Dr. Dawg

Rights and Democracy: meet the new boss (2)

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Gérard Latulippe, the incoming president of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, turns out to possess the appropriate anti-Muslim credentials to pass muster with the Harper government. He should fit in well.

Thanks to Chantal Hébert, our attention is drawn to a number of comments made by Latulippe during the period of the "reasonable accommodation" debates in Quebec in 2007, and earlier. It's the sort of "enemies at our shores and in our midst" stuff that delights conservatives. Indeed, he was solidly on-side with former far-right Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ) head Mario Dumont on the subject of immigration:


Mario Dumont a eu le courage de soulever un débat public sur l’immigration qui tardait à venir. De plus en plus d’immigrants proviennent de pays o se pratique un intégrisme* religieux. Ils exigent alors l’application sur notre territoire des rgles de comportement social dictées par leur religion, comme s’ils se trouvaient encore dans leur pays d’origine. L’exercice de ces pratiques heurte de plein fouet nos valeurs et est même souvent incompatible avec certains des droits fondamentaux de nos chartes, comme le droit des femmes à l’égalité, la liberté d’expression et le droit à l’intégrité de sa personne. C’est le cas, entre autres, d’une partie importante de la communauté musulmane, des juifs hassidiques et des Sikhs.

...[C]ette problématique récente ne se posait pas lors des vagues d’immigration que le Québec a historiquement connues, que ce soit avec les Italiens, les Polonais, les Grecs, les Latino-Américains, les Hatiens ou les Vietnamiens. Même si leur mode de vie était différent de celui des Québécois dits de souche , ils ont enrichi notre culture et ont fortement contribué à l’ouverture du Québec sur le monde. Personne ne parlait alors d’accommodement raisonnable. Il n’y avait rien d’incommodant dans l’apport de ces communautés culturelles à la société québécoise.

[Mario Dumont has had the courage to open up a public debate on immigration, which has been late in coming. More and more immigrants hail from countries where religious fundamentalism is practised. Now they are demanding, here in our territory, rules of social behaviour dictated by their religion, as in their countries of origin. These practices collide head-on with our values and and are often in conflict with certain fundamental rights in our
[Canadian and Quebec] charters , like women’s equality, freedom of expression and the right to safety and security of the individual. This is the case, to give a few examples, with a significant section of the Muslim community, Hassidic Jews and Sikhs.

This recent problem did not arise during the waves of immigration that Quebec has historically experienced—Italians, Poles, Greeks, Latin Americans, Haitians or Vietnamese. Even if their lifestyles were different from those of native-born Quebecers, they have enriched our culture and contributed strongly to Quebec's global outlook. No one spoke about reasonable accommodation then. There was nothing unaccommodating in the contribution these cultural communities made to Quebec society.]

This playing off of one minority against another is a well-worn gambit, but perhaps someone should ask immigrants living in Montreal just how accepted they feel—or talk to the grieving family of Fredy Villanueva.

Latulippe seems fixated on the dangers to "social cohesion" allegedly posed by Muslim immigrants:


[D]epuis l’an 2000, entre 16% et 20% des nouveaux immigrants du Québec proviennent des pays d’Afrique du Nord o l’on parle français, mais de culte musulman. Et nous commençons à vivre ce qui, en fait, est un phénomne occidental. L’incompatibilité des valeurs est devenu un problme majeur sur le continent européen o la population actuelle de 20 millions de musulmans aura probablement doublé d’ici 2025...

Cette nouvelle réalité sociale résultant de l’immigration des 20 dernires années met en danger la cohésion sociale du Québec d’aujourd’hui...

Les revendications actuelles de pratiques d’accommodements sont un signe précurseur de dérives du refus de s’intégrer de communautés animé par un intégrisme qui les mne à se regrouper au sein de ghettos religieux ou sociaux culturels. Dans le cas de l’islam, la radicalisation religieuse, peut mener à l’émergence d’un terrorisme intérieur comme il y en a eu en France, en Espagne, en Angleterre. Et comme Toronto y a échappé de justesse...”

[Since 2000, between 16% and 20% of new immigrants to Quebec come from North Africa: they speak French, but are Muslims. And we are beginning to experience what is, in fact, a Western phenomenon. Their incompatibility of values has become a major factor in Europe where the current population of 20 million Muslims will likely double by 2025.

This new social reality resulting from the past 20 years of immigration threatens the social cohesion of Quebec today.

