Singh’s Selective Stance Against Racism

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was brought to tears over Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s blackface stupidity 20 years ago; Singh also tore a strip over revelations that two white supremacists signed papers helping set up the People’s Party of Canada.


But wait! Where has Singh/NDP been on the much more pressing practice of legally-sanctioned actual PRACTICE of racism taking place TODAY in Canada … in Quebec ???

A simpering stance … or mostly silence … is what we’ve heard from Singh as TENS OF THOUSANDS Canadian citizens are being denied their basic human rights to seek work in public institutions … government jobs, such as police, as lawyers, in schools and even in hospitals as doctors, surgeons, nurses … even cooks or cleaners … in Quebec.

Under Quebec’s Bill 21 … now LAW … people of faith who wear turbans (as Singh does), or hijabs or kippahs or even crucifixes … are BANNED from applying for public employment … and if already employed, BANNED from any promotions.

The Bill was passed into law by the Quebec legislature in June (NOT 20 YEARS AGO!) by the combined vote of the separatist Parti Quebecois and the nationalist Coalition Action Quebec … led by Premier Francois Legault … a former separatist cabinet minister himself … in what I believe is a deliberate plan to make ethnics … especially young, mobile ones … feel distinctly unwelcome, encouraging them to leave the province … to pump up the “pure lain” vote and sweeten the chances that another separatism referendum, down the road, will pass.

“It’s horrifying,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary, who became Canada’s first Muslim mayor in 2010, told CTV’s Power Play program Monday.

“A Muslim man with a beard can say, ‘Hey, I’m just a hipster. It’s not about my faith,’ and have any job. But a Muslim woman who wears a headscarf can’t. If she’s in a job now, she will never be considered for promotion. And this is crazy,” said Nenshi.

Amen! (Ooops … can I say that … in our currently very selective politically correct society?)

It’s so hypocritical … only Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has spoken STRONGLY against the discriminatory law.

“I find it very distressing. Bill 21 is clearly an infringement on individual human rights. When I look back at our history of divisions within this country, separatism within Quebec, I don’t want to fuel. I want to work to find a way that ensures the rights of every Quebecer wearing a hijab or a turban or a yarmulke. And it may be that we can find a solution where we leave Quebec alone but we find jobs for anyone that Quebec has taken off of their payroll,” May has said.

Trudeau proffered that the Quebec law might be challenged “at some time in the future”.

“I think Quebec voters know full well that I will always defend individual rights and freedoms and indeed that I disagree with Bill 21. I don’t think, in a free society, we should be limiting fundamental rights or allowing discrimination to happen,” he said.

But for now, he’s only kicking the can down the road.

Tory Leader Andrew Scheer had this wimpy response, when questioned …

“The Conservative Party will always stand up for individual liberties. We are the party of the Bill of Rights. We are the party that supports individual expression. This is not something that we would ever think of imposing at the federal level. And right now, people in Quebec who are opposed to this legislation or are affected by this legislation are pursuing it in the courts, as is their right. Ultimately the courts will make a decision on the law.”


And Singh? As someone who could now not even get a job as a teacher in Quebec … he has called it “legislated discrimination … sad” … but HIS “action” response has been the most tepid of all the leaders … especially as the election nears.

“I’m a very determined man that’s going to Quebec and saying ‘I love the French language’, ‘I respect the unique identity of Quebec and I want to fight to defend it’ and ‘I’m proud of who I am’ , hoping that has a powerful impact on Quebeckers who will see me as someone coming in to say ‘I love and support what this place is about’,” Singh told Vassy Kapelos of the CBC’s Power and Politics.

Does that sound critical enough to you??? A defender of minorities who are being singled out for exclusion???

“I believe in the things passionately that Quebeckers believe in,” Singh added.

“I believe in women’s rights; I believe in LGBTQ community’s rights; I believe in building a society where no one is left behind and maybe they’ll begin to say ‘The guy believes in the things I believe in’,” the NDP Leader added.


“Are you trading off the degree to which you could protect those minority rights for votes in Quebec?”, Kapelos asked.

“Well, I understand the jurisdiction. And I understand there is a legitimate jurisdictional question that is a legal question about what provinces can and cannot do,” Singh said Sunday, when pressed by Kapelos.

“Jurisdictional question”? So he would not act? Is “Jurisdiction” more important than human rights?

Just imagine if any LEADER had said he or she couldn’t act against South Africa’s apartheid because it involved “a jurisdictional question”? Or human rights violations in Russia, China or Saudi Arabia? Or the Nuremberg laws?

Jurisdictional question?

No … it’s about the 14 seats the NDP is desperately trying to hang on to in Quebec … and Singh seems prepared to shed more tears about losing any of those, rather than speak out LOUDLY AND CLEARLY … on behalf of the thousands of innocent people … many exactly like him … who are being impacted RIGHT NOW by Quebec’s racist law.

Singh should say HE will challenge it in Court if elected. Especially since HE ..and the rest of us know … he doesn’t have a REAL chance of becoming Prime Minister.

But speaking out and denouncing Quebec’s racist law LOUDLY during the campaign would take principle … to stand up for REAL human rights … and end the pandering to Quebec, abandoning his meek or mostly silent response to true injustice impacting so many.

