Truth be told, I have lived in Quebec for the last twenty years. Last week, not much of a surprise, a poll revealed that about 50% of the anglophone and allophone respondents were thinking about moving out of Quebec. Too bad I wasn’t contacted. I would have loved to explain why. So here goes.
For me, unlike many anglophones living in the Montreal region of Quebec, language is not the problem. I live in Gatineau. I am fluently bilingual, as is my wife, as are my kids. Communicating in French is something I do every day (Read more…)
Québec’s secular or ‘values’ charter is quite the paradox. Those who are opposed to it accuse proponents of being xenophobic and intolerant. Supporters of the charter consider detractors to be supporters of intolerance. So who are the intolerant ones, the supporters of the charter or its detractors? While the legislation is aimed at banning many different religious symbols from being worn in certain public spaces, the flashpoint for discussion is the various forms of head and/or full body coverings worn by some Muslim women. Québec society is very secular in nature. I go to church here on a semi (Read more…)
We don’t know what will make headlines in 2014. After all, most political predictions are about as accurate as a Forum poll.
So I won’t try to guess how 2014 plays out, but here are a few things we can reasonably expect to see this year:
With the new electoral map coming into force, all parties will begin nominating candidates, as they gear up for the next election. And since the media loves election speculation, there will no doubt be more rumours of the 2015 election being moved up to 2014 – though I can’t imagine Harper would want to (Read more…)
Like anyone I can be prone to knee jerk reactions, its normal. When Québec proposed values charter was first put forth I was opposed. I cheered when I saw an Ontario ad seeking to attract employees of the Islamic faith to Lakeridge health centre in Oshawa with the tag line: “We don’t care about what’s on your head, but with what’s in your head”…or words very close to that effect. The charter struck me as xenophobic and intolerant. My view however is changing. Religious extremists are anything but tolerant. Men who insist their wives cover their faces, and (Read more…)
For those hoping Quebecers would abandon Marois over her utterly repugnant charter, this is an encouraging headline:
Quebec Liberals jump to 7% lead over PQ as backlash grows over values charter
A recent boost in support for the Quebec Liberals means the party could secure a “hair thin” majority in the province if an election were called today, suggests a new public opinion poll.
The poll, conducted by Forum Research, found support for Liberals in the province has jumped to 42% — up more than 10 points since the 2012 election — in the wake of the proposed Quebec (Read more…)
The good news for the Bloc is that there’s now a bit more elbow room in the back of the caucus car:
Maria Mourani, Member of Parliament for the federal riding of Ahuntsic, has been kicked out of the Bloc Quebecois caucus over her opposition to the controversial “charter of values” proposed by the Quebec government of Pauline Marois.
“The member for Ahuntsic, Ms. Maria Mourani, has made comments that don’t reflect the position of the Bloc Québécois,” Bloc party leader Daniel Paillé said in a statement Thursday.
He said the charter is “a necessary and fundamental approach for (Read more…)
If the above interests you, you may wish to take a few minutes to check out Haroon Siddiqui’s column in today’s Star. Entitled Pauline Marois issues fatwa on Quebec secularism, his thesis can be summed up in his final paragraph:
Marois is engaged in an ugly cultural warfare of the rightwing Republican kind. She is using religious minorities to fire up her base constituency. She figures that the more English Canada reacts strongly, the better for her. But we cannot fall into the trap of abandoning fundamental Canadian constitutional values.
While Siddiqui concentrates on the damage the Quebec purity (Read more…)
The following is reported in today’s Vancouver Sun about Quebec’s impending purity values charter:
The Quebec government has released plans for a “values charter” that would impose unique-in-North America restrictions on religious clothing for employees at all government institutions starting with schools, hospitals and courts.
If adopted by the legislature, the plan would apply to the hijabs, kippas, turbans and large crucifixes worn by more religious public servants.
That would mean a career-vs-religion dilemma for civil authorities like judges, police, and prosecutors; public daycare workers; teachers and school employees; hospital workers; municipal personnel; and employees at state-run liquor stores and (Read more…)
It’s unclear if Habs jerseys count as religious symbols or not.
This is going to be a hot topic for the foreseable future in Quebec, and since hot topics in Quebec have a way of becoming hot topics outside Quebec, expect to hear a lot about the PQ’s “Values Charter”. Even Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi raised the issue again on his Facebook page today.
