Thursday, May 22, 2008


The Bouchard-Taylor report on reasonable accommodation in Quebec, having already drawn a backlash from separatist leaders, was officially released today.

The "abridged" report is 99 pages, making it about 96 pages more than I feel like reading, so don't expect any profound insight on this blog. Reading the media recaps (which is perhaps risky, since the report accuses the media of distorting and sensationalizing stories), it seems to dish out fairly reasonable advise, but little in the way of concrete suggestions for government action.

Recapping the recaps:

1. There seems to be a "don't worry, be happy" vibe in this report - things aren't as bad as in Europe and the media often overblow incidents. We can all get along if we just open our minds a bit more. Kumbaya spiritual being of my choosing, kumbaya.

2. The province should be proud of its Catholic culture but the government and courts needs to be more secular.

3. The report doesn't sound anti-French at all to me - it says immigrants need to learn French and the state should actively protect the language...I'm sure Marois and Dumont will find a way to spin this as an anglo assimilation blueprint, but it certainly doesn't read that way taken as a whole.

4. The government should use incentives to encourage immigrants to settle outside of Montreal. Makes sense.

5. There's nothing wrong with headscarves.

6. An effort should be made to help new immigrants integrate economically, in part by recognizing foreign credentials.

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  • "Reading the media recaps (which is perhaps risky, since the report accuses the media of distorting and sensationalizing stories)"

    this just about sums it up

    By Blogger Anthony, at 7:31 p.m.  

  • oh and another thing

    it is against headscarves worn by officials who enforce the law, who like the province are supposed to be secular

    By Blogger Anthony, at 7:33 p.m.  

  • Quebec is an embarrassment to Canada. Seriously? the most important issue they have in the province is an 11 year old wearing a headscarf to a soccer game? WTF?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:50 p.m.  

  • Sounds like anonymous is testing potential Dion campaign slogans.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 10:55 p.m.  

  • The secularism recommendation strikes me as odd. Quebec is by far the most secular province of Canada. It may have Catholic symbols everywhere, but Quebecois identity is much more ethnic than religious.

    Hiding differences is not a good model for integration (whether it is covering up crucifixes or banning headscarves). Just look at the US which where the "melting pot"/MLK notions set up an impossibly high standard of not viewing others as other, when their otherness is fairly obvious. Most Jewish people I talk to are not offended to hear "Merry Christmas" when they go into stores (just as I wouldn't be offended if somebody said Happy Hannukah to me).

    PS: I am personally pissed off that they took a crucifix out of a lecture hall in St. Michael's college at U of T. Had I taken political theory a year earlier, I would have gotten the lecture about Machiavelli's anti-theist plot with a crucifix looming in the background.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 1:08 a.m.  

  • No, I'm being serious, there was a time when Quebec's GDP was very close to Ontario's but thanks to crazy language policy of the province, businesses are staying away from Quebec like it has aids. It is to a point that BC's GDP is growing faster then Quebec's which is amazing considering BC has only about 55% of Quebec's population. Quebec also has the highest unemployment of any province outside the maritimes. The point is that Quebec as a province is living in the past. It is mooching off the rest of Canada and when you see in the news that the politicians there are whining about and seem to think their top priority is something as irrelevant as headscarfs it comes off as outrageous. I mean seriously? Your province has one of the highest unemployment in the nation, a stagnant GDP (despite having tons of resources and an economic boom period) and the biggest thing you are worried about is an 11 year old kid going to play soccer with her headscarf on? Gimme a break. I was watching a hbo standup routine (I can't remember the name of the comedian but he was some hispanic guy) where the comedian said that US is like one giant game of "it". I think that is more applicable to Quebec, first the natives were "it" then the anglophones were "it" not it seems immigrants are "it". I wonder which group next is going to be "it".

    You're exactly. It seems to me that it is the old white out of touch politicians who seem to wanna get rid of crucifixes/christmas trees (and headscarfs for that matter). I read a news story some time ago, I don't remember the exact details so pardon me if I get something wrong but apparently in Ontario McGuinty(I think) wanted to get rid of the christmas tree outside the legislature building as he believed it may offend some people, but the leaders of these religious group to whom the christmas tree was supposed to "offend"
    came out and publicly opposed any such action. Seems like that these politicians and judges need to stop worrying about what may be offensive to whom and do the job they are supposed to do. I'm myself an agnostic but I have no problem with anyone publicly displaying their religion (as long as they are not making public policy based on their religious beliefs) We are mature enough society that we can handle a "Merry Christmas", "Happy Hanukkah", "Happy Diwali" or even greetings for a wiccan festival.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:02 a.m.  

  • ^^ Whoops.. I meant to say

    You're exactly right. It seems to me that it is the......

    For some reason blogger cut off "right".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:09 a.m.  

  • This cannot have effect in actual fact, that's what I think.

    By Anonymous, at 11:12 a.m.  

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