The Quebec Government just passed a “Quebec Values Test” requirement for prospective immigrants. It was one of Premier François Legault’s easy-to-keep campaign promises aimed squarely at the most bigoted elements of his base.
My colleague Samantha Gold will have a detailed look at the specifics and talk to some of those it actually affects in a few days. For now, just know that it’s exactly as bad as you think it is, only it’s worse.
Though passed after Bill 21, the infamous religious symbols ban, it effectively acts as a first step towards forced assimilation into white mainstream European settler culture. It also attempts to normalize the xenophobia inherent in Bill 21.
Insulting Questions That Distract
While the government hasn’t released actual questions that will be on the test, they did offer media five sample questions covering the general areas. Most of them are basic and, frankly, insulting.
There’s the one about what the official language of Quebec is. Gee, could it be the one the test is written in and also the one prospective immigrants have to take a whole other test on?
While that one may be insulting to the test taker’s intelligence, some of the others are potentially worse. Those are the ones also designed, most likely, to mollify progressive-minded people who already live here.
They ask about whether or not men and women are equal in Quebec and also if men can marry men and women marry women here. The questions ignore the reality that gender equality and LGBTQ rights might very well be the reasons behind the applicant’s desire to immigrate here in the first place.
Then there’s one about whether or not a police officer can wear a religious symbol on the job. Of course, Bill 21 goes much further than the police, but why not cherry-pick scenarios?
Coupled with the two questions I just mentioned, the intent is clear. The CAQ want to imply that a woman who chooses to wear the hijab, for example, cannot possibly be for gender equality.
At the same time, they want people to think of Bill 21 as something that actually has to do with secularism, gender equality and LGBTQ rights, when, in reality, it’s just about turning racist fears of the so-called “other” into votes. Nice try, assholes.
The final question they released, though, is really the white frosting on this cake of intolerance. It’s multiple choice:
Identify which situations involve discrimination. A job is refused:
- To a woman who is pregnant
- To a person lacking the required diploma
- To a person because of their ethnic background
While the correct answer should be that refusing a job to someone for being pregnant and/or for their ethnic background constitutes discrimination, Bill 21 really muddies the waters. It has made it not just okay, but also law, to discriminate against someone proudly displaying their ethnic and cultural background when applying for a job.
Five Better Questions
Okay, so here are five more accurate questions that the CAQ should ask:
- Are you aware that the current government of this province is actively scapegoating immigrants to appeal to their xenophobic base?
- You know French is the official language, women and men are equal and the LGBTQ community have rights, but did you know the government is using all of that to justify their bigotry?
- Did you know that this is actually Native land and the Quebec Government really should have no say in who comes here or not?
- If you do come, hockey is really a thing here and so is poutine (fries, cheese curds and gravy). So, get ready for that.
- Just fill out the “test” the way they want and then come here and help us get them removed from office.
Seriously, though, this “test” is the sort of racist BS we’ve come to expect from the CAQ. It’s sad, but it’s also what we’ve got to deal with for the next few years.