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

Book Launch Stillbirth

Blog Contents

Book Launch: Stillbirth
The Failure of Secularism in the English-Speaking World

How Anglo Ethnocentrism,
French Postmodernism and
Fashionable Nonsense have Neutralized Secularism
by David Rand — Foreword by Nina Sankari

Wednesday 18th January 2023 @ 6:00 pm
Librairie Le Port de tête
262 Avenue du Mont-Royal Est, Montréal

Métro Mont-Royal

The book is in English.
The launch event will be in French and English.
The book will be available at the bookstore
about a week previous to the launch event.

REGISTER
Further information about Stillbirth
De plus amples infos sur Stillbirth

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

Pauline Marois: 2022 International Secularism Prize

2022-11-18, Link added 2022-11-19

2022 International Secularism Prize awarded to Madame Pauline Marois, former Premier of Quebec.

Sommaire en français Prix international de la laïcité 2022, décerné à Mme Pauline Marois, ancienne première ministre du Québec.

Pauline Marois, Quebec’s first woman premier (2012-2014) has just been honoured by the Comité Laïcité République (CLR) in Paris who have awarded her the Prix international de la laïcité (International Secularism Prize) for her contribution to secularism—for the deconfessionalization of Quebec schools and for the Charter of Secularism which her government proposed in 2013. Although that government was defeated in 2014, before the Charter could be adopted, it was a major precursor, paving the way for Bill 21, adopted five years later by the CAQ government.

Madame Marois has often been the target of vicious hatred from both unscrupulous antisecularists and anti-Québécois ethnic bigots, two groups which overlap greatly and are currently allied in vilifying Bill 21. In fact, Mme Marois was the target of an assassination attempt during a victory celebration, the very evening of her election victory on September 4th 2012. Although unsuccessful in hitting his presumed target, because his weapon jammed, the would-be assassin nevertheless did kill one person, a technician, and seriously wounded another.

It is indeed gratifying that Pauline Marois’ major contributions to the cause of secularism have now been recognized internationally.

BRAVA MADAME MAROIS!

Here are a few excerpts from Madame Marois’ acceptance speech:

It took until the end of the 1990s, when I was Minister of Education, to conclude delicate negotiations with religious authorities, the English-speaking community and the federal government in order to remove the constitutional obstacle which prevented the creation of French and English linguistic school boards.

[…]

The federal State dominated by English Canada claims to be postcolonial, postnational and multicultural. Paradoxically, it considers that the only acceptable referents in terms of rights and freedoms are its own. Thus, for the Canadian government and the English-language media, the decisions of the European Court of Justice with regard to the wearing of religious symbols are totally discriminatory.

[…]

I will not force you to listen to the religious edicts, each one more misogynistic than the previous, but it seems undeniable to me that people on the left who have abandoned the defense of secularism have lost part of their soul along the way.

Let us be clear, secularism does not in itself guarantee the liberation and equality of women, but it is an essential ingredient.

[…]

By clearly separating knowledge from beliefs, secularism promotes a spirit of tolerance. In a secular and democratic state, everyone is free as regards their faith, but the rules that define the art of living together should not be determined by religious precepts.


Links


Next blog: La vraie nature de la BCHA

Flawed Constitutions

2022-07-01

The US Constitution implements only an incomplete version of secularism. The Canadian Constitution is worse.

Sommaire en français La Constitution américaine ne met en œuvre qu’une version incomplète de la laïcité. La Constitution canadienne est pire.

Three recent decisions by the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) have been in the news. Each represents a setback for secularism. Together, they bode ill for the future of that country, representing a major victory for the Christian religious right. Their importance for other countries such as Canada and European nations has been exaggerated. After all, they involve legal issues particular to the USA. Nevertheless, they are troubling and must not be ignored. American politics has a nasty habit of spreading its influence well beyond the borders of that country.

