From the category archives:

Quebec sait faire

Charles Taylor admits he erred when he authored the Bouchard-Taylor recommendation to restrict religious symbols among public servants in positions of authority, saying that “times have changed”:

In 2008, Taylor, along with sociologist Gérard Bouchard, signed a report that called for a ban on religious symbols worn by public servants in positions of coercive authority — police, judges and prison guards.

Opposition parties quickly demanded the ban extend to teachers and daycare workers, “something we had not at all envisioned,” Taylor wrote in an open letter published Tuesday in La Presse.

He cited the controversy over the Parti Québécois’ 2013 Charter of Quebec Values as having created the “stigmatization” of certain sectors of Quebec society, particularly the province’s Muslim community, and blamed the controversy for attacks ranging from hateful comments to physical assault on Muslims wearing a veil.

Taylor said times have changed and he no longer endorses the recommendation.

Admitting that is the first step. But it will take more than an open letter to undo the damage. People still clinging to the idea that we need to find a “consensus” misunderstand that, in a democracy, minorities should never be compelled to conform to the tyranny of a majority.

Don’t like hijabs, kippahs or turbans? Fine, nobody’s forcing you to wear them. You are free to wear what you want and believe what you want. But stop telling other people what they can wear or what they can believe.

Bill 62 is bad legislation and must be scrapped.

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One of the more positive effects of what’s been happening lately has been the coming together of the Muslim and Jewish Communities towards a common cause:

A photo of two kids — a Muslim girl and Jewish boy — rallying for the same cause alongside their dads, warmed the hearts of audiences across social media.

Both children are pictured hoisted high above the crowd on their father’s shoulders, holding handmade signs. Seven-year-old Meryem looks across at Adin, 9, who is smiling back at her. Her father, Fatih Yildirim, is holding a sign saying “empathy.” Adin’s father, Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, has a sign with a message about the past — “we’ve seen this before never again.”

For what it’s worth, I spotted a significant number of Jewish people at last night’s Montreal vigil to support the Muslim community in the wake of the Quebec City attack, too.

Just a few years ago, this sort of unity between our two communities would have been almost unheard-of. I think the turning point — as far as I can remember — came when we marched side by side to protest against the Charte des valeurs. Thus proving that when the issues are important enough, we can unite and find common ground.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t still big issues to tackle. But I think we’re all looking for nuggets of hope this week. This is one.

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Quebec mosque shooting: Change the rhetoric

01.29.2017

La Presse is now reporting at least 4 6 deaths in the Ste-Foy Mosque shooting. It’s just sickening. We’ll know more about the suspect who was taken into custody soon enough. But this isn’t merely on the shooter. This is on all of us. We can do more — we MUST do more — to [...]

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Lisée voted PQ leader

10.07.2016

Meanwhile in Quebec, the new PQ leader is none other than Jean-François Lisée: I admit I’m actually a bit surprised that he won. He’s too intellectual, too mild-mannered, too unpopular with the PQ elite, too cautious for the hard-liners, too last-generation for the progressive youth. But I admit that, as someone opposed to most of [...]

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Do you prefer your politicians corrupt or evil?

03.17.2016

This morning, UPAC arrested 7 high-ranking politicians, including former Quebec Deputy Premier Nathalie Normandeau on charges of fraud, corruption and abuse of public trust: The group of seven, which includes people associated with the provincial Liberals and the Parti Québécois, were arrested shortly after 6 a.m. on Thursday in Quebec City, Charlevoix and the Gaspésie, [...]

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Quebec budget update: More balanced than I expected

12.02.2014

Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao announced Quebec’s budget update today, setting off what is sure to be a continuing series of protests against the cuts, austerity measures and fee increases. The Liberal government claims that this sort of painful pruning is necessary in order to rein in Quebec’s out-of-control finances and balance the budget. The [...]

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Quebec schoolboard elections: Why you should care

09.22.2014

Folks, this is important: Quebec is having school board elections in November, and for the first time, the position of Chair is directly electable by the population. My wonderful aunt, Suanne Stein Day, is running for re-election as LBPSB Chair. It’s because she’s wonderful, and not just because she’s family, that I’d urge you to [...]

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Scotland Is Not Quebec

09.18.2014

Today, as I write this, 4.3 million people in Scotland are voting in a referendum on whether they should separate from the United Kingdom. I’ve been following the debate in Scotland more closely than I thought I would. For one thing, I have quite a few friends in the UK and this impacts them directly. [...]

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The war in Europe is over. Now, to turn our attention to the Pacific.

04.08.2014

“We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead.” — Winston Churchill. For the past 18 months, it’s felt a bit to me like we’ve been fighting a war on two fronts: On the one hand, against Pauline Marois and [...]

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Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques goes Quebec Solidaire

04.08.2014

There will almost certainly be a recount in my home riding of Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques, won by QS’s Manon Massé by a margin of only 91 votes over Liberal Anna Klisko. Obviously, I would have preferred a Liberal victory over a Quebec Solidaire one here. The QS is staunchly pro-sovereignty, militantly anti-English, and has pie-in-sky ideas about [...]

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