Trudeau Appoints Anti-Québécois Racist to Combat so-called ‘Islamophobia’

Amira Elghawaby will stifle criticism of Islam & Islamism and fight against secularism.

2023-01-28

Canada’s irresponsible Prime Minister has appointed a notorious anti-Québécois racist to a well-funded office whose mandate is to combat so-called ‘Islamophobia,’ i.e. her job will be to censor blasphemy against Islam and Islamism.

Sommaire en français Le premier ministre irresponsable du Canada a nommé une raciste anti-québécoise mal famée à un poste bien financé dont le mandat est de lutter contre la soi-disant « islamophobie », c’est-à-dire que son travail consistera à censurer le blasphème contre l’islam et contre l’islamisme.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed anti-Québécois bigot Amira Elghawaby as Canada’s first “Special representative on combating Islamophobia.” Elghawaby is well known for her opposition to secular legislation such as Quebec Bill 21. She worked for five years with the extremely dubious National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM). Recall that the NCCM promotes several retrograde policies, including weakening Canada’s national security agencies, which would make it easier for political Islam to infiltrate the country.

In 2021, University of Toronto philosophy professor Joseph Heath authored an article, published in the Globe & Mail, in which he observed that the American model of race relations does not at all apply to Canada and that, in particular, “the largest group of people in this country who were victimized by British colonialism, subjugated and incorporated into confederation by force, are French Canadians.” A cursory review of Canadian history is more than enough to confirm the validity of Heath’s statement: the hanging of Louis Riel, the deportation of Acadians, the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Canada and in Maine, the closure of French-language schools in several provinces, the October Crisis of 1970, etc. And most recently, the fanatical opposition of English Canada to Quebec Bill 21.

Elghawaby was evidently outraged by professor Heath’s very reasonable declaration, because she tweeted that “I’m going to puke.” Such a statement reflects her hatred of the Québécois people. It also illustrates her desire to reserve the status of victim for herself and her Islamist colleagues who claim a monopoly on victimhood. The reality, of course, is that Islamists systematically weaponize anti-Québécois racism in order to demonize Quebec Bill 21 and the majority of Quebeckers who support it.

Ms. Elghawaby has slandered Quebec secularists by falsely alleging a link between Quebec Bill 21 and the Quebec City mosque massacre of 2017-01-29. Recall that the attack occurred years before Bill 21 was adopted and years after previous similar legislation—the Charter of Secularism proposed by the PQ government in 2013—was defeated. Similarly, she has also promoted the preposterous idea of a link between Quebec Bill 21 and the 2021-06-06 anti-Muslim attack in London, Ontario. Recall that Ontario is a different province.

Ms. Elghawaby’s incendiary pronouncements are irresponsible as they can only exacerbate social tensions which increase—not decrease—the risk of violent incidents. Secular legislation such as Quebec Bill 21 reduce social tensions by showing the population that their government is taking reasonable measures to reduce religious influence in civil institutions. Ms. Elghawaby, on the other hand, does everything she can to inflame such tensions.

Elghawaby’s office will have an initial budget of $5.6 million. As her mandate is to fight against so-called ‘Islamophobia,’ what this means in practice is that those funds will be used to censor criticism of Islam and Islamism and to propagate hatred of critics of those ideologies. Recall that the tendentious term ‘Islamophobia’ is basically a synonym for blasphemy against Islam. Recall as well that Islam specifies the death penalty for apostasy, i.e. leaving the faith, thus making it incompatible with fundamental freedoms. Furthermore, the Islamic religion, both in the quran and in various hadiths, propagates hatred of women, Jews, homosexuals, believers in other religions and non-believers. To fear Islam is certainly not a “phobia.” Rather, to fear Islam—especially its fundamentalist variant Islamism—is both prudent and necessary.

Furthermore, recall that Bill 21 puts no restriction whatsoever on freedom of belief. Rather, that law puts a restriction on freedom of religious expression (not belief) for civil servants in positions of authority and for public school teachers and principals, so as to provide civil service users and schoolchildren with an environment free from religious proselytism. Bill 21 applies only while on the job. There is no restriction whatsoever when the civil servant is not at work. Elghawaby’s refusal to accept this very reasonable restriction indicates that she is a religious fanatic—the worst sort of person whom the government could appoint to a position dealing with human rights.

Clearly, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is an incompetent fool to have made such an unwise appointment.

I happen to be familiar with Amira Elghawaby and her unctuous manners. I personally participated in a two panel discussions recorded for the “Canadian Justice” television show in 2020 and 2021, panels in which I was the only person who supported Bill 21, outnumbered by the other panelists (including Ms. Elghawaby) and by the hosts of the show.


Sixth Anniversary of the Quebec City Mosque Attack

Recall that 29th January 2023 (tomorrow, relative to the date of this blog) is the sixth anniversary of that horrific attack on a mosque in Quebec City where six persons were killed and several other seriously wounded. We need to recall certain facts:

  • Islam and its fundamentalist variant Islamism are indeed dangerous ideologies as explained above.
  • Anti-Muslim violence, in addition to being utterly unconscionable and barbaric, is the worst possible response to that danger. Such violence only strengthens the hand of Islamists.
  • Incidents of anti-Muslim violence, such as the 2017 mosque attack, are unrelated to secular legislation, such as Quebec Bill 21, except to the extent that such legislation helps to reduce social tensions, thus reducing the risk of such violence.

Islamists and their dupes unscrupulously attempt to use such anti-Muslim violence as a propaganda tool against secular legislation. See, for example, my blog “No, We Are Not Guilty”, written at the time of the third anniversary of the attack.

See also:


Next blog: TBA

Bias in 2021 Election Leaders’ Debate

The Quebec Conseil de presse rules that moderator Shachi Kurl was biased.

2022-12-08

The Conseil de presse du Québec has ruled that moderator Shachi Kurl and CBC News lacked impartiality at the leaders’ debate, during the 2021 federal election campaign. Kurl asked a “question” which was in fact a specious and dishonest accusation of “racism” against Bill 21.

Sommaire en français La modératrice Shachi Kurl qui a posé une “question” qui était en réalité une spécieuse et malhonnête accusation de “racisme” contre la Loi 21 est l’objet d’une plainte retenue par le Conseil de presse du Québec.

During the 2021 Canadian federal election, a leaders’ debate in English was broadcast on several television networks on the evening of 9 septembre. The moderator of the debate was Shachi Kurl, president of the polling agency Angus Reid Institute.

In reponse to a complaint filed against CBC News and Ms. Kurl, the Quebec Conseil de presse ruled on 28 octobre 2022 that both had indeed lacked impartiality during the leaders’ debate. Kurl asked a “question” which was in fact an accusation of “racism” against Bill 21. Here is the transcript of the question/accusation for which CBC News and Ms. Kurl have been reprimanded:

“Mister Blanchet, to you. You deny that Québec has problems with racism, yet you defend legislations such as Bills 96 and 21 which marginalize religious minorities, anglophones and allophones. Québec is recognized as a distinct society, but for those outside the province, please help them understand why your party also supports these discriminatory laws.”

