26 November 2013

Don Macpherson: So much for a calm, respectful debate on the values charter


Khadir, who is a political adversary of Benhabib, told Le Devoir that “certain incendiary statements” by the former PQ candidate created “such a hostile environment” toward Conradi that, rather than try to continue speaking to an audience “that clearly didn’t want to listen to her,” she walked out. “And I walked out, too, in solidarity.”
In her defence, Benhabib told Le Devoir that Conradi had been “disrespectful to me and to the audience when she interpreted the comments of some participants as perceptions.”
So we have apparently reached the point that to refer to someone else’s beliefs as “perceptions” has become an irresistible provocation that must be met with booing and heckling.

19 November 2013

Globe: Quebec Liberal Leader rethinks stand on religious-symbols ban


The Liberals may go as far as to embrace the recommendation of the 2008 Bouchard-Taylor report on religious accommodations, which recommends a ban on religious symbols for some public servants in position of authority. The Coalition Avenir Québec as well as the Québec Solidaire party support that view, which could mean a common front by the opposition against the PQ minority government.

12 November 2013

Don Macpherson: McCarthyism, Québécois nationalist style


There’s just something about articles written by English-speaking Quebecers for New York publications criticizing Québécois nationalists that sends the latter clambering up the curtains.
You may recall the furor over the late Mordecai Richler’s article on Quebec’s language legislation, Inside/Outside, in New Yorker magazine in 1991, which Richler then expanded into a book, Oh Canada! Oh Quebec!
On Tuesday, the New York Times published an opinion article, titled “Quebec’s Tea Party Moment,” criticizing the Parti Québécois government’s proposed anti-hijab law (or what I call the Charter of Pants). It was written by Martin Patriquin, the Montreal-based Quebec bureau chief for Maclean’s magazine.
Patriquin isn’t the first Quebec commentator to compare the PQ, since it proposed the Charter of Pants, to the conservative Tea Party movement in the United States. Shortly after the PQ presented its initial “values” proposals in September, Jérôme Lussier called the PQ the “Tea Parti Québécois,” because of its “populist xenophobia,” on his blog for L’actualité magazine.
But Lussier kept his criticism within the French Quebec family, while Patriquin was writing for the English-speaking world.
So, inevitably, Patriquin was accused by Québécois nationalists of “besmirching Quebec’s image,” or, as it is commonly called, “Quebec bashing.”

08 November 2013

Analysis: The political strategy behind Quebec's values charter (CBC.CA)


Pauline Marois has already said that she would be “proud” to invoke that notwithstanding clause to pave the way for her new law.