Monday, July 17, 2017

UPDATED: I Become Increasingly Disappointed

Only a naif would believe the myth that Canada is a country with a proud tradition of openness and acceptance. Attempts at indigenous assimilation, the the despicable treatment of west coast Japanese and Italian-Canadians during the Second World War are but three examples attesting to our checkered past.

That being said, I have always taken pride in the fact that, relative to many parts of the world, we now do reasonably well in accommodating people from diverse lands and backgrounds. Now even that assumption is cast into doubt. Sadly, in Quebec, it would seem that the pure laine ethos is alive and well.
Residents in Saint-Apollinaire, Que., have rejected a proposal to open a Muslim-run cemetery in their town, dealing a setback to a Muslim community still recovering from a tragic mass shooting six months ago.

The fate of the contentious cemetery project rested in the hands of only 49 eligible voters, and in the end, only 36 turned out to cast ballots. In a referendum on a zoning change that would have allowed the burial ground, 16 people voted Yes and 19 voted No; one ballot was spoiled.

“Ignorance and misunderstanding have won the day,” Mohamed Labidi, president of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, said in an interview on Sunday night. “This is very disappointing. It was just a cemetery. How could we arrive at this result?”

Mr. Labidi said his group would consider going to court to challenge the case. “We are Canadian citizens just like everyone else. Why are we being treated differently? We’re now starting over at zero. We will fight.”
It appears that Mr Labidi is making a discouraging discovery. At least in Quebec, not all Canadian citizens are equal. I grow increasingly disappointed in my fellow-Canadians.

UPDATE: CBC offers the following report:
A far-right group in Quebec is being warned against further political meddling after it was tied to a referendum campaign that successfully managed to block the construction of a Muslim cemetery.

Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume issued a stern rebuke Tuesday to La Meute, a secret Facebook group with more than 43,000 listed members that believes radical Islam is growing in influence in the province.

The group played an active role in the early stages of a campaign against a proposed Muslim cemetery in Saint-Apollinaire, Que., a town of 6,400 that's 35 kilometres southwest of Quebec City.

La Meute supported efforts by resident Sunny Létourneau to gather enough signatures to force the required zoning changes to be submitted to a referendum.


  1. Truly disappointing, Lorne. A blast from the past.

    1. It reminds us to be humble in our claims, Owen.

  2. .. I'm on the record today re this nonsense..
    Last I looked, this was Canada eh..
    and we honor, respect and bury our dead
    and respect & support the bereaved as well..

    Its Implied there are cemetaries..
    whether for urns of ashes..
    or funeral corteges..
    or if we wish to scatter their ashes
    from mountain tops
    or the edge of a lake
    well, that's A-OK too..
    Hell, keep grandma on the mantle
    its none of my business
    nor is what happens in the bedrooms of the nation

    I smell the distinct odour
    of ludicrous miscarriage of justice
    I smell racism.. and abject civic failure

    1. I have nothing to add to you thoughts here, Salamander.

  3. Since when Lorne, does a group of nonmuslim citizens get to decide where Muslims bury their dead?

    Racism is alive and well in Canada. One just has to look at the present day racist treatment of First Nation to know that racism in Canada has been around for over 150yrs.

    A short story. The first mosque in North America was built in Edmonton. Christians helped their Muslim neighbours to build the mosque.

    Muslims have been coming to Canada for over 100 yrs. They have lead peaceful productive lives.So why in the 21st century in Canada are they now scapegoats and the victims of racism.

    It just goes to show that racism can rear its ugly head at any time and against whomever. I have yet to see it directed at white folks though.

    Naheed Nenshi is Muslim and it gave me hope when he was elected the mayor of Calgary, that whenever it is the people making the decisions, they come through. It did not matter that he was Muslim to the people of Calgary. It does seem to matter though to the people of Quebec.

    1. It is unbelievably sad to me, Pamela, that there is no escape from hatred and racism, even in death.