These SCOTUS decisions are listed at the end of this blog, along with some media reports. All three grant religious privileges of one form or another and all undermine freedom from religion. Many articles and comments on these decisions contain numerous mentions of how separation between religion and State is being violated. Some commentators even mention the famous “wall of separation.” But apparently no-one has mentioned an obvious fact which greatly exacerbates the problem:

There is no religion/state separation in the US Constitution! Separation is not declared in the First Amendment. Just read the damn thing:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
— First Amendment to the United States Constitution

First of all, the first 10 words, called the Establishment Clause, simply declare that a State religion cannot be established. Very good! But there is no mention of separation. This just means that no one religion cannot be favoured. The expression “wall of separation” is from a letter by Thomas Jefferson, not from the US Constitution. The Amendment does not prevent favouring religion in general, unless you are lucky enough to get judges who interpret it that way, in the way that Jefferson apparently wanted, but which is not explicit in the Constitution.

Secondly, the following 6 words (“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) are called the Free Exercise Clause. They declare unconditional freedom of religious practice, as if freedom of religion were absolute. Freedom from religion is not guaranteed. Thus, religious are privileged.

So, when the Supreme Court majority rules, as it did in the Kennedy v. Bremerton case, that both the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment give the highschool coach the right to pray on the football field, they may, unfortunately, be right. It is, at the very least, a plausible interpretation of the text of the Amendment.

Throughout the history of the USA, some judges of the Supreme Court have endorsed the concept of separation of religion and State, but others have refuted it. There is continuous tension between accommodationists and separationists. Even before this recent spate of disturbing decisions, the accommodationists appeared to be winning.

Thus, the First Amendment of the US Constitution implements an incomplete form of secularism, with just a weak form of religious neutrality (where non-believers are not accounted for) and with no separation. The US Constitution is fundamentally flawed. It is certainly better than the Canadian Constitution. When it was adopted over two centuries ago, in 1791, it was progressive for the time, when Europe was full of monarchies and various degrees of theocracy. But it does not implement full secularism.

Why do so many Americans (and even Canadians!) talk about the First Amendment as if it were some wonderful document, the ultimate reference for secularism? I think there is an enormous quantity of arrogance in that attitude, as if all that can be considered best in the world, the best guarantees of freedom, must necessarily come from the United States of America. This is simply American chauvinism. And beyond the USA, in the English-speaking world in general, an unhealthy Anglo-ethnocentrism engenders a similar attitude of conceit.

Implications for Bill 21

If you think the Supreme Court of Canada should strike down Quebec Bill 21, then you are an objective ally of the bigots who rejoice that the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) has struck down a ban on prayer during highschool sports events, as well as those who rejoice that SCOTUS is forcing taxpayers to fund religious schools in some contexts. In both cases you have a Supreme Court (Canadian or American) using a flawed constitution (Canadian or American) to strike down a secular measure (Bill 21 or secular schooling).

Both the US and Canadian Constitutions are flawed. Neither implements secularism, although the US Constitution goes partway there.

In both cases, judges who are nominated, not elected, have extensive powers. They can approve or strike down legislation passed democratically by the legislative branch of government. Or they can overrule decisions based on such legislation. Or, in the case of abortion, they can arbitrarily withdraw a right which the same court itself endorsed half a century previously. And yet, over 60% of Americans currently agree that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Again, the Canadian situation is worse, because the law which is under threat (Bill 21) was passed by a legislature (Quebec National Assembly) which has never approved the 1982 Constitution on which the Supreme Court judges will base their decision. Furthermore, even before arriving at the Supreme Court, Bill 21 is challenged in two Quebec Courts (Quebec Superior Court and Quebec Court of Appeal) and the judges in both those courts are appointed by the federal government, not by Quebec. There is a clear lack of democracy.


