carding custom continues.

Carding is the practice by which law enforcement systematically stop, interrogate and document (mostly) dark-skinned citizens who are committing no crime and display no evidence of having committed a crime.

They coined the practice “stop-and-frisk” in the USA. Whatever the terminology employed, it’s called “racism”.

Notably, Ontario’s “activist” Premier Kathleen Wynne has sidestepped the issue. Wynne’s awkward silence follows a pattern of favouring her fetish demographics. Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau did one better: his cronies recruited former Toronto Police Chief and carding defender Bill Blair to run in the upcoming federal election. It will take tornado of spin for the “multiculturalism-inventing” Liberals to square that circle: Trudeau has been travelling the country while waving a banner of “fairness.”

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

~Martin Luther King, Jr.

One wonders when these elected leaders will frog-leap onto the right side of history.

Bravely breaking his counterparts’ deafening silence, deputy leader of the Ontario NDP Jagmeet Sing stood up and clearly verbalized his quest to quash carding, province-wide.

At first, former Progressive Conservative party leader and current Toronto Mayor John Tory didn’t seem bothered by bigotry behind the badge. In a stunning about-face enlightened evolution, Mayor Tory announced the end of carding in his city this week. As the congratulatory backslapping spread across the Center of the Universe Hogtown, the rest of the province and the rest of the country is left eating dust. For us, carding carries on.

Never put your hands up until the puck’s in the net and the goal light is on. Let’s see what happens in concrete terms with #carding #tps

— Anthony Morgan (@AnthonyNMorgan) June 7, 2015

Journalist Desmond Cole’s courageous and personal account of unrelenting and unwarranted police interrogations describes incidents in St. Catharines and Kingston. Neither are covered by this week’s partial victory.

THE DOMINO EFFECT

It was in 1956 that Ontario became the first province to enforce the Fairness Accommodation Practices Act, thus granting new equality rights to its Black and Asian residents. For the first time in Canadian history, racial equality was declared a civil right, and “racial discrimination in was confirmed as illegal“. Following Ontario’s lead, legislative civil rights flowed outward from coast to coast.

Today, since our provincial leaders are not willing to defend the most vulnerable citizens and uphold the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, individuals have to band together to force the issue. Just as Rosa Parks Bromley Armstrong and Ruth Lor served as the test cases for racial equality 50 years ago, Rohan Roberts has stepped up to the plate to challenge carding in Ontario. In what could be a landmark case, Roberts filed Human Rights complaint against Toronto Police. The defendants have access to a bottomless till of taxpayer dollars to fund their retort. Roberts is a working class guy. In the pursuit of justice writ large, Mr. Roberts will sacrifice himself and his financial security in a bid to realign law enforcement with the values we hold dear. (I’ve launched a crowdfunding drive to help defray his legal bills.)

To eradicate carding in Canada, this case must be heard in the highest courts. Judges must remind all citizens, including mayors, premiers and prime-ministerial hopefuls that equality and fairness are more than filatures for flowery speeches. Mayor John Tory was pulled, prodded into doing the right thing. The first domino has fallen. But we’ve not yet reached the promise land.

The adventures of a Franco Ontarian Viz Min Woman in Ottawa.

. . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Don’t Break Out The Bubbly! Carding Continues Across Canada 🙁

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Don’t Break Out The Bubbly! Carding Continues Across Canada :-(

In Ontario (and elsewhere in Canada), race has been a factor in determining who rightfully belongs here, and who is, by default, an intruder to be wary of. Betraying Canada’s mantra of multiculturalism, a constant cloud of suspicion follows dark-skinned Canadian citizens every day. Whether they are walking while Black, driving while Black, flying while . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Don’t Break Out The Bubbly! Carding Continues Across Canada 🙁

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: What, to the Visible Minority, is Labour Day? #CanLab #LabourDay

You wouldn’t know it from the tone of discourse today, but immigrants and foreign workers have been part of the Canadian labour force since Confederation. Then, much as now, they were necessary to ensure Canada’s economic survival. Nevertheless, 19th century immigrant workers were viewed with suspicion and contempt, assigned the most dangerous tasks and forced to work longer hours for significantly less pay than their white co-workers, whether Canadian-born or not. Chinese-Canadians are particularly sensitive to this historical blemish.

