I can’t get enough of the silliness behind Quebec’s proposed Secular Charter.
Pauline Marois, Quebec’s Premier, is quoted in today’s Le Devoir defending her proposal to impose secularism on civil servants (well, except Christians, apparently, unless you think secularism means having a giant freaking crucifix in the National Assembly). According to her, the French model of secularism she’s proposing to adopt will prevent Quebec from turning into England, where:
“they whack each other on the mouth and send bombs because it’s multiculturalism and nobody can find a place for himself anymore in that society.”
Got that, Pauline Marois wants to make you take off your kippa or turban to keep people from bombing one another. Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense to me either.
Now, Paul Wells makes the obvious observation that, if religious peace is your goal, it’s not clear that France and its vaunted secularism offers much in the way of example. In fact, on the contrary, given recent instances of Islamist violence in France, including (i) attacks by Islamist terrorists on French soldiers and Jewish children in France; (ii) the firebombing of the satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo for its provocative articles about Islam; (iii) recent riots by (predominantly, but not exclusively) Muslims youths, that seems like a particular weak argument. But then Pauline Marois and the Party Quebecois have never let facts get in the way of a specious argument (witness the facially ridiculous claim that Quebec – the province that sucks down the lion’s share of federal equalization payments – somehow gets a raw deal from Canadian federalism).
Moreover, if Pauline Marois were governed by logic, the fact that the latest instance of rioting in France this summer was triggered by the enforcement of France’s ban on burka’s in public spaces – precisely the sort of law that Pauline Marois and her ilk are trying to emulate – would give her pause. Common sense and logic would suggest that excluding people of faith from civil society (for example, by prohibiting them from working for the government) would only increase their estrangement from society, and increase the likelihood of their engaging in acts of violence. But, again, common sense and language are foreign concepts to the PQ.
Of course, there is something deeply ironic about Pauline Marois, a purportedly secular separatist, blaming “English-style” multiculturalism for instances of bomb throwing in England. The most significant instances of bomb-throwing terrorism in Quebec (and Canada) in recent memory was, of course, committed by the FLQ – a group of secular separatists who committed over 160 terrorist attacks over a period of 8 years (and kidnapped and killed a Liberal cabinet minister). That many supporters of the FLQ have subsequently had unhealthily close relationships with the PQ, makes Marois’ statement all the more deliciously ironic.
Then again, Marois probably blames FLQ terrorism on the English too.