The current demands for accommodation are a forewarning, by communities motivated by religious fundamentalism,
of a refusal to integrate, leading them to create religious or sociocultural ghettos. In the case of Islam, religious radicalism can mean the emergence of domestic terrorism as in France, Spain and England. And as Toronto narrowly escaped.] [emphases added]

And he has no time for "reasonable accommodation," which he sees as playing into the hands of Muslim fundamentalists:

Et en ce qui concerne les accommodements, il faut regarder la situation en face: des intégristes religieux sont bel et bien en train de tester le systme de valeurs de notre société dans l’objectif manifeste d’en faire reculer le plus possible les limites afin de permettre la progression maximale des limites de leur propre systme de valeur.

[As for accommodation, it’s necessary to look at the matter squarely: religious fundamentalists are fully engaged in the process of testing the values of our society with the clear objective of pushing the limits of our values as far as possible to allow their own system of values the widest possible scope.]

In another article, Latulippe appears to blame Muslim immigrants themselves for the rise of racism against them:

Il faut revoir le mandat de la Commission sur les accommodements. Il faut qu’elle considre les exemples des autres pays occidentaux. Tout comme la montée du racisme a pris de l’ampleur en Europe, il pourrait en être de même chez nous.

Il faudrait d’abord se demander si l’intégrisme religieux existe au Québec. Si c’est le cas, quelle est son ampleur. Et ensuite se poser les difficiles questions suivantes : sommes-nous disposés à accepter sur notre territoire des intégristes religieux qui vivent suivant des rgles de vies incompatibles avec nos valeurs communes (des droits fondamentaux), en particulier celui de l’égalité entre les sexes ? Sommes-nous déterminés à nous accommoder à l’existence de ghettos religieux vivant en marge de la société québécoise, notamment à Montréal ?

Il faut avoir le courage d’aller au fond des choses et d’explorer les causes profondes de la crise qui secoue le Québec depuis plusieurs mois maintenant. Si nos gouvernements n’ont pas la lucidité de faire face ds maintenant aux risques que peut constituer l’intégrisme religieux pour nos valeurs et nos droits fondamentaux, un pige insidieux se dessine: celui de voir la montée de l’intégrisme religieux nous mener droit au racisme.

[It’s necessary to take a second look at the mandate of the Commission on accommodation [Boucher-Taylor]. It should be considering examples from other Western countries. Racism has increased in Europe, and it could happen in the same way here at home.

At the outset, we need to ask ourselves if Muslim fundamentalism exists in Quebec. And if so, what its scope might be. And then to ask ourselves the following difficult questions: should we accept Muslim fundamentalists in our territory, who live under rules of life that are incompatible with our common values (fundamental rights), in particular equality between the sexes? Are we determined to accept the existence of religious ghettos at the margins of Quebec society, notably in Montreal?

It's necessary to have the courage to get to the bottom of things and to explore the root causes of the crisis that has been shaking Quebec for several months. If our governments can’t see their way clear to face the risks right now that are posed to our values and fundamental rights by Muslim religious fundamentalism, an insidious trap is prepared for us: a rise of Muslim fundamentalism that leads right to racism.]


So there we have it: the aliens are among us, breeding like rabbits, with dark designs upon our way of life. The enemy is within, and also at our gates. Racism is the fault of its victims.

Latulippe is no rube, and he puts his message far more elegantly than did the good burghers of Hérouxville. But his xenophobic message is exactly the same: Quebec society is threatened, immigration is creating problems, these dangerous new arrivals are sequestering themselves in ghettos.... Anyone who cannot hear in his words the echoes and resonances of an earlier unsavoury period in the history of Quebec pure laine nationalism just isn't listening.

Muslims are the new Jews in Quebec, alien and threatening, an unsettling presence. And, says the new president of ICHRDD, who is none too keen on Hassidic Jews either, as it happens,
something has to be done about it.

Gérard Latulippe, the high-functioning
hérouxvilliste. Bravo, Lawrence Cannon: just the right man to head up an agency promoting human rights.

[H/t commenter Alison]

UPDATE: More.

UPPERDATE: (February 25) Even more about Latulippe's "exceptional qualifications," which include opposition to same-sex marriage and support for the death penalty.
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*In case readers think that I am adding something of my own to the translation, the Robert and Collins dictionary defines the unmodified word "intégrisme" as "Muslim fundamentalism."

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on February 23, 2010 2:30 PM.

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