Canada Has to Own This

I may be part French-Canadian, but I’m not Quebecois. I’m an Ontarian and I’m going to avoid talking about Quebec nationalism as much as possible because that would be kind of Ontarian of me, but regardless, Canada and Quebec have to own yesterday’s terrorist attack on the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec. We can’t just blame it on Trump, and that’s the tldr version of yet another political blog post. 

I think that because of the timing of the shooting, this tweet is probably correct. But Trump, Trump’s Muslim ban, and Trump’s following are not alone in radicalizing this particular terrorist.

And although this attack took place as Trump was banning Muslim refugees, immigrants, and green card holders, last summer, long before we had to accept the reality that President Tiny Hands McRacistAF was going to happen, someone left a gift-wrapped pig’s head at the Mosque’s door with a tag that said, “Bon apetit.” Two of my favourite things, Islamophobia and dead animals. I mean, there’s a big difference between this “statement” and a terrorist attack that killed six people, but the terrorist attack doesn’t emerge from a vacuum. The culture of Muslim hate already exists in Quebec and was there long before Trump declared his campaign.

When the Parti Quebecois was in charge a few years ago, they tried to ban overt religious clothing and jewelry. And I’ll bet that slightly larger cross necklace is just there to try to disguise how racist this all is.

The Parti Quebecois were soundly defeated in the last Quebec provincial election but rampant Islamaphobia remains, as these two articles look into. From the first:

“A 2015 Quebec Human Rights Commission survey found that 43 per cent of Quebecers believe we should be suspicious of anyone who openly expresses their religion, with 49 per cent expressing some uneasiness around the sight of Muslim veils.”

“Anyone” openly expressing their religion, eh? “Anyone?”

That’s not a nice number. It’s almost exactly half of the province who feel threatened by a woman wearing a hijab or a niqab.

So I’ll be an Ontarian and say that Quebec has their own specific problem with Islamaphobia because they dedicate a lot of political energy to preserving their culture. In the past there was major pressure from the rest of the country to Anglicize Quebec, Canadianize it. They’ve managed to preserve their culture against the anti-Papists of old and survived as a nation within a nation through quite a bit of stupidity on the part of the federal government throughout the years, but their present-day hatred of immigrants who can’t and don’t try to pass as regular francophone Quebecois because they wear hijabs, turbans, or kippahs isn’t an acceptable way to preserve the Quebecois culture. (You know not to mention all of the steamrolling of First Nations peoples who were there, you know, first, but that’s a whole other thing and we’re all complicit in that so.)

Quebec is also not alone in its Islamaphobia. After Trump’s election a Mosque in Ottawa was defaced. Sure, that loser was emboldened by Trump, but the attitude was here long before that.

Here are three lovely stories of Muslim women being attacked by upstanding Canadian citizens.

In Quebec, and two in Ontario.

There’s a video of the last one, which I don’t want to watch, but the still that shows up is an angry white woman WEARING A SHIRT THAT FUCKING SAYS “CANADA” ON IT.

So, when I saw the Prime Minister’s tweet welcoming refugees of all faiths:

I thought, “And *that* is what I voted for.”

But it isn’t truly this country. We have to be careful to remember that, because if we don’t we won’t hold our government accountable.

I’m liking his stance here, and that he correctly called the attack a terrorist attack right away – both of these are important statements but it isn’t action yet. Then there’s his government’s stalling on its promises to indigenous communities.

The reason I’d consider this very relevant to this subject is that Canada’s struggles with the First Nations go on all the way to the beginning of Canada as a country, and well before. By now, we should be dealing with this much better than this. There’s no excuse, and it makes it hard to hope for new and decent legislation about anything related to identity politics and civil rights.

But this is a good post for Canadians looking to do something to help.

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