Québec solidaire - the thread

228 posts / 0 new
Last post
pietro_bcc

Assuming there are Chinese from China scoping out Témiscamingue farmland just in case the federal law is changed and they are allowed to buy land how would that be predatory?

As far as I know there is no federal law banning the sale of agricultural land to foreign investors, there are provincial laws in certain Canadian provinces including Quebec which prevent sales to non residents. In fact there was a senate report on this very issue last year. https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/03/19/opinion/canadian-farmland-ri...

Pondering

pietro_bcc wrote:

Assuming there are Chinese from China scoping out Témiscamingue farmland just in case the federal law is changed and they are allowed to buy land how would that be predatory?

As far as I know there is no federal law banning the sale of agricultural land to foreign investors, there are provincial laws in certain Canadian provinces including Quebec which prevent sales to non residents. In fact there was a senate report on this very issue last year. https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/03/19/opinion/canadian-farmland-ri...

In the same interview she said there is a federal law against it and I took her word for it. If the law is provincial not federal it is still the law. Is there an active lobbying effort to change the law? 

swallow swallow's picture

It's not a made-up claim that Chinese investors have tried to buy up land in Temiskamingue. I think Lessard-Therrien has shown she's very much caught up in Canada's longstanding anti-Asian bias, as kropotkin says, but she did not make anything up and there is a concern of several years in her region that she is responding to. 

https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2016/01/27/des-chinois-lorgnent-des-te...

The company named, Mapleville, owns some 500 ha in the region. 

https://www.scribd.com/document/400279589/Portrait-de-l-accaparement-des...

In 2016, there was talk of this company buying up to 10,000 ha. 

http://ici.radio-canada.ca/emissions/bien_dans_son_assiette/2012-2013/ch...

The problem is not really Chinese investors, though: it is Quebec land-grabbers, led by Pangea. 

https://www.farmlandgrab.org/post/view/28521-les-terres-agricoles-font-s...

The real threat is increased concentration of agricultural land ownership by large companies - mostly Quebec-based, but including some foreign-owned, as in Temiscamangue. 

The UPA wants the government to limit to 100 hectares the amount of agricultural land that any one person or entity can purchase per year, at least for a three-year period. During this moratorium, the government could come up with a long-term solution to ensure Quebec’s farmlands remain productive, they suggest. The farmers also want a public register of agricultural land transactions, and tax disincentives to discourage farm owners from leaving farmlands fallow and just waiting for prices to go up in order to sell.

“The real estate and high finance sectors are not interested in agriculture,” UPA president Marcel Groleau said during last year’s election campaign. “These stakeholders seek profits in the rapid increase in the price of agricultural land, to which they contribute through speculation. For future generations and for our food security, it is urgent to act.”

The UPA wants the government to ban investment funds and real-estate companies from buying farmland.

To be fair, QS agriculture critic Lessard-Therrien raised the issue of local investment companies like Pangea being the main concern in her ill-fated interview before she went off on a tangent about China.

https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/quebec-farmlands-need-protec...

We need info sources and policies that pay attention to people living in the regions, and protect agricltural land so that it can remain in the hands of producers. This is the central point made by the UPA (ag producers association) and by the QS deputy who is trying to put this issue on the agenda. 

This is not an attempt to defend the epicly bad word choice by Mme Lessard-Therrien or the even shittier response by QS communications people. But it is factually incorrect to say that she's made up the fact that there are Chinese investors who have bought up land in the region and are interested in buying up more. She probably knows better than people in Montreal what is happening in her community, even if it's not in the pages of that noted rural mouthpiece, the Montreal Gazette. 

There are real threats to small farms and to the sustainability of the agricultural land base and food sovereignty. Quebec and Canada are not immune to the global phenomenon of land grabbing.

QS needs to watch itself on racist language and do better by the Chinese community and other racialized communities.

Emilie Lessard-Therrien is 100% right to raise the threats to agricultural lands. As she's said several times, that's the issues she wants to talk about. It would be great if that happened.  But apparently the English-language Montreal media would rather talk about her piss-poor choice of words. 

Non seulement la communauté chinoise a décrié la formule pour le moins maladroite, mais il s’avère que ce ne sont pas nécessairement les Chinois qui font de la spéculation avec les terres québécoises, mais bien… des compagnies d’investissement québécoises

La députée a souligné un vrai problème dont on devrait parler davantage. Juste pas besoin d’insulter le pays le plus populeux de la Terre.

https://urbania.ca/article/est-ce-que-quebec-solidaire-est-raciste/

swallow swallow's picture
Unionist

Thank you so much, swallow, for the well-researched and informative context on the protection of agricultural land. It's a shame an issue of that importance gets obscured because of a combination of inexperience and defensiveness (QS) and scandal-mongering media.

