Monday, July 15, 2024
Editorials

What is with Quebec politicians and cultural “values?”

What is with Quebec politicians and cultural “values?”

Quebec politicians are at it again.
Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) leader, François Legault, recently announced his party’s intentions to implement a “values test” for new immigrants.
This is the second time the CAQ has mused about this type of test. In 2015, the party also floated the idea of a values test.
It seems every time an election is near they do their best to one up one another to show that they are the party of “Quebec values,” whatever those are.
That’s the thing, aside from the protection of the French language, what are these proponents of Quebec’s values so keen to protect?
Is it the religious roots of the province?
Not likely, considering the quiet revolution changed the fabric of Quebec society back in the 1960’s.

“We must defend our values,” Legault said. “We have to take precautions.”
Quebec is in a bit of a unique situation because it’s the only province that has a say in who comes into the province. In the rest of the country, immigration falls under the purview of the federal government.
So what “values” are the Quebec government looking for?
Under the new test, immigrants would need to pass both a French language test as well as the values test.
But even then, Legault admitted that the values test is basically an exercise of rote memorization.
It seems that the test won’t even give us an idea of what the immigrant’s values actually are, so long as they can regurgitate the right answers.
So what’s the point?
Predicably, it seems this is the election trope that Quebec politicians seem to favour: demonize those who aren’t like us. Demonize the “other.”
This is a province where, in January of last year, Alexandre Bissonette walked into a Quebec City mosque and killed six Muslim worshippers.
Then, in August of last year, the head of that Quebec City mosque had his car torched.
This came after that same mosque was denied a plot of land for a cemetery.
After initially being denied the land, Quebec City decided to sell a plot to the mosque to create the region’s first Muslim-only cemetery.
Thirty-six hours after that deal was announced, the mosque leader’s car was set on fire.
Why does this province have such a problem with demonizing those who are deemed different?
It’s even filtering down to the local level.
The newly-announced halal slaughterhouse in Shawville has stirred up some controversy in recent weeks.
At the most recent Shawville council meeting, several concerned residents had questions about the slaughterhouse.
Most of the concerns voiced at the meeting were valid. However, some people in the community have made it known that they are afraid of the slaughterhouse being the opening salvo in the implementation of Islamic law in Canada.
They also invoked thinly-veiled references to barbaric practices and the need to protect the region’s “cultural heritage”.
All of these essentially amount to a demonization of “the other.”
Fret not, the Canadian legal system will not be replaced by Sharia law.
Although this is a small but vocal minority, it’s still concerning.
Muslim business owners are the same as any others: they’re in it to make money and support their family.
Like it or not, the world is changing. This means that many people will be exposed to new cultures and ways of life.
Although these customs may seem different, they shouldn’t be something that’s feared.
These people are coming to a strange land to make a better life for themselves and their families.
This isn’t an easy thing to do.
The least we could do is make them feel welcome instead of making them think that they are being scrutinized constantly.

Chris Lowrey