Quebec’s Minister for the Status of Women calls Hijab oppressive
During the conference that announced her appointment as minister for the status of women, Isabelle Charest was asked her opinion on the headscarf worn by some Muslim women.
She responded that the garb did not correspond to her values and it was not a way for a woman to prosper in society. She added that it signified a form of oppression toward women.
“The hijab is not something that women should wear,” she said. “It symbolizes a form of oppression toward women, the fact they have to cover themselves up. It is not in my values and I think women should be free to wear what they want.”
This comes only a short time after Premier of Quebec François Legault ruled out the idea of having a national day against Islamophobia in his governed province.
Two days after his Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault said the government would discuss the possibility, Legault slammed the door shut on Thursday.
“Geneviève was cautious and said we’d look at this,” Legault said at a news conference wrapping up a two-day caucus of Coalition Avenir Québec MNAs in Gatineau.
“We looked at this. There won’t be one.”
Asked why, Legault answered: “I don’t think there is Islamophobia in Quebec, so I don’t see why there would be a day devoted to Islamophobia.”
It’s the second time in two years that politicians have considered the idea and ruled it out. The discussion both times coincided with memorials marking the 2017 shooting in a Quebec City mosque.
When the CAQ was the opposition last year it also opposed making Jan. 29 a day to speak out against Islamophobia. As a result, in February 2018 ,the idea was ruled too controversial and did not go ahead.
Whether there is Islamophobia in Quebec is a back and forth issue, and Quebec politicians have recently garnered some flack regarding comments that have been made discussing the attitude towards Muslims in Quebec.
Recently, Gatineau city councillor Nathalie Lemieux apologized for comments she made last week about Muslims and said she was stepping down as the city’s deputy mayor.
Lemieux took to Facebook to issue an apology for offending or hurting anyone with her words, explaining that doing so was not her intention.
In an interview with Le Droit, Lemieux applauded Quebec Premier François Legault’s opposition to designating an anti-Islamophobia day in Quebec, and said fear of Islam is a problem invented by Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals.
The comments came days after the second anniversary of the deadly attack on a mosque in Quebec City.
“This word doesn’t even exist for me,” Lemieux said of the term Islamophobia. “Quebecers aren’t as racist as people would have you believe. When a group of people wants to integrate, they do. And this group doesn’t.”
“These people do a lot of bad things, with their trucks and things. It’s normal to be scared of them,” Lemieux told Le Droit.
Her comments were met with a demand from Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin that Lemieux retract and apologize for her comments.
In her Facebook post, Lemieux said she found it unfair that she was being judged on a few words published in a newspaper that did not accurately represent her beliefs.
What she does believe is that Quebec is not an Islamophobic society, and that freedom of expression is essential, she wrote.
She also said she was leaving her position as deputy mayor, and would be making no further comment on the situation.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Anti-Semitic depictions have been carved into the snow on several cars in the Plateau area of Montreal, Quebec. This incident took place on rue Jeanne Mance.
Photos of the markings appeared on Twitter, showing four cars that had the Nazi swastika marked onto the windshield and roofs of the cars alongside the Jewish Star of David.
Montreal has a thriving Jewish community with a recent census showing over 90,000 members of the community living in Quebec’s largest city. The Plateau area, in particular, was where the Jewish community first settled in the early 20th century.
Statistics by the Jewish advocacy group, B’nai Brith, have shown that anti-Semitism has been on the rise across Canada. In 2018, there were a reported 2,041 incidents of Anti-Semitism, which is a 16.5 percent increase from the previous year. Of these, 11 were deemed to have been violent.
The leader of the Parti Quebecois, Pascal Berube, has attacked Jason Kenney and his UCP in an opinion piece in the Calgary Herald.
In the article, Berube declared that Kenney was lying to Albertans about Albertan taxes paying for Quebec’s social infrastructure. Berube claimed that Kenney’s statements were “simply not true.”