So, of course, it won’t happen … not from Singh/NDP.

And Jagmeet … that’s what’s REALLY “sad” …. and worth shedding tears over.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Follow this blog on Twitter @harveyoberfeld to get Alerts to all new topics.)

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24 Responses to Singh’s Selective Stance Against Racism

  1. Harry Lawson says:


    I have to wonder how a person could take such a principled stand against the blackface incident , claims to be thinking of the children . Y et his inaction is sending a worst message to children of Qubec as well as any other citizen in the country.

    Stand up and call it for what it is . Not to do so speaks volumes about you Mr Singh.

    (Response: Too bad most of the media … with the exception of Kapelos … have given Singh such an easy pass on this. His hypocrisy is stunning in its silence during the campaign. If I were still working, I would have been at his press conference today in BC … and grilled him on WHY he is so quiet on this topic …especially when he is in Quebec. Time for Singh …and the other “leaders” to stand up for fairness and principles and SHOUT IT OUT loudly …in Quebec. h.o)

  2. e.a.f. says:

    Nice post there Harvey.

    Its true, no one has, besides Elizabeth May, called out Quebec on its racist legislation. Perhaps she knows she can do it because politically it won’t “injure” her. A true Green will consider the environment the priority not how some one looks or for that matter many other things. She also doesn’t hold seats in Quebec that she is keen on holding on to. The others, not so much.

    I noted your quote of Nenshi’s statement. He is so correct. It has been my take on the Quebec law, it was meant to impact women more than men. I don’t have the figures, but if some one does, I think, you’ll find this law impacts women more negatively than men in Quebec. Women, “from the outside” are more prone to entering government service than men, if for no other reason, their “traditional” jobs are female dominated occupations. Just looking at pre school teachers, teachers, nurses, health care workers, clerical office workers, all female dominated. Move them out of the province and you have a different picture. A province with fewer females of specific religions, ethnic backgrounds, etc. will result in men leaving to find them.

    Then there is the Jewish faith. Although religious law permits conversion, you “inherit” your faith from your Mother. Many may ask what does a Jewish woman wear which would be impacted by the law? Ultra Orthodox Jewish women, upon marriage cover their hair.

    No those guys need to suck it up and come out against the Quebec racist and anti female law. I’m not counting on it because after all, its all about winning. Not that troubled by Trudeau’s “make up”, but certainly am not happy with the guys not getting with the agenda.

    (Response: The truth is MOST members of any faith do not follow closely the requirements regarding headgear: they live more secular lives….at least in public. However the challenge of tolerance for a society is how it treats/accepts those people who consider themselves more devout …to the point of wearing certain headgear or taking time off to observe special holy days or eating/avoiding certain foods if provided on the job. Canada is a very sophisticated society … quite capable of showing generosity and tolerance to observant religious minorities. What’s disappointing is our politicians …so quick to condemn any slipups by their opponents …even to the point of tears …but so silent, so spineless, so hypocritical when tens of thousands of our citizens are discriminated against,… in Quebec. Shame on them all. h.o)

  3. Leila Paul says:

    Harv, there are so many issues about hypocrisy in the behavior of many of our new ethnic communities that only serve as visual symbols of differences – perhaps even divisive.

    We are both former Montrealers. I believe you worked for CIL while I worked for Vickers and Benson (advertising agency) whose offices were on 2 or 3 floors in the CIL House. One thing I enjoyed so much about Montreal was that we were a fashion capital. We had enjoyed the consistency of all people in downtown, suburban, even rural Quebec, who dressed in the latest European fashions. It was a comment of admiration I often heard from tourists.

    But why are Quebeckers so historically sensitive to the influence of religious adherents? Some ethnic groups want to find physical but legal means to isolate themselves from one another by publicly displaying their religious affiliations. If these are garments that hide “seductive” features, that’s also a way to control their behavior, moral values, and manners of dress – including tribal loyalties.

    I will illustrate here the headgear being prohibited. A Mezuzah, Star of David, or a Christian cross, on a necklace could be discreetly tucked into a shirt or blouse. I do not think those are terribly obtrusive and may offer a symbolic sense of being protected by, or connected to, the God they worship.

    (Edited…this blog topic concerns faith, human rights and politics … not meant to be a discussion about religions themselves … h.o.)

    The Quebec government benefited immensely from the power of the Church. Quebec governments, until secularism took hold, never interfered with the Church because it was to the government’s advantage to have a power like the Church keep its Francophone adherents in line. The two were (perhaps secretly) and unofficially aligned in keeping the French Catholics under the thumb of the Church while encouraged to vote for a French Catholic premier.

    That, IMO, partially explains the remnants in today’s social discourse in Quebec to its strong aversion and fear of religious powers entrenching themselves in the “national” government of Quebec.

    I believe the personal adherence of individuals or groups, of both religion and culture, are private matters that may be celebrated as festive events with the public as an option. Otherwise, it belongs in the personal space. IMO, they should not be seen to be or appear to be influencing government officials.

