And on a related note…


Someone I know well (if you’re reading this, you know who you are) often likes to say that to illustrate that democracy is flawed, all you’d have to do is call a vote in Quebec asking people if they believed that the Jews should pay twice the amount of tax as everyone else.

That vote, he claims, would pass in a landslide… and therein lies the problem with democracy: The people, quite often, are stupid.

Well, this isn’t quite the same thing… but it’s close:

Marois’s proposed Quebec Identity Act, with its loyalty oaths and French tests for office seekers, is cynically demagogic as well as discriminatory and demeaning. It has little chance of being adopted, and would probably be found unconstitutional if it were.

[. . . ]

And as with Bill 101 30 years ago, it seems everybody opposes the identity bill but the people.

Results of the latest monthly CROP-La Presse poll, published last week, suggest that the PQ has pulled into first place in popularity among the parties, with the ADQ slipping farther back into third.

And another poll commissioned by the strategist behind Marois’s bill, Jean-François Lisée, indicates overwhelming support for the bill.

In fact, it seems that most Quebecers would be willing to go even farther. Lisée tested the idea of requiring a “minimal knowledge” of French not only to run for office, but even to vote.

Seventy-two per cent of Quebecers were in favour of the requirement for future immigrants, and 65 per cent for people from other Canadian provinces moving to Quebec.

Yes, and in a lifeboat, two drowning people may vote to throw the third one overboard. That doesn’t make it right.

If the reasonable accommodation debate has only served to expose the deep-rooted xenophobia and racism of the vast majority of Quebec’s population, the proper response isn’t to cater to it, or to pass laws to enshrine it.

No, the proper response is to start working to change those attitudes. It won’t happen overnight. But at least it would be going in the right direction – something we don’t seem to be doing much of, lately.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Michael Helfield 12.13.07 at 8:39 PM

Right on Sari. Oh, and fyi, Habs suck and Leafs rule!



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