Trudeau and Federal Leaders MUST Denounce/Challenge Quebec’s Growing “Official” Racism!

Yup, I am correct: checked my calendar and, indeed, this IS 2022.

But if you live in Quebec or watch what has been going on there, with widespread public approval, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s the 1950s … or even the 1930s and 1940s.

Two years ago, the Quebec government used closure to curb committee consideration and push through the Legislature Bill 21, barring public employees from wearing religious symbols.

They claimed it just to ensure secularism … but the reality is it BARRED anyone wearing a turban, a hijab (with face visible), or a religious skullcap etc. from ANY PUBLIC jobs … from bus drivers to police officers, nurses or other hospital jobs, court workers, government lawyers, judges or even school teachers.

And that was just the first salvo in the latest generation of Quebec’s attacks, discrimination and isolation of minorities.

In May, the Quebec legislature also passed Bill 96 … severely limiting the rights of English-speaking residents ..not just immigrants, but even those Anglophones whose families have lived there for centuries.

“It limits the use of English in the courts and public services and imposes tougher language requirements on small businesses and municipalities. It also caps the number of students who can attend English-language CEGEPs, which are junior colleges, and increases the number of French courses students at that level must take,” CBC reported.

And it’s getting worse.

Just last month, finally ruling on a complaint filed by a black Montrealer almost two years ago, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ordered a Quebec-based radio program to APOLOGIZE for using the full “N”-word on air.

And not just once.

The CRTC noted the show’s talk show hosts used the “N” word repeatedly in a six-and-a-half minute segment:

“During the discussion, the host and the commentator used the ‘N-word’ four times, three times in French and one time in English,” the majority CRTC ruling stated.

The offence took place during a discussion that included mention of a book written in 1967 by radical separatist Pierre Vallieres entitled “Negres blanc d’Amerique” in French and “White Niggers of America” in English. (Vallieres, a leader in the FLQ, had been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of manslaughter in a terrorist bombing in Montreal in 1966: he was paroled after serving 44 months.)

In my view, using the “N”-word ONCE if it is indeed in the title of a book being discussed is legitimate as an identifier.

But injecting the insulting, demeaning, racist term … FULLY VOICED OUT … four times in a six-and-a-half minute discussion goes beyond the pale and deserved to be condemned.

Now what made the unnecessary, repeated use of this offensive, racist word particularly disgraceful was the broadcast took place on Radio-Canada, the French language version of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)!!!

The federal-government owned and funded oh-so-politically-correct broadcaster! Incroyable!!

“”The Commission considers that [Radio-Canada] did not implement all the necessary measures to mitigate the impact of the N-word on its audience, particularly in the current social context and given its national public broadcaster status,” the ruling said.

The complainant, Ricardo Lamour, said the use of the full “N” word embodied “the dehumanization of Black bodies, Black souls, Black voices,”

But adding insult to injury, more than 50 Radio Canada employees and personalities have objected to the CRTC ruling and urged Radio Canada to appeal … saying it “threatens journalistic freedom and independence and “opens the door to the dangers of censorship and self-censorship.”

Well, it certainly does … and should … lead to self-censorship by broadcasters, when it comes to the use of racist, denigrating, despicable words to describe people!

In fact, everywhere in Canada, outside Quebec, that has already been done for many decades.

I doubt those same the French-language broadcasters would be so accepting and understanding if, say, an English language broadcast REPEATEDLY used the words “Peasoup”, “Pepsis” or “Frogs” in referring to Quebecois … saying their use was “journalistically important” to make a point.

Especially if it was done at the English-broadcast CBC !!!

Heads would roll.

But once again, racist references on air … FOUR TIMES in six-and-a-half minutes … is fine in Quebec, IF they’re directed at blacks or other minorities.

Quebec is regressing to the xenophobic bigotry that pervaded its society in the 1930s to 1960s.

Why is this happening?

I believe it’s all part of a slow, but escalating deliberate attempt to encourage minorities to leave the province … and thus enhance the white Francophone nationalist voting pool for another eventual separatist referendum.