    I also think it’s a mistake to treat equally a big, brightly colored turban; a Kippah or a hijab. Turbans need not be so obvious. Less attention-grabbing colors and a smaller size could be used and I believe are permitted. Beards can be worn but from a hygienic standpoint, in modern society, there should be an understanding that beards should be trimmed. Some beards have been tested and shown to harbor e-coli. But do we hear that in the public discourse?

    I am strongly opposed to the wearing of a hijab because its origins ARE NOT RELIGIOUS, although now Islam claims it as a religious expectation. In truth, it’s always been intended to protect women from the lustful gaze of men who were not expected to restrain their sexual impulses.

    (Edited…off topic.)

    As for the Kippah. It is unobtrusive and is not intended to separate men from women nor does it have any hint of being associated with sexual restrictions. It is merely a sign of religious adherence AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN. And that is the crucial difference.

    There are many other issues I’d love to raise about Jagmeet Singh’s hypocrisy. However, I will only mention one more that is relevant. While Sikhs today have become very peaceful in our culture, I do know of one older man of Sikh faith who used to keep a huge sword under his bed. His children worried because he was also given to drunken binges.

    We also ignore the fact French Canadians suffered immensely under the British. A former Asst. News Director is the one who informed me that his name, spelled Saizon, was origianlly Cézanne. Until then, I had never been taught by the Quebec school system which was dominated by England’s curriculum that the Cajuns of Louisiana were the remnants of the Acadians chased out of eastern Canada by the British.

    Many Quebec residents may not even know this history for I doubt they’re permitted to be taught this formally in schools. Some may be taught their Breton heritage by their families.

    Today, with all the new ethnic groups who’ve migrated to Quebec from former French colonies, I understand the fear of Quebeckers that their heritage will be forever lost. Today, we acknowledge the crimes (that all conquering colonists) imposed on the aborignals or first nations.

    But we have not nearly as often acknowledged the right of Quebeckers to want protection from POSSIBILITY of religious encroachment into governmental powers and services.

    (Response: This really is not a question of the history of religion(s) or the validity of beliefs, adherents’ clothing or other religious requirements… if they are really requirements. It’s about human rights … whether ALL Canadians should be treated equally, especially under the law. I don’t know of ANY religious REQUIREMENT that someone must wear a crucifix or Star of David etc …so I have no problem with doing away with that IF there is a dress code in effect at work. However, a turban, kippah or Hijab for some people is a BASIC REQUIREMENT of their faith … not something to be worn some days and not on others, so if they are citizens we have a duty to try to reasonably accommodate them …even if we personally do not follow their faith. I thought this was dealt with public opinion and the Courts a decade ago: it’s about time Quebec joined the civilized world and welcomed and accomodated people who actually practice different beliefs …and our politicians have a DUTY to speak out LOUDLY when and where xenophobia rears its ugly head. h.o)

  4. Gene The Bean says:

    At the risk of being brief and actually making a point – Singh IS being selective.

    The Quebecers snuck one in and no one really called them on it, wonder what will be the next “test” that they’ll push the envelope with?

    Just think of them as AlabamaBerta East.

  5. Leila Paul says:

    Harvey, I do not see prohibitions of distinctions that result in some form of divisiveness or even quota preferential treatment as being correctly dealt with in a modern society that professeses equality.

    If there are too many distinctions, even if they’re only superficial, they can be seen to illustrate differences among peoples, rather than their similarities.

    I tend to think that government should not accept obvious use of religious symbols – for it is not the religion that is prohibited but merely the emphasis of the religion by way of its symbols. For some people that can be intimidating, at worst, or merely off-putting.

    I think Quebec did the right thing and I wish it were a national mandate so that visible symbols cannot become obstacles to knowing people for who they are internally before our first impressions of them interject into our willingness to know them first.

    As for the discussion of religion, IMO, it is often exploited as one of the chief forms of hypocrisy by candidates. In a society so eager to appear “inclusive” of its diversity it is being exploited in campaigns.

    Further, and a very important issue IMO, is that we have ALWAYS HAD DIVERSITY in Canada. Skin color alone does not mean that everyone came from the same country “in the old world” nor did they speak the same language.

    Ukranians, Hungarian, Poles, French, Germans, Swedes, Fins, Greeks, Italians, Irish, Scots, English, Welsh – to name only SOME of the diversity we have always had proves we’ve always been a diverse nation. What is dividing us now are IS RELIGIOUS differences, and CULTURAL differences hiding behind the protections of religious freedom.

    Not only have we had immigrants representing diversity in their places of origin, including languages, cultures, cuisines and clothing – they also represented huge differences in political views that even caused wars in their homelands. But everyone set aside those differences in order to integrate or assimilate.

    Encouraging the retention of symbolic differences, masquerading as religious requirements, is what will ultimately divide us all.

    (Response: You last line sums YOUR opinion up well. However, other people have other opinions, other beliefs. I believe Canada is quite capable of recognizing and accommodating religiously devout people, who are not pushing their beliefs on the rest of us. The reality is some people follow faiths that they sincerely believe REQUIRES them to wear a turban or other headgear. Should Singh be BANNED from office (a government job) because of that? I say NO. Should a top-scoring medical student/surgeon be BANNED from practicing his or her skills at saving lives because he/she wears a skullcap? I say NO. And a society that BANS people like that … when their religious devotion does absolutely NOTHING to impair their ability to serve and save lives … ends up all the poorer for it. It’s discrimination …just for the sake of discrimination … for no real purpose other than dividing THEM from us. h.o)

  6. DonGar says:

    Great to see you calling him out for racism only bad if it isn’t going to possibly cost you votes /seats. Just another politician hypocrite.