Berube also took time to rebut Kenney’s indignation over equalization payments—an issue that Kenney will put to a referendum. Berube said that equalization payments were calculated based on the province’s ability to generate tax revenue, and thus “Albertans should not complain about paying for any of Quebec’s social programs. It simply is not true.”
Berube went on to say that “Alberta is a bigger spender than its leaders would like you to believe … Alberta is not some libertarian’s dream, as some would like you to believe. The province is a perfect example of ‘big government.’”
By saying this, Berube has labeled Kenney and the UCP as hypocritical and manipulative.
What was more piercing, however, was when Berube attacked Kenney directly, suggesting that Kenney was “looking for someone or something to blame for his gigantic fiscal deficit.”
Berube went on to say that “Albertans need to realize that their leaders have let them down … he will seal his place as the proud heir of past leaders who drove Alberta to the brink of the fiscal precipice where it now finds itself.”
Berube’s attack is the latest incident in a war of words between the two provinces. Previously, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and CAQ leader Francois Legault had criticized Kenney and the Wexit movement. Blanchet, for example, has also disputed Kenney’s equalization claims, declaring that Alberta doesn’t “send a cheque to Quebec.”
Blanchet has also ridiculed the broad sentiment of alienation in the western province, stating that “the desire to do whatever they want with their oil might not be a sufficient reason to fuel a desire to become a country.”
A public art display in Montreal’s downtown core has drawn the ire of residents who believe the city’s spending is irresponsible.
According to Director Quebec of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Renaud Brossard, that $800,000 figure “is as much as the property taxes of 192 Montreal families.”
The bridge, which is used commonly in the summer months to sit on as it’s placed in a city square, has gotten harsh criticism from those in the Western provinces, as many feel it’s a wasteful way to spend $800,000.
This, though, isn’t confined to Montreal. Edmonton, Alberta recently coughed up a hefty $1 million towards a public art display.
A Calgary-based natural resource transport company is set to ship off propane to parts of Canada in dire need of propane—namely Quebec—to display solidarity and help their “fellow Canadians.”
The pipeline operator is set to send 105 cars-worth of trains with propane sourced from Canada’s western provinces, said Pembina Pipeline in a statement late Sunday night.
“We believe the provinces can work together in the spirit of unity to secure a safe, reliable and long-term supply of energy from each other, rather than from foreign countries who do not share Canadian values,” it said in a news release. “The best question is: why would we not?” said CEO Michael Dilger.
With CN Rail currently tangled in a strike haulting 3,200 different employees from working, Quebec Premier Francois Legault pointed to the CN Railway strikes as the main reason la Belle Province was left propaneless—this led to his formal request to the federal government to take emergency back-to-work legislation, though it appears that may no longer be necessary.
Pembina’s benevolent action comes as the western province’s secession movement continues to grow, with recent polls finding 62 percent of Albertans believing Alberta “does not get its fair share from Confederation” —up from 45 percent in 1997—with 46 percent feeling “more attached to their province than to their country”
Last week Premier Kenney got into a heated verbal spar with Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchette.
Kenney responded to Blanchette’s comments that Quebec would not support Alberta’s venture into a separatist movement, one that Blanchette says he had no interest in comparing to Quebec’s previous movements, and one he has little interest in aiding.
“If they were attempting to create a green state in western Canada, I might be tempted to help them,” he said. “If they are trying to create an oil state in western Canada, they cannot expect any help from us.”
Kenney responded by telling the Bloc leader to “pick a lane”
“If you are so opposed to the energy that we produce in Alberta, then why are you so keen on taking the money generated by the oilfield workers in this province and across Western Canada?” said Kenney, the keynote speaker, to a sold-out crowd in Calgary.
“Pick a lane. Either you can say as Quebec that you’re no longer going to take the energy and equalization resources that come from Western Canada’s oil and gas industry … or you can do what we do as Canadians, coming together to support each other, especially in times of adversity,” said Kenney.
The Bloc Quebecois played an integral role in reducing the Trudeau government from the former majority to a now-minority government, as the BQ claimed more than 30 seats across the province.