Meanwhile, here's an English-language account of the fight to protect public early-education child care against the CAQ's plan for kindergarten for all 4-year-olds:

Quebec daycare workers, opposition parties denounce CAQ plans for preschool classes

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Land speculation is a problem with all land across Canada and is especially the case in areas that have productive farm land. The problem is not where the capitalist investors are from. In BC the stats show that it is really hard to determine who owns what since numbered companies with offshore accounts is standard practice for oligarchs around the globe. The QS and other parties that believe in equality need to watch that they don't fall into Canada's historic blame the Asians mentality. Many progressive people in BC struggle with our ingrained anti-Asian bias as well. Lets not forget that we have had a more than hundred year old tradition of anti-Asian bias in our media.

Unionist

Krop - of all the problems in Québec, anti-Asian prejudice isn't even remotely on the radar. The media here took this comment by an inexperienced MNA and ran with it. And my hypothesis is that QS was so offended at being painted as racist by media which are often genuinely racist, that they couldn't even think their way through the issue, respect the feelings that they may have inadvertently hurt, and made a genuine explanation and retraction. It certainly doesn't excuse them. I've been trying through my limited channels to get them to do the right thing - but I keep getting back responses saying that "don't you understand this has nothing to do with Chinese, we're after Pangea", etc. Ultra-defensive.

We have problems here. Police racially profiling Black people. Ultra-right types trying to stoke fear of Islam for their own ends. Confusion of secularism with xenophobia. But anti-Asian prejudice or blaming? Never seen it. Geez I hope I'm right about this.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist wrote:

We have problems here. Police racially profiling Black people. Ultra-right types trying to stoke fear of Islam for their own ends. Confusion of secularism with xenophobia. But anti-Asian prejudice or blaming? Never seen it. Geez I hope I'm right about this.

Canada is a nation of regions and our racism varies from region to region. BC was instrumental in getting all the anti-Asian laws passed however that attitude I believe is an undercurrent across the nation like anti-indigenous racism is. No region has a monopoly on racism nor is any without.  Chinese investors is MSM's scapegoats for capitalist pigs and its really hard not to fall into the mainstream narrative especially when it is not a prevalent trend in your region. In BC we still have lots of anti-Chinese racists who get plenty of air time from local news media. What we don't get is any kind of talk about Singh's turban.  But in BC the turban debate happened over thirty years ago and changed the conversation. The racists in BC weren't bothered by the turban because they were secularists they just didn't like people because of their ethnicity.  If we keep dialoguing the conversation can improve. Overt racism is stoked when people fall into cultural stereotypes. I trust this QS MNA is capable of learning and I never thought anything she said sounded racist.

lagatta4

There is nothing like that in Québec, though we will remember thoughtlessness in pushing major roads through the small Chinese community in Québec city - in the 1960s, I believe, and also both Federal and Québec government ministries expropriating Chinese businesses and residences (there may have been some other Asians in the area by then, such as Vietnamese refugees) to build government buildings just north of Old Mtl). Yes, there is a long history of sidelining Asian people even in regions (and nations) where it was not the prevailing racism.

Pondering

swallow wrote:

This is not an attempt to defend the epicly bad word choice by Mme Lessard-Therrien or the even shittier response by QS communications people. But it is factually incorrect to say that she's made up the fact that there are Chinese investors who have bought up land in the region and are interested in buying up more.

Emilie Lessard-Therrien is 100% right to raise the threats to agricultural lands. As she's said several times, that's the issues she wants to talk about. It would be great if that happened.  But apparently the English-language Montreal media would rather talk about her piss-poor choice of words. 

All along my sole objection has been the refusal to acknowledge, apologize and clarify. 

You said:

The real threat is increased concentration of agricultural land ownership by large companies - mostly Quebec-based, but including some foreign-owned, as in Temiscamangue. 

Then there was no reason to bring the Chinese into it. Nor did she say she knew of specific investment attempts. She said she "sensed" them. That is beyond a poor choice of words. 

By not apologizing and correcting the story became about the comments not about agricultural land being corporate controlled. 

My entire point has been that QS managed this badly and needs to learn from it not that QS is racist. It became about integrity to me, not about racism. 

It was a strategic error to deny and refuse to apologize. That became the story not because the Gazette made it so but because QS made it the story by defending the comment. Has QS apologized yet? 