    And today we had Ms. May photo shop out a disposable cup and replaced with reusable one and a metal straw. Amazing how they all jet back and forth across the country in their private jets in the midst of a climate emergency. Do as I say not as I do hypocrites.

    Sad news that they cancelled the Munk debate because Justin will not attend. His foreign policy is a disaster and as you have pointed out his lack of any action on China should be major issue along with his deep admiration for their systems. Very good read “Claws of the Panda” by Manthorppe to see just how China is influencing and intimidating Canada.

    (Response: The Munk debate should not have been cancelled. That just caves in to Trudeau’s refusal to show up: it should have gone ahead …with an empty chair where Trudeau would have sat. Especially in light of the fact that he WILL take part in TWO French-language TV debates …but now only ONE in English. Shameful. h.o)

  7. Leila Paul says:


    Quebeckers did not sneak in any legislation that is illegal. Legislation (since 2006) recognizes Quebec as a nation; thus, it is entitled to define how it preserves its national identity.

  8. Leila Paul says:

    I don’t know why I’m even bothering to defend Quebec.

    I lost about $350-thousand when I sold my condo in Le Manhattan in downtown Montreal just before the 1995 referendum. I was advised by Anglophone friends in West Island that discrimination against Anglophones might even lead to dispossession of property of “absentee owners” if the Yes side won.

    So I sold the condo on Lincoln street, between Sherbrooke and St. Catherine near the Guy metro station for $85K.

    Imagine how I felt when my Liberal acquaintances, here in London, bragged about how much the federal Liberal Party spent to ensure the No side won. Today, if you can find a condo in that building they start upwards of $250K to $600K.

    So if Quebec gets beat up verbally as racist, or homophobic – I suppose I should be pleased.

    However, for the LGBTQ community, if Muslims gain more political power, be ready for a backlash. As mentioned before, I used to be sympathetic with Muslims and was part of their construction of lobby groups. I withdrew when I realized how closed-minded and fanatical their leadership was or is.

    They were also modeling their lobby group on the gay lobby. It cannot have escaped people’s notice how Islamophobia was so easy to mimic when homophobia had become so widely discussed.

    So, go to it. Call Quebeckers racist, bigoted, Islamophobic or whatever form of exaggeration or hysteria is most appealing. I’ll just watch from the sidelines. I paid a heavy price for my viewing position – approx $300K.

    That’s an expensive seat in a silly contest about who is more “tolerant’ and innocent of racism or Islamophobia.

  9. D. M. Johnston says:

    Hypocrisy seems to be the mainstay of Canadian politicians, if not all politicians.

    Again, the “brown face” was boorish behavior, but not racist, what is happening in Quebec is racist. Sadly, many die hard NDP types also belong the the professionally offended class of people, but it seems offended by others and not their own.

    (Response: You are absolutely correct. Trudeau acted stupidly but his antics did not relegate tens of thousands of Canadians to second-class status in their daily lives ..denying them jobs, careers and public dignity. That’s what makes ALL the leaders’ actions …or I should say INACTIONS … so sad. And yes, Singh especially … the leader who would be so personally victimized (other members of his family too) by Quebec’s racist law … should be taking a LOUD, PROUD stand NOW, when the whole country is watching. I get it why the Quebec Francophone media …isn’t making much of the issue …but where is the “NATIONAL” and English-speaking media …. both inside and outside Quebec??? Bet if BC or Alberta passed such a disgraceful discriminatory law …they’d all be there …. grilling the “leaders” on their weak statements …and relative silence. h.o)

  10. Gilbert says:

    I’m also disappointed that the Munk Debate was cancelled. In my opinion, it should have been held with or without the prime minister. Of course PM Trudeau doesn’t want to answer questions about China, Saudi Arabia and Israel, but I’d love to hear what the other leaders have to say.

  11. 13 says:

    Ive worked for over 20 years in an industry that is overwhelmingly populated by Sikhs .
    Ive gone on strike on 3 occasions for 5 weeks per strike. What has any of this got to do with Singhs hypocrisy re Quebec?. Like Leila Ive lost a lot of money as a small business owner to support my fellow workers over those 15 weeks only to watch infighting among my fellow small business owners erase every inch of progress achieved at great financial cost.
    Ive been told that I could not hold a position in a national Canadian union because I could not speak two languages. Not French and English but Punjabi and English.
    Ive watched my fellow workers celebrate the attack on the USS Cole and again on 9/11
    Jagmeet acting hypocritically to protect some seats in a racist environment doesnt surprise me .

  12. Leila Paul says:

    Despite my feelings, the reason I’m defending Quebec is because I truly believe their law is NOT RACIST.

