13 May 2016

Survey reveals troubling data on religious tolerance in Quebec


  • 43 per cent of respondents said you should be suspicious of anyone who openly expresses their religion.
  • 45 per cent said they had a negative view of religion.
  • 48.9 per cent — roughly one out of two — said it bothered them to be attended to by a woman wearing a hijab.
  • Dan Delmar: Quebec Liberals add to irrational language laws

    When it’s estimated that over half of Quebecers struggle with literacy issues and new media are dominated by English-language content, the need for strengthening the French language shouldn’t be debatable; how to achieve tangible results for francophones, however, is.
    Culture Minister Hélène David announced on Tuesday that modifications in Quebec language law would force companies whose trademarked English names are protected to add French elements to their facades in the form of a descriptor, slogan or advertisement that communicates some form of commercial message.
    These are measures that are already adopted by the overwhelming majority of Quebec retailers, making the new regulations redundant at best. While it would be advisable for any Quebec business to communicate to its clients in French, it should not be the government’s role to dictate to entrepreneurs in the private sector how to go about doing that (the presence of the French language in the public sector has been, and should continue to be, protected by law).

    10 May 2016

    The meaning of national unity

    It involves national compromise

    Football Association in England/FIFA/Sikhs

    Turban question to be answered at weekend soccer assembly

    A spokesperson for the Football Association in England sent The Gazette an email saying that FIFA "has a rich tradition of giving everyone who wants to play football the opportunity to do so, irrespective of the faith, culture, beliefs, cultural background, sexual orientation, nationality and race.
    There are “many examples at the grassroots level where Sikhs enjoy the game without compromise to their faith or culture,” said the FA spokesperson, Tracey Bates.
    In fact, she said for several years a Sikh man named Jarnail Singh refereed many games in England’s senior leagues while wearing a patka, a square piece of cloth that is tied on top of the head.

    Patriquin: Why Quebec is fighting against [minority] language rights

    Why Quebec is fighting against its language rights

    Like much of its
    brethren outside of Quebec, Yukon’s French population faces a constant
    demographic challenge. Less than five per cent of the territory’s
    population have French as a mother tongue, according to the most recent
    census data. Survival of the language is largely predicated on French
    institutions like École Émilie-Tremblay, Yukon’s sole French school.

    In 2009, the Yukon government sought to strip the Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon,
    which oversees the school, of some of its funding and powers to recruit
    students from beyond Yukon’s 1,630 francophones. The matter went all
    the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

    The school board’s plight would seem to have a natural ally in the Quebec government,
    often considered North America’s most formidable protector of the
    French language. And the government did indeed intervene in the
    case—against the school board. Giving the board such recruitment powers,
    Quebec’s attorney general’s office argued, “would compromise the
    fragile balance of Quebec’s linguistic dynamic.” Last May, the Supreme
    Court rendered a decision that mostly sided with the Yukon government.

    William Johnson: How Jack Layton [and the NDP] courted Bloc voters


    The game-changer of the 2011 election campaign is the New Democratic Party's surge in Quebec while the Bloc Québécois declined.
    None had predicted it. It took all by surprise. But was it an entirely unaccountable phenomenon? Hardly.
    From the time he won the NDP leadership in 2003, Jack Layton manoeuvred to build his party in Quebec from the ground up by courting the nationalist clientele of the Bloc Québécois. His strategy followed that of Brian Mulroney when the Progressive Conservative party was defunct in la belle province. The Tory leader built support in Quebec by recruiting separatists like Marcel Masse and Lucien Bouchard, then launching nationalist messages like treating the 1982 patriation of the Constitution as an infamy.

    English coming to Westmount parking signs - Montreal - CBC News

    English coming to Westmount parking signs - Montreal - CBC News

    The City of Westmount has opened the door to adding English to parking signs, following more than 20 years of back-and-forth battles with Quebec's language watchdog.Mayor Peter Trent tabled a roadmap for the changes at the last Westmount city council meeting.Entitled "Bilingual Parking Signs in Westmount," the document outlines the current status of parking signage in Westmount, past run-ins with the watchdog, as well as various ways to make the city's signage bilingual.

    04 May 2016

    Bill 101 signage regulations: Abusive, arbitrary and discriminatory

    Regulations announced Tuesday by Culture Minister Hélène David will require businesses with non-French trademarks to display prominent French signage, whether it is a slogan, a description or a message about what’s on sale.

    “It was essential to act in favour of the French language, which remains the common thread of our history,” David told a news conference outside a Montreal Wal-Mart (sic).
    David said that over the past 10 years, complaints to Quebec’s language watchdog about businesses with English names have been increasing. But the courts have determined that under existing language regulations, companies with an English brand name were not obliged to add a French phrase to their signs.
    In 2014, ruling on a court action brought by Best Buy, Costco, Gap, Old Navy, Guess, Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us and Curves, Superior Court Justice Michel Yergeau wrote that it is up to the government to legislate if it believes a “wave” of English trademarks threatens Quebec’s French character.
    David pitched the new signs as “an opportunity to enrich Quebec’s French face” that could prove profitable to business. “It is a sign of respect toward the cultural environment of the Quebec collectivity,” she said.
    The Federation of Quebec Chambers of Commerce expressed support for the proposed changes. “We always support efforts and reasonable measures from the government that favour the French fact while contributing to the linguistic peace we observe today,” federation president Françoise Bertrand said.