The Three US Supreme Court Decisions

  1. 2022-06-27: Prayer During School Sports Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, This Court decision allows a highschool football coach to pray at the end of a game, while encouraging his players to join him.
    Media Reports:
  2. 2022-06-24: Allowing States to Control Abortion Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, This Court decision strikes down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, thus rejecting any constitutional right to abortion and allowing individual states to legislate as they wish.
    Media Reports:
    • “In a devastating decision that will reverberate for generations, the U.S. Supreme Court has abandoned its duty to protect fundamental rights and overturned Roe v. Wade, ruling there is no constitutional right to abortion. Today’s decision—which abandons nearly 50 years of precedent—marks the first time in history that the Supreme Court has taken away a fundamental right.” U.S. Supreme Court Takes Away the Constitutional Right to Abortion
    • “On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled 6–3 to uphold Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, and 5–4 to overrule Roe and Casey. Similar to the leaked draft opinion, the opinion of the court written by Justice Alito stated that Roe was ‘egregiously wrong from the start’ and its reasoning ‘exceptionally weak’. It also stated that Roe has ‘enflamed debate and deepened division’ and that overruling it would ‘return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives’.[334] The majority opinion relied on a constitutional historical view of abortion rights, saying, ‘The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.’” Wikipedia: Roe v. Wade
  3. 2022-06-21: Funding Religious Schools Carson v. Makin
    Media Reports:
    • “The Supreme Court issued a ruling today in Carson v. Makin that requires the state of Maine to fund religious education at private religious schools as part of its tuition assistance program. The program pays for students to attend private school if their town does not have a public high school. The decision marks the first time that the court has explicitly required taxpayers to support a specifically religious activity — religious instruction — and expands the court’s 2020 ruling in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. There, the court held that that the Free Exercise Clause prohibited a state from excluding religious schools from private aid programs ‘solely because of their religious character.’” ACLU Comment on Supreme Court Decision in Carson v. Makin
    • “The Supreme Court is bulldozing the Wall of Separation. In a ruling just handed down, the Court’s conservative supermajority ruled that taxpayers can be forced to fund religious education. In Maine, the state pays for students to attend secular private schools if they live in areas without public schools of their own. The Court just ruled that by excluding sectarian schools from this arrangement, the state is in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.” Taxpayers Forced to Fund Religious Schools

Next blog: The CRTC, Pierre Vallières and Postmodernism

The Great Canadian Euphemism

Bonne Fête nationale québécoise !

2022-06-24, Addendum 2022-06-26

In his speech before the Académie française, Quebec Minister of the French Language Simon Jolin-Barrette was totally correct in denouncing Canadian multiculturalism, as well as defamatory reactions against Bills 21 and 96 by English-language media.

Sommaire en français Dans son discours devant l’Académie française, le ministre québécois de la Langue française, Simon Jolin-Barrette, a eu tout à fait raison de dénoncer le multiculturalisme canadien, ainsi que les propos diffamatoires des médias anglophones contre les Lois 21 et 96.

Yesterday, 23rd June 2022, Simon Jolin-Barrette, Quebec Minister of the French Language, gave a formal speech before the Académie française in Paris. It was an exceptional moment, for rarely does the Académie invite foreigners to make such an address. Moreover, this is the first time in its nearly 400 year history that an elected representative who is neither head of State nor head of a government has been so invited.

As Quebec recently adopted legislation, Bill 96, which updates and reforms its Charte de la langue française, adopted in 1977 and known colloquially as Bill 101, Jolin-Barrette’s theme was, not surprisingly, the protection and reinforcement of the French language. He invited France to partner with Quebec with that goal in mind.

Jolin-Barrette referred to the increasing predominance of the English language and technology giants known as GAFAM as the “Anglo-American steamroller.” But it was perhaps his comments critical of multiculturalism—hardly controversial for the French—which ruffled the most feathers back home in this country, especially among Anglo-Canadians:

Although our project is thwarted by Canadian multiculturalism, which finds an equivalent in what you call communitarianism and which fights Quebec’s claims to be a distinct nation, the French language must truly become the language of use for all Quebecers…

He also denounced how many English-language media, both Canadian and American, have defamed Quebec and denigrated the actions of his government, particularly with regard to the secularism law (Bill 21) as well as Bill 96. Such media have endeavoured to paint those laws as regressive and authoritarian. But in his opinion, “Our fight for the French language is just, it is a universal fight, that of a nation that has peacefully resisted the will to power of the strongest.”