    Thity-five years ago, a Quebecker spit in my face because my mother and I were speaking English. I was visiting from New Orleans and we were in the Place Ville Marie at the Tourism Information desk. An old Frenchman came to me and yelled in French that I should be speaking in French and spit in my face. Today, that might be considered a form of assault although spitting is now so common that it may not be assult, whereas this was in 1985 when it was very rare.

    Yes, there is (or was) anger verging on rage among the older French generations in Quebec but imposed, enforcement by legislation does not change emotions such as rage or hatred. Legislation especially cannot change it. In fact, it may fuel more resentment when people are labelled racist or hateful whether or not it is true.

    Religion has returned as a force in our societies when it was such a commonly accepted practice as one’s personal beliefs.

    Immigrants who demand that the public space accommodate their religious beliefs are arousing long dormant animosities and Quebec’s legislation may be trying to force the demon back into its box by once again normalizing neutrality in civic services.

    I confess I consider Jagmeet Singh far more of a hypocrite than Trudeau. Singh’s claims to the contrary, ordinary issues, like kids teasing him, is not discrimination. That’s always been the way kids react to one another. I’ve seen kids teased about freckles or pig tails or their names.

    For discrimination to occur, a person must have been deprived of something that is their right to pursue if they’re qualified.

    Singh was not denied access to education; as far as I know, he was not denied housing. He got into law school; he was admitted to the Bar; he was voted the leader of a federal party.

    Yet Jagmeet Singh is claiming he’s been discriminated against and seems to fit into every victim category we have. One of the persons he accuses is dead so he cannot deny Singh’s allegations and Singh refuses to give a name. A dead person cannot defend or sue if an allegation is false.

    Too few politicians say thank you to Canada. Instead, they splash their ethnic status – and their multiple claims of victimization – as prominent features of their campaigns. Or remind us they’re “persons of color” when, if true, it’s too obvious to need to be stated.

    So clearly Singh is a very ambitious politician. He is not going to risk losing votes in Quebec by calling their legislation racist even though that is now a trending favorite allegation.

    At worst, an allegation of racism against a people or a province elected by its people, may in itself add fuel to the fire. I sense a quietly simmering animosity that’s long been below the surface in Quebec.

    (Edited topic)

    Only courageous politicians will speak out. Max Bernier will say what needs to be said. However, since I know the PPC is fighting a lost cause in this atmosphere where everyone trips over one another and their own feet as they rush to show they’re tolerant and innocent of any “Islamophobia” I’ll say no more.

    So despite my personal resentments of my experiences in Quebec, I adamantly approve of their legislation attempting to CREATE EQUALITY and not INSTILL INEQUALITY.

    They are not prohibiting the practice of any religions. They are only insisting these be kept outside the public, civic sphere – as they used to be in Canada and where they belong.

    That does not change the fact Singh is a horrible hypocrite. And I suspect the NDP and its members will suffer the consequences in seats lost. They tripped over themselves to win the national Islamic vote, as well as the votes of the leftists who think Islamophobia is the culprit in our society. But they may have alienated those who resent being manipulated. They cannot force us to adapt to their ways of thinking by quick, imposed legislation.

    Previous DIVERSE ethnic groups did so much to build this country and many lobbied for laws to protect them. But they never shoved it down our throats too quickly. They contributed to the growth of our culture – its artistic and creative development – and lobbied slowly and quietly to be respected.

    We now have a whole new culture of forced compliance and obsessive repression of the human emotion called “hate” and it has been made a crime.

    I repeat what I’ve said before. Hatred is INALIENABLE from the range of human feelings. But when it is made a crime without being proven as the cause of violence, then it possibly arouses more, but restrained, hatred.

    If one is looking for an example of what that kind of pressure does, then I’m a good example. I used to oppose and do verbal battle with anyone who was critical of Islam. Today, I can be accused of hating what Islam has done. But it is not a phobia for there are good reasons for my feelings.

    Islamophobia and Homophobia are two entirely different things. Yet, Islamists used the format of both antisemitism and homophobia to construct their control of the public dialogue.

    Allowing that to happen will not serve our formerly democratic and peaceful country well. We have always been a country of diversity.

    Simply using skin color and clothing paraphernalia as a legitimate reason to accuse Canadians of racism is insulting and demeans us all.

    Eventually it will hurt the unity we were beginning to build before all this erupted into our public spaces.

    (Response: I realize the “spin” is that Quebec’s Bill 21 is SECULAR, not racist, because it bans all religious symbols ..including crucifixes. First of all …unlike the turban or skullcap, the cross is NOT a prescribed piece of gear that MUST be worn to meet the religious requirements of being a devout Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox follower. Does anybody really believe that the ban on the crucifix by nuns and priests teaching or anyone else working in “public” schools or in hospitals and even government workers is being enforced throughout Quebec … or even among students all around the province? I don’t! But wear a turban or a hijab or a skullcap … and the BAN on getting hired in ANY public job is being enforced … religiously! Oops! What’s behind it all IS racism … as I said before, I believe it’s deliberate ..aimed at getting more and more to leave Quebec …ethnic cleansing … so the next referendum, on some trumped up emotional issue still to be determined, will have a better odds of passing among “pure lain” white, Catholic Francophones . h.o)

  13. Keith says:

    Nor will J. Singh be “used to exonerate Trudeau” over the brown/black face issue.