 

voice of the damned

Unionist wrote:

And my hypothesis is that QS was so offended at being painted as racist by media which are often genuinely racist, that they couldn't even think their way through the issue, respect the feelings that they may have inadvertently hurt, and made a genuine explanation and retraction.

If being subjected to hypocritical attacks renders QS so emotionally distraught that they are unable to think coherently about the issue in question, they should find another line of work besides politics. Seriously.

swallow swallow's picture

So, I think maybe we actually all agree now. 

Meanwhile, Anti-Muslim racism is getting pretty brutal in Quebec, aided by the Quebecor media empire. 

https://www.canadalandshow.com/quebec-media-contribute-to-climate-of-hat...

swallow swallow's picture

There's still a very high chance of Quebec becoming independent, says Manon Massé. The strong QS vote of youth, she implies, shows that young people support the QS stand for sovereignty. And in fact, she says, only an independent Quebec can stop climate change (« L'indépendance du Québec est nécessaire pour être capable de réaliser la réelle lutte aux changements climatiques », a indiqué Mme Massé.) 

Honestly, what the actual is going on with this team of leaders (yes they are supposed to be spoksepeople, but they seem to act more and more like leaders - I highly doubt that the majority of QS supporters agree that the struggle against climate change is only possible with an independent Quebec).  

https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/politique/politique-quebecoise/201903...

Unionist

swallow wrote:

« L'indépendance du Québec est nécessaire pour être capable de réaliser la réelle lutte aux changements climatiques », a indiqué Mme Massé.

Fer crissakes. What is her problem? I've reached out to ask: 1) Was she accurately quoted, and in context? 2) If yes, where does she get this stuff?

There are days when I miss Françoise David and Amir Khadir. Today is one of those days.

 

lagatta4

Yes, that doesn't even make sense, as it is a global problem.

Unionist

Well, I got an answer back. Starts with this para from the QS Declaration of Principles:

Quote:

Le Québec doit disposer de tous les pouvoirs nécessaires à son plein développement aux plans social, économique, culturel et politique, ce qui lui est refusé dans le cadre fédéral. Notre parti opte donc pour la souveraineté. Sans être une garantie, la souveraineté est un moyen de fournir au Québec les outils nécessaires pour réaliser son projet de société et s’épanouir pleinement comme peuple.

Then examples: A non-sovereign Québec couldn't block a project like Enbridge, or refuse to pay subsidies to gas companies (i.e. the ones that come from our federal taxes), etc. 

Good answers. All true. But I'm not convinced, for the reason lagatta gave above. Nor do I understand why QS would push this now. Are we trying to encourage more defections from the PQ, by showing how much more independentist we are? Where is this coming from?

Please, please, don't go down the wrong road. The PQ has shown historically how slippery that slope can be.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Unionist wrote:

Well, I got an answer back. Starts with this para from the QS Declaration of Principles:

Quote:

Le Québec doit disposer de tous les pouvoirs nécessaires à son plein développement aux plans social, économique, culturel et politique, ce qui lui est refusé dans le cadre fédéral. Notre parti opte donc pour la souveraineté. Sans être une garantie, la souveraineté est un moyen de fournir au Québec les outils nécessaires pour réaliser son projet de société et s’épanouir pleinement comme peuple.

Then examples: A non-sovereign Québec couldn't block a project like Enbridge, or refuse to pay subsidies to gas companies (i.e. the ones that come from our federal taxes), etc. 

Good answers. All true. But I'm not convinced, for the reason lagatta gave above. Nor do I understand why QS would push this now. Are we trying to encourage more defections from the PQ, by showing how much more independentist we are? Where is this coming from?

Please, please, don't go down the wrong road. The PQ has shown historically how slippery that slope can be.

Agreed.  Were I to speculate, it might be that-and by "they", I mean whoever does most of their strategic and tactical thinking-                                                                                                                                                           

-They may think they can wipe out the PQ, but ONLY if they don't back off on an immediate push for sovereigntism, that any deviation from a "sovereigntism first"position lets the PQ stay in the game;                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

-They may believe they can't expand their support among those who identify as federalist or as neutralist on the constitutional question; 

-At some intellectual/ideological level, it may be that they can't separate their socialist/anti-oppression/anti-imperialist orientation from sovereigntism, that they feel that letting sovereigntism go, or at least putting it on the back burner, is in some way a form of surrender or of abandonment of their core values.

It would be interesting to see how this plays out with QS if-assuming the CAQ doesn't pass an electoral reform bill-they were to win a majority government with the same 41% the PQ took winning a majority in '76(assuming, in that scenario, that the PQ vote totally collapsed, as it would need to for QS to pull that kind of a vote).  They would have to look at those numbers and assume that a "Oui" vote would have great difficulty in prevailing at best, and they would have to decide which mattered more:  putting a referendum on the ballot that would likely go down to a landslide defeat, OR passing their economic and social justice agenda through the National Assembly.