I wrote about this incident in a previous blog. This is how I summarized the situation:

“the association of Bill 21 with ‘racism’ which is part of Shachi Kurl’s ‘question’ is standard practice for the law’s opponents. Although the law obviously has nothing whatsoever to do with race or racism, opponents like Kurl irrationally and dishonestly conflate race with religion. This allows them to make specious accusations of racism, because defamation is their primary weapon in their war against secularism. Their constant use of such slander against secularists is proof of the vacuity of their arguments.”

This decision criticizing CBC News and Ms. Kurl, although little more than symbolic, is nevertheless very good news, because it shows recognition that slander and anti-Québécois bigotry are indeed tools used by opponents of secularism in order to vilify Quebec Bill 21.


Links


Next blog: Fourteen Observations about Post-Leftism

Quebec Bill 21 for Dummies

Abbreviated Version

2021-12-14

A summary of the basic facts about Bill 21 and the controversy surrounding it.

Sommaire en français
Un résumé des faits essentiels concernant la Loi 21 et la controverse à son sujet.
Ce blogue est aussi disponible en français.

Given that Quebec Bill 21 is in the news again and many misconceptions, misunderstandings and outright lies are being spread, it is time to establish a few important facts. Here is the minimum you need to know.

  1. Bill 21 is law which partially implements State secularism in Quebec and which imposes a very minor, even trivial, restriction on the freedom of expression of some State employees, by banning them from wearing religious symbols on the job. This in no way impacts their freedom of belief. This is done to protect the freedoms of other people: users of civil services and especially schoolchildren. This is basically what all laws do: seek an equilibrium between conflicting freedoms. Bill 21 does a reasonably good job at that, although it is too weak.
  2. Quebec is in the vanguard of secularism in the Americas. Many people in English Canada do not understand this, or refuse to understand it.
  3. Many people and groups oppose secularism for various reasons. But there is one anti-secularism force which is particularly virulent and dangerous: political Islam, which is an international extreme right-wing politico-religious movement, also known as Islamism.
  4. One of political Islam’s preferred propaganda tools is the Islamic veil, which it promotes anywhere and everywhere it can. It has had enormous success imposing the veil in Muslim-majority countries where a few decades ago the veil was rarely seen in cities. By having women wear this propaganda tool, they can play the victim card very effectively. The veil is both religious and political, especially the latter. Its meaning is independent of the mentality of the women who wear it, who are often unaware of the veil’s full implications but feel pressure to conform by wearing it.
  5. Islam and even Islamism enjoy enormous preferential treatment from the so-called left (and increasingly from the centre, like Justin Trudeau), for historical and ideological reasons related to the spectacular success and equally spectacular ultimate failure of Marxism.
  6. Ethnic bigotry against Francophone Quebeckers is a major theme throughout Canadian history. Islamists have greatly exploited it. Anglo-Canadian fear of the Quebec independence movement increased this prejudice in recent decades. English Canada’s hysterical opposition to Bill 21 is largely (but not entirely) a hate-propaganda campaign against the Québécois.

Next blog: La Loi 21 pour les nuls

The Bullshitization of the Term “Systemic”

2021-12-01

How antisecularists have overused and abused the expression “systemic racism” as a weapon to fight Quebec Bill 21.

Sommaire en français Comment les anti-laïques ont usé et abusé de l’expression « racisme systémique » pour en faire une arme contre la Loi 21 au Québec.

The word “systemic” is a perfectly legitimate adjective. According to the on-line dictionary Wiktionary.org, systemic means (1) “Embedded within and spread throughout and affecting a whole system, group, body, economy, market, or society” or (2) “Pertaining to an entire organism.” (This is not to be confused with the term “systematic” which refers to something which is orderly, planned or methodical.)

For example, discrimination against atheists and other non-believers is systemic in Canada, because it is specified repeatedly in the country’s constitution and federal legislation. The very first line of the constitution’s preamble declares “the supremacy of God.” Hate propaganda legislation grants impunity to statements which would otherwise be considered hate-speech provided that they are based on a religious text. Religious institutions are granted sweeping fiscal privileges. Citizenship judges are required to allow “religious solemnization” in ceremonies. And so on.

Another example: Systemic colonialism and racism in Canada’s “Indian Act” which regulates relations between the federal government and First Nations. Although amended many times since, the Act was first adopted in 1876 unilaterally, i.e. without negotiation with First Nations.

Canadian history is replete with systemic prejudice against Francophones, although less so today, now that laws suppressing the French language in several provinces have been repealed. Historically, anti-French and anti-native bigotry converged, as the French mixed with native populations (e.g. intermarriage) much more than did the English. This convergence of prejudice was most evident in the Louis Riel case in the 1880s.

The fact that the French language is dominant in one province, Quebec, gives Francophones a degree of autonomy and agency not enjoyed by First Nations peoples who are much fewer in number and scattered in many small, isolated reserves. Nevertheless, prejudice against Francophones remains a reality, and that situation has systemic aspects. The 1982 constitution was adopted without the approval of Quebec. Judges in the Quebec Superior Court and Quebec Court of Appeal are appointed by the federal government and thus, not surprisingly, tend to be prejudiced in favour of ideologies (such as cultural relativism) which are promoted federally. (This was patently obvious in the 2021-04-20 decision of Justice Marc-André Blanchard.) Furthermore, the federal government financially supports court challenges to Quebec laws such as Bill 21 (which partially implements State secularism in Quebec) via the Court Challenges Program. Strong—in fact, fanatical—opposition to Bill 21 by Anglo-Canadian media and politicians is an example of cultural imperialism.

One more example: Child sexual abuse is systemic in the Roman Catholic Church. It is not the result of a few bad apples, so to speak, but rather a consequence of how the Catholic system is organized. Priests are endowed with divine authority, thus granting them a great deal of moral authority over adherents of that religion. At the same time, priests are forbidden to marry or to have sex (at least theoretically), thus creating an overwhelming degree of sexual frustration. The combination of these two circumstances makes widespead sexual abuse practically inevitable.

However, in recent years the word “systemic” has been greatly misused for ideological reasons. In particular, the expression “systemic racism” has become almost ubiquitous because it is a major element of Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT began as an academic discipline of legal scholars, studying racism from a systemic point of view, i.e. as a consequence of legal, cultural and social systems rather than the prejudices of individuals. CRT is the ideological centrepiece of the current so-called “antiracist” movement, but which should more accurately be called neo-racist or racialist as it rejects colour-blindness and is obsessed with race which it sees everywhere. Partisans of this ideology dogmatically interpret all disparities as caused by some kind of prejudice such as racism or sexism, never even bothering to consider that other factors—even random chance—might play a role. Thus, if a profession does not display the same demographic diversity as the general population, they then assume that prejudice must be the cause.