A Chinese work gang for the Great Northern Railway, circa 1909
Source: Beyond the golden mountain : Chinese cultural traditions in Canada
Ban Seng Hoe © Public Domain

STANLEY’s STATEMENT
The construction of the Intercolonial Railway was so central that it was written into the Constitution Act of 1867. As historian George Stanley wrote in The Canadians: “Bonds of steel as well as of sentiment were needed to hold the new Confederation together. Without railways there would be and could be no Canada.” And without imported Chinese labourers, there would be no railway.

In the days of yore, race rather than ability was the determining factor in wages. Thus, Chinese workers were paid half of the white man’s wages. There was no union to protect workers’ rights or to advocate for fair wages.

The burgeoning Canadian labour movement of the early 20th century held much promise for Canada’s racial minority workers. Sadly, their participation was less than welcome, their concerns discounted, and their representation within the movement limited.

THE TWO BROTHERHOODS
By the 1920s, unions had formed in the rail business, thus improving the lives of workers. Even so, the low-waged sleeping car porter jobs, exclusively reserved for black men, fell outside the union’s umbrella.

A porter was subject to humiliation by being called “Boy” or “o’George” in reference to George Pullman, who invented the sleeping car. Although many porters were educated immigrants, they cleaned toilets, changed bed linens, served food and drink to the travelling Canadian public. They worked up to 72 hour shifts, allowed to sleep as little as three hours a night — without a proper bed.

Sleeping Car Porters. source

The porters’ efforts to join the existing rail workers union (Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Transport and General Workers) were thwarted — the white man’s union wasn’t interested in growing their numbers and widening its reach if it meant including people of colour. When the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters‘ Canadian branch was finally formed in 1945, working conditions improved. So much so that, by the 1960s, white Canadians took on these once-undesirable jobs.

“Many passengers were shocked to see white porters coming on at Winnipeg to take the transcontinental trains through to Vancouver. Things began to change for the better as Canada did not have enough black men to pigeonhole anymore.”

WORKERS’ CURRENT CHALLENGES
These days, Canadian immigrants and racial minorities continue to face labour market challenges. Particularly troubling is the inexplicably high incidence of un- and under-employment among minorities. Whether they face discrimination in their job search or career progression, one would imagine these to be issues of great concern for the Canadian Labour movement. Sadly, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), an umbrella organization of unions, claims to advocate on behalf of all working people. They also aspire to develop partnerships with the community. “Our goals are simple — what we wish for ourselves we desire for all.”

That includes equality rights and a respect for basic human rights. “We believe that unions are a positive force for democratic social change — and that by working together we can improve Canada for everyone.”

PRETTY PICTURES
In the run-up to Labour Day, the CLC rolled out its “Union Advantage 2014” campaign. The campaign singled out two target demographics: young workers under 25 and women. Curiously, the release ignores the two groups most likely to encounter challenges finding employment and progressing in their careers — immigrants and visible minorities.

In its defense, the Labour movement has made strides: The federal Public Service made an effort, though unsuccessful. Canada’s largest private sector union, Unifor, as well as the CLC itself recently elected visible minorities to their top positions. CLC even plasters its website with pictures of racial minorities.



Despite mentioning neither immigrants nor racial minorities in its “Union Advantage” report, half the banner photos promoting it are of racial minority young men.


Alas, pretty pictures of diversity are almost as effective as ghost “Action Plans.”

One of the few research papers that examined immigrant and racial minority representation among Canadian unions singled out the labour organisations themselves as a possible cause for the poor outcome.

“The precise fraction of visible ethnic minorities was unknown in all the unions. Two unions estimated it in the range of 15 to 25 percent…Unions that have yet to implement policies and programs to increase minority participation and to improve the status of visible minorities within their unions have all generated action plans to achieve this goal.”
source: Immigration, Race, and Labor: Unionization and Wages in the Canadian Labor Market (2004)

Despite assurances made to the researchers, none of the major Canadian labour unions today publicly disclose stats on visible minority representation within their ranks. CLC makes no mention of labour market challenges facing immigrants and racial minorities in its annual report, let alone its effort at addressing diversity deficits both internally and among its affiliated organizations.

