Bill 62

In the name of equality, Quebec excludes women from the public sphere

Marc-André Cyr reacts to last week’s news in Quebec, which included the passing of a racist law and an about-face on the commission into systemic racism
Photo: Kevin.B

In the past, we said that Blacks were inferior to whites.

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We also said that Jews dominate the world.

Times have changed. Hatred has become democratized.

Editors’ note: A version of this column originally appeared in Ricochet’s French edition. It has been translated into English.

War is peace? Ignorance is happiness? The Quebec Liberals’ Bill 62 represents it too well. Today, in the name of equality between men and women, some of the latter are excluded from the public sphere. “The” Muslim woman absorbs all the contradictions of propaganda. Privileged by this era, she becomes both the victim and the threat.

For more than 15 years, celebrity columnists have been clamouring every day for language to denounce these “veils that represent a negation of our Western culture.”

Far-right groups abound throughout the province. But because they love the police, the law and the “democratic” institutions, they inspire a lot of respect from opinion makers.

On Monday, Muslims are denounced for visiting a “pork-free” sugar shack. The next day, we find a “radical” leaflet in a mosque. Two days later, a report talks about young people going to fight in Iraq. On Thursday, it’s a previously unknown imam who makes “outrageous” remarks about women. Friday, we are talking about a Muslim woman refusing to be treated by a Quebec doctor. Saturday, we relax, so we talk about all the halal food found in our restaurants and supermarkets to “please the Muslims.” Sunday is not the day of the Lord, of course. We take this opportunity to discuss the “ridiculous” and “archaic” practice of forcing Muslims to fast during Ramadan.

And it's like that, every week.

All in one basket

The terrorist violence of the radicals also also matters. Each attack leads to a worldwide surge of solidarity. I am Charlie. You are Charlie. He is Charlie. You are not Charlie? You are not Paris, Brussels, London? It is an outrage!

Challenging the source of this violence makes you a “useful idiot.” Exit colonialism. Out with the war in Iraq. Exit history, sociology and politics. If the extremists do this, it is because of a book written a few thousand years ago. Everything that happened next is irrelevant. It is impossible to talk about the hundreds of millions invested by the CIA to put fake jihadist videos into circulation. It's impossible to talk about U.S. support for Al Qaeda and ISIS. It’s impossible to analyse. To explain is to justify. And the Islamo-leftist plot is just as effective as its big Judeo-Bolshevik brother.

The rhetoric is victimizing. It sounds like a pan flute played on a synthesizer. It does not accuse “all the Muslims” (oh never, except once on Radio X) but only those who openly display themselves as such. Only those who carry their more or less barbaric culture and who refuse to condemn the violence of the extremists. Those who are invisible, we like them. And their food is good.

The more things change

After 10 years of this soup of nails, racist crime is growing at a fast pace. Mosques are vandalized. The car of the president of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec is burned. Women are having their veils torn in the street. An anti-Muslim terrorist attack has even left six dead and several seriously wounded. I am Quebec? You are Quebec? He is Quebec? Not at all. Only a few candles illuminate the silence of the capital. And no relationship can be established with the reactionary rhetoric of right-wing politicians and columnists. Each of these critics glide on their teflon cerebellums to turn against the one who issues them.

Not surprisingly, trash cans left in the sun produce small white worms. Far-right groups abound throughout the province. But because they love the police, the law and the “democratic” institutions, they inspire a lot of respect from opinion makers. The reactionary press takes advantage of the opportunity to bash the extreme left. They are the “fascists”; they are who “dominates” our parliaments and our universities.

Logically, the government, though led by a government so red it would make all the little chaperones of the world pale, decided, with the help of Bill 62, to “ban the wearing of the full-face veil” on public transport.

Yesterday, by electoral opportunism, it was anti-racist.

Today, still opportunistically, it is bathed in the brown sauce of reactionary nationalism and “reframes” the commission on systemic racism in Quebec.

Divide and rule. The dividing line falls on the veiled women. And cuts them symbolically in two.

It is Friday.

Tomorrow, we start again ...

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