Simon Jolin-Barrette is absolutely right on both counts: (1) the perniciousness of the Canadian ideology of multiculturalism and (2) the defamatory reaction against Bills 21 and 96.

Canadian multiculturalism is a dishonest euphemism whose true meaning is cultural relativism, clientelism and a bigotry of low expectations, treating minorities as static, well circumscribed and distinct from the majority. It represents the death of universalism and a return to tribalism. A prime example of the consequences of multiculturalism is the experience of Yasmine Mohammed who, after suffering much abuse as a teenager at the hands of her pious Muslim step-father, was abandoned by Canadian authorities, both police and judge, who refused to take action because “different cultures are free to discipline their children in different ways.” Other consequences include all sorts of so-called “reasonable accommodations” (which should instead be called “unreasonable religious accommodations”) such as depriving children of music because of their parents’ religion, allowing—even celebrating—the veiling of young girls, thus endorsing a form of child abuse, allowing civil servants to wear religious symbols while on duty (which Bill 21 bans in Quebec) and so on.

The Québécois oppose Canadian multiculturalism because it reduces them to just another minority, which leads inexorably to Anglo-supremacy. Under Canadian multiculturalism, every language is reduced to folklore status, except English of course. Bravo Quebec for standing up for cultural and linguistic diversity!

Canadian multiculturalism is incompatible with secularism, because secularism requires that all citizens be treated equally, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof. Neither Christians, nor atheists, nor Muslims, nor any other specific group should be allowed to display their personal religious opinions or identity while working in the civil service. This is called universalism and it is a core value of secularism. Those Anglo-Canadians who claim to be secularists need to face that reality.

Multiculturalism is the Great Canadian Euphemism. Proponents of this retrograde ideology arrogate to themselves the moral high ground, as if anyone who criticizes it were morally stunted or even “racist.” Their hypocrisy is obvious. Not only is multiculturalism a throwback to tribal days before the advent of universal human rights, it is also a tool used by anti-secularists to rationalize their anti-Québécois ethnic bigotry.

On this 24th of June 2022, a holiday here in Quebec, the Fête nationale, we celebrate Québécois language and culture. (This blog is in English because Anglo-Canadians are the ones who most need to read it.) Taking steps to protect the French language in Quebec is in everyone’s interest, including English-speakers, because without it, Canada and North America would be culturally much poorer. Without French language and culture, without Quebec, would Canada be anything more than a pale replica of the USA?

Addendum

Here is another example of Canadian multiculturalism in action: No child protection for Syrian refugee punched and lashed in N.S. for texting with a boy

Authorities used confusion about the victim’s age as an excuse to do nothing. The teenage girl was the target of a severe beating, enough to break her nose apparently. Whether she was 15 or 16 at the time, her father must be held accountable. But this is Canada. Would this have been allowed if the family were not immigrants from a Muslim country?


Next blog: Flawed Constitutions

The Patriots of Lower Canada

An Important Event in the History of Secularism in North America

2022-04-04

The 1838 Declaration of Independence of Lower Canada is a major milestone in the history of secularism.

Sommaire en français La Déclaration d’indépendance du Bas-Canada de 1838 est un jalon majeur dans l’histoire de la laïcité.