While stats from the unions themselves aren’t available, a look at the think tanks they’re affiliated with illustrates the demographic disconnect. The Broadbent Institute boasts zero racial minorities on either its Boards of Directors or among its staff. Ditto for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives‘ national office staff. Even their national conferences are glaringly monochromatic.

Every Labour Day, Canadians are called upon to “thank a union” for their good fortune. Regrettably, with perennial under-representation of minorities and their legitimate grievances, the Labour Movement gives Canada’s racial minorities little to be thankful for.

The adventures of a Franco Ontarian Viz Min Woman in Ottawa.

. . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: What, to the Visible Minority, is Labour Day? #CanLab #LabourDay

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Habs and the Have-Nots: Why Subban Should Leave Canada

There was a time when Montrealers could overlook superficial and linguistic differences to rally around a groundbreaking sporting prodigy. Despite being Black, Anglophone and a foreigner, Jackie Robinson was, by all accounts, welcomed in Canada’s then-largest city in 1946. Robinson played a single season with the Brooklyn Dodgers‘ farm team in La Métropole. He led . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Habs and the Have-Nots: Why Subban Should Leave Canada

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Habs and the Have-Nots: Why Subban Should Leave Canada

Published in the HuffPo here.

There was a time when Montrealers could overlook superficial and linguistic differences to rally around a groundbreaking sporting prodigy. Despite being Black, Anglophone and a foreigner, Jackie Robinson was, by all accounts, welcomed in Canada’s then-largest city in 1946. Robinson played a single season with the Brooklyn Dodgers‘ farm team in La Métropole. He led The Montreal Royals to the Little World Series. More importantly, Robinson proved that there could be a willing white audience for a racially integrated baseball team. It was a stepping stone towards the MLB, where Robinson would break the colour line. The first African-American MLB player faced angry, intolerant crowds and colleagues alike.

But not in Canada.

In fact, it was quite the opposite. “I experienced no racism here. […] The French-Canadian people welcomed us with open arms,” said Robinson.

It’s been documented that the Montreal fans would pay close attention to any ear-to-the-ground or press reports of racism or mistreatment Robinson and the Royals received when playing on the road. Fans of the Royals would voice their displeasure when that city’s team visited Delorimier Stadium. [source: CBC]


That was then. This is now.

There’s another Black, Anglophone sports prodigy in Montreal these days. P.K. Subban has electrified audiences, opened up a new stream of hockey fans, and brought the Montreal Canadians to contention in the playoffs.
But the Habs aren’t bending over backwards to sign a Norris-trophy alum. In a familiar refrain, the Subbanator has the talent on which a winning team can be built for years to come, but, as Quebec sport writer Jeremy Filosa put it in 2013, there’s a physical trait that can’t be overlooked:


“Voilà que le Tricolore se retrouve aujourd’hui avec, dans ses rangs, peut-être le meilleur défenseur de la planète et il est noir. Pas un peu noir, il est très noir…”


Liberal translation:

“Now the Habs find themselves with, in their ranks, perhaps the best defenceman in the planet and he is black. Not just a little bit black, he is very dark-skinned black…”


And PK’s pigmentation has drawn the ire of many, though most, like Don Cherry, are apt at masking their racial anxiety behind Tea Party-like euphemisms and innuendo.

PK Subban has been chided and disrespected throughout his professional career: from the blackface-donning fans, to bigot dismissive coaches, and even teammates have called him out in public. The graceful player has suffered in silence, thus co-opting the NHL’s steadfast refusal to take any meaningful action on the league’s interminable racial inquietude.



Broadcaster and Hockey Night In Canada co-host Kevin Weekes took to twitter to express his frustration on Subban’s dragging contract negotiations.

The mere fact that a player/person of his calibre has to be in this contract with the @CanadiensMTL when he’s proven so much is despicable.
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) July 30, 2014


Weekes, who was a professional hockey player and shares Subban’s Caribbean extraction, believes there is trickery behind the scenes.

@BostonBruins28 Point being.In spite of the accomplishments,they keep moving the goal line.Not to mention icetime,PP,benchings,etc.
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) July 30, 2014

FACING THE FACTS
Montreal is not the place where an ebony player like Subban can thrive. In a town where blackface is still considered acceptableeven on the public broadcaster’s airwaves, a dark-skinned prodigy in the “white man’s game” just can’t get the respect nor the remuneration he’s earned.