Who could blame those so repeatedly targeted, insulted and discriminated against from moving (or have their children leave once their higher education is complete) to Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta or even the US? Or think businesses (domestic and foreign) will want to invest/move operations/staff there … instead of Ontario?

The last time this happened, more than a hundred thousand well-educated Quebeckers, including a good number of Francophones, showed their backs to the separatists … and took their savings/investments: the Quebec economy suffered greatly.

Once more, Quebec’s loss will continue to be our gain!

And sadly, the white, the Francophone Quebec public don’t seem to give a damn .. even when the “N”-word gets tossed about publicly on French-language radio.

I can just imagine the outcry that would fill the airwaves and “Letters” columns ANYWHERE in Canada outside Quebec if anyone … especially on the government-funded broadcaster … repeatedly used outrageous name-calling references against black people (or Muslims, Jews, Arabs, Sikhs, First Nations etc.) … even if ostensibly it was done because the word appeared in a book title by some convicted killer.

But four times in six-and-a-half minutes?

So where is Trudeau; where are Conservative Leadership candidates Poilievre and Charest; where is Singh???

Racism is once more running rampant in Quebec … even included in law … and it’s about time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his Liberal Ministers, Conservative Leadership candidates Pierre Poilievre, Jean Charest and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh stopped being so tepid in their criticism and OPENLY and OUTRIGHTLY CONDEMN and CHALLENGE it.

Does anybody think they would remain so quiet if BC (or Alberta!) passed such discriminatory, hate-filled laws or the offensive “N”-word was used REPEATEDLY on air at the CBC in Ontario, Alberta or BC?

Absolument pas!

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Follow @harveyoberfeld on Twitter for FREE First Alerts to new postings on the Blog.)

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7 Responses to Trudeau and Federal Leaders MUST Denounce/Challenge Quebec’s Growing “Official” Racism!

  1. e.a.f. says:

    Thank you for the information. I did not know that. MSM did not report on that. Once it is acceptable to use the language you describe, other barriers to “decent” behaviour will slide away. People will think they have been given license to use that type of language. we saw what happens when people think they have license to engage in bad behviour, in the U.S.A.

    The use of racist language on radio or any ohter method of communication does nothing but promote racism, hate, and eventually killings. The language dehumanizes people of colour and various faiths.

    The Premier of Quebec has an agenda and its working for him. When he banned hijabs what it did was forced women to leave the province. Once the women left, men followed. It removed women from major roles in society., they became invisible, well they just weren’t where they used to be, in public institutions , health care, etc. The women who left were important to the of services to Quebecors.

    The Premier of Quebec is making it more and more difficult for non white european descent people to remain in quebec. Its his goal and he is achieving it, one cut at a time. Part of the problem is the Premier actually looks normal and speaks in a moderate tone. No hysterics, etc. when we see him on T.V. He is using the same type of program we see in Hungary. That is not acceptable in Canada. Yes, its about time the political leaders and a few others step up and denounce this. the federal government could simply tell Quebec, this is racisst, you dont’ want to change your ways to comply with the norms in this country, then implement some restrictions on the amount of money sent to Quebec. If people of colour or those wearing hijabs or other symbols of their religion can’t work in a lot of agencies funded in part by the federal government, then the federal government ought to reduce the amount of money Quebec receives. Some times you have to have enough ethics, guts to do the right thing and if you loose the electionn so be it.

    Singh and any number of turban wearing men can become P.M> of Canada but couldn’t’ get a job in Quebec. That is crazy. Canada goes to great efforts to defend human rights around the world. Its time we defened them in Quebec and its not those who use racist language–Its not freedom of speech. Its hate language. What is next? referring to Indigenous People in racist terms?

    Of course if a few hundred doctors, nurses, paramedics, technicians want to come to B.C. I suggest Horgan and the rest of us welcome them with open arms. Quebec’s loss will be every one elses gain.

    of course the Premier of Quebec might want to remember what some Indigenous leaders said decades ago, the Indigenous People would remain with Canada and the rest of those who wanted to leave Canada could. they also pointed out how much land the Indigenous People claimed in Quebec.

