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Bouchard-Taylor Commission brings out racism and xenophobia in Quebec

Edited by Peter Tremblay

 
 

Quebec Premier Jean Charest.

The expressions of blatant xenophobia at the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on reasonable accommodation continues with no end in sight:

  • The Bouchard-Taylor Commission on the mantra of "reasonable accommodation" is a further manifestation of xenophobia in Québec. It has been reported that the Quebec Council on the Status of Women seeks to impose a dress code on all public employees, preventing them from wearing “visible religious symbols” like a scarf over their head or a little hat. However, it appears that Roman Catholics wearing crosses will be exempt. The overall political thrust of the Commission is that if "ethnics" want to join us, all they have to do is extricate themselves of their religion, their culture, their language and anything else that makes them different from a white francophone oriented conception of Quebec.

No One Is Illegal-Montreal and allies are organizing pickets and speak-outs outside the Bouchard-Taylor Commission's public forums in Montreal on 27 and 29 November 2007. This group encourages wide community participation toward the affirmation of Canada's Charter or Rights and Freedoms and the spirit of Canada's multicultural policy.

The Bouchard-Taylor Commission has been called by activists as a forum for racists and bigots. The Commission itself is based on a fundamentally racist premise, which is to stand judgment of immigrant communities, that have made Canada including Quebec, what it is today. This Commission, sanctioned by the state, is a process of submission, whereby minority populations are forced to justify their very existence in Quebec, to a contrived white francophone racialist conception.

Premier Jean Charest had appointed a two-man commission in February 2007 to investigate the issue and report back by 31 March 2008. Its formal title is the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences, and colloquially is referred to as the Bouchard-Taylor Commission. The Quebec government appointed commissioners are professors Charles Taylor, a well-known philosopher, and Gérard Bouchard, a well known separatist historian and sociologist. Doubt was cast on Bouchard's fitness to serve as an impartial chair, as before the commission held even one public hearing, where he announced in an interview that "sovereignty" was the solution to calm Franco-Quebeckers' cultural insecurity.

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