 

swallow swallow's picture

I assume the goal is to be ever so clever tactically and replace the PQ. I could attempt a lengthy analysis, but frankly I don’t care why they are pursuing this line. It is fucked up, opportunistic nonsense. 

lagatta4

Well concretely, the main action of QS right now is supporting and attending the climate strike actions. Anyone in Montréal who is free to go today - its at 12 h 45  Au sud du Monument George-Étienne Cartier du Parc du Mont-Royal That is the monument with the angel (and the tam-tams). Fortunately, I'm usually free Friday afternoons as no client will want a rush job... Think Gabriel and Manon will attend here; don't know about other QS MNAs - or former MNAs. 

Unionist

I'm out of town, dammit, can't make any of the demos today. Hold high the banner, lagatta! Climb it!

Meanwhile, here is the picture of political donations since Jan. 1, compiled from the official website. We're in first place! Wonder how long we can hang on to that?

NOTE: Keep in mind that all the above are individual contributions, each no more than $100 (in an election year, you can donate up to $200). And also, union and corporate donations have been banned here for decades.

swallow swallow's picture

I'll be at the Sherbrooke event. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i posted something re que in the student led thread. here is the part qs played in the demos. pics and video.

  Québec solidaire

Unionist

This is so great, it's worth repeating:

Québec Solidaire makes its opposition to secularism bill official

QS rejected the ban on religious symbols, not only for teachers, but for everyone - including those exercising "coercive" authority (as per the original Bouchard-Taylor commission recommendations).

QS chose principle over polls. This is historic. Hopefully it will be seen that way. It shows that this party has a spirit and reflects a movement which is utterly different from the others.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Thank you to the people in QS for standing on the right side of history. The outdated argument that the people of Quebec were traumatized by Catholic priests and nuns could never justify discriminating against minority religious faiths. No religious symbols in public spaces is fine by me as long as it is clear that my body and what I drape over it is not the public sphere but my private space.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

It shows that this party has a spirit and reflects a movement which is utterly different from the others.

..totally agree.

pietro_bcc

QS's stance on Bouchard Taylor was the single reason I didn't vote for them in the last election. (while I disagree with them on separation and it makes me uncomfortable, I have voted for them in elections despite this stance.)

I am very happy that QS's members chose this path and chose what is right over what is popular.

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Thank you to the people in QS for standing on the right side of history. The outdated argument that the people of Quebec were traumatized by Catholic priests and nuns could never justify discriminating against minority religious faiths. 

You are absolutely right that it cannot justify but it can be taken into account in understanding why Quebecers feel the way that they do. Singh is able to do so. He acknowledged Quebec's particular history in making the people extra sensitive to religious symbols in public life. 

voice of the damned

Pondering wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Thank you to the people in QS for standing on the right side of history. The outdated argument that the people of Quebec were traumatized by Catholic priests and nuns could never justify discriminating against minority religious faiths. 

You are absolutely right that it cannot justify but it can be taken into account in understanding why Quebecers feel the way that they do. Singh is able to do so. He acknowledged Quebec's particular history in making the people extra sensitive to religious symbols in public life. 

So, over five decades after the death of Duplessis and the start of the Quiet Revolution, and Quebckers are now only NOW suddenly sensitive to the issue of individual civil-servants making the personal choice to wear religious items? There must have been a fair number of government workers wearing crosses, crucifixes etc all those years, and no one seemed to worry that it would lead to the return of La Grande Noirceur.

 

lagatta4

Actually, people here could be very nasty about that. "Mange-curé"...

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

If your face is obscured (niqab, bourqa) you shouldn't have a government job. But Hijabs? What the fuck is wrong with that? And how is this law going to affect Sikhs and Jews?

I have been saying for a very long time that CAQ is the party of La Meute. Is there any doubt about it now that they passed this dog shit bill?

voice of the damned

lagatta4 wrote:

Actually, people here could be very nasty about that. "Mange-curé"...

That phrase doesn't translate on the on-line dictionaries. What is it that people were nasty about? Civil servants wearing Catholic items?

 

Unionist

voice of the damned wrote:

lagatta4 wrote:

Actually, people here could be very nasty about that. "Mange-curé"...

That phrase doesn't translate on the on-line dictionaries. What is it that people were nasty about? Civil servants wearing Catholic items?