Subban has the pedigree, the poise, and the personality to be a transcending figure à la Michael Jordan. He speaks proper English. He comes from a picture-perfect traditional family. He’s never been in trouble with the law. A marketing dream… in the U.S.A. If the NHL played its cards right, Subban’s forthcoming success could cement hockey’s popularity among its least-represented groups, thus springboard towards a new generation of diverse players and fans.

FLYING THE COOP
The social experiment of a hockey prodigy with dark chocolate skin in Canada has lasted long enough. Montreal is no longer the bastion on racial progress it once was. PK Subban should thank the Habs for the stepping stone years and move on to more culturally mature and inclusive locales.

Los Angeles was the first city to welcome a black NFL player in 1946. California’s franchises have taken pride in seeking out talent from non-traditional sources, shoring up support from both the Asians and Latino communities. New York hosted the first black NBA player in the 50s and the city continues to set the trend for the rest of the nation. 


Both U.S. coasts would serve as ideal launch pads for the second phase of Subban’s career. They can promise something Montreal can
‘t —  unencumbered race-transcending support.
The adventures of a Franco Ontarian Viz Min Woman in Ottawa.

. . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Habs and the Have-Nots: Why Subban Should Leave Canada

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Home of the Habs: For Whites Only?

The Hobby Lobby case rules that Corporations can impose their restrictive values on others. What if the corporation is racist?

As a Verdun resident, Fred Christie follows the Habs, as do a legion of other Quebeckers. The Montrealer is even a proud season-ticket holder.

Accompanied by two friends, Mr. Christie enters the tavern . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Home of the Habs: For Whites Only?

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Home of the Habs: For Whites Only?

This blogpost was published in the HuffPost under the title:

This Canadian Stood Up to Racism Before Rosa Parks

The Hobby Lobby case rules that Corporations can impose their restrictive values on others. What if the corporation is racist?

As a Verdun resident, Fred Christie follows the Habs, as do a legion of other Quebeckers. The Montrealer is even a proud season-ticket holder.

Accompanied by two friends, Mr. Christie enters the tavern at the Canadiens‘ hockey area, plunks down some cash and orders a few beers. The bartender refuses to serve him. The assistant manager then explains to his would-be customers that the establishment extends no courtesy to Negroes.

It is 1936. July 11th 1936.

The protagonist had resided in the Métropole for over 20 years. Mr. Christie converted to the cult of ice hockey even if the NHL then bars all coloured players. Although Mr. Christie, a Jamaican immigrant, integrated himself into Canadian culture and acclimatized himself to his adopted country, he was not treated like other customers.

2014-07-11-We_serve_whites_only

Long before Canada’s “multiculturalism mantra,” this was an everyday scenario played out in Toronto, Calgary, Nova Scotia… just about everywhere in the Great “White” North. Aboriginals, Asians and Africans-descendants suffered overt discrimination at will.

During the hostility at le Forum de Montréal‘s tavern, Mr. Christie tried to explain to the Manager that this race-based rule was unfair. His pleas fell on deaf ears. Mr. Christie then called the police. They only served to add insult to injury. Humiliated, Fred and his friends left the tavern thirst unquenched and empty-handed. Like most Afro-Canadians in Montreal, Mr. Christie knew which shops and theatres avoid, which jobs were denied to him, and which neighbourhoods were forbidden to “Negroes”. After all, the city was then a sanctum of segregation. But, for the man who felt at home in the Temple du Hockey, the tavern’s racist rule was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Fred Christie filed a discrimination case against the York corporation to court. Despite registering multiple setbacks, Christie’s case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

On December 9 1939, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) rendered its final decision.

It ruled that the general principle of the law in Québec is complete freedom of business. As long as a merchant did not break the law, he or she was free to refuse any member of the public on any grounds.

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The Court proceeded to blame Christie for his own misfortune:

«The respondent was merely protecting its business interests.

