Monday, October 22, 2007

Why So Silent?

This doesn't seem to be on the Federal radar, but I find it really troubling.

And if Canada can require new immigrants to speak one of the country's official languages before handing them citizenship, she asked, why wouldn't Quebec -- where the official language is French -- require French?

Um, because as much as you'd like to be, you are not a country?

Failing to learn French would bar an immigrant from holding public office at any level, raising funds for political parties or petitioning the National Assembly for redress of a grievance.

Since when in this country is a citizen not allowed to petition the government?

For the record, the ADQ supports the notion of Quebec citizenship given Harper's "Quebec as a Nation", ploy . That could be interesting in a Federal election.

I also find some of what is coming out of the "Reasonable Accommodation" debate in Quebec troubling. I know it can be argued that getting this out in the open is healthy and I suppose there is something to that, but I'm shocked at the open bigotry and racism coming from these debates. That's not of course confined to Quebec. A quick visit to some BT blogs will tell you that these loathe some traits are alive and well across Canada.

Obviously, there have always been bigots and racists in this country. I don't imagine the British had too many compliments for the French in the beginning and vice versa. Indeed, each new wave of immigrants arriving in this country were met with resistance, but with time we worked through it and have become an incredible country as a result.

In my view, this has shifted since 9-11. Sweeping generalisations began to creep into daily dialogue and media reports. Governments began using language that gave credence to certain terms. Indeed even our own current government, (while in opposition) called Maher Arar a terrorist. They currently have no qualms in calling the Official Opposition while in the Commons, "Taliban Supporters", when responding to important questions. Our PM sunk to a new low, by quoting a questionable story about someone related to a Liberal MP, insinuating that he was linked to the Air India bombing.

Somehow, it seems to be okay these days to resort to this disgusting behaviour. There was a story this morning out of the States that said nooses are showing up in the the south again for goodness sakes.

This is a global issue. We've seen it in the European Union, (France, the Netherlands and Switzerland come to mind), Australia, in the States and elsewhere. To see it in Canada is really disturbing to me. Something has to shift. This is not who we are and not what we want to promote.

It's a shift to the melting pot theory out of the US, which is a dismal failure. We have done integration well people. Call it a mosaic or a tapestry, it worked, until now. Some Harper followers are of the mind, "conform fully or get out".

That is not my Canada.

Getting rid of Howard and Bush is a step in the right direction. Sarkozy and Harper must be next. Let's expose the bigots for what they are and swerve back to the right track.


Ben said...

I'm perplexed as to how a crazy PQ proposal gets laid at Harper's doorstep, but beyond all that, this'll run smack into s.3 of the Charter, which guarantees Canadian citizens the right to stand for election to and vote for federal and provincial legislative assemblies (and which has been read even broader by the courts than its plain words).

s. 3, of course, is not within the scope of the notwithstanding clause, and if the PQ thinks that the Quebec Court of Appeal (to say nothing of the Supreme Court) will accept it under s. 1 ("reasonable limits"), they're even more out to lunch than we usually think them.

Anyway, concepts like "Quebec citizenship" are just crying out for the feds to step in with a revival of disallowance powers.

Abdul-Rahim said...

First of all, Québec does have a say in it's immigration policies because Québec, it has been agreed, as a distinct society in Canada, has specific needs and requirments regarding immigration to the province. That's why we get our own process when people are immigrating, and that is why it is not stupid to propose certain caveats in the settlement of immigrants in the province.

The Reasonable accomodation debate is scary and it is important. I did a post for anglophones on the debate in attempt to help inform opinion in the ROC about the debate in Québec. It's important that all the diverse aspects of Québec's certain political situation be considered when making judgemnts.

burlivespipe said...

Well, for one Harper stepped up and gave Quebec a stick from which to work with -- recognizing Quebec as a Nation (some Liberals are not innocent on this, either). He's regularly played favouritism with the provinces (hey Quebec, here's some money inwhich to bribe your voters; hey saskatchewan, sue me!) and played citizen vs. citizen (the Election Canada decision on hijabs, First Nations vs non-native fishers in a letter to the Calgary Herald)... In the end, he has opened the door very wide and if he's as smart as some people think, would have expected this.
And it leads to his firewall idea, replicated 10x.
This is a worrisome proposal, especially at the time where some people are closing ranks it appears out of some fear, ignorance or xenophobia.
The ADQ could be Harper's perfect ally in bringing about the republicanization of Canada.
I'm heading over to Abdul-Rahim's place to brush up on this before i say something truly ridiculous...

Anonymous said...

I have yet to see the reasonable accomodation debate be used as Harper's main platform. As I said numerous times it is a vote winner.

Dion has supported the right of women in burqa to unmask themselves at the polling booth. This is a small step towards moving in Harper's direction :(

So our hopes of linking the PM with Sarkozy are not that good, at least in the initial phase.