    The racists running Quebec need their chains yanked and the rest of us need to step up to the plate and denouce the racist actions.

    (Response: The issue did get some limited coverage …but NOTHING like the coverage that would result if the same insults were hurled at blacks (or ANY group) by English language media in Ontario, BC or Alberta! And if it happened at CBC English ..I am sure heads would role. Time to stop giving a free pass to Quebec’s racism, xenophobia and legalized discrimination. And time for Trudeau and other federal “leaders” speak up and ACT the same I have no doubt they would have if Ontario, BC or Alberta introduced such laws targeting and denying rights to their French-speaking citizens! h.o.)

  2. max avelli says:

    A bit rambling. My apologies. Some would accept it as “stream of consciousness”.

    I gave up on Quebec over 40 years ago (age 19). They have always been a racist society, and that was further unleashed, and entrenched, after 1976 and Bill 101 (Notwithstanding the Charter in 1982). The Feds have never stood up for the rights of minorities in Quebec. This is hardly something new under the dimwitted Trudeau. It happened regularly under slimy Mulroney, corrupt Chretien and boutique tax-cuts Harper too.

    Are we allowed to say “Newfie”? Probably not good form.

    I remember when I was in middle school (Grade 8) there was actually a book in the school library of “Newfie Jokes”. I am guessing that is off the shelves here, but may still be available in South Carolina or Texas (although they could not locate Newfoundland with a map).

    Telling one of them “Newfie Jokes” now would clearly be a firing offense.

    We have come a long way in promoting racial/ethnic “acceptance” (other than Quebec), although going from just being polite to absurdly “woke” is a turn off for an awful lot of perfectly decent people.

    But if Quebec is going to deny people of colour and “other” religions (i.e. non-Christian) of their rights to wear clothing and accessories of their faith, why is there a giant cross on the wall of the Quebec Legislature (above the speaker)?

    (Response: You would think that, with the terrible cost they paid for their previous separatist, nationalist reign of hate in the 1970s, they would have learned that people and money have legs. Quebec lost more than 100,000 of some of their best educated people …Francophones as well as Anglophones as a result of that debacle.. Have they forgotten those thousands of “A Louer” and “A Vendre” signs adorning empty storefronts, manufacturing plants, distribution centres and offices in Montreal … and how Toronto left Montreal in the dust as Canada/s most populated, most thriving, richest city??? They want more of that? I have NO DOUBT there are hard-working, tax-paying minority families in Quebec who are now planning to either leave themselves …or certainly urge their kids to get out, and move to Ontario, Alberta, BC or the US. For the sake of CANADA from coast to coast to coast, Trudeau, Poilievre, Charest and Singh have to get off their asses and act to FIGHT the erosion of human rights in Quebec. h.o)

    • nonconfidencevote says:

      Comparing the “N” word for black people to a “Newfie” is quite a stretch.
      Some of the best Newfie jokes I’ve heard came from Newfoundlanders.
      Perhaps its time we stop taking everything so seriously.

      As for the “Pure Laine” politics of Quebec….
      Nothing new there.
      Jacques Parizeau was spewing that vitriol 30 years ago.
      Pandering to the Quebec redneck vote.
      ( As a friend of mine from Thetford once opined, “Distinct society? What distinct society. They fill the Montreal Olympic stadium for Monster truck rallies….”).
      No mes amis. Quebecers are just as racist as the rest of us ….only the Media chooses to ignore it.
      Trudeau or Jaggy or Poilievre won’t touch it with a barge pole.
      Quebec is worth too many votes.
      As someone mentioned.
      Educated immigrants that leave Quebec for their “pure laine identity” ……. is the rest of Canada’s gain.

  3. Not Sure says:

    If you are wondering if there is a difference between how English CBC would react to a similar situation as the Radio Canada incident say hello to Wendy Mesley.

    Mesley referenced the title of the book in an editorial meeting (not on air) prior to a story on racism for an upcoming episode of her show. She was suspended from her show. She publicly apologized. She has since retired. This happened in June of 2020.

