26 November 2013

Don Macpherson: So much for a calm, respectful debate on the values charter


Khadir, who is a political adversary of Benhabib, told Le Devoir that “certain incendiary statements” by the former PQ candidate created “such a hostile environment” toward Conradi that, rather than try to continue speaking to an audience “that clearly didn’t want to listen to her,” she walked out. “And I walked out, too, in solidarity.”
In her defence, Benhabib told Le Devoir that Conradi had been “disrespectful to me and to the audience when she interpreted the comments of some participants as perceptions.”
So we have apparently reached the point that to refer to someone else’s beliefs as “perceptions” has become an irresistible provocation that must be met with booing and heckling.

22 November 2013

Jedwab: The worrisome tone of Quebece’s values rhetoric

The worrisome tone of Quebece’s values rhetoric - The Globe and Mail

If the Quebec government has its way, it a new class of offenders will be introduced into society. They might be called values violators. The Nov. 7 tabling of the Charter of Quebec Values of Secularism (Bill 60) confirmed the potential list of violators includes doctors that wear kippas, nurses wearing a cross, daycare workers with hijabs and university professors with turbans.

19 November 2013

Globe: Quebec Liberal Leader rethinks stand on religious-symbols ban


The Liberals may go as far as to embrace the recommendation of the 2008 Bouchard-Taylor report on religious accommodations, which recommends a ban on religious symbols for some public servants in position of authority. The Coalition Avenir Québec as well as the Québec Solidaire party support that view, which could mean a common front by the opposition against the PQ minority government.

12 November 2013

Don Macpherson: McCarthyism, Québécois nationalist style


There’s just something about articles written by English-speaking Quebecers for New York publications criticizing Québécois nationalists that sends the latter clambering up the curtains.
You may recall the furor over the late Mordecai Richler’s article on Quebec’s language legislation, Inside/Outside, in New Yorker magazine in 1991, which Richler then expanded into a book, Oh Canada! Oh Quebec!
On Tuesday, the New York Times published an opinion article, titled “Quebec’s Tea Party Moment,” criticizing the Parti Québécois government’s proposed anti-hijab law (or what I call the Charter of Pants). It was written by Martin Patriquin, the Montreal-based Quebec bureau chief for Maclean’s magazine.
Patriquin isn’t the first Quebec commentator to compare the PQ, since it proposed the Charter of Pants, to the conservative Tea Party movement in the United States. Shortly after the PQ presented its initial “values” proposals in September, Jérôme Lussier called the PQ the “Tea Parti Québécois,” because of its “populist xenophobia,” on his blog for L’actualité magazine.
But Lussier kept his criticism within the French Quebec family, while Patriquin was writing for the English-speaking world.
So, inevitably, Patriquin was accused by Québécois nationalists of “besmirching Quebec’s image,” or, as it is commonly called, “Quebec bashing.”

08 November 2013

Don Macpherson: The Charter of Pants encourages discrimination


But maybe the strongest kick was to the Quebec human-rights commission.

The rights watchdog had called Drainville’s original proposal not only a “clear break” with the province’s own charter of rights but also a violation of international standards for the protection of minority rights.
Drainville’s response was to add a new restriction in the rights charter: rights must be exercised with a “proper regard” for “the primacy of the French language.”
That has nothing to do with “secularism,” the supposed objective of the Pants Charter. But apparently, if the PQ was going to encourage discrimination against minorities, it didn’t want to overlook anybody.
And it’s slipped a poisoned pill to the official opposition Liberal party. Now the Liberals, whose leader Philippe Couillard had vowed to let the original proposal pass only “over my dead body,” will expose themselves to the accusation of being “against French” if they filibuster against the Pants Charter.

Analysis: The political strategy behind Quebec's values charter (CBC.CA)


Pauline Marois has already said that she would be “proud” to invoke that notwithstanding clause to pave the way for her new law.