Ideologically motivated accusations of “systemic racism” have become commonplace. This is especially the case in the context of Quebec and secularism. The adversaries of secularism, in their zealous opposition to Bill 21, regularly accuse Quebec, Quebeckers or the Quebec government of “systemic racism.” They rarely if ever define exactly what is meant by that term. Questions such as: What system in Quebec is infected with racism? are never answered. Much has been made of the case of Joyce Echaquan, a Atikamekw woman who was the target of racist comments in a Quebec hospital and died of pulmonary edema. But that was obviously a case of individual racism, not systemic, unless accusors can point to objective evidence of some kind of systemic phenomenon.

We know full well what is really happening here. So-called antiracists are indulging in anti-Québécois bigotry—hey, let’s call it anti-Québécois racism to be perfectly blunt—as a dishonest means to denigrate Bill 21. Such “antiracists” are objectively allied with Islamists who regularly weaponize Canadians’ hostility towards Quebec in their efforts to kill Bill 21. Of course Bill 21 has nothing whatsoever to do with racism and is in no way discriminatory. Rather, it is the accusers who are themselves guilty of bigotry and racism. A particularly extreme example of this is Amir Attaran, professor at the University of Ottawa, who calls Quebec the “Alabama of the North.”

So far, Quebec Premier François Legault has resisted all attempts by these ideologues to pressure him to agree that “systemic racism” is endemic in Quebec. He is to be congratulated for his determination. Let us hope that he remains steadfast and continues to refuse to capitulate to such intimidation by antisecularists.


Next blog: Quebec Bill 21 for Dummies

The Incompetence of Shachi Kurl

Her “Question” to Bloc Leader Blanchet was Not a Question

2021-09-22

The behaviour of Angus Reid president Shachi Kurl at the English-language leaders’ debate shows that she is incompetent as she was unable, or unwilling, to conduct herself with a modicum of impartiality.

Sommaire en français Le comportement du président d’Angus Reid Shachi Kurl lors du débat des chefs en anglais montre qu’elle est incompétente car elle n’a pas pu, ou n’a pas voulu, se conduire avec un minimum d’impartialité.

Shachi Kurl is president of the polling agency Angus Reid Institute and was moderator of the 9th September 2021 English-language debate of federal political party leaders. The election is now over, with results practically identical to the party standings before the election. Nevertheless, the controversy caused by the behaviour of the moderator at this debate remains very relevant.

The debate began with the theme of “Leadership and Accountability” in which Kurl, after initial questions to Singh and Trudeau, caused a scandal by asking the following as her first question to Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet:

You deny that Quebec has problems with racism, yet you defend legislation, such as bills 96 and 21, which marginalize religious minorities, anglophones and allophones. Quebec is recognized as a distinct society but for those outside the province, please help them understand why your party also supports these discriminatory laws.

Canada election 2021: English-language federal leaders’ debate | FULL

For this question, Kurl was accused of Quebec-bashing by many Quebecers, including the entire National Assembly which unanimously passed a motion calling for the broadcasters of the debate to apologize. Not only did Quebec Premier Legault denounce Kurl’s attack on Quebec, even Justin Trudeau and Erin O’Toole agreed that Kurl’s formulation was inappropriate.

These accusations against Shachi Kurl for the tendentious nature of her question are of course totally well-founded. As I have been explaining for years, opposition to Quebec’s secularism Bill 21 is motivated, in part, by anti-Québécois ethnic bigotry (or racism if you prefer) which has been a recurring theme throughout Canadian history. This is the reality of the situation, although so-called anti-racists fail to recognize it. (Kurl’s question also referred to Draft Bill 96, legislation whose purpose is to strengthen protection of the French language and which would establish French as sole official language in Quebec. The federal House of Commons has, by an overwhelming majority, endorsed having that official status recognized in the Canadian Constitution, although a few anti-Francophone fanatics are still upset about it. However, Bill 96 is beyond the scope of this blog.)

The essential point to be made here is that Shachi Kurl’s “question” was not a question. Rather, it was obviously an accusation. It baldly asserted an extremely negative value judgment—that Bill 21 is discriminatory and perhaps even “racist”—dishonestly disguised as a question.

The fact that Kurl was unable or unwilling to ask a real question, having at least some semblance of impartiality, is proof of her incompetence. For the president of a polling agency, this is particularly disturbing, for how can anyone have confidence in the impartiality of a polling firm if its president is not even capable of formulating a question appropriately when moderating a political debate? If the moderator behaves like a partisan participant in the debate, rather than a disinterested arbiter, then she or he is incompetent.

Kurl could have formulated her question is a much more unbiased manner. She could, for example, have simply observed that some commentators have asserted that Bill 21 (or Bill 96) is discriminatory and then asked Blanchet his opinion of that assertion. But she did not. Instead, she choose to ask an extremely loaded question, making the negative assertions her own and denigrating the Québécois as racist.

When asked about the controversy, Kurl referred to the decision of Justice Marc-André Blanchard of the Quebec Superior Court, rendered 20th April 2020, which did indeed qualify Bill 21 as discriminatory while nevertheless upholding much of the law. This judgment stands as long as it is not overturned by a higher court. However, that decision can hardly be considered a reasonable assessment of Bill 21. Recall the following aspects of Justice Blanchard’s decision:

  • The judgment exempts English-language schools from Bill 21 on the grounds that it violates minority-language rights. This is absurd. Bill 21 has nothing to do with language or language rights.
  • The judgment suspends Bill 21’s ban on face-coverings for sitting members of the Quebec National Assembly, on the grounds that the ban violates the right to vote and run for public office. Again, this makes no sense, as such a ban in no way affects voting or running for office.
  • The judgment asserts that religious symbols worn by a person are far more important that political symbols because they involve the very “soul or essence” of the believer. This gives religious expression a priority greatly exceeding that of political expression, thus egregiously privileging religion. It also asserts—ludicrously—the existence of the human soul!
  • The judgment criticizes Bill 21 for failing to recognize any law of “God.” This implies that the State should recognize religious law, not just the law of the land, a totally unacceptable situation.

To say that Justice Blanchard’s decision was in error would be the understatement of the century. If Shachi Kurl has to resort to that decision to justify her tendentious behaviour at the leaders’ debate, she is grasping at straws.

It is important to remember that opposition to Quebec Bill 21 is based on totally neglecting the rights of civil service users and schoolchildren to an environment free of religious proselytism. Instead, the law’s opponents give absolute priority to the freedom of religious expression of the employee while displaying utter contempt for the rights of the users and schoolchildren whom the employees serve. They offer no valid reason to justify this religious privilege.

Finally, the association of Bill 21 with “racism” which is part of Shachi Kurl’s “question” is standard practice for the law’s opponents. Although the law obviously has nothing whatsoever to do with race or racism, opponents like Kurl irrationally and dishonestly conflate race with religion. This allows them to make specious accusations of racism, because defamation is their primary weapon in their war against secularism. Their constant use of such slander against secularists is proof of the vacuity of their arguments.