    The incident on Radio Canada occurred in Aug. 2020, two months after Mesley’s and it has taken two years and a demand from the CRTC to get an apology from Radio Canada.

    We have two quite similar incidents treated differently. And it was the private incident that was treated more harshly than the public one. As far as I can tell, Radio Canada apologized not the hosts and I don’t think the hosts were suspended. If someone knows differently please correct me.

    So that is one thing.

    But I want to consider something else.

    The Radio Canada hosts were discussing a petition calling for the removal of Concordia professor Catherine Russell who had used the title twice during a class. The professor had apologized but the petition was still circulating.

    Mesley and Russell both seemed sincere in their apologies acknowledging their own error and the hurt inflicted. In comparison, Radio Canada’s apology was pretty lame.

    Was the Radio Canada discussion about what should happen to the professor (and by extension Mesley) after they had acknowledged their error. Neither Mesley nor Russell was being purposely hurtful. Are intent and context and apologies enough any more? I think that is a discussion worth having, especially if it included voices from both sides which I don’t think was the case with Radio Canada.

    Regardless what side you take on that debate, the hosts on Radio Canada haven’t suffered at all compared to the more apologetic Mesley and Russell. A double standard if nothing else.

    (Response: Fascinating! REALLY appreciate the details of both incidents: upholds my belief that our federal politicians (media too!) have a double standard when it comes to Quebec/Francophone racism … based on fear of speaking truth to power (votes!). It may even betray a terrible unspoken acceptance by our federal “leaders” that far too many Quebeckers ARE racist, ARE prejudiced against minorities and ARE too numerous to take a public stand against. This is shameful! Bias and discrimination and pejorative references MUST be OPENLY and PUBLICLY repudiated … especially when it raises its ugly head in legislation and on air, especially at the public broadcast corporation. It’s too bad … and disgraceful … that Canada’s media (English AND French) are too timid to take this open bigotry on! h.o)

  4. D. M. Johnston says:

    We are now seeing the outcome of decades of “appeasement” with Quebec.

    I get it that the French in Quebec want to keep their identity and have no problem with having two official languages. It makes Canada quirky.

    But for the past several decades the federal government has been appeasing Quebec and through this continuing act of appeasement, Quebec is turning into a nasty racist little patch in the vastness of Canada.

    “Ever since I assumed my present office my main purpose has been to work for the pacification of Europe, for the removal of those suspicions and those animosities which have so long poisoned the air. The path which leads to appeasement is long and bristles with obstacles. The question of Czechoslovakia is the latest and perhaps the most dangerous. Now that we have got past it, I feel that it may be possible to make further progress along the road to sanity.” -Neville Chamberlain

    Well, we all know how that turned out don’t we and the same will be true in Quebec on a lesser scale.

    We have appeased Quebec with Bombardier, we continue to appease Quebec with SNC Lavalin; we shovel billions of dollars and more billions of dollars appeasing Quebec politicians and it will all come to a bad end.

    Trudeau the apologist; Trudeau the appeaser is setting a course for a major politcal and national fiasco, abetted by the Conservatives 9or what they call themselves anyways) and the NDP.

    Obviously none of our party leaders read history because history is very blunt on the subject.

    “The era of procrastination…is coming to a close…we are entering a period of consequences.” – Winston Churchill

    Canada is now entering the world of consequences!

    (Response: Readers of this blog know I have long supported bilingualism and the protection of the French language both insdie Quebec and everywhere in Canada. What we see in Quebec now has NOTHING to do with protecting francais: it’s about demeaning the English and other minorities so they, or their children, LEAVE! The real goal is to reduce the number of anti-sovereignty and anti-separatism voters … and then INVENT some great “insult” to Quebec, sweetening the chances that another referendum will finally pass. And our WEAK federal politicians … from all parties … by doing NOTHING to stop them, are playing right into the separatists’ hands. h.o)

  5. Not Sure says:

    We have two topics going again Harvey. One is Quebec racism and one is systemic racism. I am more interested in the second.

