Question du voile: «On a plus urgent»

Funny. Jean-François Lisée, PQ Minister for Montreal who has been inflexible on the proposed charter, has been caught out as saying in his 2007 book, Nous, as not having any issues with the hijab in 2007 and showing openness and tolerance.

Rima Elkouri then notes the total absence of any serious documents or studies on the need for the Charter, apart from a poll, which gets this appropriate retort:

Voilà qui est lamentable. En matière de droits fondamentaux des minorités, un gouvernement qui se laisserait dicter ses décisions par la foule fait toujours fausse route. Ça vaut pour les droits des Québécois – ils n’ont pas à être dictés par une consultation menée à Ottawa auprès de la population canadienne. Ça vaut pour les droits des minorités sexuelles. Aurait-on idée de baser un projet de loi sur les droits fondamentaux des gais et des lesbiennes sur un sondage où tout un chacun pourrait nous dire s’il se sent très à l’aise, moyennement à l’aise ou pas du tout à l’aise face à l’homosexualité? Bien sûr que non. Ce serait parfaitement irresponsable.

Question du voile: «On a plus urgent» | Rima Elkouri.

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Un cours d’histoire trop «orienté» au goût des profs | Le Devoir

Debate over the consultation document for Quebec’s high school history course. Written too much for the teachers, not the students. Some of the debate seems like typical debates between experts, not terribly profound.

Un cours d’histoire trop «orienté» au goût des profs | Le Devoir.

How Quebec’s charter turned the Tories into ethnic champions – The Globe and Mail

Another article, by Inder Marwah of University of Chicago, and Phil Triadafilopoulos, of UofT, on how the Conservative Party has learned to embrace the “fourth sister” of Canadian politics (ethnic communities) and how the proposed Quebec Charter has furthered that embrace. Not much new compared to commentary by Tom Flanagan, John Ibbitson or others, but it still is a remarkable change.

How Quebec’s charter turned the Tories into ethnic champions – The Globe and Mail.

Forum confronts need for inclusion in Canadian art

A debate about diversity in the visual arts, in Mississauga, one of our more diverse Toronto suburbs. Given the pace of change in Canada’s diversity, somewhat natural that it takes time to be reflected in all areas, whether it be management, political, or artistic. Even for artists of the mainstream, like my father, it is hard to get into Canadian galleries:

“As far as getting art into the galleries, there seems to be some sort of a tick box that they go through that we’re just not put in the know about — what they qualify as Canadian art and what should be promoted — and through discussions like tonight, we’re basically sharing that those tick boxes need to be changed or re-evaluated,” said O’Hara.

As a photographer living in Mississauga, O’Hara said, the real definition of Canadian art is so elastic that it can’t be pigeonholed.

“For me, the great thing is that Canada is so diverse and so wide and so young that you can put two art works side by side (and they) both represent Canada in their own particular way,” she said “I love the fact that it’s not homogeneous — it’s always dynamic and moving.”

Forum confronts need for inclusion in Canadian art.

Tumulte autour de la laïcité – Il faut continuer de débattre | Le Devoir

Commentary on the panel discussion of the proposed Charter organized by Lucie Jobin, Présidente du Mouvement laïque québécois (MLQ) (see earlier post Un débat sur un «Québec laïque» dérape | Le Devoir). I tend to believe the earlier account than this justification piece, given that the proponents of laicisme at the debate are as fundamentalist in their beliefs as the people they  are concerned about. People who may have attended may wish to comment.

Tumulte autour de la laïcité – Il faut continuer de débattre | Le Devoir.

Klug: Charges of anti-semitism and Israel-lobby conspiracy are an ‘acrimonious circle’ we must step outside

Commentary on the controversial lecture in some circles by Brian Klug, the Oxford philosophy scholar, and his efforts to distinguish between antisemitism and anti-Israel attitudes:

Then what is it? What do we mean when we say, in a particular case, that anti-Zionism is antisemitic? … the figure of the ‘Jew’ is projected onto Israel because Israel is a Jewish state (or onto Zionism because Zionism is a Jewish movement). Sometimes this is obvious to the naked eye. But what if we think it is hidden behind a mask? Then we must look between the lines; and if we are right we will uncover the same figure implicit in the text. Text or sub-text, the figure is still the figure of the ‘Jew’: that is the point. And there are ways of bringing subtexts to light. Suppose there is a group that presents itself as pro-Palestinian, but… we suspect that there is an antisemitic motive. We could look at the literature they produce, their history, their membership, their political connections, and so on. Then we are in a position to form a judgment, a judgment based on evidence.

