P.Q. leader, Pauline Marois, has stirred up a hornet’s next with her bill to establish a Quebec citizenship. Bill 195 proposes to make a working knowledge of French a requirement for Quebec citizenship for new arrivals from outside and from within Canada. If Quebec citizenship were not attained, the individaul could not petition the National Assembly with a grievance nor could her or she run for public office in the province.
Groups who object to the bill charge it would not only violate the constitution because citizenship is a federal matter, the measure would also violate the Canadian and Quebec charters of rights and freedoms by creating two classes of citizens, some without the same rights as others.
To some extent, support for the bill breaks down along linguistic lines. Overall, 52 per cent of francophones back the bill, 79 per cent of non-francophones oppose it.
My own view is that there’s a lot less here than meets the eye. This bill may not even be debated and it will certainly never become law with a federalist government in Quebec. So why did Marois introduce it? For tactical reasons. She has taken a referendum on sovereignty off the table. So she needs some raw meat for her militants. Presto, the Quebec Citizenship bill.
The problem is that Marois is playing with fire. Of course the St. Jean Baptiste Society supports the bill. Anglophone and Jewish groups oppose it. An English rights activist, Fo Niemi, says: “This bill, which remind of us measures advocated by extreme right-wing parties in Europe, are dangerous because they institutionalize xenophobia and intolerance”.
Do you think Marois and the P.Q. are being irresponsible advocating a Quebec citizenship?
Should Marois withdraw her bill on Quebec citizenship?
Today Stephen Harper met the Dalai Lama on government property, the first Canadian prime minister to do so. In remarks in Gatineau on Sunday, the Dalai Lama said that before there can be external disarmament there must be “internal disarmament”, a very striking phrase.
UN nuclear disarmament chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, has accused Israel of taking “the law into their own hands” with their bombing raid on Syria last month: “To bomb first and then ask questions later, I think it undermines the system and it doesn’t lead to any solution ….”