Next blog: What the “Woke” and the Political Right Have in Common

Quebec Bill 21 Causes Earthquakes, Anal Warts and the Collapse of Civilisation

2019-05-21

In this blog I present a sampling of articles in which opponents of Quebec Draft Bill 21 make outrageous claims as they attempt to rationalize their irrational opposition to the Bill.

Sommaire en français Dans ce blogue je présente un échantillon de plusieurs articles dans lesquels des opposants au projet de loi 21 du Québec font des déclarations extravagantes dans le but de rationaliser leur opposition irrationnelle à cette législation.

Given their lack of any plausible line of reasoning, antisecularists, in their vituperations against Quebec Draft Bill 21, have a strong tendency toward dishonesty, irresponsible speculation and sometimes complete nonsense. Here are a few examples.

  • The Ignoble Prize for Hyperbole goes to William Steinberg, mayor of the Montreal suburb of Hampstead, who accused Bill 21 of promoting “ethnic cleansing.” He subsequently qualified his remark by stating that he was talking about “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” not by direct violence. Either way, this outrageous claim is an extreme example of the defamatory behaviour of many opponents of the Bill.
  • The Ignoble Prize for Dogmatism goes to the Conseil québécois LGBT (Quebec LGBT Council) for its May 10th declaration « Des organismes LGBT dénoncent le projet de loi 21 » (“LGBT Organizations Denounce Draft Bill 21”) which (1) falsely accuses the Bill of being discriminatory, (2) repeats the slander linking the Bill to anti-Muslim violence and (3) laments the legislation’s restrictions on face-coverings which are “obviously aimed at veiled Muslim women and thus contribute to the stigmatisation of a population already hyper-marginalized.” In other words, the Council completely ignores the fact that fundamentalist Islam promotes death for gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities and instead chooses to express its solidarity with fundamentalist Islam’s favourite propaganda ploy, promotion of the veil, even the face-covering niqab. Why? Because unconditional defense of fundamentalist Muslims (while throwing secular Muslims under the bus) is part of the regressive pseudo-left dogma to which the Council evidently adheres.
  • The Ignoble Prize for Hypocrisy goes to CFI Canada (CFIC), an organization which claims to support secularism and critical thought but which abandons both in its attitude towards Bill 21. I discussed CFIC’s betrayal of its espoused principles in a previous blog.
  • The Ignoble Prize for Pseudoscience goes to McGill University psychiatric residents Sara Hanifi and Salam El-Malouf and many cosigners for their April 26th article which alleges that Bill 21 will negatively affect Quebecers’ health! They associate the Bill with “exclusion,” “hateful and racist speech” and “interpersonal and systemic discrimination” no less. Their discourse is replete with the familiar specious vocabulary (including the notorious “Islamophobia”) of the regressive pseudo-left which racializes religion and thus enables religious privilege. Their entire thesis is based on the false assertion that the Bill is discriminatory—a house of cards which crumbles on first inspection. Columnist Denise Bombardier qualified these psychiatrists’ theory as paranoid ravings. I basically agree, although I consider their nonsense to be more ideological than paranoid.
  • Coren […] fails to distinguish the public sphere (which is totally unaffected by Bill 21) from the civil sphere […]

  • In Maclean’s Magazine, Michael Coren has a cow over Bill 21 in his article “Quebec’s proposed secularism law is repugnant. Here are six reasons why.” Coren repeats the old canard about “discrimination” against Muslims, slanders Quebecers with the extremely tendentious and unacceptable term “Islamophobia.” He dismisses the Bill as populism, confuses religious neutrality with secularism (the latter extends the former greatly) and fails to distinguish the public sphere (which is totally unaffected by Bill 21) from the civil sphere (i.e. State institutions, where the Bill does apply, but only to some employees). What is repugnant here is Coren’s pro-religion prejudice.
  • Dan Bilefsky recycles old anti-Quebec clichés in his New York Times article “Quebec Proposes Bill Barring Public Employees From Wearing Head Scarves at Work.” The article greatly emphasizes declarations against the Bill and repeats several of Coren’s tactics, including use of “Islamophobia.” Even worse, Bilefsky links the Bill with mosque shootings in Quebec City and Christchurch, thus implying that the Bill would somehow increase the probability of such attacks. Such speculation is irresponsible. In fact, the exact opposite argument is more plausible: by taking action to reduce religious interference in State institutions, the proposed Bill would favour social harmony and reduce the danger of such violence.
  • […] by taking action to reduce religious interference in State institutions, the proposed Bill would favour social harmony and reduce the danger of such violence.

  • Montreal Gazette columnist Don Macpherson tries to ridicule the Bill in his article “The CAQ anti-hijab bill, worse than useless” but succeeds mainly in displaying his total ignorance of secularism. He maintains that the Bill “would weaken Quebec’s own charter of rights” when in reality it would significantly strengthen and improve Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms by inscribing “laïcité” into it, thus ensuring that future legislation would respect (1) the equality of all citizen—including male-female equality, (2) the freedom of conscience of all citizens, (3) religious neutrality and, most importantly, (4) separation between religion and State, i.e. State autonomy with respect to religions.

Antidotes to Antisecular Misinformation

The above list is only a small sampling of the wide variety of inanity and insanity which can be found in the media opposing Draft Bill 21. As an antidote, I urge you to read the article “Quebec’s Secularism Bill” in which author Luis Granados expeditiously cuts through the bullshit of the Bill’s opponents. A sample:

The ban covers all religions, including Quebec’s majority Christian population. No more crucifix pendants. No more yarmulkes. No more hijabs. No Satanic Temple t-shirts, should anyone be so inclined. Government employees get paid to do a job for the taxpayers, period. Advertising for the God industry has no place in the doing of that job, any more than advertising for a political candidate would. Employees are free to promote whatever they like on their own time, but not while they are officially representing the government. […]

Some are even threatening civil disobedience, because the laws of God should apparently trump those of mere humans. What should matter most here is not what the employees want, but what the “customers” want—given the customers are children whose minds are being shaped by those in authority. […] Children deserve to be educated in a neutral environment. They don’t need teachers putting up signs saying “Jesus is the Answer”—or wearing clothing that says the same thing. They don’t need teachers wearing a cap boasting that “I’m one of God’s chosen people, and you’re not.” They don’t need teachers silently communicating that women should be ashamed of their bodies—or the equally disgusting message that men are incapable of controlling themselves if they are sexually distracted by seeing the top of a woman’s head.

Finally, some logic and common sense about secularism from an English-language publication—a rare thing indeed.

