Intolerance disguised as a legislative bill
By Bill Marcus, Commentary
Published 3:55 pm, Tuesday, February 18, 2014
A billboard in Quebec reading “To each his own religion,” shows the face of a young woman wearing on the left half of the face a hijab and the other half face a helmet and a motorcycle jacket. The ad is part of a campaign by a Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealer based on the Quebec Charter of Values. ORG XMIT: MER2014021717154946 (ANNE LEVASSEUR)
In the fight over a proposal to keep Quebec’s civil servants from wearing outsized yarmulkes, crucifixes, hajibs and turbans, public hearings are shining a light on the true fears of the French up North: zombies.
“The scariest thing I ever saw in my life is zombie parades,” said Line Chaloux, director at the Coffret a Saint-Jerome, a charity that works with immigrants. Chaloux, who encountered the parade of the undead in Paris (where else?) told a provincial panel taking comment on Bill 60, which professes a need to keep Montreal and its environs governmentally neutral.
“We had a terrible fright seeing these people circulate in the city freely. We never chose to be among a troupe of zombies. These are things that should be banned.”
Mormons should also be forbidden, she said. They proselytize. (Me thinking out loud here: Where would that have left us if Mitt Romney had been elected? He kind of hits the bar on both counts.)
A nun in Trois-Rivieres — a smaller city in Quebec with far fewer strip clubs than Montreal and, therefore, most likely less familiar to residents of the Lower 48 — also reportedly told the panel she had walked across an entire supermarket to avoid being checked out by a clerk wearing a veil. “I felt ill at ease,” said the sister.
She was backed up by a transgendered Quebecer who, according to the Montreal Gazette, testified: “When I see a veil, the mental image I have is of all the gays who were hung high and low in the public square … in certain Arab countries.”
The much darker side of all this intolerance masquerading as a legislative initiative and a campaign rallying call for the ruling minority Parti Quebec is the anonymous hatred it has unleashed.
When a Muslim woman last month died after her clothing became entangled in a Montreal subway escalator, one Francophone newspaper reported she had been strangled by her hajib.
This caused commentators to say on the paper’s site (and the paper, to think nothing of the incendiary effects of publishing such vitriol): “This is what you get for deciding to keep it on,” “Where was Allah?” and “One less terrorist in Montreal,” according to the The Toronto Star. For the record, police have yet to identify a cause of death for Naima Rharouity.
When the hearings began last month one TV report said the debate could last till March or April “if the government lasts that long.”
If only in America we could change governments when they got that stupid.
Bill Marcus lives in Purchase. His email address is http://www.billmarcus.com.