It appears from the evidence that, in refusing to sell beer to the appellant [Mr. Christie], the respondent’s employees did so quietly, politely and without causing any scene or commotion whatever. If any notice was attracted to the appellant on the occasion in question, it arose out of the fact that the appellant persisted in demanding beer after he had been so refused and went to the length of calling the police, which was entirely unwarranted by the circumstances.» ~Justice Rinfret

Decidedly, the SCC ratified the “no service for coloureds” doctrine as being in line with the moral standards of the day.

In the social context of Canada before the Quiet Revolution (1950’s), before Viola Desmond’s act of defiance (1946), before Rosa Parks triggered the United States’ Civil Rights Movement (1955), Fred Christie stood up to institutional discrimination.

A decade before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1947), Fred Christie exhibited unimaginable courage and perseverance in asserting his civil rights. Though the judicial process did not deliver the desired result, Fred Christie remains a key instigator in Canada’s journey towards the establishment of universal rights. As Aboriginals, Francophones and elderly people of colour know, the Canadian justice has not always been kind to minorities. Fred Christie paved the way for us all.

Four years after the SCC’s shameful ruling, Ontario heralded a new anti-discrimination era with its 1944 “Racial Discrimination Act”. And sometimes anti-racism laws were even enforced! The jurisprudence would spread from coast to coast.

Fred Christie died enclosed in obscurity. He received no honours befitting of his buoyant bravery — in life or in death.

It’s about time, is not it?

This blog originally appeared in French on the Huffington Post Québec.
The adventures of a Franco Ontarian Viz Min Woman in Ottawa.

. . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Home of the Habs: For Whites Only?

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Le PQ de Pauline a-t-il perdu à cause du vote ethnique?

Le ectoplasme du «prochain» référendum s’éloigne maintenant que le Parti québécois (PQ) a été défait dans scrutin provincial québécois. Après un cycle électoral acrimonieux et débordant d’allégations de corruption, d’insinuations sexistes, d’accusations de fraude et de démagogies à caractère raciste, peu en sortiront indemne. Les candidats malencontreux, les partisans aux propos désolants, les prétendants . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Le PQ de Pauline a-t-il perdu à cause du vote ethnique?

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Le PQ de Pauline a-t-il perdu à cause du vote ethnique?


Le ectoplasme du «prochain» référendum s’éloigne maintenant que le Parti québécois (PQ) a été défait dans scrutin provincial québécois. Après un cycle électoral acrimonieux et débordant d’allégations de corruption, d’insinuations sexistes, d’accusations de fraude et de démagogies à caractère raciste, peu en sortiront indemne. Les candidats malencontreux, les partisans aux propos désolants, les prétendants dauphins trop pressés de tasser le chef déchu, les sondeurs soucieux… ils se doivent tous un examen de conscience. 

Quant au précédent référendum, celui de 1995, il a infléchit la nature du Parti québécois, dont l’article premier est de conduire la province fondatrice vers la séparation. La déclaration de clôture de Jacques Parizeau, alors premier ministre du Québec et privé de sa victoire référendaire, fait encore frémir plusieurs. Le referendum lui aurait été volé à cause de «l’argent et les votes ethniques». Hélas, le rôle du méchant maraudeur dans le conte de fées souverainiste est réservé aux minorités: voilà un canevas classique.

Cette semaine, les Québécois étaient convoqués à redistribuer les sièges à l’Assemblée Nationale pour la deuxième fois en dix-huit mois. Sous l’aile de Philippe Couillard, les Libéraux surgissent avec un gouvernement majoritaire. Les épilogues n’ont pas tardé: les résultats sont un «rejet de la Charte de laïcité de Mme Marois» ou bien un «rejet du discours référendaire du PQ.» Peu importe l’interprétation, les sondeurs ont déterminé que les francophones aiment l’idée d’imposer des limites au code vestimentaire des nouveaux arrivants (contrairement à la culture nébuleuse qui imprègne le quotidien canadien). Les anglos et les allophones voient plutôt la Charte d’un mauvais œil.

Comment les experts ont-ils établi les profils linguistiques et démographiques favorables à la défunte Charte des valeurs
On suppose qu’ils se sont basés sur des renseignements personnels tels que la langue parlée à la maison et/ou maternelle. 

