Réplique à Charles Taylor – Les religions «indiscrètes» doivent respecter la société civile | Le Devoir

And the inevitable reply to the arguments of Charles Taylor from Yvan Lamonde, also from McGill, arguing in favour of laicité and secularism. Part of the problem is that many of the secularists are as fundamentalist in their beliefs as the more fundamentalist religious believers, rather than having a more nuanced and open approach to questions of identities. Calling other religions “indiscrètes” says it all.

We live in the world of real people, with all their complexities and identities, not in a theoretical construct.

Est-ce cette liberté individuelle d’un certain type qui justifie qu’on veuille occuper l’espace civil gouvernemental de signes dont des croyants ne seraient absolument pas capables de se départir momentanément, entre huit et dix-sept heures, sans jouer leur identité ? Identité religieuse dans un espace d’identité civile. Pourquoi la « visibilité incontournable » des religions « indiscrètes », pourquoi le jusqu’au-boutisme religieux devraient-ils prévaloir dans la société civile, dans l’espace de l’État ?

Où est la contradiction ? Où est la confusion ? Finalement, l’argument de la « réponse » religieuse donnée à une certaine quête humaine est-il l’ultime justification de la liberté religieuse individuelle et d’un plaidoyer en faveur d’un forcing du religieux dans l’espace étatique neutre ?

Réplique à Charles Taylor – Les religions «indiscrètes» doivent respecter la société civile | Le Devoir.

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Multiculturalism rich in church’s 100-year history – Local – The Moose Jaw Times Herald

A nice little story from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, population just over 100,000, reminding just how much multiculturalism and diversity are part of Canada, even in rural Western Canada.

Multiculturalism rich in church’s 100-year history – Local – The Moose Jaw Times Herald.

‘Wear hijabs in and out of class’: Pupils at state Islam school become the first to be forced to cover up with Muslim headscarf | Mail Online

The debate in the UK on state schools with dress codes, in and out of school. Lacking in the article is a comparison with other faith-based state schools, and their dress codes (e.g., Catholic, Jewish, Sikh etc), and how they are applied.

Quebec, ironically, also provides state financing to faith-based schools, despite it ongoing focus on secularism.

A reminder that providing financing can reinforce parallel communities and reduce opportunities for integration.

‘Wear hijabs in and out of class’: Pupils at state Islam school become the first to be forced to cover up with Muslim headscarf | Mail Online.

Conrad Black: Toward a theory of Canadian exceptionalism | National Post

While the front part is typical Conrad Black over the top, his conclusion is interesting:

There are limits to what a country of 35-million can do, but it wouldn’t kill Canadians to develop their own brand of exceptionalism. Canada is exceptionally racially tolerant, has been exceptionally careful never to engage in an unjust or unsuccessful war. It has been exceptionally successful at joining forces between the private and public sectors, and should do so again in the field of medical care, and in ownership of the automobile industry and the aerospace industry (so we can finally recover from the disaster of the Avro Arrow cancellation in 1959).

More broadly, Canada is exceptional as the only trans-continental, officially bicultural, parliamentary confederation in history. Canada has also been an exceptionally successful liberal state, and we should build on this to abolish prison for (all but a few) non-violent people; to legalize drugs but require treatment for hard drug users; to honour the treaties with the native peoples fully; to use the tax system to reduce poverty by incentivizing poverty reduction schemes as a way of reducing a wealth surcharge; and to lead the reform of international institutions.

The Canadian answer to the problems in the United States must not be sniggering; it must be to do better here.

Conrad Black: Toward a theory of Canadian exceptionalism | National Post.

Migration isn’t the answer to unemployment – The Globe and Mail

An interesting contrary view to the conventional view in favour of interprovincial migration, arguing the need to shift towards more active labour market training that allows the provinces to create more opportunities within, rather than depopulation. From a Conservative senator, Diane Bellemare, no less, in her book,  Créer et partager la prospérité (Creating and Sharing Prosperity).

Migration isn’t the answer to unemployment – The Globe and Mail.

