Hijabs and Hockey Sweaters

Quebec less tolerant than the rest of Canada

By —— Bio and Archives--October 22, 2007

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While the Bouchard-Taylor Commission was travelling the province to examine the views on Quebeckers on the “reasonable accommodation” of immigrants and ethnic groups, Leger Marketing conducted a survey of people throughout the country. The poll was conducted in early October and surveyed 1,500 Canadians including 1,000 Quebeckers.


The poll found that residents of La Belle Province have a lot less tolerance to differences that those in the rest of Canada (ROC). For example, only about one half of Quebeckers thought that it is okay for school teachers to wear hijabs whereas that percentage jumped to about 75 per cent in the rest of the country.

When it came to students wearing hijabs, only 45 per cent of Quebeckers thought that it was okay compared to 70 per cent in the rest of Canada. When it came to having prayer rooms in colleges and universities, only one third of Quebeckers were in favour of such rooms while the percentage jumped to two thirds in the ROC. And 20 per cent of Canadians outside of Quebec thought that minorities should be discouraged from forming their own communities while that number jumped to 56 per cent in Quebec. These differences are hardly insignificant.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Quebeckers think differently when it comes to ethnic minorities than do Canadians in the rest of the country. It all boils down to culture. The province of Quebec does have a distinct culture while it is seriously debatable that the rest of Canada even has one, let alone anything that is distinct. There is no Canadian culture to speak of; because of the heavy emphasis that past Liberal governments has put on multiculturalism, our culture is everybody else’s culture. In the ROC, under the guise of political correctness, we don’t reasonably accommodate foreign cultures, we adopt them.

And nowhere is this political correct view of cultures more apparent than it is in Canada’s relationship with Quebec and that province’s language laws are a good example. Laws that make it illegal to have signs in the English language are okay on the grounds that it is done to preserve the French language and French culture. Canada has already decided that Quebec should be able to take steps that allow it to keep its culture; in that regard there is little difference between erecting an English language sign and wearing a hijab.

Quebec has always been more European in outlook than the rest of the country. And many European countries such as France and the Netherlands have become a lot less tolerant of immigrants and differences in ethnic communities in recent years after they perceived that their culture and their way of life was under threat. It is hardly surprising that Quebec would be the first area in Canada to follow suit.

Jack Jedwab, the executive director of the Association of Canadian Studies that commissioned the poll was quoted as saying, in typical Canadian fashion, that Quebeckers have “a certain ambiguity” when it comes to different cultures. According to Jedwab, Quebeckers value different ethnic groups but want them to give up their customs. Okay so Quebeckers don’t want to kill immigrants; they just want them to wear Montreal Canadiens hockey shirts instead of hijabs; this is hardly something that can be referred to as ambiguous.

The views of Quebeckers about ethnic groups and their practices is just a logical extension of Canada’s policy of accommodating Quebec as regards their distinctiveness. It would have been truly surprising if the Leger poll had revealed no differences between Quebec and the ROC.


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Arthur Weinreb -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. Arthur’s latest book, Ford Nation: Why hundreds of thousands of Torontonians supported their conservative crack-smoking mayor is available at Amazon. Racism and the Death of Trayvon Martin is also available at Smashwords. His work has appeared on Newsmax.com,  Drudge Report, Foxnews.com.

Older articles (2007) by Arthur Weinreb

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