Tuesday, January 31, 2017

PQ Badly Damaged in Quebec City Shooting

Quebec humiliated by Mosque attack
In a recent post I reminded readers of the old quote that says that "it's an ill wind that blows nobody good" and so it is that the tragic mass shooting that occurred in the Quebec city mosque, might actually pay unintended dividends to the embattled Muslim minority and wreck immeasurable damage on the Parti Quebecois.

The mass killing has left Quebecers badly shaken and in some respect, deeply humiliated that one of their own, a Quebecois de souche (pure-blood) could perpetrate such a senseless act of violence not only upon his direct victims but in a larger sense, the entire  Quebec Muslim community.

Mass shooting and other terrorist acts seldom accomplish anything except wanton death, injury and destruction. The goal of theses barbaric acts is to frighten and somehow cow societies into falling into step with terrorist ideology.
In countries that suffer or have suffered long-term terrorism, like Israel and Northern Ireland, repeated acts of barbarism serve only to harden the resolve of the victims. In fact terrorism is the ultimate senseless act because it is almost always counter-productive.

Although we are unaware of the motive (at this point) of the Quebec City mosque shooter, if his goal was to somehow turn Quebec society away from Muslims, I cannot think of a stupider act of lunacy, because his actions will have 100% opposite effect.

Watching the reaction of politicians, community activists and reading the many articles and posts on social media, it's plain to see that Quebec society is going through a painful bout of hand-wringing and humiliation where blame for the shooting is being attributed to a societal problem brought about by the painful and acrimonious debate over identity, the 'Charter of Values,' and assimilation, which polarized Quebec into pro and anti camps vis-a-vis the Muslim community.

In reaction to the mosque shooting  a vivid debate has unfolded in the French media with some commentators blaming others for allegedly instilling hatred, particularly on the talk radio scene in Quebec City known collectively as "Radio Poubelle" (Trash Radio.) Even the Premier got into the fray, chiding un-named media types for using harmful words in relation to Muslims.

But as I said, even tragedies have unforeseen benefits and so Mr. Couillard can shelve plans to give in to that portion of Quebec society who want some sort of limitations on religious expression in public life. It was a debate that the Liberals never really wanted but felt compelled to take some action on in order to counter the vocal nationalistic hounds of the PQ who sought to make identity politics a stepping stone to power.

Incredibly, it is also the Muslim community that will benefit from the tragic circumstances and it is the PQ that will be devastated by having the wedge issues of accommodations and secularism, in other words, Muslim-bashing, ripped from under their feet.
In one fell swoop this terrorist act has transformed the public debate away from the issue of the alleged cultural threat that Muslims pose to Quebec society to the issue of the threat to the Muslim minority by extremists egged on by the identity politics of the PQ.
Doubling down on a losing hand, a bewildered Jean François Lisée, leader of the PQ, told reporters in a news conference that the debate on secularism and identity remains legitimate, but if he and the PQ are hoping that the public will soon forget this tragic attack and return to business as usual of Muslim-bashing, they have another think coming. He further went on to say that he hoped nobody (Liberals) would take advantage of the tragedy.
HA! Like that's not going to happen.

Separatist apologists like Richard Martineau of the Journal de Montreal are blaming the shooting on the 'alt.right' movement, while others like Amir Khadir are blaming Donald Trump for the climate of fear, choosing to ignore the climate of hostility towards Muslims that exists in Quebec in the nationalistic and separatist constituencies.

And so the PQ  now finds itself between a rock, a rock and a hard place.
It  was forced to publicly shelve the idea of a referendum in the next election campaign because even the party stalwarts realize that it would be suicide. A recent poll has 70% of under-thirties against independence so time is not exactly on their side.
Since the economy is blossoming under the Couillard government with revenue up and unemployment way down, ( in fact Quebec added more new jobs last year than the other nine provinces combined) there is no economic argument for change that the PQ can make except perhaps to embrace a socialist anti-austerity position, an issue that appeals only to the unionists and students, those who have never voted Liberal anyways.

So the debate over accommodations and assimilation  is something that the PQ planned on building a electoral platform upon along with the only other issue that it can count on, protection of the French language. If the PQ goes ahead with its pursuit of identity politics, they will be crushed, the public is no longer in the mood for it.

The agony is not over, the upcoming trial which is months away will likely keep the story alive for quite a while and like a band-aid that repeatedly gets ripped off in a bad dream, the shooting is going to hurt the PQ day after day, as the party gets saddled as the scapegoat for engendering anti-Muslim sentiment in Quebec.
After all.... Somebody has to pay.

1 comment:

  1. The PQ's racist Charter of PQ Values will not be quickly forgotten by the Province's minority communities. It was a gamble that will take the PQ a generation to recover from.