Friday, October 26, 2007

The Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Accommodation Practices: When racism and misogyny go hand in hand...

It's no secret that the Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d'accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles (aka la Commission Bouchard-Taylor) is nothing but a gross, useless and costly farce, which, instead of fostering genuine and thorough consultation of the Québec population and meaningful debate, serves as a soap box on which xenophobic urbanites and hateful small-town folks alike can bash "immigrants" and "foreigners" (i.e. those among us who are not White, Catholic and French-speaking) in total impunity.

I must acknowledge that, hopefully, a few reasonable people have also taken the stand, either to denounce the ridiculousness of it all, the incompetence and arrogance of the Commissioners, and the ignorance and hypocrisy underlying extremist point of views, or to express their support for a liberal, secular, egalitarian, feminist and culturally inclusive society.

On the other hand, I was quite surprised by the number of people who took the stand to say that they missed the good old days when the Catholic Church effectively ruled la Belle Province. In other words, those people only want a secular state as long as other religions are concerned; and if it were up to them, they would reinstate Catholicism as Québec's official religion.

For instance, Jean Tremblay, mayor of Saguenay, went to the Commission to read out a mémoire in which he argued that the Québec government should consult the Catholic Church before making any decision having to do with "moral matters", and that abortion is murder and should be legally considered as such.

(Subsequently, Mayor Tremblay was publicly criticized by city councillors for presenting his personal opinion as the official position of the municipal council. Many citizens also asked for his resignation, because of his extreme religious views.)

Another trend among the intervenors at the Commission was to blame - uh hum... guess who's to blame again? - Québec women for the so-called "accommodation problems". Basically, the reasoning is as follows:
  • Québec women selfishly work and have a life of their own instead of making babies by the dozen;
  • Québec's birthrate has plummeted for the few past decades;
  • Québec has allegedly been welcoming more immigrants lately to compensate for the gap that this lower birthrate has created in the workforce;
  • immigrants are more noticeable these days because there are much more of them than before;
  • since immigrants, who are not necessarily White, Catholic and French-speaking, have formed new minority communities all over Québec, the Québecois majority naturally feels threatened by them (not to mention ripped of its oppressed minority victim ideology);
  • thus, if Québec women had more babies of their own, that is, good, Catholic, White and French-speaking babies, we would not need that many immigrants around.
Consequently, many people have suggested before the Commission - on national TV - that the Québec government implement new measures in order to boost the birthrate of its Québécois citizens.

If you've thought of tax credits for new families, better parental leave policies, or a better and cheap daycare and education system, you're wrong.

The good answer was: strip everybody of their right to vote. Then redistribute it only to Québecois who have married an procreated. (Oh, and the more babies you have, the more votes you get to cast...)

Seriously. I'm not making this up. Watch the Commission's tour and see for yourself.

Or not. It gets really depressing with time...

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