    First, I was not completely accurate with the Mesley story. This popped up on my newsfeed. If this story was current, I would have considered it coincidental but the podcast is two weeks old. Google monitoring my recent search activity?

    There were two incidents. Mesley’s use of the full title of Vallieres book occurred in 2019 in an editorial meeting. For that she apologized to the people at the meeting. A second incident occurred in 2020 in another meeting when preparing for a show on racism in the work place. She used the full word in the context of “one of my guests has been called … at work.” This led to an investigation, her suspension, her public apology and retirement.

    She admits that she was wrong but feels her punishment and the public fallout was disproportionate.

    In my previous comment, I wondered if intent and context and sincere apologies should matter. In the first case involving Mesley, I believe so. In the second?

    This is where systemic racism comes in. If someone isn’t aware that using the word regardless of context could be seen as offensive especially after being called on it previously, then what else is that person unaware of in their behaviours around minorities. There are certain words that I would never use. Not even going to try to figure if context is ok. I am not going to use those words. But that doesn’t mean I have this whole thing figured out. Maybe I have other blind spots.

    It is easy to look outward and criticize others. It is easy to say that Quebec is racist. Not so easy to say that BC is racist. Systemic racism exists in US police departments. Not as easy to say the same about the RCMP. It is easy to criticize Mesley for her lack of awareness at a minimum. Not so easy for us to admit it of ourselves.
    e.g I don’t deny your claim that CBC has an anti-Israel bias but some of your examples (the picture of Kushner at the Wailing Wall) seem to me a stretch. Is that my blind spot? Or are you being overly sensitive? On different issues, maybe our roles are reversed. We need those kinds of discussions if nothing else to learn about ourselves and maybe improve.

    But, these kinds of discussion are hard. It is too easy to be offended. Not so easy to see when we offend unless we are called out on it and our reaction is generally to push back. For example, Radio Canada’s excuse seems to be, We were discussing a controversial story involving a book with a controversial title. Journalistic integrity demands that we use the title in full.

    Now people line up for the journalistic integrity debate instead of dealing with the issue of racism which was the topic of the Radio Canada segment. The actual content of that story has never been mentioned. Radio Canada’s use of the title has become the story. I can’t find anything that tells me what happened or should have happened to the professor or what side the hosts took. Was she or should she have been removed from teaching that class for using the title of Vallieres book? Even after her apology? Who knows?

    How do we have serious conversations about important topics without running the risk of offending or being offended. We can criticize Quebec for being insular and rejecting diversity, but how many people sound the same when criticizing Canada’s immigration policy and refugee programs?

    Sorry for all the questions. I will stop here.

    (Response: No doubt there is racism everywhere … hopefully in ever-decreasing numbers. But no one should attempt to excuse or equate the HIGH degree of racism that still pervades Quebec’s Francophone society with anything even close to what exists in other provinces. Their LAWS speak for themselves (name ANY other province that would even contemplate, let alone pass such laws!!); the popularity of and support for those racist, discriminatory laws in polling done among Francophones in Quebec is disgraceful; and the racist (anti-black, anti-Semitic) remarks I have heard from Quebecois (admittedly all old-farts) in Florida is appalling. And people don’t help by dismissing or excusing racism and racist societies by saying it exists elsewhere too. That a copout!! Racism is ONLY eliminated ..or at least embarrassed and reduced … when confronted, condemned and challenged publicly. Especially when it codified in law ..and backed up by “language” police and court prosecutions of those who dare to support/practice equality for all. h.o)

  6. Robert Hull says:

    Did you note the use of the K word to describe the Hawaiian people in the Victoria Times Colonist and CHEK 6 news about a week ago. The K word is extremely offensive to the Hawaiian People

    (Response: Not only did I not see that … to be honest, I don’t even know what that “k” word would be…and have no interest n knowing. As far as media concerns …my own latest frustration was last night on CKNW (Top Dog?) the “reporter” refer to Jean Charest as (as phonetically close to I can write it) “Gene Cherist” . UGH!! h.o)

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