During the period between the British conquest of New France in 1763 (Treaty of Paris) and the formation (“Confederation”) of the Dominion of Canada composed of four provinces, the conquered territory went through several administrative changes:

  • 1763-1791: The former New France became a British colony named Province of Quebec.
  • 1791-1841: The Province of Quebec was divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, corresponding roughly to the southern parts of modern Ontario and Quebec respectively.
  • 1841-1867: Upper and Lower Canada were merged into a single colony called Province of Canada

In 1837-1838 an anti-colonial rebellion occurred in Lower Canada (now Quebec) which also inspired a similar but smaller rebellion in Upper Canada (now Ontario). The rebellion in Lower Canada was republican and secular in its aims. A major document of that rebellion is the 1838 Declaration of Independence of Lower Canada or Déclaration d’indépendance du Bas-Canada. It was authored by Robert Nelson, an Anglophone born in Lower Canada. It declares:

“That any union between Church and State is hereby declared to be dissolved, and every person shall have the right to exercise freely such religion or belief as his conscience dictates.”

(« Que toute union entre l’Église et l’État est par la présente déclarée être dissoute, et toute personne aura le droit d’exercer librement telle religion ou croyance qui lui sera dictée par sa conscience. »)

The Declaration also granted equal rights to native peoples.

Of course the Declaration never came into effect, because the rebels were no match for British imperial power and the rebellion was crushed. Several rebels were hanged at the Pied-du-Courant prison in Montreal. Many were exiled. The famous song Un Canadien errant by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie was inspired by the sight of a ship sending 141 condemned men into exil in Australia:

“A wandering Canadien, banished from his homeland, wept as he roamed foreign lands…”

(« Un Canadien errant, banni de ses foyers, parcourait en pleurant des pays étrangers.… »)

The 1841 merger of Upper and Lower Canada into a single colony was done on the recommendation of Lord Durham who was mandated by the British authorities to investigate the causes of rebellion. He also recommended accelerating British immigration. The goal was to anglicize French-speaking Lower Canadians by marginalizing them in a sea of English-speakers. (Today, such a strategy would probably be called cultural genocide.)

The Lower Canada rebels were called “Patriotes” and they are celebrated by a statutory holiday “Journée nationale des Patriotes” in late May. (It’s the queen’s birthday in Canada outside Quebec.) This year 2022 it is on May 23rd. As secularists, we remember their fight for freedom, democracy and secularism.

I have also written about the Patriots in a previous blog “Screw the Monarchy! Vivent les patriotes !


Next blog: The Dogmatism of the Post-Left

Unworthy To Be a Judge

2021-12-21

The recent appointment of Azimuddin Hussain to the bench of Quebec Superior Court reveals extreme bias.

Sommaire en français La nomination récente d’Azimuddin Hussain à la magistrature de la Cour supérieure du Québec révèle un parti pris extrême. Ce blogue est disponible en français : Inapte à être juge.

Yesterday (Dec. 20, 2021) we learned that the lawyer Azimuddin Hussain has been named to the bench, as judge of Quebec Superior Court. Hussain was very much in the news a year ago, when in November and December of 2020 he represented an opponent of Bill 21 before that very court. In his comments at that time, Hussain drew an outrageous parallel between Bill 21 and the Nuremberg Laws adopted by Nazi Germany in 1935. Basically, Hussain observed that the Nuremberg Laws led to genocide and holocaust, thus implying that Bill 21 could lead to something as serious.

Recall that the Nuremberg Laws denied German citizenship to Jews (as well as Romani and Blacks) and banned intermarriage and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans. On the other hand, Bill 21 requires that some civil servants and teachers remove any religious symbols they normally wear when they are on the job. That is all. Bill 21 does not apply when off the job.

Hussain’s words were much worse than just comparing apples and oranges—more like comparing a teapot with a Tyrannosaurus rex. To make matters worse, the judge Marc-André Blanchard did not object in any way. This incident is part of the general campaign, by the opponents of secularism, to denigrate and demonize Bill 21 and its supporters.

Hussain’s comment was made on a Friday. The following Monday morning, Hussain claimed he had been misinterpreted by the media and the judge responded, “I assure you that I understood your comparisons as being purely rhetorical.” In my opinion, this constitutes serious bias and a major lack of judgment by Blanchard.

