It’s election campaign time in Quebec, which brings out all kinds of problematic assumptions about what Quebec is and who counts as a Quebecois. Recently, Coalition Avenir Quebec party’s François Legault said that the young “Québécois” are in trouble because they are so lazy, and they should be working hard like the “Asian” counterparts. Statements like this make it sound like there are no Québécois that are of Asian descent, which I assure you is not true.
Recently, Parti Quebecois — the sovereigntist party — forcefully came out and said that it will rewrite the Quebec Charter to do away with reasonable accommodation, so that Quebec remains a “secular” state. In reality, this is an anti-immigrant and specifically anti-Muslim agenda dressed as secularism, where wearing a cross is alright but wearing a hijab is not (Because certain things like “Christmas” are a part of Quebec’s heritage, said Marois). You can read about this from the party’s website (in French), or read this editorial in English (note: it is an editorial by an anglophone newspaper, so it does not don the “neutral” tone you would find in a news article) to learn more about it.
Time and time again, just when I feel that maybe Montreal could be my home, I see the Quebec’s ugly side of its uniqueness – where the politicians don the hurtful language of cultural preservation and purity and whatever else to win votes. A shame, really.