Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On Intolerance In Quebec And Elsewhere

Bernie Farber has a nice piece on his Huffpo page.  From it:

In invoking this so-called "Charter of Quebec Values" the Quebec government has taken a dangerous step into poisonous territory for any institution that considers itself democratic. If this were to pass into law Quebec would become the first province in Canada to openly discriminate against its citizens on the basis of their faith.

And wile we are on the topic, a couple of writers have suggested comparable instances of intolerance in the ROC.  Martin Regg Cohn, for example, points to the 2007 Ontario election:

[PCPO Leader John] Tory knew firsthand the power of identity politics to tap into voters’ latent prejudices, having been pummelled in the previous election for his controversial proposal to fund faith-based schools within the Ontario curriculum. His Progressive Conservatives had added it to their 2007 platform in hopes of winning support among religious voters.

The Liberals pounced with a thinly veiled attack that implied Islamic schools were fundamentalist madrassas deviating from mainstream education. The counterattack by then-premier Dalton McGuinty, which also tapped into latent anti-Catholic sentiments, kept the PCs on the defensive and probably cost them the 2007 election.

Andrew Coyne has been peddling a similar line for years now.  But how true is it?

As far as I recall, the possibility of John Tory's proposal resulting in an outbreak of Islamic fundamentalism was raised one time by Dalton McGuinty during the September 20 leaders' debate.  I have also been informed by people who worked on the PCPO campaign that in the latter stages calls were going out to Conservative supporters raising the same issue, and that it was suspected these came from Ontario Liberal Party operatives.  Such a contention is unprovable this long after the fact, but it is certainly within the realm of possibility, and we can assume it true for the purposes of argument.

But Regg Cohn and Coyne and others overestimate the effect these actions had on the outcome of the 07 vote.  Tory's proposals had already crashed and burned, both among the general public and among the PCPO faithful, long before any OLP dirty tricks.  The first nail in the coffin was when Tory suggested his new plan would allow the teaching of Creationism in the class-room.  The second was when Tory back-tracked and claimed that his plan would not allow the teaching of Creationism in the private-school classroom, only the approved Ontario school curriculum.  At the time, the staunchly Conservative Lifesite wrote:

In order to receive [John Tory's] money , however, privately run schools would have to teach the Ontario curriculum, follow standardized testing and have accredited teachers. While it would be optional at first, Tory's proposed solution could eventually force all schools to comply with the Ontario curriculum sections that mandate such things as acceptance of feminism and homosexuality, graphic sex education, teaching of evolution as complete fact and other problematic topics for those from religions of traditional moral, family and other core principles.

In other words, Ontario Tories soured on the plan because it wouldn't allow them to bash gays in the classroom.

And all this had already happened by  September 7th, 2007.  That is, three days before the official election call, Tory's plan was already a disaster.  The OLP might have piled on towards the end of the campaign, but that is all.

1 comment:

Polyorchnid Octopunch said...

One thing about his plan is that it was actually pretty good; in exchange for paying for more of the education that goes on, we get to end the specialness of the special deal the Catholic boards have for themselves (clearly discriminatory) and get to make sure teachers trained in teaching math, reading, science, and history are in the schools along side the religious instruction.

This is important, because the central lesson of Canadian history is that religious, ethnic, and political accommodation, cooperation, and participation leads to peaceful, stable, and prosperous societies, which is good for everybody.

Every time Canadians have made serious advances in liberty have been when peoples have worked in concert to make them that way. To give an example that everybody should remember when speaking about Quebec and the herouxistes is the fact that Morgantaler's string of jury nullifications could probably not have happened anywhere but in Montreal.