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The once morally righteous Justin Trudeau appears to be selling out every part of his Liberal brand to win back voters in Quebec.
Over the federal campaign, the Prime Minister has made an interesting transition.
The Liberal Leader has gone from the progressive defender of liberal values to the de facto protector of Quebec’s growing sovereigntist movement (all while also triggering Alberta’s own growing desire for secession).
The process has genuinely been uncanny.
In English, the PM remains the clearest on his intent to take on Quebec’s bill 21.
For those living outside the province, the controversial law bans some public-sector employees, including teachers and daycare employees from wearing religious symbols in the workplace, such as hijabs for Muslim women and Kippah for Jewish men.
The law is overwhelmingly popular with Francophones in Quebec, while a significant portion of Anglophones also support the bill.
According to a poll conducted by Leger Marketing and commissioned by the Association for Canadian Studies, roughly 30% of anglophones and more than 70% of francophones think religious symbols should be banned.
A poll by the CAQ government places Anglophone support as high as 43%.
In response to the high level of support, the Quebec government has used the notwithstanding clause in the Constitution to avoid having the law struck down as a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Trudeau in English has said he may at some point intervene, maybe.
As sad as that sounds, that is the best Canadian leaders could muster.
But when Trudeau steps over into Quebec itself, an area he must sweep to retain his position as Prime Minister, his beliefs magically change in French.
Trudeau, like Kellie Leitch, whom he once detested for her arguing the same thing, now states Quebec has the right to impose a test on immigrants in order to protect its language and identity. In Trudeau’s own words, “it’s appropriate.”
The PM has even refused to comment on the discriminatory nature of bill 21 more than once. Of course, this should be unsurprising, as even before the campaign, there were clear signs that the politics of inclusion did not apply to Quebec.
For example, Trudeau allowed the province to lower the number of immigrants it takes in temporarily, a move that supposedly went against the very moral fibre of the government’s basic principles since being elected.
While Trudeau has been willing to brand his many federal opponents as bigots in search of votes for these same views, the PM’s doublespeak on minority policies reveals something far worse–the clear possibility that he would sell out every single immigrant and practicing Jew, Muslim, or Christian if it meant securing more votes.
This is isn’t a politics of morality, where minorities are protected, and diversity is a strength.
Instead, we have something rather sinister, a politics where minority groups are used as props as long as it benefits a party’s chances of winning. And what happens when the odds stop working in favour of the party, you may ask?
Well, as shown by the PM’s continued kowtowing, the party throws the minority to the wolves and finds the next group it can sucker in.