- Posted January 22, 2014 by
Politics of division in Quebec
In the Canadian province of Quebec, the party in power is about to pass a law that would prohibit public servants from wearing any ostentatious symbol such as the kippa, hijab, crosses or any religious symbols during working hours. This is the Quebec Charter of Secularism.
The tension has been mounting between those opposing the charter and those in favour. This charter has triggered some accounts of hatred on social media directed to those opposing the charter. These messages have varied from insults to actual death threats and protests in front of people’s houses. By tabling this charter, the current Quebec government, the "Parti Québécois" also known as the "PQ" seem to have encouraged their followers to feel it is justified to discriminate against someone’s religion or language.
Quebec is a mostly francophone province that has aspired for decades to separate from Canada and be an independent country. The "PQ" has utilized many tactics to phase out Anglophones and allophones in order to get rid of unfavourable votes to the sovereignty cause by adopting bills and laws to discriminate against minorities.
Currently, the party in power is a minority government and needs a majority government in order to ask Ottawa's permission to trigger a referendum on separation. The charter's debates simply create more division among the Quebec population and, as a result, more and more people are leaving the province of Quebec to go live elsewhere. Companies packing up leaving and laying off their employees is alarming.
This is a serious situation and many people fear for their safety and are afraid to walk around with veils, kippas or even speak English in certain Montreal areas. A page on Facebook called, “Put Canadian Flag Back In Quebec Assembly” with nearly 34,000 followers who openly discuss these issues have received numerous threats from nationalists, as well as several other social media lobby groups. Since its inception, the "Parti Québécois" had one and only goal: Separate from Canada.
We've had two referendums so far. In 1980, René Lévesque’s' PQ party failed to make Quebec a country. 59.68% voted no while 40.44% voted yes. In 1995, Jacques Parizeau's PQ failed to make Quebec a country. 50.58% voted no while 49.42% voted yes.
There had been controversy during the last referendum as many ballots have been cancelled because the "X" was not properly placed. And the majority of these ballots came from areas with the highest concentration of "NO" voters. After the defeat, Parizeau, in his speech said that they had lost because of money (basically pointing at the Jewish community) and the ethnic vote.
This being said, the current PQ leader, Pauline Marois, took where Parizeau has left off. That is why the charter has been tabled. The charter mostly targets women wearing hijabs or veils as well as men wearing turbans or wearing a beard (like Sikhs). If the charter becomes law, these people working in the public sector will have to stop wearing such attire during working hours and if they fail to comply, they will be dismissed.
I am sure you are already aware of the famous "Pastagate" last year when the OQLF (Office Québécoise de la Langue Française) or, simply put, the French language police, targeted establishments in Montreal for not using French as their work language or when greeting people in English. There are many areas on the island of Montreal that have English or bilingual status and these are the areas targeted by the OQLF.
To summarize, in Quebec, if you are not French speaking, if you wear ostentatious garments or if you don't believe in Quebec sovereignty, you are not welcome. The PQ government are using every tactic they can come up with. By doing so, they make people so tired and fed up that they are just packing up and leaving.