    Principals and doing what’s right vs. political expediency, not hard to work out what wins out before the election.

    And after the election? I’m assuming that depends on his status as party leader, or if he remains as leader as one of the opposition parties where he can be as righteous and principaled as he wants knowing he won’t be in the hot seat at all, or the various permutations of a minority govt. if that comes to pass.

    (Response: I like to keep it real. So I can understand why Trudeau and Scheer don’t dare speak out LOUDLY and PROUDLY against Quebec’s racist law during the election campaign … or did so even before: the vote is too close. But May did speak out quite strongly: I suspect because she knows she will not become PM this time around AND because I’d bet she also believes the kind of people who support/vote the Green Party are likely more progressive and aren’t supporters of the racist employment ban the law imposes. Which brings us back to Singh: GUARANTEED he will NOT win the coming election … so why doesn’t he show some leadership, principle right there IN QUEBEC, denounce the law LODLY and proudly proclaim the equality and progressive values the NDP USED TO stand for??? His silence or simpering response when asked about it … before and during the election … is disgraceful. h.o)

  14. Gene The Bean says:

    13 – I am confused. Since you and Laila have altered the topic, I’m sure Harvey will let the rest of us play along.

    Why would Sikhs celebrate an attack made by Muslims? Muslims and Sikhs have a tenuous relationship at best. No Sikh I have ever known has a beef with western society. They came her and prospered, just as almost all classes of immigrants do.

    Your clam is not only ridiculous but just mimics the dog whistles of Trump saying Muslims celebrated on 9/11. I also find your comment about having to speak Punjabi to hold a national union position unbelievable. As our resident Shakespeare likes to say – please provide proof. I am sure it is laid out in black and white in the unions constitution. Please share …. (crickets…)

  15. Leila Paul says:

    I respect your opinion Harvey, but it’s not racial features that are being prohibited – it’s religious symbols.

    I’ve spent decades reading history and learned the inter and intra-tribal warfare that created blood animosities that come down to this generation of immigrants.

    If an immigrant is being taught by someone who wears a symbol that represents the group who they’ve been taught tormented or sold into slavery their ancestors, it creates discomfort.

    Among Muslims the cross is a symbol that creates fear. There was a Conservative candidate who arranged a March for Christiaity here in London and wanted city hall to raise its flag that was a simple cross.

    But the cross was so similar to the one worn by Crusaders that I fought vehemently and persistently until city hall came up with a bylaw stating the city clerk had the right to decide which flag could fly on city hall flag poles.

    I wrote to thank her when she refused to allow the flag to be raised. I knew it would be intimidating to Muslims. But now, they’ve gained too much influence too quickly and are not showing similar empathy to non-Muslims.

    That is what needs to be considered. Has the history of a source country for immigrants taught them, consciously or unconsciously, how to be empathetic to the feelings of others in their avowed new “home”.

    Canadianized Muslims understand. The younger, more radical generation is not quite so liberated from long-held hostilities and the urge to be more, much more than just accepted as equals. Therein lies the concern about future ramifications.

  16. BMCQ says:

    A very good essay Harvey, it is most difficult to argue with any thing you say as the facts speak for themselves . Then of course you are a considerably better educated person than than Rural Folk so like me you have all of the answers .

    Having said that I was wondering about Singh and this exact thing a few days ago and I hesitated to mention it as I had spoken so glowingly about Singh and his public response to Black/Brown Face PM Justin I thought I might sound hypocritical .

    Singh is and did everything you state but we must also recognize that almost all Politicians running in a Campaign would more than likely do the same thing .

    Honestly I am not sure what I would do if I was a Party Leader and held 2p Seats in Quebec . Can you risk that when the loss of those Seats could mean you lose Party Status ?

    Yes,mi know honour, character, integrity, and all of the rest but people are people and perhaps the best answer might be “let us see what takes place in the Courts and then we will consider options .

    I am going to guess that most Leaders would choose the route Singh took and quickly dive under the desk for cover .

    I freely admit I am wrong on this but I actually do empathize with the position Singh is in . Yes, he is wrong just like me .

    One last thing here, I personally believe certain Head-ware worn by Muslim Women is oppressive and Governments world wide need to discuss that .

    When I see women in the Middle East especially Saudi Arabia showing so called Religious Disobedience traveling in the streets without their Traditional Head-ware and other full body coverings in protest we must recognize that strict adherence is oppressive to many of those women and they deserve to be free .

    I am quite sure if there was a way to get an honest answer from many of those women anywhere they would choose to be FREE .

    Let’s be honest there is a big difference between a small Cross, covering a head entering a Church, or wearing a Yarmulke, do we just assume Muslim Women really want to be covered from Head to Toe under some of the conditions they must endure .

    I understand I am out on a bit of a Limb with this but before we close the case on this I need to understand this whole Cultural dilemma much better and I believe getting the truth may be very problematic .

    I believe this should be a Federal Discussion, I hate the Bindings of Government but we need a better answer for this .

    As Alan Dershowitz always says, “Put the Shoe on the other Food before you judge or conclude anything” .

