The whole of Canada, except Quebec, suffers from systemic racism. At least that’s what the story seems to be today.
During the English Language Leaders’ Debate, held on 9 September, moderator Shachi Kurl asked each leader a number of direct questions. The questions were clearly framed to strike an area that not every leader would address.
Trudeau was asked to explain why he called the election during the pandemic and Singh was asked if his platform was not realistic. The questions prompted a response and made the debate more interesting as the leaders were kept on the spot. Curl clearly crossed the line, however, when he asked Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchett about Quebec’s controversial Bill 21.
In a rare act of unity, moderates are demanding an apology from CPC and NDP leader Shari Kurll and the association of media broadcasters that organized the debate. They are astonished that the moderator framed Bill 21 as a discriminatory bill when posing the question to Blanchett.
Bill 21 was enacted by the Quebec legislature in 2019. The Bill prohibits the display of religious symbols of any kind by civil servants while in service. For example, school headmasters, police officers and judges are forbidden from wearing things like turbans, hijabs and kippas while working.
Bill 21 has been challenged in court and English schools are exempt from the bill. The province is appealing that decision.
Justice Marc-André Blanchard of the Quebec Superior Court ruled that Bill 21 violates the basic rights of religious minorities in the province, but despite the Constitution allowing those violations because of the clause.
Bill 21 is the very embodiment of systemic racism. It disproportionately impacts religious minorities who are often people of color. While the courts may say so, apparently the arbitrators of the arguments cannot do so.
The hypocrisy and cowardice being displayed by the party leaders on this issue is breathtaking. Cowardice, in which they are apparently afraid to offend the province of Quebec even on such an obvious issue. Hypocrisy, in which they all acknowledge the ongoing notion that Canada as a whole is clearly steeped in systemic racism, but refuse to condemn Quebec’s brazen display of the same thing.
Stockwell Day was taken out of the public eye and had to resign from several senior positions at companies for daring to say, “Canada is not a racist country and most Canadians are not racists. And our system, which always needs to be improved.” need, is not systematically racist,” while on a CBC panel in 2020.
Despite repeated apologies, Day was effectively annulled by a crowd awakened to the courage to deny Canada’s racism.
While there is no policy as hateful or explicitly discriminatory as in Quebec’s Bill 21 throughout Canada, it is clearly unacceptable for any public figure to claim that the nation is not racist. Meanwhile, even the votes of party leaders questioning Quebec’s law have sparked a flurry of fake outrage.
Quebecs and Quebecers were never directly or indirectly referred to as racists during the debate. What was questioned was the law. If we cannot question the law in the election debate, we as a nation are in some serious trouble. Where and when will anyone be able to speak on behalf of Quebec’s minorities?
Hopefully, Schiele Curl and the Union of Media Broadcasters refused to back down and offer an apology. Not only has he done something wrong, but it will set a terrible precedent. Leader debates can be dull and inconclusive. How terrible would it be if moderators had to take into account the political interests of candidates before asking questions?
Let’s face it, every leader of the party knows all too well that Bill 21 is an exercise in clear, legislative bigotry. These leaders have prioritized their electoral hopes in Quebec over the needs of minorities affected by Quebec’s discriminatory bill.
To his credit, Trudeau has not ruled out a federal court challenge against Bill 21. It is doubtful how such a challenge could ever come if one is not allowed to speak critically of the bill, however.
If indeed the issues of systemic racism in Canada are to be addressed, we need an honest conversation on this. Punishing media members who dare to question instances of genuine discrimination hinders any progress towards a solution.
Canada doesn’t have as much a problem with systemic racism as it does with deep political hypocrisy.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times