You know what? Give your ill-concealed anti-Québec accusations a rest. We eliminated a Church stranglehold over health care, education, politics, the household, women and children - the likes of which was never experienced in the rest of Canada. Quebecers hate the church and its symbols, having never forgotten its dictatorship over every aspect of their lives and the struggles that were needed to overthrow that dictatorship.

I have never in my decades in Québec seen a public service worker adorned with Catholic symbols. Maybe I should get a stronger microscope? But you appear to have different information. Please provide it, so that we may examine it together. Maybe I'll change my mind in the face of evidence.

voice of the damned

Unionist:

How am I anti-Quebec? I'm criticizng one law, introduced by one governent, and as far as I can tell, it is the same law that you and other Quebec posters are criticizing.

Anyway, if there were no civil-servants wearing Catholic adornmnets all these years, how come the erstwhile domination of the RCC is being used to justify the law? With people even on an individual level eschewing Catholic symbols, I can't see how a return to Catholic hegemony is in any way possible.

(Cards on the table: I believe the law is motivated by racism against religious minorities, not concerns about the RCC making a political comeback. Are we agreed on this?)

lagatta4

A mange-curé is a very fervent secularist, the sort who'd have priests for dinner - not literally, of course. And they usually crop up for good reasons, such as Duplessis or Franco.

swallow swallow's picture

voice of the damned wrote:

So, over five decades after the death of Duplessis and the start of the Quiet Revolution, and Quebckers are now only NOW suddenly sensitive to the issue of individual civil-servants making the personal choice to wear religious items? There must have been a fair number of government workers wearing crosses, crucifixes etc all those years, and no one seemed to worry that it would lead to the return of La Grande Noirceur.

No. False premise. I'm not sure what you're talking about, honestly. 

So many congratulations to lagatta and Unionist and all of the QS membership. The change of policy is a wonderful thing and a fine testimony to the party's democratic structures and capacity to debate tough issues and come up with good answers. 

voice of the damned

swallow wrote:

voice of the damned wrote:

So, over five decades after the death of Duplessis and the start of the Quiet Revolution, and Quebckers are now only NOW suddenly sensitive to the issue of individual civil-servants making the personal choice to wear religious items? There must have been a fair number of government workers wearing crosses, crucifixes etc all those years, and no one seemed to worry that it would lead to the return of La Grande Noirceur.

No. False premise. I'm not sure what you're talking about, honestly. 

I was referring to what Pondering wrote in her exchange with Kropotkin.

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Thank you to the people in QS for standing on the right side of history. The outdated argument that the people of Quebec were traumatized by Catholic priests and nuns could never justify discriminating against minority religious faiths. 

 

You are absolutely right that it cannot justify but it can be taken into account in understanding why Quebecers feel the way that they do. Singh is able to do so. He acknowledged Quebec's particular history in making the people extra sensitive to religious symbols in public life. 

So the traumatization by Catholic priests doesn't justify the law, but we need to "take it into account in understanding why Quebeckers feel the way they do". I'm just wondering why we need to take it into account.

Frankly, it sounds like saying "This law is bad, but people might have understandable reasons for thinking it's good." Which, quite frankly, is not an argument I'm accustomed to hearing in discussions of allegedly racist laws.

lagatta4

Here is an interesting article from CBC Montreal. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/with-new-position-on-secularism-...

Pondering

voice of the damned wrote:

swallow wrote:

voice of the damned wrote:

So, over five decades after the death of Duplessis and the start of the Quiet Revolution, and Quebckers are now only NOW suddenly sensitive to the issue of individual civil-servants making the personal choice to wear religious items? There must have been a fair number of government workers wearing crosses, crucifixes etc all those years, and no one seemed to worry that it would lead to the return of La Grande Noirceur.

No. False premise. I'm not sure what you're talking about, honestly. 

I was referring to what Pondering wrote in her exchange with Kropotkin.

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Thank you to the people in QS for standing on the right side of history. The outdated argument that the people of Quebec were traumatized by Catholic priests and nuns could never justify discriminating against minority religious faiths. 

 

You are absolutely right that it cannot justify but it can be taken into account in understanding why Quebecers feel the way that they do. Singh is able to do so. He acknowledged Quebec's particular history in making the people extra sensitive to religious symbols in public life. 

So the traumatization by Catholic priests doesn't justify the law, but we need to take it into account in understanding why Quebeckers feel the way they do". I'm just wondering why we need to take it into account.

Frankly, it sounds like saying "This law is bad, but people might have understandable reasons for thinking it's good." Which, quite frankly, is not an argument I'm accustomed to hearing in discussions of allegedly racist laws.