I’m hopeful federal politicians will look beyond this charter’s apparent popularity in Quebec, and speak out strongly against it.
Earlier today., I posted a brief piece on how, despite my reservations about Justin Trudeau’s leadership capacity, I found his openness and honesty refreshing when it came to pot.
The second surprise I got today was the fact that he spoke quite candidly about his opposition to Quebec’s proposed ban on religious symbols and clothing in public buildings.
As you will see see if you read the readers’ comments following the first link, people are beginning to discern a difference amongst the three major party leaders, with Trudeau’s assertiveness offering a sharp contrast to Thomas Mulcair’s refusal to ‘comment (Read more…)
With their raison-d’etre of separatism neutralized, one would have hoped the PQ would set to work trying to turn around Quebec’s economy. Instead…this:
Quebec is heading into another fierce debate over the future of religious freedom in the province with the Parti Québécois government set to release a Charter of Quebec Values that could ban religious headwear everywhere from daycares to hospitals.
On Tuesday, a news report suggested that the minority government of Premier Pauline Marois wants to prohibit public employees from wearing items such as hijabs, turbans and kippas, in a broad ban that could extend from (Read more…)
In the wake of the Quebec Soccer Federation’s banning of “turbans” on the playing field, FIFA has announced “turbans” can be worn on the field of play. FIFA issued a news release yesterday saying the Canadian Soccer Association should “allow male players in Canada to wear head covers.”
Of course, this wasn’t an issue for the CSA because all governing bodies in the country, except for Quebec, accepted the CSA’s position that male head covers should be allowed on the soccer pitch.
After FIFA released it’s statement the QSF said they were “relieved.”
They were relived, I presume, (Read more…)
The Quebec National Assembly introduced a bill on Wednesday that will allow health professionals to use medical procedures to end the lives of patients near death who are suffering and want to end their lives.
The legislation “is intended for people at the end of their life to die with autonomy and dignity,” said Veronique Hivon junior Health Minister in Quebec’s PQ government.
I suspect we’re going to see a lot more of these types of bills in the future. With populations aging in the western world and the baby boom about to hit the fan there is going to (Read more…)
Quebec’s Soccer Federation is going into hiding. The names and contact information of its board of directors have been pulled from the federation’s website. They’re refusing to talk to the media. Are they being accused of embezzlement? Did they steal children’s money? No, they’re refusing to allow Sikh kids to wear “turbans” during competitive matches.
The peculiar thing about the QSF’s decision is they’re the only soccer federation in Canada to ban “turbans.” Ontario and British Columbia–where there are much larger Sikh populations–don’t have a problem with kids wearing religious head garb.
The question I have, like I’m sure (Read more…)
Young woman arrested for posting photo of graffitti online:
According to CBC News:
A 20-year-old woman has been accused of criminal harassment and intimidation against a high-ranking Montreal police officer after she posted a photo of anti-police graffiti online.
Pawluck insists that she’s done nothing wrong and the actions of the Montreal police amount to harassment.
Montreal criminal defence attorney Eric Sutton says the Crown will have to prove that Lafrenière reasonably feared for his safety because of the photo posted by Pawluck.
“I think this may be somewhat of a political statement by the police
. . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: Young woman arrested for posting photo of graffitti online
The anglophone community has deep roots in Quebec, I however do not. I moved to Quebec back in October of 2011, so that’s less than two years that I have been residing here in the provincial capital of Quebec City. When it comes to opinions on Quebec’s never ending language debate the views of anglophones are as varied as the community itself. This is mine. A bit on my frame of reference. Prior to moving here I had already attained a fair degree of fluency in the French language. I studied French throughout high school and into university, and . . . → Read More: Canadian Soapbox: One Anglo-Quebecer’s take on the language debate
National unity is back in the news after the NDP tabled a private member’s bill yesterday, a bill that would repeal the Clarity Act and set the bar for Quebec sovereignty negotiations at a mere 50 percent plus one in a clearly worded referendum.
We all know what that means. The NDP, it will be claimed over the coming days and weeks, is “in bed with the separatists” and willing to “tear our country apart” for partisan advantage. There is nothing those treacherous socialists won’t do to preserve the Faustian bargain that won them Quebec in 2011!
. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Quebec, Referendums, and Formulas for Secession
Recent news is suggesting that Québec Premier Pauline Marois is intrigued with the thought of extending voting rights to 16 and 17 year olds. -CTV STORY HERE- Québec’s first minister was in Scotland recently, where a vote on independence will take place in 2014. Scotland will be allowing 16 and 17 year old citizens to vote in a referendum on separation. There are many who consider the PQ’s popularity among the youth of Québec to be strong, I am one of them, so extending voting rights to a younger demographic certainly makes sense in that . . . → Read More: Canadian Soapbox: Québec considers lowering voting age to 16?
I’m an anglophone Quebecer, I do speak French, however given that English is my mother tongue I am obviously most comfortable expressing myself in Canada’s other official language.
When out and about with my wife we invariably default to English in our conversation. The resident love goddess is just starting to learn French and will be beginning full time classes in the new year. We’ve never had an issue or a confrontation, in fact I often have to ask politely to be spoken to in French.
With that being said, it is obvious that recent events here in Quebec are causing (Read more…)
Don’t believe every piece of quantitative evidence ever produced! Quebecers HATE this man!
I’ve read a dozen opinion pieces by Quebec columnists over the past few months like this one from Lysianne Gagnon:
Is Justin Trudeau really the Liberals’ best option?
If the Toronto Liberal intelligentsia believe that Justin Trudeau, being a Trudeau and a Quebecker, can revive their party’s fortunes in Quebec, they are mightily wrong. (One might also wonder if anybody can save the Liberal Party of Canada now that the NDP occupies the centre-left, but this is another question.)
Justin’s surname is as much a
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: The Name Game – Part Deux
Yesterday I wrote a brief post about the federal government’s decision to stop defending the export of asbestos from Quebec, not on the basis of morality, but political expediency, as the newly-elected Parti Quebecois stands opposed to it.
A story in this morning’s Star reveals that, as ever, the Harper regime is both as graceless and incapable of admitting error as ever. In reference to newly-elected Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, Federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis had this to say:
“Mrs. Marois’ decision to prohibit chrysotile mining in Quebec will have a negative impact on the future prosperity of the area.
. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Harper’s Conservatives: As Classless As Ever
It was hard for Harper to say no to “the most federalist Premier in my lifetime”…and the one man who laughed at his jokes.
Although the federal leaders executed Cirque Du Soleil worthy backflips to stay out of the Quebec election, the repercussions of this vote will be far reaching. Having a separatist attack dog in Quebec City – even one on a minority government leash – undeniably changes the dynamic in Ottawa.
So who benefits?
Traditionally, Canadians have tended to trust the Liberal Party on the national unity file, and this is an area where the Trudeau
. . . → Read More: Calgary Grit: Charest’s Loss May Be Harper’s Gain
The federal long gun registry is back in the news. Québec has just won an injunction preventing the federal government from destroying the long gun registry, and has given Ottawa 30 days to comply by handing over the data collected on Québec gun owners.
Those employed in law enforcement are happy no doubt. (CBC Story Here) The Canadian association of chiefs of police had argued for maintaining the registry as it provides them with what they consider a very valuable tool. I find it hard to argue with our police on this point. When officers respond . . . → Read More: Canadian Soapbox: Harper government fighting Québec’s law and order efforts
We Canadians love to worry, we worry about the economy, about the weather, about the direction our elected representatives are taking the country. When we’ve had Liberal governments in Ottawa, right wingers have worried about big government. When its Conservatives on parliament hill we worry about Canada becoming a playground for business interests at the expense or ordinary taxpayers. Worry, worry, worry. And when we’re not worrying, we’re complaining. Complaining about the same things we worry about and more. We love to carp about long line ups and gas prices and all manner of things we really can’t do much about. And . . . → Read More: Canadian Soapbox: Time to stop stressing about Québec
I wasn’t sure whether or not to share this particular video. It shows a confrontation between a French Quebecer and his girlfriend with a group of Asian Canadians who had the temerity to be speaking English in public. My hesitancy was due to the fact that it portrays what is now my home province in a not too positive light. It lends credence to the perception of Quebec as a xenophobic and intolerant society. Unfortunately, there is some merit to that point of view. I have some sympathy for French Quebecers and for their desire to protect and promote their . . . → Read More: Canadian Soapbox: Confrontation over language on the streets of Montréal – Video