Monday, January 29, 2007

Paging Jason Kenney...

Well, it would seem we probably don’t need the Status of Women Agency after all, judging by this story. The right of women not to be stoned is safe, at least in this Quebec town. However, Jason Kenney, your services as Steve Harper’s multiculturalism guru may be required here...

I'm concerned about the use of "in public" here too. Surely stoning, whether in public or in private, should be forbidden. And it doesn't mention men. Hopefully I can't get stoned either.

Seriously, I get the idea here. Helping educate new Canadians about our cultural norms is important. But this just seems creepy and insulting to me.

Rural Quebec town bans stoning women
Canadian Press

Montreal — A rural Quebec town has taken the unusual step of formally declaring that it is forbidden to stone women in public — part of a list of “norms” that it says is aimed at potential immigrants.

Herouxville, about 165 kilometres northeast of Montreal, passed a document at a town council meeting this month that outlines what it considers to be its official behavioural norms.

The document, sent to both the provincial and federal governments, states that “a woman can. . . drive a car, sign cheques, dance, decide on her own.”

However, covering one's face other than on Halloween, burning women alive or burning them with acid is not considered acceptable.

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Olaf said...

What would you suggest Jason Kenney do in this situation? And what does this have to do with SWC? Couldn't you have just presented the story/analysis without a contrived partisan twist?

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, Olaf, how much fun would that be?
I think the motion must be amended to outlaw stoning of women in PUBLIC or in PRIVATE!
Kenney better get on this before Oda has wiped out the ability for Canadian women to fight back, even from beyond the grave.
also, another Women's Shelter is closing this winter in Vancouver; funding iffy.
Is stoning to death once better than being on the streets and victimized each and every day to survive?

Red Butler said...

Typical Muslim fear-mongering by the right-whinge crowd. I wouldn't be surprised if this town voted unanimously for Harper and celebrated when Bush won. Hopefully they'll all be drafted to fight their hated Muslim/Arab foes in Iraq soon, in Bush/Blair/Harper's private war.

Anonymous said...

Bloody hell drafted! This town should be up in arms and heading overseas as we speak to defend their culture!
None of this namby-pamby blogging and/or go-nowhere town meetings with no upshot.
This town should be heading out to parts where their brand of piousness will be most felt: saving others from a fate worse than death, e.g., something not one single person in this community will abide: beating of women.

Scotian said...

Red Butler:

Unless you have some detailed knowledge about that town of what 17, 000, you have made some really over the top claims here. I can just as easily see it as a result of a combination of standard small town syndrome combined with the increased fear of loss of cultural identity which has become such a part of the Quebecois dynamic over the past several decades. I find that a lot easier to believe than your rather clichéd and caricature filled description.

Oh yes, don't assume I am any kind of supporter of movement conservatism in NA and what it has wrought, I am anything but. However I have no more use for hate filled stereotypes of small towns when it comes from my putative side of the political spectrum than I have for it when it comes from the right. Personally I find this town sounding like it is protecting itself from the perceptions of threats as garnered from the NA media environment rather than any serious research/consideration. I think it is ultimately a bad idea if for no other reason than many will take this as an intentional xenophobic reaction as you and others already have and further increase divides between rural and urban Canada. I think it is also quite honestly more than a little insulting some of the underlying assumptions within this decree.

However to take this and launch into the kind of rant you did about this being typical right whinging and their trademark Muslim bashing seems out of line unless you have more details which go to actually show this to be the underlying motivations (or at least make a good argument that there is a basis for such even if it is not being openly acknowledged). You didn't do that though, instead you launched into what can only be characterized as a xenophobic tirade yourself, in this case focused on the right whingers and the Muslim bashers/haters in NA. That is no better than many of the hate filled tirades I see from CPCers about godless lefties and such and contributes the same amount of real substance to a conversation/discourse...none.


I noticed this story earlier today and had mixed feelings too about it. I don’t like it at first blush, but as I just said above I also lack too much information to even take a stab at reading the underlying motivations behind it. Is it really right whinger Muslim bashing? Is it simple fear and misinformation? Is it yet another outgrowth of the Quebecois insecurity about their francophone culture? I don’t know. I think making too many assumptions on a dearth of information though is a bad idea.

Someone should ask Kenney in the HoC during QP though this week what his opinion is about this as the Minister of Multiculturalism, that could be a very interesting response both for now and down the road.

Dr.Dawg said...

Hopefully I can't get stoned either.

Easy. Just don't inhale.

I'm a little surprised, on a serious note, by Scotian's response. I don't see Hérouxville as a town under threat of cultural extinction. I am aware that Quebec for many years has feared being swallowed up by English NA--hence the language laws and all--but I do not, with respect, think that is what we're seeing here.

It's interesting to note, for example, that the language issue is completely absent from the "normes" of Herouxville, other than this mention:

Sans discrimination signifie pour nous, sans égard à la race, la couleur de peau, la langue parlée, l’orientation sexuelle, la religion pratiquée ou toute autre forme de croyance.

That's a rather interesting statement if classic Quebec defensive nationalism is really underlying Hérouxville's proclamation. I think that a close reading of the norms and the way in which they are expressed reveals that xenophobia is the driver here. Each statement contains within it a rejection of the Other, right down to hard hats being required on construction sites (i.e., no turbans).

More at my place, if anyone is interested.

Scotian said...

Dr. Dawg:

I don't actually have any opinion as to motivations, my point was that I found the assumptions being made by the commentator in question that it was motivated by right wingers and Muslim haters without actually backing it up at all was unsupportable and to my mind no less xenophobic than what the town appeared to be doing. All I was doing was providing alternative possibilities that I found at least as viable as his assumptions and trying to make the point that barring more detailed information making any such assumption is premature. I am sorry if I wasn't clear enough about that.