The United States explains Canada and Quebec

The United States embraces a “melting pot” approach to immigration, and Canada has the principle of “multiculturalism” in its constitution, many Québécois are deeply protective of the cultural and linguistic character of where they come from, a largely Catholic island of French in a North American Anglo Protestant sea. Quebec frets openly about newcomers from developing countries, Muslims especially which the rest of Canada finds shocking and even racist. The dominant party in the provincial legislature is the Parti Québécois, a 45-year-old party founded with the goal of breaking up Canada and creating a sovereign Quebec state, but polls consistently show that only a minority of Quebecers embrace the separatist cause. Canada’s federal government, have denied giving pretext for separatist forces. And so the increasingly desperate PQ has instead turned its focus against Quebec residents who dress in “overtly religious” manner. Under the PQ’s newly proposed “Charter Affirming the Values of Secularism”, the provincial government would ban the display of any “overt” religious headgear by public employees – which would most notably include Muslims hijabs, Sikh turbans and Jewish yarmulkes. If the bill becomes law in 2014, a huge part of workers, including bureaucrats, day-care providers, teachers and medical professionals, will have to decide between publicly expressing their faith and keeping their jobs. According to the Quebec government, such legislation would help protect Quebec society from religious extremism. Most newcomers to Canada care little for Quebec’s separatist grievances, and can be expected to vote no in any future referendum.

Quebec's view point

People in 1980 were afraid Quebec would separate and take away their freedom to speak, get good service at restaurants, and to send people to English-speaking schools so they fled. Now, it is no surprise that 61% of Canadians think Quebec has enough sovereignty within Canada and that number is only so low because 42% of Quebecers want to separate according to an Angus Reid poll. What’s more, the Clarity Act of 2000 essentially eliminates the possibility of legal separation now that the Federal government must approve any referendum question beforehand, but separatists still exist. They won the 2012 provincial election; they are immigrants, activists, young people, academics and even Anglophones. I talked to a few of them to get their opinion on why leaving. The difference in 1960 and today is that the sovereignty was very left wing and progressive. Today, it’s a more mature independence and economic, and is more focused on rational and logical economic ideas. The people want to know if it is viable, they don’t care about the cultural part of things. We are now thinking more liberally and neo-liberally Canada makes sense. Anglophones are Quebecers the difference is that they feel Quebecois. There’s a lot of Anglophone media that are using fear. They say an independent Quebec is racist and wants to exterminate the English.

Canada's view point

Canada sees themselves as a multicultural place. But then again Salim Mansur who is a political scientist at the University of Western Ontario say he is angry, because nobody is willing to have a frank and open dialogue about multiculturalism in this country. He argues that Canada, before it became beholden to a Kumbayah notion that everybody should get along and be free to do so in whatever language they choose to speak was, at its core, a liberal democracy.Professor Mansur claims that Canada isn’t on their way to becoming “Balkanized” as a nation, but that they already are.