    We really need to know what those Women Wearing the Outfits/Coverings really think about their predicament (if there is one) themselves and that answer may be very difficult to determine .

    For all we know there may be a very high number of Women in question silently welcoming and blessing the Legislation of Quebec .

    I am really torn on this, Quebec May be correct on this but for all the WRONG reasons .

    (Response: First, we must be careful to differentiate between a Burka (full covering, except for the eyes) and the Hijab (head scarf). Big difference. The Quebec ban has nothing to do with identification or security concerns: it’s discrimination against people of faith … whose head coverings do not interfere in ANY way with public safety or their ability to do the job. No different really than someone wearing a toupee. Is Big Brother going to ban those too? A true democracy tries its best to respect and accommodate people of faith … not separate them out, ban them from employment (TERRIBLE!!) and make them feel second class. Who’s next? People with disabilities? Or colour … or because of strange cultural practices? Not in MY Canada. h.o)

  17. Leila Paul says:

    Harv, the hijab is not always a simple scarf. It’s a multi-layered head cover that includes a lower one that is fairly snug, then the second layer and then the true hijab also wraps around the neck and some even cover the shoulders.

    The simple scarf is not uncomfortable nor does it appear to be oppressive or restrictive. I do know it is not comfortable in hot humid weather. Hot, dry weather may be different.

    As for BCMQ’s comment that many women may or may not want to wear the hijab, that depends. If a child grows up seeing her mother and older sisters, grandmother and aunts wearing a head covering, she will absorb that as the correct way to dress to be respected.

    (Edited…getting way off topic… which is Canada/Quebec …not the mid East h.o)

    What do politicians love? A vote. Many votes are loved even more. It may be unreasonable to expect Singh to challenge the Quebec law when he himself follows all the old traditional headwear, turban, and facial hair that is untrimmed.

    It would, to some, seem incongruous for Singh to be the one to challenge Quebec’s law while he is displaying all the traditional cultural norms of his sect.

    As for the niqab or burka, even I did not know those things existed. The first time I saw one was in a photo in the local newspaper. I was shocked and considered it a lie intended to humiliate local Muslims. The head of the local Muslim association told me it was a false allegation and wrote a badly written letter to the editor, which he asked me to correct, or even rewrite. And I did that, claiming it was a false representation and no Muslim sects require such garb.

    Imagine how foolish I felt when I discovered that these garments really do exist. I never saw one when I visited Israel or the Palestinian territories.

    ( topic .h.o)

    Quebec’s law simplifies the issue by saying we cannot accommodate everyone’s claim to religious observance so you keep your traditions in your private social circles while in the civic sphere, we’ll all try not to illustrate our differences too emphatically.

    It’s an old tale that may not even be true, but the ‘wisdom of Solomon’ comes to mind. Two women claiming a baby is theirs, so Solomon says give each woman half. The one who truly wanted the welfare of the baby was willing to yield.

    I see a similarity in that if we cannot make everybody happy and allow them all to keep their preferences, then every must forego and relinquish what is not essential to a spiritual aspect of life – faith.

    I do not know the purpose of a faith symbol except that it is to declare one’s faith is different. Modesty is easily observed by wearing sensible clothing. If that is the pretext on which hair (the irresistible sexual allure it purportedly implies) simply does not present a danger to Muslim women here.

    Men do not see a bareheaded woman as immodest in any part of the western world, unless they’ve been taught that a bareheaded women if fair game.

    So maybe, the cultures who see exposed hair as immodest or a sexual lure need to be taught differently. That cannot be considered racist or even prejudicial.

    I’ve now said the last on this subject and will only add that I hope Quebec’s law prevails.

  18. 13 says:

    Gene I and others eyewitnessed the celebrations. Its odd that you picked this blog post to ask me for any proof of either the celebrations or the language issue with UNIFOR VCTA at the UNIFOR hall on Kingsway (formerly CAW). I have posted both of these events at least two maybe three times on Keeping It Real.
    The celebration of the attack on the US Cole was infront of Fraser Surrey Docks the day after it occured. The 9/11 was celebrated all over the waterfront in a much more subdued manor than the victory dance preformed at FSD . The 9/11 was just a photocopied cartoon of President Bush with an airliner stuck in his ass. If I needed to prove these events for any real reason beyond your request I could.
    All 3 of these events were disgusting but I was particularly offended by not being allowed to run for the position of Business Agent because of my inability to speak punjabi. The lack of ability to speak English in Canada seldom holds anyone back from being hired for a job they are qualified to do. BTW Gene the union job would have been an elected position and I had a written petition with enough names of fellow small business owners to have won. It was the executive ( made up of 6 East Indians and one white person ) that disallowed my being on the ballot.

    (Response: As always…a little leeway …and the blog starts running away from the topic. No more please. h.o)

  19. Gene The Bean says:

    13 – thank you for the reply. Harvey, thanks for the leeway.

    I still cannot really rationalize what you said you saw because the cultural references and affiliations do not make sense to me. If that was your impression and recollection then that was your impression and recollection.

    ( topic.)

    Back to bashing racism and Quebec’s inability to progress past 1930’s thinking!!!