Moins d’un anglophone sur cinq croit que la charte des valeurs proposée par le Parti québécois parviendra à améliorer la cohésion sociale au Québec, alors que le double des francophones et des allophones pensent que ce sera le cas.

Nul n’accuse Ekos de semer la discorde, d’être anti-anglo, ou de pratiquer une sorte de discrimination. L’étude est un moyen efficace de diagnostiquer le paysage politique et de voir le vrai visage du peuple. L’alternative, c’est de faire un sondage général, où les voix des minorités sont étouffées. Les Canadiens-français connaissent cette feinte fédéraliste par coeur. 
Les canadiens ont l’habitude de lire les sondages nationaux sous la loupe «rural/urbain», «homme/femme», «Québec/le RoC» (et les Américains sont encore plus performants: le New York Times publie les résultats de l’élection présidentielle 2012 selon le sexe, l’âge, le niveau d’éducation , le revenu, la race et l’origine ethnique, l’idéologie, l’état civil, etc.) Par exemple, la question du chômage est étudiée selon l’âge: les parlementaires font l’analyse de la sous-embauch des jeunes dans le but de concilier ce défaut. Les enjeux tels l’inclination à la monarchie britannique, l’appui au Registre des armes à feux, à la chasse aux phoques et aux interventions guerrières se jouent sur les particularités régionales, indigènes, patrimoniales, etc. Ca met en évidence des perspectives identitaires qui informent à la fois le public et auteurs de politiques, en plus de permettre la comptabilisation (voire la compréhension) des citoyens en milieu minoritaire.
Le chaînon manquant à l’analyse des suffrages d’une société plurielle, c’est le volet «race et origine ethnique». Curieusement, il existe peu de données empiriques sur la participation électorale des communautés culturelles au Canada. Élections Canada a publié un rapport en 2006. 

Les résultats des élections fédérales de 2004 et 2006 révèlent que les circonscriptions à forte concentration d’immigrants ont affiché un taux de participation inférieur à la moyenne. En 2001, près de 90 % de tous les immigrants étaient domiciliés dans les provinces de l’Ontario, de Québec et de la Colombie-Britannique. Les circonscriptions à plus fort pourcentage d’immigrants se trouvent dans les zones métropolitaines.

Bref, Élections Canada s’est réduit à l’extrapolation afin d’étudier le «vote ethnique». Il semble n’y avoir aucune preuve que les citoyens qui ont voté dans ces circonscriptions «multiculturelles» soient des électeurs «ethniques». Le scrutin aurait-il mesuré l’apport des «Canadiens de souche» qui résident également dans la circonscription? 
Les minorités visibles formeront bientôt le tiers de la population canadienne et près de la moitié des centres urbains. Quand est-ce que les maisons de sondage vont s’ouvrir à cette mine d’or démographique? Les voix des minorités ne valent-t-elles pas la peine d’être écoutées? N’y a-t-il aucun curieux avide à découvrir ce que près d’un quart des Canadiens pensent et ressentent, afin de mieux servir le peuple dans son ensemble? 

Quels enseignements peut-on tirer de ces images plus récentes de la participation des groupes minoritaires et des immigrants à la vie électorale canadienne? D’abord, il est assez évident qu’il faudra davantage de recherche. L’une des priorités est l’exploration des différences dans les taux de participation électorale de communautés spécifiques.

Au cours des prochaines semaines, on aura droit à une pluie de comptes-rendus pontifiants qui dresseront le bilan du suffrage québécois. Que dire des conclusions des commentateurs? Le puzzle politique ne peut être résolu sans la pièce du «vote ethnique». 
La hausse de la participation électorale est-elle liée à une augmentation d’électeurs issus des «communautés culturelles»? Est-ce la Charte des Valeurs ou le spectre d’un autre référendum à escroquer qui les a conduits aux urnes en grand nombre? Si la Première ministre Marois avait accès à de meilleurs sondages, incluant les minorités visibles, aurait-elle déclenché ces élections hâtives? 
Puisque les sondeurs se noient de complaisance ou ont une peur bleue des vérités qui dérangent, le nécessaire examen des électeurs est invariablement inachevé. Il se pourrait que le «vote ethnique,» bouc émissaire fétiche, ait eu raison du PQ de Mme Marois. Grâce à notre débilitante anxiété collective par rapport à la comptabilité ethnique, nous ne le saurons probablement jamais.
The adventures of a Franco Ontarian Viz Min Woman in Ottawa.

. . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Le PQ de Pauline a-t-il perdu à cause du vote ethnique?

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Les Plumes des Peau-Rouges de Nepean attérissent sur le Rouge-et-Noir d’Ottawa

La région de l’Outaouais va bientôt accueillir un nouveau club de football. Ce sera la 3e fois que l’équipe renait de ces cendres : les Ottawa Rough Riders ont fait faillite en 1996, et encore en 2006, sous le nom «Renegades». À l’époque, les partisans Franco-Ontariens (et Gatinois) s’attendaient à ce qu’une équipe en difficulté . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Les Plumes des Peau-Rouges de Nepean attérissent sur le Rouge-et-Noir d’Ottawa

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Ottawa’s RedBlacks, Redskins and Blackface

The National Capital Region will soon welcome a new CFL football club. This will be the third time the team rises from its ashes: the Ottawa Rough Riders went bankrupt in 1996, and again in 2006 under the Renegades moniker. At the time, Franco-Ontarian football fans (and those in nearby Gatineau, QC) expected a club . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Ottawa’s RedBlacks, Redskins and Blackface

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Year of the Snake : It didn’t start in 2013

Chinese-Canadians have been part of the Canadian landscape for over a century. As May is Asian Heritage Month, Canadians of all backgrounds take a look back at their contributions: past, present and future. PM Harper culled Asian-Canadians by declaring 2013 as the Year of Korea in Canada, Canada Post issued a collection of stamps to . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Year of the Snake : It didn’t start in 2013

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The O stands for Originality, aka the oxymoron to "Ottawa"

This article was published in The Huffington Post Canada. Read it here and post a comment!

This week is momentous for legions of moms and women in general: the “Big O” is comin’ to town. Yes, the former Queen of Television, the one then-Senator Obama called “possibly the most influential woman in the country” , . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The O stands for Originality, aka the oxymoron to "Ottawa"

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: No Asians + No Blacks + no gays + no turbans + no aboriginals = No Canada -OR- BankOfCanada’s state sponsored xenophobia

The news of the ethnic cleansing of Canadian c-notes by the Bank of Canada hit like a bombshell last summer. It was revealed that an Asian-looking female figure was gentrified by the federal institution to appease Canadians who expressed xenophobic views in a focus group. The news went viral around the world, with Canada’s reputation . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: No Asians + No Blacks + no gays + no turbans + no aboriginals = No Canada -OR- BankOfCanada’s state sponsored xenophobia

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Buh-bye Mark Carney, So Long Ethnic-Friendly Promises -OR- Proof Carney Behaves Like a Liberal

Yesterday, it was announced that Bank of Canada boss Mark Carney was leaving his position at the head of Canada’s central bank for a position across the pond. This came after much speculation as to whether Carney would ascend to the political arena. There was some fodder as to which party the banker would join . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Buh-bye Mark Carney, So Long Ethnic-Friendly Promises -OR- Proof Carney Behaves Like a Liberal

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Diva Chooses Dalton’s Successor : It’s Gerard!

For the next Premier of Ontario, I chose Gerard Kennedy.

The race for leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario has an excellent range of candidates. Gerard Kennedy has a record of inclusion of all Ontarians, regardless of their sociocultural or linguistic identity.

For me, Gerard is the candidate best positioned to win the next . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: The Diva Chooses Dalton’s Successor : It’s Gerard!

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Le choix de la Diva s’arrête sur Gérard Kennedy : candidat pour Premier Ministre de l’Ontario

Comme prochain premier ministre de l’Ontario, je choisis Gérard Kennedy.

La course la chefferie du Parti libéral de l’Ontario dispose d’un excellent ventail de candidats. Gérard Kennedy a une passion pour l’inclusion de tous les ontariens, quel que soit leur identité socioculturelle ou linguistique.

Pour moi, Gérard est le candidat le mieux placé pour gagner . . . → Read More: The Adventures of Diva Rachel: Le choix de la Diva s’arrête sur Gérard Kennedy : candidat pour Premier Ministre de l’Ontario