SHOULD QUEBEC’S IMMIGRANTS ASSIMILATE?

A somewhat disturbing new poll indicates a majority of Quebecers (56 per cent) think minorities should be discouraged from forming their own communities in the province and they should abandon their cultural practices. (Only 20 per cent of other Canadians feel the same way).

As well, only a minority of Quebecers (44 per cent) think society should try harder to accept minorities’ customs and traditions compared to 75 per cent in the rest of Canada.

There are other differences. Three out of four Canadians have no problem with Jewish doctors wearing the kippa skull cap on duty but only half of Quebecers approve. Less than one-third of Quebecers favour prayer facilities in colleges and universities compared with two-thirds in the rest of Canada.

Would you agree these findings are somewhat disturbing?

Do they reveal a high level of intolerance in Quebec?

Should Quebec’s immigrants assimilate?

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9 Comments »

  1. 1
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Since 1759 Quebecers have fought assimilation by the English culture. Now they feel the growing multicultural society we live in creates another assimilation danger. They are forever more conscious that they are fast becoming a minority in a kaleidoscope of minorities especially in Montreal. So are the real English “de souche” for that matter. For many the only way of remaining a majority is to absorb the Others so they become part of the Us. Bill 101 was nothing else and all the other similar measures have this end in sight. There is nothing there so astonishing, is there and Mario Dumont and Pauline Marois are playing this to the hilt.
    A Quebec citizenship certificate anyone?

  2. 2
    jeremy Says:

    As a student of Religious studies we have wrestled with this question at Concordia. We have a very high population of immigrant students. We have Muslim prayer rooms on campus and an entire department focused on interfaith chaplaincy.

    The question of reasonable accommodation is on the table now. The one flaw that Quebec has is its arrogance about “other.” There is such am immigrant population that Quebecers feel that their numbers are falling as others rise. These issues are mainly in other areas outside the big city of Montreal.

    With the move of people from the city into outlying areas. This racist attitude is the one reason I refuse to assimilate, (Read: Learn French) because of the way I was and still am treated by people here in the city that insist that I become one with Mother Quebec.

    This argument will not go away soon.

    I personally have no issues with “Other” because I have education and experience behind me to respect the diverse population that Montreal has and it is a beautiful diverse people.

    Jeremy

  3. 3

    Paul:
    There’s no question Quebec Identity will be an issue – perhaps the issue in the next provincial election. So I reckon there is a lot of posturing going on now. Pauline Marois is trying to outflank Mario Dumont on “the identity vote.” But Quebec citizenship? When someone, say from Nova Scotia immigrated to Quebec and couldn’t get his provincial citizenship until he could manage in French. Give me a break.l

  4. 4
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    I totally agree with you, Neil, on the citizenship issue. It has been around for several years. I don’t think it will go very far.
    However, I have to strongly disagree with Jeremy’s stance on learning French. We live in a bilingual country. Cutting himself off of 80% of Quebec’s population and about 33% of Canada as a whole is counterproductive and just fuels the separatists of this world.
    On the other hand becoming fluent in French and in English gives us bilingual folks the upper hand in many situation. On the medium and long run WE will be the solution.
    I’m half Greek and half French-Canadian. I married a French-Canadian girl. I don’t speak greek and i regret it. My son married a half German half French Canadian girl and his son at 11 speaks French, English and some German. Now this is Canada and this is the Québec to be…if we all pull toghether.

  5. 5
    jeremy Says:

    I speak Spanish and muddled French, but I will hands down never comply with the separatist movement nor their arrogance. The first time a Quebecer spit at me in public was the day I swore off French…

    Jeremy

    • 6
      Ben Says:

      I don’t believe your reason or story. You sound exactly like my mother (couldn’t learn the language).

      I live in Japan and its taken me a full 10 years to get a grasp of this language.
      I’m still nowhere near fluent, but If I can do it in Japanese, you can surely do it in French.

      I think deep down inside the reason you can’t speak it, because you fear you’ll sound like a jackass. So stop using a made up fantasy for your insecurity.

  6. 7
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    All separatists are Quebecers…but not all Quebecers are separatists, as Jean Piaget could have said. The notion of two classes of citizens has been around for a long time. In the early 60s André D’Allemegne, one of the R.I.N. founders, wanted non-francophones to be excluded from voters lists in Québec. However as is the case everywhere extremists are a minority regardless of the noise they make. We must not give in to them. The worrisome thing is that Dumont and Marois are playing to them.

  7. 8
    Daniel Says:

    Jeremy, you’re saying:

    “I personally have no issues with “Other” because I have education and experience behind me to respect the diverse population that Montreal has and it is a beautiful diverse people.”

    And you say you refuse to speak French. I’m not sure I understand who these two statements fit together.

  8. 9
    Ben Says:

    Québécois aren’t afraid of all the PC garbage out there. English Canadians deep down inside want everyone to assimilate and act like a “Real Canadian”. They just don’t have the guts to say it out loud.

    That’s the difference between the French and English.


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