However, other incidents during that case last year were arguably as bad or even worse. At one point, Hussain, in his determination to discredit the testimony of the expert witness (for the MLQ) Jacques Beauchemin, referred to him as “an older white male heterosexual who does not wear a religious symbol.” In an earlier court session, Hussain also belittled another expert witness, professor Georges-Auguste Legault, by calling him “a white man” in order to discredit his testimony. Given that sex, age, skin colour and sexual orientation are of no relevance in this context, Hussain’s comments were completely inappropriate. Even more disturbing was that Judge Blanchard listened to all this passively and made no objection, no attempt to reprimand Hussain for his improper behaviour.

In my opinion, for the above reasons, as well as for many other aspects of the court case last year, both Judge Blanchard and Azimuddin Hussain must be considered unworthy of the position of Judge of Quebec Superior Court. Both lack the necessary objectivity to occupy that position.

The appointment of Hussain also reveals that Federal Justice Minister David Lametti and those who advised Lametti must also be extremely biased.

Relevant Links


Next blog: Inapte à être juge

Bill 21 as Seen by Four Quebec Secularists

2021-12-18

Four perspectives on Quebec’s secularism law, Bill 21, from four prominent secular activists.

Sommaire en français Quatre points de vue sur la Loi sur la laïcité de l’État (Loi 21) du Québec, de quatre éminents militants laïques.

Here is a collection of articles about Quebec Bill 21. All four authors support the law, of course, as do all secular organizations in Quebec. Each gives his or her own perspective on Bill 21 and why that legislation is so significant. I have translated into English a few excerpts from their articles originally in French.

Marie-Claude Girard

Retired from the Canadian Human Rights Commission & Board member of the Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL)

Loi sur la laïcité de l’État, Une loi résolument féministe (State Secularism Law, A Resolutely Feminist Law), 2021-12-17.

Mme Girard reminds us that most religious symbols are very different for women and for men; “each of them conveys distinct social status, values, roles and responsibilities, which exacerbate their sexist character.” Thus, it is false to claim that Bill 21 somehow penalizes women. Rather, it is religion which imposes the disparity between symbols and thus religion which causes different impacts.

In the Muslim religion, for example, it is women who wear more visible religious symbols (the hijab, for example). However, it is not the law that discriminates, but sexist religious demands.

Furthermore, Quebec is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979). Of course it is not up to the State to regulate sexist religious practices everywhere, but it must nevertheless ensure that its own institutions are free from sexism. By banning State employees in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols, Bill 21 is a resolutely feminist law.

Daniel Baril

President of the Mouvement laïque québécois (MLQ)

Hijab à l’école, Un cas qui illustre la nécessité de la loi 21 (Hijab at school, A case illustrating the necessity of Bill 21), 2021-12-16.

Mr. Baril reminds Justin Trudeau that seven parents testified for the MLQ before Quebec Superior Court in late 2020, in support of Bill 21, underlining the importance of protecting the freedom of conscience of their children “in the face of the illegitimate desire of some teachers to display their religious beliefs in an ostentatious and permanent manner in the classroom.” In particular, Muslim parents argued that “wearing the hijab in class constitutes an incitement to fundamentalist religious practice…” Thus, it is teachers who wear religious symbols in class who violate freedom of conscience and religion. Bill 21, on the other hand, protects those freedoms.

Mr. Baril also reminds Bob Rae that no international declaration grants the right to practise one’s religion in the workplace. And we are dealing with practice here, not belief.

As for recent events in Chelsea, the teacher Fatemeh Anvari admitted that her hijab represents a religious and ideological combat. Thus, her intention is to transmit a message.

It is precisely this kind of militant proselytism that the Secularism Law seeks to prevent in schools. While the hijab carries meanings, these meanings conflict with the duty of religious and ideological reserve that a teacher owes to her students.