There is no algorithm for doing this. The evidence might be insufficient. Moreover, we can be wrong. There might be room for argument by people of goodwill who weigh the evidence differently, some believing that antisemitism does lie between the lines, others not. But this would be a rational process of argument, rather than the vicious circle of acrimony that I described earlier. The decisive issue would be this: Does the group in question project the figure of the ‘Jew’ (directly or indirectly, openly or otherwise) onto Israel? Do they, so to speak, pin a yellow star on the place, like the badge that was pinned to [Andre] Kertész’s breast? Do they, in short, turn the Jewish state into the ‘Jewish’ state?

This has always been a hard distinction to develop criteria for, beyond the working definition that provides some guidance (i.e., European Fundamental Rights Agency Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion). People have been cautious in taking this to the next step with more specific criteria or examples from the “grey areas”.

Klug: Charges of anti-semitism and Israel-lobby conspiracy are an ‘acrimonious circle’ we must step outside.

Correctional investigator calls on prison system to keep up with diversity

While the Minister is correct that Corrections Canada has implemented a number of initiatives to improve diversity and awareness, the gap in representation between prisoners and Corrections staff is striking, after so many years. Corrections Canada has even developed a hijab for use of one of the guards that addressed safety concerns.

On the other hand, the government suspended a chaplains program that ensured representation of other religions among the chaplains.

Correctional investigator calls on prison system to keep up with diversity | iPolitics.

Birth Tourism: Chinese Flock to the U.S. to Have Babies

What is striking is that the numbers are relatively small in the US as in Canada. 10,000 may sound like a lot but in context of the number of illegal residents (in the millions) or overall US population, this is minimal.

One could also view this as another immigration channel targeting high-powered and high net worth immigrants, given the amount of money this costs. 🙂

Birth Tourism: Chinese Flock to the U.S. to Have Babies | TIME.com.

Denmark | The multicultural society: a blessing or a curse?

The view from Denmark, a country with integration challenges, and if memory serves me correctly, has moved towards more restrictive immigration and citizenship policies.

Opinion | The multicultural society: a blessing or a curse? – News – cphpost.dk.

Niqab : acceptez et taisez-vous maintenant! | Le Devoir

Not a bad opinion piece on the niqab, nuanced, by Karima Brikh, reminding us of the risks of tolerating anything. The niqab represents separation, not integration, on any number of levels. The fact that the daycare workers who provoked the debate take off their niqab when with the children or the mothers reinforces that point:

Je ne crois pas qu’il faille interdire le niqab partout et suis convaincue qu’il ne faut pas s’en prendre à ces femmes, puisqu’elles ne se réduisent absolument pas à leur voile. Je pense que derrière chacune de ces forteresses de tissu se cache une femme avec un vécu qui mérite d’être connu, ainsi que des rêves et une personnalité singulière. Mais c’est justement pourquoi il nous reste encore le droit, peut-être même l’obligation morale, de ne pas normaliser tous les symboles présents qui sont synonymes d’une oppression à laquelle nous ne pouvons consentir. Avons-nous encore la possibilité de remettre en question publiquement le bien-fondé de telles pratiques au Québec sans risquer l’opprobre ?

Sous la gentillesse, on semble trouver une forme de relativisme et même de renoncement. Quand nous disons qu’« au fond, ça ne nous dérange pas », je soupçonne que plusieurs d’entre nous ne connaissent rien de la vie de ces femmes et n’en côtoient aucune. Ça ne nous « dérange pas », car nous consentons à les marginaliser dans leur différence, pourvu qu’elles ne viennent pas bousculer nos habitudes. Et comme nous souhaitons ne jamais risquer d’avoir l’air intolérants, nous n’osons même plus user de notre sens critique. À ce stade, ce n’est peut-être plus de tolérance dont nous faisons preuve, mais davantage de lâcheté et d’aveuglement volontaire. Et ce, sans niqab ni burqa…

Niqab : acceptez et taisez-vous maintenant! | Le Devoir.