  20. nonconfidencevote says:

    Trudeau is a hypocrite. Check
    Singh is a hypocrite. Check
    Scheer….still waiting for Liberal revelations.
    May drinks from one use cups and plastic straws….

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, are the choices we are dealt….. 🙁

  21. Harry Lawson says:

    So we are going to the polls to not to elect the best government with the best policies . No the options are only the least hypocritical . What a shame .

    (Response: It almost seems to be a Canadian tradition … we often vote AGAINST the one(s) we are least impressed by … and FOR the one(s) we believe won’t be so bad. And we fully trust or believe NONE of them. Sad. h.o.)

  22. max avelli says:

    Hi Harvey,

    I have no idea why you are picking on Singh and the NDP here. They are irrelevant. The Libs have most of the seats in Quebec and expect to pick up more. Trudeau is PM. He should have something to say.

    Leaving that aside, Quebec is just shooting itself in the foot again. BC (and no doubt other provinces) will be more than happy to welcome in all the Sikh, Muslim and Jewish etc… doctors, surgeons, teachers, etc… who find that they are no longer employable in Quebec. They can keep the lawyers. Please!!

    (Response: Not “picking on him” … any more than I have “picked on” Trudeau or Scheer or even May or other politicians over the years. Perhaps you would prefer a blog where I just praise, golly gee, the wonderful politicians who promise us so much more and then deliver so much less … and also toss in a few “extras” …like tax increases, higher fees, services price hikes etc. that they somehow forgot to mention when running? Sorry … Not here. Not me. When Sigh sheds tears in talking about Trudeau’s stupid gaffe 20 years ago ..but says so little as tens of thousands of Canadian citizens … including kids …are segregated out for discrimination and second class treatment … THAT’s the time to shed real tears and call on Singh (and others) to STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT LOUDLY. h.o.)

  23. BMCQ says:

    I just spent two days in Halifax at an organized Event attended by several hundred people that more or less broke down this way, about 10% from the U.S., 60% Maritime both City and considerably less educated and considerably less compassionate Rural Folk split evenly, 20% from Ontario and Quebec, and the rest from other Canadian Provinces .

    I spoke to more or less all of them but for obvious reasons I did not discuss politics with all of them .

    However I did talk politics with most I know and several that were talking the Canadian Election, Trump, Brexit, and Migration .

    Obviously I did not take a Scientific Poll that are so often wrong but when I had the opportunity I asked about this very topic of Singh not calling out Quebec and then other Leaders not calling out Quebec .

    I gage about 60% support Quebec, 30% do not and the others were not sure or had no opinion . Many felt that the Legislation was enacted to stop the encroachment of Special Treatment of various Groups before we cripple our society which they perceive happening in EU Nations .

    Some felt it was enacted for to Free Women much as I did and still do to a degree . Many were totally unaware of the Legislation and the initial debate .

    Almost all of them gave Singh a break and stated that most Politicians would behave the same way to preserve votes . I tend to agree with at that whether it is the honorable thing or not .

    One very important fact I heard from 100% of those Canadians from across the country that voiced an opinion about the Federal Election I did not find ONE that spoke favorably about PM Justin, to a person they found him arrogant, dishonest, and they did not like his treatment of JWR .

    I did not ask them if they would vote Liberal as many from the Maritimes, Ont., and Quebec have historically have but I wonder .

    I am going to bet that PM Justin and his actions/inactions over the past few months has hurt his Party a lot more than Media is reporting and I also bet that Singh’s inaction on calling out Quebec has not done him much harm as there has virtually been no reporting on his hypocrisy as Harvey points out .

    Regardless of how we feel about Singh or the others in the fact they have ignored the Quebec Legislation Media once again is not asking the important questions .

    I believe Media by what they report, do not report, and questions they ask or do not ask have too far Great an influence on Elections and that should concern us.

    Where is it Media are falling down, Journalism School, News Rooms where Reporters are assigned and told what to report, or is it News Organizations do not put forward enough Budget to get Professional Reporters, or do News Managers think the Public are to stupid and Disengaged to care about what should and could be reported .

    Perhaps a combination of all of them .

    That then brings me to this question .

    What is the only thing worse than an ill informed Voter ?

    A whole Country of them .

    (Response: When you get a chance read my latest blog …on the French language TVA leaders’ debate coming up Wednesday. It will be interesting to see/hear the discussion of Quebec’s racist law. I suspect it will be brief. h.o)

  24. BMCQ says:


    Please do not think I manipulated or falsified any of the report I have posted, it is not in my nature .

    Full disclosure and some clarity though .

    Virtually everyone I spoke to are people in business and they are all over say 35, with incomes from average to what most people would consider very high income and net worth individuals .

    I spoke to no Public Sector Employees, Teachers, low income individuals, single Mothers struggling to get ahead, or what most on this Blog would consider Marginalized People .

    I would not want to paint a picture on this that would possibly misrepresent what this Blog is attempting to accomplish .

    Having said that I was absolutely shocked that it seems no one speaks favorably about PM Justin, surely there must be something in that, especially when the two days of Conversation were held in Halifax with so many Maritime People in attendance .

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