Mr. Baril also denounces the overwhelming naïveté and dishonesty of Jagmeet Singh who falsely claimed that Bill 21 discriminates against women. In reality, it is religion which discriminates, not secularism, by imposing different social norms on men and women. Finally, it is ridiculous to claim that reassigning Fatemeh Anvari to a non-teaching position had the effect of reducing “diversity” among teachers. By that logic, all teachers would be obliged to wear some kind of partisan symbol in order to maximize diversity. How about “God Does Not Exist” on t-shirts? Maybe then Trudeau and Singh would understand the need for secularism.

André Lamoureux

Political Scientist and Lecturer at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)

La loi 21 n’est ni raciste ni antimusulmane (Bill 21 is Neither Racist nor Anti-Muslim), 2021-12-16.

Mr. Lamoureux underlines the denigration of Quebec which is evident in recent hostility towards Bill 21. Banning religious symbols worn by agents of the State is not a manifestation of anti-Muslim sentiment. For example, since 2004, Algeria imposes such a ban on customs agents, police and security personnel and the military, and bans the full veil for teachers. Yet Canada allows the full veil in citizenship ceremonies and when voting, ignoring the fact that it is

a symbol of enslavement for women, a cloth prison promoted in fact by oppressive politico-religious ideologies, including those of the Muslim Brotherhood, salafist movements and Iranian fundamentalist currents.

Belgium, France, Bulgaria, Austria and Denmark have all banned the full veil in public. Germany and the Netherlands have banned it in some contexts. These are democratic countries which have not been admonished by the courts of the European Union. Morocco has even banned the manufacture of the burqa. Sri Lanka also banned the full veil in the wake of a major terrorist attack by the Islamic State. Are all these decisions “Islamophobic”?

To reject the dogmas of religious fundamentalism and separate religion from State is a matter of democracy and the protection of the freedom of conscience of all, including that of children. Bill 21 is therefore not anti-Muslim. This is why the federal government must withdraw from the process of legal challenges to Quebec’s law and cease all funding for groups seeking to destroy it.

Jean-François Lisée

Journalist, Politician, Former Leader of the Parti québécois (PQ)

Laïcité et obscurantisme (Secularism and Obscurantism), 2021-12-15.

Mr. Lisée’s message is straightforward, bold and indispensable. After all the defamatory accusations and outrageous denigration,

The time has come to respond without inhibition on the subject of the Quebec law. It is feminist, anti-discriminatory and avant-garde. It is part of a centuries-old fight for enlightenment and against obscurantism. It is exemplary and courageous.

Bill 21 is feminist because it bans the display, by civil servants in positions of authority, of the misogynistic signs of religions, symbolizing modesty and submission, thus refusing to normalize them. By doing so, Bill 21 renders an important service “to all women in Quebec who are subject to a retrograde religious and family influence and who try to extricate themselves from it.”

Bill 21 is anti-discriminatory because (1) it applies to religious convictions the same duty of reserve which was previously applied only to political convictions and (2) because it applies equally to all religions.

Bill 21 is avant-garde because of Quebec’s unique experience with religion. Nowhere else in North America has a society been so overwhelmingly repressed by religious domination in the past and then progressed so rapidly and so decisively along the road towards secularization and personal freedoms.

Bill 21 is courageous because, in spite of all the venom and vilification which have been heaped on Quebec for affirming its language, culture and identity, both the PQ and the CAQ mustered the courage to propose important secular legislation. And during all that, the promoters of secularism such as Guy Rocher, Jolin-Barrette, Bernard Drainville and others have shown far more respect for their opponents than they received in return. The opponents of Bill 21, whether they like to admit it or not,

play into the hands of misogynist forces who would display symbols of women’s subservience within the very apparatus of the State, they advocate discrimination that puts religious convictions—and therefore superstitions—above all other convictions, they protect ostentatious and minority religions, to the detriment of those which are more respectful of civil rule, and they turn their backs on the growing number of citizens who are abandoning religious myths and dogmas. Far from participating in enlightenment, equality or the primacy of science and reason, opponents of Bill 21 hinder the march of progress. It is high time we let them know.

Next blog: Unworthy to be a Judge