Sunday, February 05, 2023

Religious Bigotry

Justin Trudeau returns to Parliament this week having backtracked on a couple of issues. Althia Raj writes:

For the Liberals, the return of Parliament this week was marked by a series of reversals after many unfortunate own goals.

On Friday, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino acknowledged bungling gun control as the Liberals withdrew controversial amendments to legislation that Conservatives and the NDP had denounced as scooping up hunters and Indigenous Peoples in an effort to target assault-style weapons.

On Thursday, Justice Minister David Lametti tabled a bill asking for a yearlong delay before expanding medical assistance in dying to those solely suffering from mental illness. Last fall, Lametti was adamant a delay wasn’t needed. But public pressure mounted, and this week government officials acknowledged it was to get the process right, to prepare professionals, and to consider an upcoming report from a Commons committee.

But Trudeau's hottest potato is his appointment of Amira Elghawaby as an advisor on Islamophobia and Quebec's reception to her appointment:

Elghawaby, a former Star columnist, was appointed on Jan. 26 to serve as an adviser on the government’s efforts to fight Islamophobia, racial discrimination and religious intolerance. In Quebec, her appointment caused an uproar — she has suggested the majority of Quebecers appear to be swayed by anti-Muslim sentiment, accused Quebec Premier FranƧois Legault of showing xenophobic tendencies and, in a since-deleted tweet, said the claim that French-Canadians were oppressed under British rule made her want to “throw up.” That kind of language starts a fire in modern Quebec, qhich is steadfastly committed to secularism  -- as expressed in the recently passed Bill 21.

Quebec's secularism is a hard rejection of the influence of the Catholic Church in Quebec. I grew up in that province, where priests used to instruct their parishioners on how to vote. Advice that used to be taken seriously there -- Le Ciel best bleu. L'Enfer est rouge. Heaven is blue. Hell is red. -- is now a standing joke.

One hundred and fifty years ago, religion was a major fault line in Canadian politics. It would be a grave mistake to return to those days.

Image: Must Do Canada


Toby said...

Phobia, meaning fear of, is used to shutdown discussion and label opponents. You don't like what I say or do thus you are afraid of me; you're a bigot. That's nonsense. It's the modern version of accusation of witchcraft or heresy. You're right, Owen, we don't need it.

Owen Gray said...

You would think that, by now, history would have taught us that lesson, Toby.

Northern PoV said...

Given the stories of troubled vets being offered MAID and cases of disabled folks choosing MAID over a life of hopeless poverty, I'd say this delay was a good choice. It is an brand new social development (at least in modern history), shouldn't be a partisan issue, as is an existential issue of a kind.

The mess around the other two files are emblematic of the unfocused leadership, we've seen under Jr. His gov't blew tax reform in 2016 and backed down. It was so clumsy, I now wonder if Morneau himself sabotaged it. Tax reform now dead in Canada for the foreseeable future.

I never met a gun-control law I didn't like and islamophobia needs to be challenged across Canada (not just in Quebec). I suspect both efforts now doomed like tax-reform due to Jr.'s clumsy asleep-at-the-switch approach to governing.

Meanwhile, Freeland is getting free reign all on her war-mongering issues.

As usual Canadian politics is a dog's breakfast.

Owen Gray said...

The next six months could get very interesting -- and dangerous -- PoV.

the salamander said...

.. i have some thoughts ..
perhaps upon too many issues
are crashing in .. to channel usefully

i find it truly difficult to ‘get down to the nut of the problem’
Isn’t that where the ‘answer’ or the ‘sensibility’
has sought shelter or refuge ..

How many ‘refuges’ must inquiring minds search for ?


Owen Gray said...

Life's complicated, sal. And therefore it's confusing. But superstition won't provide any answers.

jrkrideau said...

One hundred and fifty years ago, religion was a major fault line in Canadian politics. It would be a grave mistake to return to those days.

Too late. Law 21 has already done it.

I am not sure if appointing an an advisor on Islamophobia was the correct approach but QuƩbec's Law 21 was basically targeted at Muslems, in particular Muslim women who want to wear a hijab or at the truly rare woman in Canada who goes around it a full burqua. It has the, probably unintended, effect of targeting Sikhs and Orthodox Jewish men as well but,in any case, it is a strictly xenophobic and religiously discriminatory law. The federal government has a responsibility to protect the citizens of Canada from this bigotry.

Back in the dark ages, before the turn of the century, when I lived in QuƩbec I was proud of our tolerance and diversity. I am ashamed now.

As a strictly political consideration, I do not see how the PM could avoid taking action. There are a lot of voters across Canada who are not all that happy, especially those groups whose members are directly affected and can probably imagine a Doug Ford or Danielle Smith wanting to emulate QuƩbec.

Owen Gray said...

Trudeau is caught between a rock and a hard place, jrk. Legault is quite willing to claim an exemption under the notwithstanding clause.