Here is another reality-check. Consider the fact that article 22(4) of Quebec’s Loi sur l’instruction publique (Education Act) stipulates:

“A teacher shall act in a just and impartial manner in his dealings with his students;”

How can a teacher be impartial while he or she constantly displays an obvious symbol of a particular religion when on the job, interacting with pupils in the classroom throughout the schoolday? The ban on religious symbols which Draft Bill 21 proposes is a simple application of the above stipulation. Even if you continue to oppose the ban, at least be honest in your opposition and avoid gratuitous accusations. It is patently outrageous to assert that Bill 21 is xenophobic or worse.

I leave the final word to columnist Mathieu Bock-Coté who, in an article entitled « La laïcité vue d’Europe » (“Secularism Seen from Europe”) writes:

“From a European perspective, Draft Bill 21 appears terribly minimalist, almost insignificant. Every time I explain the Bill to people in France, whether they are on the political left, right or elsewhere, they wonder how something so elementary could cause such scandal. When I talk about the accusations of racism directed at Quebec for something so minor, they sincerely struggle to believe it.”


Next blog: Le Québec est laïque !

An Open Letter to the Council of Canadians

2019-02-12 Epilogue ajouté le 2019-02-13

In this blog, I respond to an article which appears on the website and in a bulletin of the Council of Canadians. The article, which apparently represents the position of the Council, associates the massacre of January 29th 2017 with so-called “Islamophobia,” “racism” and “white supremacy” and exploits the massacre in order to denigrate secularism and vilify those who support it.

Sommaire en français Je répond un article paru récemment sur le site web et dans un bulletin du Conseil des Canadiens (Council of Canadians). Ce texte, qui représente apparemment la position du Conseil, associe le massacre du 19 janvier 2017 aux soi-disant « islamophobie », « racisme » et « suprémacisme blanc » et instrumentalise cet événement pour dénigrer la laïcité et diaboliser ceux et celles qui l’appuient.

Your email bulletin of January 30th 2019, contained the following article by Rachel Small: Commemorating the second anniversary of the Quebec City Mosque attack.

The content of Small’s article is dishonest and extremely tendentious. It makes repeated use of the unacceptable expression “Islamophobia” whose purpose is to stifle legitimate criticism of both Islam and Islamism. The fact that Canada’s parliament was manipulated into adopting a motion (M-103) endorsing this concept is no excuse. Progressives have a duty to reject its use. To fear a religion, especially a monotheism such as Islam or Christianity, is not an irrational “phobia” but rather a sane and healthy response to danger. The crime committed by the assassin of January 29th 2017 was not his fear, but rather where he directed it — at innocent individuals — and how he expressed it — with murderous violence. We certainly do NOT need to fight against “Islamophobia”; rather we must encourage rational discussion and criticism of religion while directing that criticism first and foremost against ideologies (rather than against human beings) and against censorship of debate.

Even worse is the article’s conflation of religion and race. Race has absolutely nothing to do with the event. Rather, it involved religion which is completely distinct from race. Small’s evocation of “white supremacy” is completely irrelevant and so misleading as to be a bald-faced lie. The misuse of this expression is an insult to the many blacks, Jews and others who have indeed been persecuted because of that ideology, especially in the USA. Currently, white supremacism is very marginal here in Canada. However, when it did have a strong presence, when the KKK had many Canadian chapters, it was virulently anti-Catholic and anti-Quebec and engaged in acts of terrorism against French-language churches and schools. The use of “white supremacy” to characterize the motives of the 2017 mosque killer is ahistorical and an insult to all Québécois.

Small’s mention of “decades of wars against Muslim-majority countries, state policy which has normalized the killing of millions of Muslims” is particularly inappropriate. Need I remind her that we are talking about a crime which occurred here, in this country, not elsewhere? If Small wishes to complain about the foreign policy of the USA, the UK or any other country, then I suggest she take her complaint to the appropriate government instead of trying to dump the blame on someone in Quebec City.

The tendentious nature of Small’s article reaches a paroxysm when she approvingly links to two other very revealing documents: The article by Jasmin Zine in The Conversation, which has published several diatribes imbued with anti-Québécois prejudice, repeats and deepens Small’s dishonest assertions. The text by Toula Drimonis in the National Observer uses the all-too-familiar false accusation of “far-right” (and again “white nationalist”!) to slur the secularism measures proposed by the newly-elected CAQ. Both Zine and Drimonis manifest a total ignorance of secularism, in particular republican secularism (laïcité).

Si la Charte de la laïcité avait été adoptée en 2014, si les partisans de cette Charte n’avaient pas été si massivement diabolisés et ciblés par des fausses accusations diffamatoires, si la population québécoise n’avait pas été si complètement abandonnée par ses chefs politiques après la prise du pouvoir par le PLQ en avril 2014, alors le massacre du 29 janvier 2017 n’aurait probablement jamais eu lieu.

Quebec has legislation which forbids public servants from wearing partisan political symbols while on the job, an eminently judicious measure. It is both reasonable and necessary to extend this ban to religious symbols, given that religions are inevitably political when they insinuate themselves into state institutions. Both the Charter of Secularism proposed by the PQ government in 2013-2014 and the measures announced by the new CAQ government are laudable efforts which progressives have a duty to support. Neither Zine nor Drimonis makes any attempt to address the solid arguments for a ban on such symbols. Their failure to do so represents journalistic incompetence. Secularism — including banning religious symbols in government — is not only the will of the people in Quebec, it is a noble and enlightened program which helps to reduce the risk of inter-religious conflict.

Regardless of the intentions of the authors of these three articles, the objective result is opposition to secularism, complacency towards political Islam and an endorsement of anti-Québécois racism.

If the Charter of Secularism had been adopted in 2014, if supporters of that Charter had not been so overwhelmingly demonized and slandered by false accusations, if the Quebec population had not been so totally abandoned by its political leaders after the Quebec Liberal Party took power in April 2014, then the massacre of January 29th 2017 would, in all likelihood, not have occurred.

The perpetrator of the mosque shooting was a psychologically unstable individual who had been the target of bullying throughout his young life. He also feared Islamist terrorism. In addition, he, like all Quebeckers, had been for years inundated with a tsunami of propaganda condemning anyone who had even the slightest misgivings about Islam or Muslims with specious accusations of Islamophobia, racism, intolerance, xenophobia, far-right affinities and a plethora of other sins. In other words, Quebeckers were subject to incessant psychological intimidation by mainstream media and many politicians, denigrating them for having legitimate concerns, vilifying them for desiring a secular state, bullying them into silence and removing all hope of healthy debate. At some point, the young man snapped.

The attitude of Small, Zine and Drimonis is dangerous and can only increase the probability of future violent acts by stigmatizing necessary criticism of religion. If the Charter of Secularism had been adopted in 2014, if supporters of that Charter had not been so overwhelmingly demonized and slandered by false accusations, if the Quebec population had not been so totally abandoned by its political leaders after the Quebec Liberal Party took power in April 2014, then the massacre of January 29th 2017 would, in all likelihood, not have occurred. I earnestly hope that the current Quebec government will keep its secularization promises because that will help repair some of the enormous damage done by irresponsible ideologues such as Small, Zine and Drimonis.