The law is not racist. Skin colour has zero to do with it. I am against religion. All religion. 100%. I think anything that encourages people to believe in imaginary deities that have dominion over our lives is dangerous and anti-science. It's brainwashing from childhood. Religions are undemocratic power structures set up by men that bar women from positions of power. Religions are cults not an expression of freedom. Indoctrinating children from childhood is abuse. 

Just as we need no law to protect the belief in Santa Claus there should be no laws protecting the belief in imaginary deities. Religion should be actively discouraged along with horoscopes. There should be warnings as exist for fortune-tellers, for entertainment only

Because some women have been fully brain-washed I support their ability to wear headscarves to work but with reservations because it legitimizes belief in imaginary deities which undermines science. The state should not be in the business of legitimizing the belief in fantasy beings. There is no reason why someone should have the right to wear a fairy costume to work because they worship fairies. 

Evangelicals believe what is happening now is foretold in the Bible and the rapture is coming once the Jews regain all of biblical Israel. If climate change is real it is the will of God not the actions of man that made it so. These are dangerous beliefs. Who knows what lurks in other religions that promote imaginary deities as the ultimate law and power rather than nature? What might a man do that believes he will be gifted with 7 beautiful virgins if he obeys his imam? 

Religions are not benign. They actively undermine science and endanger our world as people have faith that everything is God's will turning them away from problems that humans must deal with assuming we want Earth to survive. 

Because so many people have been brainwashed into believing in imaginary deities that they must honour I support allowing them to wear their superstitious symbols within reason but I am not entirely comfortable with it. I would be extremely uncomfortable if I went to a school and all the women were wearing nun's habits, or hijabs. I would homeschool my kid.  A couple sprinkled here and there okay, but more than that would be alarming. 

The Evangelicals worry about having to explain LGBTQ to their children. I would worry about having to explain adults who believe in imaginary beings to my children. I wouldn't want to legitimize something like that in my kids eyes.  Horoscopes and fortunetellers are broadly accepted as hocus pocas. They are supposed to respect their teachers as intelligent educators. How would I explain that they believe in the equivalent of fortune tellers? That with all the known evidence of how the holy books came to be some adults can still have blind faith in imaginary beings? It is mass delusion. It undermines science and logic. 

I would not want 10% of teachers wearing hijabs or nuns head pieces or skull caps or turbans or their horoscope signs. It has nothing to do with race. 

voice of the damned

Pondering: So, based on what you've written above, in conjunction with what you wrote in #178, I surmise that...

You support the secularism law currently under discussion.

BUT...

You don't think that Quebeckers' particular experience with authoritarian clergy is a good reason for it. 

BUT...

You also think that Quebeckers' experience with authoritarian clergy might help us to understand why they support the law. Even though it's not actually a good reason.

That's basically it?

 

Pogo Pogo's picture

I think there is a difference between secularism (no religous role in government) and enforced atheism for government officials. 

I would like someone to show the harm. Framed like "I had an interaction with an offical wearing a turban and it caused me to change my behaviour in the following way:   ???? "

Unionist

Is there someone here actually arguing in favour of the CAQ bill? I must have missed it. If not, then why have a hypothetical debate?

On the other hand, if anyone wants to understand why such a notion could gain traction particularly in Québec, without it being a "the Muslims and Jews want to replace us!!!" thing, then I've given some bits of historical explanation here, as has Pondering. I'm referring to: People in authority having the appearance of religious neutrality, as well as (which should go without saying) not discriminating in their words and deeds in favour of one religion or another. That's what this is about - appearances. And progressive people here clearly understand (most of us anyway) that the appearance of neutrality is not an important enough principle to force people to choose between their sincerely-held religious beliefs and their employment - and especially not important enough to foster division and give fodder to the ultra-right and white supremacist types.

Pogo Pogo's picture

I was reading Pondering's post and found parts in it that supported the principles of the law if not the law itself.  I was also posting this more as my criticism of the law - that it is attacking X (openly religous expression) under principle Y (secularism) without demonstrating any clear connection.

swallow swallow's picture

VotD: I think the necessary history that Signh said neeed to be understood is in lagatta's really interesting link: "For much of the 20th century, pushing for the separation of Church and state was a key battleground for progressives, especially in Quebec, where the Catholic Church was a valuable ally of Maurice Duplessis's quasi-reactionary government." 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Indeed Pogo this law is a reaction to problem that does not exist. I accept completely that Quebec civil servants generally do not wear Catholic symbols on the job so obviously the oppression suffered under the Church is not on play with citizens accessing services. It seems to me that the people in Quebec have never suffered from oppression by any other religion so this law is clearly Islamophobic which is a type of racism against Semitic people.

