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Monday, February 05, 2007

Quebec town spawns uneasy debate

The hamlet of Saint-Roch-de-Mékinac, home to 308 souls, perches on the banks of the St. Maurice River, hard by the verdant hills of La Mauricie National Park.

According to the most recent Statistics Canada figures, there are precisely zero foreign-born residents in the town and zero visible minorities, neither of which has deterred Saint-Roch's civic leaders from adopting a code of conduct for new arrivals.

The document, which was approved unanimously at a council meeting Friday night, mirrors a citizens' code adopted by nearby Hérouxville, which solemnly forbids stoning women, the donning of burqas, and wearing Sikh ceremonial daggers in school....

In a release late yesterday, the Canadian Islamic Congress and Canadian Muslim Forum said they plan a joint complaint against the Hérouxville resolution listing behavioural norms, arguing the norms violate Section 27 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which calls for preservation and enhancement of Canadians' multicultural heritage.

Clearly, what some quarters see as special treatment is prompting others in Quebec to wonder whether the province has reached the outer limit of official multiculturalism policy.

Some of the rhetoric surrounding the discussion has been characterized as xenophobic, prompting warnings from race-relations experts about the dangers of going too far....

Premier Jean Charest has brushed off the Hérouxville controversy as an "isolated incident," while Health Minister Philippe Couillard was more categorical.

"This in my view, is an exaggerated phenomenon that is linked with ignorance, with not knowing others," he said last week. [Link]

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1 Comments:
Blogger Grenwolde [At 7:36 AM]:

For more material on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms I encourage you and your readers to visit www.charterofrights.ca -- an unbaised, plain language, and interactive look at the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It also contains relevant case law and precedents.

 
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