Epilogue

Pour faire contrepoids à la propagande anti-québécoise dénoncée ci-dessous, lisez donc ceci : Le calme dans la tempête, Le calme digne, le calme fort, Léolane Kemner, Journal de Montréal, 2019-02-13.


Next blog: Quebec’s Draft Bill 21 Implements State Secularism

Open Letter to TheConversation: An Organ of Anti-Quebec Propaganda

2018-12-29

In this blog I review a series of very dubious articles which appeared over the last year or so on the website TheConversation, all of which reveal a pronounced anti-Quebec prejudice.

Sommaire en français Dans ce blogue je passe en revue une série de textes très douteux, parus depuis un peu plus d’un an sur le site web TheConversation, qui révèlent tous un fort préjugé anti-Québéc.

Dear Editor of TheConversation,

When I first read the article “Québec’s fashion police: A century of telling women what not to wear” by Donica Belisle in TheConversation, I thought it was probably the worst article I had ever read. The article dishonestly attempts to equate two actions which are diametrically opposed: Catholic obscurantism in the past with Quebec’s current efforts to reduce the influence of religious obscurantism on public institutions. Belisle displays total ignorance of the secularism issue which is at the heart of this whole controversy. Furthermore, she denigrates Quebec society by painting it with the brush of the Catholic far-right, while ignoring the Islamist far-right which is far more active in Quebec.

My colleague Michel Lincourt has written to TheConversation in order to explain just how shoddy Donica Belisle’s article is. I certainly agree with his criticism. But I consider that he was in fact a little too kind. Firstly, he used the expression “Quebec bashing” to describe Belisle’s article, whereas in my opinion a stronger term, such as “anti-Quebec propaganda” or “anti-Québécois racism” for example, might be more appropriate. Secondly, Michel concentrates on one single article and thus perhaps did not notice a disturbing pattern of which TheConversation is guilty.

For my part, I did a search for “Quebec” on your website and discovered that Belisle’s article is not the worst. My search turned up a list of six other articles, all published within the last 15 months, which range in quality from very bad to atrocious. They all have much in common with Belisle’s writing. I list them here, with a brief summary of each.

  1. Quebec’s niqab ban uses women’s bodies to bolster right-wing extremism, Yasmin Jiwani, 2017-10-23.
    This screed condemns the previous Québec government’s Bill 62 while completely misunderstanding its import. A ban on both face-coverings in public services and religious symbols worn by public servants would be an excellent idea, but the Bill 62 did NOT do that. It did not enact religious neutrality—and even less secularism. It simply pretended to ban face-coverings while legislating exceptions which made the ban extremely weak. The purpose was not “to bolster right-wing extremism” as Jiwani claims in her paranoid title. The Bill was a cynical attempt by the Quebec Liberal Party to pretend to satisfy the Québécois’ overwhelming desire for secularism while doing practically nothing. But even such an impotent law was too much for some, such as Jiwani, who raves about the “ultra-right” in Quebec. The only far-right in Québec is constituted by those who oppose secularism by dishonestly and grossly misrepresenting it.
  2. The link between Quebec’s niqab law and its sovereignty quest, Efe Peker, 2017-10-29.
    The title’s obvious purpose is to frighten the reader by brandishing the boogeyman of “sovereignty.” Peker then starts by reassuring the reader that he is not “old-stock Quebecois” because, apparently, the opinion of such a person cannot be trusted. That sounds like racism to me. Peker employs the tendentious term “Catho-laïcité” instead of secularism or laïcité, thus revealing his prejudices once again. Enormous progress has been made in removing the Catholic symbols which were ubiquitous in Quebec only decades ago. The Charter of Secularism proposed in 2013-2014, an excellent initiative which Peker dismisses as a “mess,” would have applied to all religions, but Peker sees only religious discrimination.
  3. Islamophobia in Québec: An ideology rooted in 20th century imperialism, Frederick Burrill, 2017-12-10.
    This article immediately loses all credibility because of its use of the loaded and unacceptable expression “Islamophobia.” To fear Islam (or any other religion) is not a phobia, rather it is simply due diligence. Burrill refers to the journalist and secularist Janette Bertrand as “feminist” where the quotes around the word clearly indicate his contempt for the former television personality, much loved by Québécois. Finally, Burrill’s attempt to denigrate contemporary Quebec secularism by rooting it in Catholic missionary propaganda of the early 20th century is beyond ridiculous.
  4. The hypocrisy of Québec’s move to ban religious dress, Richard Moon, 2018-10-22.
    Moon repeats a theme we have already heard countless times from numerous anti-secularists: the observation that keeping the crucifix in the National Assembly is “hypocrisy.” But like all of them, he fails to recognize that removing the crucifix without banning religious symbols worn by public servants would also be hypocritical. The only correct solution is to do both: both government installations and public servants on duty must be free of obvious religious symbols. Moon fails to mention that secularist organizations in Quebec overwhelmingly supported both the Charter of Secularism in 2013-2014 and CAQ’s recent proposals while at the same time calling for removal of that crucifix.
  5. Québec’s push to ban the hijab is ‘sexularism’, Yasmin Jiwani, 2018-11-05.
    The very title of this article is insane. Jiwani denigrates CAQ for being “exclusionary” and throws in some fatuity about “the margins of race, religion and gender,” only one of which—religion—is relevant to the issue. Two things are clear however: (1) the author deliberately conflates race and religion, so that she can then throw false accusations of racism at secularists; and (2) she presents the wearing of the Islamist veil as a woman’s right of choice. Both are unacceptable deceptions practised regularly by Islamist ideologues. The latter is an example of their inversion strategy, i.e. presenting a sexist constraint (the veil) as a “right,” thus rebranding misogyny as pseudo-feminism.
  6. Notwithstanding clause or not, Québec must accommodate its employees, Sébastien Parent, 2018-12-05.
    Parent fails to distinguish between religious neutrality and secularism, as if they were synonyms. The former is a weak and incomplete subset of the latter, lacking the necessary separation between religions and state which is at the core of secularism. Parent repeatedly uses the misleading expression “reasonable accommodation” when in fact he is talking about religious accomodation. The former is a euphemism whose true meaning is the latter. The fallacious word “reasonable” distracts from the fact that accommodating religions is never acceptable. Making exceptions to laws in order to accommodate religious practices is to grant unacceptable privileges to religions. The fact that courts sometimes impose such accommodations simply shows that legislation needs to changed. In the meantime, the Quebec government will wisely use the notwithstanding clause to work around this problem.

Beyond the particularities of each of these seven articles, there are common threads running through the series:

  • A complete and wilful misunderstanding of secularism and a failure even to cover the relevant issues.
  • False accusations of discrimination against Muslims. The observation that bans on religious symbols will appear to target Muslims is a result of the fact that (a) Islamists claim to speak for all Muslims in general (they do not) while (b) these same Islamists promote the wearing of the misogynist veil in order to gain political influence. (Thanks largely to incompetent journalists, the strategy is working.)
  • An adulteration and inversion of feminism, as if the veil were a feminist choice, when in reality it is one of the worst expressions of misogyny ever invented.
  • Conflation of race (innate, immutable characteristics of the individual) with religion (a choice which can change).