Personally I think that the Torah, Old Testement and Koran are the problem. They share a deep rooted misogyn that pervades all cultures based on those unholy scriptures. However I grew up in a Catholic family where my parents would rather have died than renounce their faith but accepted other peoples right to their own religon. People need the freedom to both be religious and to express themselves by the manner of their dress. People who chose to wear a head covering for religious reasons should not be barred from teaching children and other service jobs.

NorthReport

Precisely, and thank you swallow and lagatta for that.

swallow wrote:

VotD: I think the necessary history that Signh said neeed to be understood is in lagatta's really interesting link: "For much of the 20th century, pushing for the separation of Church and state was a key battleground for progressives, especially in Quebec, where the Catholic Church was a valuable ally of Maurice Duplessis's quasi-reactionary government." 

Pondering

voice of the damned wrote:

You support the secularism law currently under discussion.

I do not support the law. I am against the law because I think it is unnecessary and forms a barrier to participation in society for groups who sincerely hold religious beliefs.  

I don't agree that the issue is cut and dried or that the law is necessarily racist. I think the people of Quebec have good reason to be leery of religious symbols on people who have authority over us. That Islam isn't Catholicism and a hijab is not a habit is splitting hairs. I think there is good reason to not extend special protection to religions. I think official state secularism is a good thing. It should be the default that the state does not extend special privileges to groups with imaginary beliefs. In the contest of human rights it seems only religious rights clash with the rights of others. 

I'd say I am 60% against the law, 40% for it. Religion is a form of Stockholm syndrome. The hijab is not a flag of freedom for women. It is a reminder of women who are forced to wear them and forced to wear more draconian symbols of repression in the name of the same religion. Just because some women say they choose it doesn't mean other women aren't being pressured into it by family and culture even if they are not forced. 

What besides Stockholm Syndrome could cause any indigenous person to have anything to do with Christianity?

I extend the same respect to people wearing religious symbols as I do anyone else. I realize that in many cases they are more intelligent and better informed than myself, superior in mind, position and even character. They are still people who profess to believe in imaginary beings and life after death. That is still something that I don't think should be granted much in the way of special protection. Discrimination in the sense of renting and accessing services and employment on the basis of religion should be illegal. On the other hand I do not consider it discriminatory to reject legitimizing a Christian Law School with rules against LGBTQ students who practice their sexuality. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
VotD: I think the necessary history that Signh said neeed to be understood is in lagatta's really interesting link: "For much of the 20th century, pushing for the separation of Church and state was a key battleground for progressives, especially in Quebec, where the Catholic Church was a valuable ally of Maurice Duplessis's quasi-reactionary government."

I think this only makes VotD's question more interesting.  Why NOW?  If the fight has been ongoing for decades, what finally tipped the balance to where in 2019 it's not OK to wear a cross to your public service job?

Are more people wearing crosses these days?  Is it getting out of hand?  Are there MORE people sporting a yarmulke now than ten or twenty or thirty years ago, and something must be done about it?

Or is there a social trend I'm missing that finally forced the state to act?

swallow swallow's picture

This law goes back to the PQ Charter of values proposal, before that to Bouchard-Taylor, before that too. It isn’t a new debate. It’s not been off the agenda for years.

NorthReport

Will the Quebec government get away with brazenly defying basic human rights?

 

Karl Nerenberg

March 29, 2019

RABBLE NEWS

ANTI-RACISM

POLITICS IN CANADA

 ibourgeault_tasse/Flickr

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government of Quebec wants Quebecers and other Canadians to believe it seeks consensus and compromise in its effort to assure that the Quebec state is fully and completely secular.

On Thursday, March 28, it tabled a law that forbids certain categories of public servants, including teachers and police officers, from wearing religious symbols. Among the banned symbols are Christian crosses, Jewish kippahs, Sikh turbans and Muslim hijabs. But the proposed new law does not apply to those currently working in the system; they are grandfathered, as it were.

Quebec Premier François Legault says his government is so respectful and accommodating that it does not want to fire anyone.

Of course, even for those already inside the fence this notional compromise is something of a poisoned chalice. If they change jobs within the public service, they will be treated like new hires and will have to remove all offending religiously-connected garb or symbols.

This proposed new law clearly and unabashedly defies basic human rights as defined and protected by both Quebec's Charter of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Legault's government has a simple plan to get around Quebec's charter. It will change it. The government says it will add language to the Quebec charter stating, in effect, that the fundamental rights the charter upholds are limited by the need to respect the secular character (the "laïcité") of the Quebec state.