Charte des valeurs québécoises – Une neutralité trompeuse | Le Devoir

Charles Taylor on the proposed Charter. Sensible as always, and reminding people that religions and expressions of faith vary by religion, and simplistic “neutrality” solutions are anything but neutral.

Pour les « sans-religion » et les tenants d’une religion « discrète », la Charte ne pose pas problème. Elle réserve toutefois un autre sort aux « indiscrets ». Les premiers pourront postuler sans problème des emplois dans le secteur public. Les autres, par contre, seront mis devant un choix déchirant : ou bien ils renoncent à pratiquer leur religion, ou bien ils seront à jamais exclus des secteurs public et parapublic. Cacher leur religion équivaut en partie, pour eux, à la renier et, partant, à renier leur identité.

Les apparences mur à mur de la neutralité de l’État cacheront une réalité tout autre, une discrimination évidente. L’étiquette sur la bouteille nous trompera sur son contenu.

Devrait-on s’étonner que les victimes de ce jeu de trompe-l’oeil se sentent trahies par une société québécoise qui ne cesse de leur promettre l’égalité ?

Charte des valeurs québécoises – Une neutralité trompeuse | Le Devoir.

With all the comings and goings, who is Canadian any more? – The Globe and Mail

Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but Elizabeth Renzetti has a point on expatriate Canadians, identity and citizenship.

With all the comings and goings, who is Canadian any more? – The Globe and Mail.

Muslims finding common ground with Christians: The path to peace – The Globe and Mail

A good example of an inter-faith initiative, Common Word, trying to reduce violence between Muslims and Christians. While I am not sure how effective this initiative will be among the more militant fundamentalists, it nevertheless is providing a forum and space for moderates, and respect for the commonalities among different faiths.

Muslims finding common ground with Christians: The path to peace – The Globe and Mail.

Convert one woman, you convert an entire family: Unveiling the rise in female terrorism around the globe

On women and terrorism. While still mainly a phenomenon of young men, not limited to them. The article has a broader perspective than Muslim terrorists, mentioning early Russian anarchists, Germany’s Baader-Meinhoff gang, the IRA, Basque ETA, Tamil Tigresses etc.

Convert one woman, you convert an entire family: Unveiling the rise in female terrorism around the globe.

Charte des valeurs: Interesting Silence

An interesting commentary on the silence of Quebec National Assembly member Fatima Houda-Pepin, who in the past has been one of the most vocal speakers on the risks of Islamic fundamentalists and sharia law. I had a number of discussions with her during a study tour in Holland a number of years ago, and she is  impressive and worth listening to. From a 2012 interview, worth reading from an integration perspective:

« J’ai un cheminement particulier et ce cheminement-là n’est pas fait par tout le monde », ajoutait-elle. D’origine marocaine, Fatima Houda-Pepin, élue en 1994, est issue d’une « famille très religieuse et pratiquante », précisait-elle. Elle-même a fréquenté l’école coranique. Mais la religion, c’était pour elle « la joie, le partage, la musique » avec des amies juives et chrétiennes aussi. « J’ai connu le fondamentalisme en arrivant au Canada », a-t-elle signalé.

« Quel choc, à mon arrivée au Canada, il y a 35 ans, confiait-elle à La Presse en 2007. J’y ai découvert des cercles d’endoctrinement où les femmes sont voilées entre elles, à l’intérieur de leurs propres maisons. » Elle disait avoir reçu un deuxième choc : l’indifférence des pouvoirs publics.

Charte des valeurs québécoises – Le silence de Fatima

On the more mundane political level, interesting opposition to the proposed Charter from the politician who after the loss of the 1995 referendum blamed the loss on money and the ethnic vote:

Charte des valeurs: Parizeau s’apprête à sauter dans le débat | DENIS LESSARD | Politique québécoise.

Not surprisingly, the inconsistency between the strong position of the Conservative Minister for Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, and the “I have no problem” position of the Conservative Minister for Quebec, Denis Lebel, gets criticized:

Charte des valeurs: Denis Lebel attaqué par les libéraux