Even more serious is what is lacking from this series of articles:

  • No attempt to understand republicanism and universalism and how they inform and support secularism.
  • No attempt to present the very solid arguments in favour of bans on religious symbols and face-coverings in public services, let alone even begin to refute them.
  • No attempt to present the views of secular, modern Muslims who support religious symbol bans.
  • No mention of the fact that Quebec already bans political symbols worn by public servants on duty. Extending this to religious symbols is an eminently reasonable and fair measure to take.
  • No acknowledgement whatsoever of the problematic nature of the expression “Islamophobia.”
  • No consideration of multiculturalism and the many relevant criticisms of that ideology which encourages isolation of communities.
  • No criticism whatsoever of the problems with Islam and Islamism. (Example: The extremely damaging taboo against apostasy.) Apparently only Christian—and preferably Catholic—obscurantism may be mentioned, let alone criticized.
  • Failure to recognize that Québécois are more advanced on the issue of secularism than Canadians outside Quebec and, especially, far more progressive that hostile media such as TheConversation.

I notice that your website’s motto is “Academic rigour, journalistic flair.” What a bad joke. Your series of articles about Quebec and secularism is a cesspool of journalistic incompetence, wilful ignorance and contempt for the Québécois, coupled with a disturbing tendency to repeat some of the classic elements of Islamist propaganda.


Next blog: Fourth Anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre

The Dishonesty of the Globe and Mail

2018-10-16

I criticize a particulary dishonest editorial, recently published by the Toronto newspaper The Globe and Mail, which opposes secularism and denounces the new CAQ government for doing what the newspaper itself proposes, that is, leaving the crucifix in the National Assembly. The editorialists also indulge in a little Quebec-bashing along the way.

Sommaire en français Je critique un éditorial particulièrement malhonnête, récemment paru dans le journal torontois The Globe and Mail, qui s’oppose à la laïcité et prône la même mesure qu’il dénonce chez la CAQ, c’est-à-dire, laisser le crucifix à l’Assemblée nationale. Les éditorialistes font aussi un peu de Quebec-bashing en passant.

On October 11th, the Globe and Mail published an editorial under the title: “By defending a crucifix, Quebec crosses the line into hypocrisy.” It is replete with misconceptions and misleading assertions. The key thesis of the editorial is the contrast between two announcements made by Quebec’s new CAQ government led by François Legault:

  1. Banning religious symbols worn by public servants in positions of authority.
  2. Leaving the crucifix above the speaker’s chair in the National Assembly where it is, using the excuse that it is part of Quebec’s heritage.

All secularists in Quebec agree: that crucifix must go…

There is indeed a serious inconsistency here. But the editorial declares that “Quebec” is hypocritical. No, if anyone is being hypocritical here, it is Legault and the CAQ, not Quebec or Quebeckers in general. All secularists in Quebec agree: that crucifix must go, perhaps moved to a museum. (Furthermore, the law governing the National Assembly must be modified to prohibit any future displays of religious symbols in the legislature, including symbols worn by MNAs.) And yet the Globe and Mail editorial itself calls for leaving the crucifix in place! Why? In order to justify their opposition to any ban on religious symbols. The editorialists simply want to block any progress towards secularism.

The editorial mentions that, ten years ago, the Bouchard-Taylor commission recognized that the crucifix in such a prominent place in the N.A. is a powerful symbol linking legislative power to the majority religion. Exactly! That is why it must be removed. But the editorial neglects to mention that the same Commission recommended a ban on religious symbols worn by public servants in positions of authority, very similar to what CAQ has recently proposed! (There is one important difference: CAQ would extend the ban to apply to teachers.)

Identity Politics

The editorial whines repeatedly that Quebec is indulging in “divisive identity politics.” This is a common complaint made by English-Canadian journalists in order to denigrate Quebec. Yes, leaving the crucifix could certainly be called identitarian. But the ban on religious symbols is the direct opposite of identity politics, the goal being to make the Quebec public service religiously neutral, in the same way that it is already politically neutral (because political symbols are already banned for all public servants).

The Canadian government regularly practices its own aggressive brand of identity politics by promoting dangerous cultural relativism…

When it comes to identity politics, nothing can compare to fundamentalist Islamists who aggressively promote the hijab and even the niqab as markers of identity. The Canadian government regularly practices its own aggressive brand of identity politics by promoting dangerous cultural relativism (which it euphemistically calls “multiculturalism”) as essential to the Canadian identity—and denigrating anyone who might question it, as many Quebeckers do. Canadian multiculturalism is very divisive because it attaches greater importance to ethno-religious identity than to citizenship; most importantly, it is incompatible with the secularism which most Quebeckers support.

Demonizing Secularism

The editorial is particularly tendentious when it refers to the “Parti Québécois’s odious Charter of Quebec Values.” Firstly, the name is incorrect. Secondly, the PQ Charter of Secularism was anything but odious. If adopted, it would have constituted a major step towards secularism. All secularists in Quebec supported it, as did a majority of the population. But since it contained a ban on religious symbols, the Globe and Mail hates it. It was the Charter’s opponents who were odious, slandering both the PQ government and Quebeckers in general with all sorts of egregious epithets. And now, enemies of CAQ’s proposed ban are at it again.

The editorial claims that there is “public outrage” against CAQ. Nonsense. On the contrary, there is a wave of great hope generated by the promise of this new government, and a fervent desire that it not back down in the face of the virulent opposition, such as that from the Globe and Mail.

The demo was basically a circus of anti-Quebec bigotry and fundamentalist Islam…

There was a so-called “anti-racist” demonstration held in Montreal less than a week after the CAQ victory. The demo was basically a circus of anti-Quebec bigotry and fundamentalist Islam, along with various sympathizers such as the “Antifa” (who should more properly be called “anarcho-Salafists”) who denounced the CAQ as “racist”—thus conflating race with religion in order to slander secularists. Noticeably absent, however, were those of a Muslim background who support secularism, such as AQNAL (Quebec Association of North-Africans for Secularism).

Freedom of Conscience

The employee can put their crucifix, hijab, turban, tin-foil hat, Pastafarian colander or whatever back on at the end of their shift.

But let us get to the crux (forgive the pun) of the matter: Why should religious symbols be banned for state employees, especially those in positions of authority? The answer is obvious: to protect the freedom of conscience of all citizens, who have a right to public services without staff pushing their personal ideology in the public’s face. Political symbols are already banned; this must be extended to religious ones. Such a measure does not threaten freedom of religion. On the contrary, it protects freedom of religion and freedom from religion, both of which are encompassed by freedom of conscience. The ban would only apply during working hours. The employee can put their crucifix, hijab, turban, tin-foil hat, Pastafarian colander or whatever back on at the end of their shift.