It will be easy for the Legault government to modify the province's own charter; it is a mere piece of legislation, not part of the constitution. The government can do whatever it wants with its Charter, via a simple majority vote in the national assembly.

Such is not the case for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which has been a key and central part of Canada's basic law, its constitution, since 1982.

All laws, of all governments in Canada, must respect each and every provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If they do not, the courts can and will declare them invalid. They have done so on numerous occasions.

However, the Canadian Charter does include an escape clause, the now infamous notwithstanding clause. Quebec's CAQ government has already invoked that clause to head off any possible court challenges to its new law.

Never imagined the notwithstanding clause would be used like this

In 1981, when the Pierre Trudeau government agreed to a notwithstanding clause in order to get the majority of provinces onside with the idea of a charter, officials assured journalists covering the constitution-making process that this ominous-sounding clause was a reasonable compromise. It would have no negative consequences for Canadians' basic rights, they said. Except in rare cases, those officials explained, governments -- be they municipal, provincial or federal -- would never dare to openly pass laws that flagrantly contravene basic human rights.

It has not quite worked out that way.

This past fall, the Doug Ford Conservative government of Ontario invoked the notwithstanding clause to try to force legislation through cutting the size of Toronto's city council.

An earlier Quebec government invoked the notwithstanding clause after a court ruled there was a free speech issue involved in a Quebec law making French the only permitted language of outdoor commercial signs.

The premier at the time, Liberal Robert Bourassa, argued that he was forced to take this extraordinary measure as a matter of cultural security. The Quebec government had no choice but to protect the French language, he said, which had been under threat for centuries. Many who support human rights could find that explanation to be at least plausible. And the main tangible consequence of Bourassa's law was to force some businesses to buy new signs -- not a huge hardship.

The CAQ government's current use of the notwithstanding clause does not look nearly so benign. Many believe the CAQ government has decided to bypass fundamental human rights to, in effect, demonize and persecute one identifiable minority group, Muslim women.

While the Legault government legislation notionally targets all religious symbols, virtually all public discussion and debate on the "laïcité" issue has focused on Islamic dress and symbols. Indeed, there is another provision in the new legislation that bans face coverings -- meaning, in effect, the niqabs worn by a small minority of Muslim women -- not only for public servants, but for anyone seeking to access public services in Quebec.

Opposition from all sides

The opposition Quebec Liberals had a similar ban on face coverings, but they now oppose several aspects of the CAQ's proposed legislation, notably those that would control the dress of school teachers and other public service workers.

On the other side of the debate, the Parti Québécois' main critique is that the CAQ's effort does not go far enough. The Legault government's proposed law would exempt teachers in private schools, for instance. The PQ says they should be subject to the same rules as public-school teachers.

Left-of-centre Québec Solidaire tries to come down in the middle. It opposes the proposed restrictions on such public employees as teachers, but supports them for prison guards, judges and police officers.

That position could still evolve. Québec Solidaire has a convention this coming weekend where the issue of "laïcité" will be high on the agenda.

All federal political leaders oppose the CAQ initiative, although both Conservative Andrew Scheer and the NDP's Jagmeet Singh say they recognize the Quebec government's right to legislate in this area.

Singh addressed the issue in a personal manner. After all, a person who dresses as he does will be a target of the CAQ's proposed new law. The NDP leader said, poignantly, that the Quebec initiative makes him sad. It reminds him, he told reporters, of his own sense of exclusion growing up.

The CAQ government wants to push this new legislation through fairly quickly, and have it passed by early June, before the national assembly rises for the summer.

That schedule will mean there will be little time for any serious public input or consultation, which perfectly suits the CAQ. Its aim is to get this matter over with, and focus on other, less contentious, aspects of its legislative agenda.

Karl Nerenberg has been a journalist and filmmaker for more than 25 years. He is rabble's politics reporter.

Photo: ibourgeault_tasse/Flickr

Help make rabble sustainable. Please consider supporting our work with a monthly donation. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

http://rabble.ca/news/2019/03/will-quebec-government-get-away-brazenly-defying-basic-human-rights

Unionist

NorthReport, try reading and understanding articles before posting them please. Karl's piece is obsolete: 

Quote:

Left-of-centre Québec Solidaire tries to come down in the middle. It opposes the proposed restrictions on such public employees as teachers, but supports them for prison guards, judges and police officers.

That position could still evolve. Québec Solidaire has a convention this coming weekend where the issue of "laïcité" will be high on the agenda.

That weekend came and went. QS changed its position. 

Pages