Sunday, October 21, 2007

The anti-immigrant competition in Quebec

The PQ under Pauline Marois are proposing the creation of a certificate of Quebec citizenship which would be earned by immigrants who can prove they speak French at an acceptable level. If they can't, there are consequences:
Under the proposed law, immigrants will be required to have an "appropriate" working knowledge of French to be sworn in as Quebec citizens.

Those immigrants who fail to develop their French-language skills would not be allowed to hold public office, raise funds for a party or petition the National Assembly with a grievance.
No doubt spurred on by the provincial government's hearings into the issue of reasonable accommodation of minorities where much intolerance has been spewed, it seems that the PQ, BQ, ADQ and I would suggest, the Prime Minister himself, have entered into a competition of sorts to cater to the xenophobic undertones that are manifesting themselves in the Quebec population. Gilles Duceppe got into the act with similar language this week and as noted here, Mario Dumont has not been shy about immigrant bashing either:
And this week in a Montreal speech to students that was seen as a naked bid to appeal to Quebec separatists, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe has resorted to preying on the immigration fears of many Quebecers and indeed, many other Canadians.

In his speech, Duceppe blasted the "Canadian ideology of multiculturalism" and said immigrants must "integrate" into Quebec's francophone culture, a view that runs counter to Ottawa's official multiculturalism policy. He added that the other federal parties "are Canadian" and not up to the task of defending Quebec culture.

Duceppe's appalling attack on multiculturalism is not the first to come from senior Quebec politicians.

In August, Quebec Opposition Leader Mario Dumont suggested Quebec has enough immigrants and, while not wanting to cut off all newcomers, he did want to stop further increases.
Harper's contribution to the intolerant tone that is setting in was his public condemnation of Muslim women voting while veiled, despite the law not requiring them to do so. He had to know this was an incendiary issue in Quebec yet he waded right in. How do Muslims feel about the spotlight being shone on them as the veil issue has been raised, by provincial politicians then federal?
Muslim Council of Montreal president Salam Elmenyawi accused the media of manufacturing a crisis.

Elmenyawi said the news reports that broadcast the old rule and related it to Muslim women stirred hatred in Quebec.

"Again they're putting the Muslims in the news and talking about us as if we don't exist,'' Elmenyawi said of the media. "I think....they are fanning the flames of divisiveness and of hate and of isolation.

"It's going to have a very long-term effect on our society here.''
That about sums it up. A very strange tactic for a Prime Minister who on the other hand claims to be engaging in "ethnic outreach."

This is the political leadership desperately vying for Quebec voters sentiments right now. None of them are acquitting themselves very well in this race to the bottom, to say the very least...