No rights are absolute, for they are limited by effects they have on the rights of others. The Globe and Mail editorial laments that CAQ would limit religious believers’ “right to express their religious beliefs as they see fit” but there is no right to practice one’s religion while on the job! The ban would have zero effect on religious practice outside the workplace.

Discrimination Against Non-Believers

…the Globe and Mail supports a world in which religious advertising is allowed everywhere…

The editorial enjoins Quebec politicians to show a “rational generosity of spirit.” Yet the Globe and Mail supports a world in which religious advertising is allowed everywhere, even on the bodies of government employees, thus threatening the rights of everyone—believer, atheist, agnostic—who does not want such propaganda imposed on them. I own several t-shirts which declare loudly and proudly that I am an atheist. But I would not wear any of them to work if I were employed in the public service, because I would not be so boorish as to push my personal convictions onto a captive audience in the workplace. I demand the same courtesy of religious believers. A rational generosity of spirit would imply accepting the duty of discretion when one works in such a position.

…the Globe and Mail promotes discrimination against atheists…

The Globe and Mail editorialists demand no such discretion from religious believers. Rather, they promote a major privilege for Roman Catholicism by leaving the crucifix in the N.A., even after hypocritically denouncing the CAQ for doing the same. The Globe and Mail then promotes privilege for all religions—to the detriment of non-believers—by opposing any ban on religious symbols in the public service. Thus, the Globe and Mail promotes discrimination against atheists and other non-believers.


Next blog: My Favourite Graph

The Moral and Intellectual Bankruptcy of Antisecularists

The movement against Legault and the CAQ has zero credibility.

2018-10-08

A recent demonstration in Montreal by so-called “anti-racist” activists illustrates yet again that the enemies of secularism are sadly lacking in moral and intellectual integrity. In particular, they deliberately conflate race and religion, thus aiding and abetting religious fanaticism.

Sommaire en français Une récente manifestation à Montréal par des militants soi-disant “anti-racistes” montre encore une fois que les ennemis de la laïcité manquent tristement d’intégrité morale et intellectuelle. En particulier, ils confondent délibérément la race et la religion, favorisant ainsi le fanatisme religieux.

Shortly after being elected on October 1st 2018, the new premier, François Legault, and his CAQ party announced their intention to start implementing various secularism measures, in particular, banning religious symbols worn by public servants in positions of authority, i.e. police, judges, prosecutors, prison guards and teachers. This is incomplete, but nevertheless an excellent start to implementing secularism in Quebec and supported by the majority of the population and basically all secularists in Quebec.

Poster for 2018-10-07 demo, slightly modified Click to enlarge
Demo poster, slightly modified
to make it more honest.

But there are forces who oppose secularism and do so in an extremely dishonest manner. Yesterday (2018-10-07) a demonstration was held in Montréal to protest the new measures. The demo was announced as being against racism, but a major focus was on denouncing Legault and the CAQ as racist.

The fallacy of conflating race and religion is a common tactic used by anti-secularists. It has been refuted countless times, but because of the extreme dishonesty of anti-secularists who falsely claim to be “anti-racist,” it is necessary to do so once again. So I summarize:

  • Race involves innate and immutable characteristics of the individual, whereas a religion is an ideology—a collection of ideas and beliefs—which can change overnight.
  • Religion and race are thus completely different phenomena.
  • Religion may be freely chosen if and only if there is freedom of conscience. Unfortunately, most religious believers have a religion forced on them as children, via indoctrination.
  • One of the key pillars of secularism is freedom of conscience, i.e. to make sure that individuals have the freedom and the autonomy to choose or reject an ideology which others may try to force on them. Thus, public institutions must not show preference for any religion.
  • The secular measures announced by Legault and CAQ are obviously not racist. Their purpose is to keep religious bias out of the affairs of state and government. They apply to all religions.
  • The secular measures announced by Legault and CAQ are clearly necessary because public servants in positions of authority must not display any religious partisanship.

Furthermore, the anti-secularists masquerading as “anti-racists” are dishonest in several ways:

  • The conflation of race with religion is clearly a fallacy, a strategy used in order to defame secularists as “racist.”
  • The conflation of race with religion constitutes a denial of freedom of conscience, condemning individuals to the religion into which they were born, a product of pure chance. It is a denial of a basic human right, the right to think for oneself.
  • They use the crucifix in the Quebec National Assembly as an excuse to allow public servants in authority to wear blatant religious symbols. Of course that crucifix must be removed, and Legault’s decision to keep it there is unacceptable, but that is no excuse. Two wrongs do not make a right. The government needs to remove the crucifix:
    1. because it is the right thing to do; and
    2. in order to deprive anti-secularists of one of their favourite propaganda ploys.

Furthermore, the opposition to any form of dress code is nonsensical and dishonest, because:

  • In the Quebec public service, politically partisan symbols may not be worn by employees on duty. It is thus hypocritical to allow religious symbols to be worn. Religious symbols are generally very political.
  • Dress codes are a widespread phenomenon throughout society. For example, the Canadian parliament imposes certain restrictions on Members of Parliament. The Rules of Order and Decorum stipulate that “to be recognized to speak in debate, on points of order or during Question Period, tradition and practice require all Members, male or female, to dress in contemporary business attire.” Why should any MP be allowed the privilege of being exempted from this rule simply because of his or her religion?
  • It is a major goal of Islamism to impose the wearing of the Islamic veil anywhere and everywhere. By opposing all dress codes, anti-secularists are objectively allied with extreme right-wing political Islam. Anti-secularists are not anti-fascist, they are objectively pro-fascist.

Given the above considerations, we see that those who denounce the new Quebec government as “racist,” because of its secular measures, are both intellectually bankrupt, for their arguments are fundamentally irrational, and morally bankrupt, because they oppose freedom of conscience and support the agenda of a far-right religious movement.

One small glimmer of reason from an individual who is normally a staunch ally of the anti-secularists: Manon Massé of Québec solidaire has publically stated that Legault and the CAQ are not racist. Very good. But she nevertheless opposes Legault’s plans because QS would not include teachers in the religious symbol ban. Furthermore, she did not, as far as I know, distance herself from the so-called “anti-racist” demonstration.

Anyone who cares sincerely about child welfare, especially the well-being of believers’ children, will support Legault’s proposed ban on religious symbols worn by teachers, thus helping to make public schools a refuge from religious indoctrination.

One final observation about the modern anti-racist movement, and this should come as no surprise to anyone: that movement is often racist itself. In particular, here in Quebec, so-called “anti-racist” activists often accuse Quebeckers in general of being racist. This itself is a racist attitude, an expression of anti-Québécois ethnic bigotry. In reality, the vast majority of Québécois, including those who voted for the centre-right CAQ, are more progressive that many of those activists.

Relevant Links:


Next blog: The Dishonesty of the Globe and Mail