The new invaders

The fundraiser launched by the mayor of Brampton and former leader of the Conservative Party of Ontario, Patrick Brown, to finance the challenge to the Quebec law on secularism is reminiscent of that of companies in English Canada which had allowed dozens of thousands of federalists from across the country to invest in downtown Montreal three days before the 1995 referendum, in violation of the provisions of the People’s Consultation Act.

In both cases, it was a matter of putting “la Belle Province” back on the right track. The difference is that the invaders of 1995 came to proclaim their alleged love of Quebec, while opponents of Bill 21 accuse it of racism. At least it has the merit of frankness.

Whether or not the hiring and transfer to other functions of teacher Fatemeh Anvari because of wearing the veil is a stunt by the Western Quebec School Board does not really matter. One day or another, we were going to find a way to illustrate all the iniquity of this horrible law.

In 1995, federalists worried about the consequences of the intrusion of English Canada into a debate that it was up to Quebeckers alone to decide. We will never know to what extent the ” love-in May have played a role in the referendum result, but many have retained a bitter taste.

In Ottawa, as among the federalists of Quebec, the appeal of Mr. Brown, to which cities like Toronto and Calgary have responded with enthusiasm, raises the same fears. The former senator and former chief editor of Press, André Pratte, expressed them very well in a text published in the National Post.

According to him, English Canada fell head first into the separatist trap. As always when it feels under attack, Quebec is united behind its government, whatever it may be. And if ever the Supreme Court invalidates Bill 21, “the anger and frustration in Quebec will reach levels of frustration that have not been seen since the failure of the Meech Lake Accord,” writes Mr. Pratte. .

To say that Prime Minister Legault’s federalist faith remains suspect would be an understatement. Those who fear that he has remained true to his independence convictions of yesteryear and that he is simply waiting for the right moment to come out of the closet are as numerous as those who wish. That’s a lot of people.

If an opportunity presented itself, can we really believe that he would emulate Robert Bourassa, who had set out to sabotage the opportunity presented by the rejection of the Meech Lake Accord, rather than take advantage of a moment when the sovereignty had never benefited from such strong support? In English Canada, however, we seem convinced that Quebecers will no longer dare to raise their heads. At worst, they’ll crash a third time.

Invited to the editorial table of Duty Thursday, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois agreed that Bill 21 could be at the origin of a new constitutional crisis, but he does not believe that it can constitute a springboard for the separatists, insofar as it sends to immigrants the message that they are not welcome in Quebec.

This is also the reason why Jacques Parizeau was opposed to the charter of secularism of the Marois government. According to him, it would have resulted in throwing immigrants into the arms of the federal government, which they perceive as the defender of their rights.

On the evening of the referendum, Mr. Parizeau deplored the way we know the massive support that allophones had given to the No camp, but he saw very clearly that they were going to constitute a growing proportion of the Quebec population and that we shouldn’t do it on purpose to turn them against each other. Nothing says that Mr. Legault would not be able to convince more francophones to vote Yes than in 1995, but it is always better to add than to subtract.

It is true that a good number of Muslims who fled the excesses of Islamism applauded Bill 21, but it is illusory to think that Quebec is able to counter the image of intolerance that English Canada continually strives to attach to him.

The broadening of the debate on Bill 21 nevertheless places Québec solidaire in a delicate situation. It presents itself as a separatist party, but it participates in spite of itself in this enterprise of denigration, since it opposes the law for the same reasons as those of the new invaders. If ever there were to be another referendum, coexistence within the Yes committee would not be easy, to say the least.

P.-S. This column will return on January 11. Merry Christmas (despite everything) to all.

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