Good grief. Parti Québécois chief Pauline Marois is proposing an “identity act” for Québec which would grant Québec citizenship to those who speak French, and deny all others the right to hold public office, raise funds for a party, or petition the National Assembly, but says this wouldn’t create two classes of citizens because anyone can learn the language. I’ve become accustomed to this sort of xenophobia but this brings the level of discourse to a new low; Marois states that the bill is important because Quebec’s francophone majority must stop feeling afraid of appearing intolerant, i.e., to immigrants who have not sufficiently assimilated themselves. Perhaps next will be a requirement for public sector employees to hold Quebec citizenship, which actually wouldn’t be so difficult to implement, given that (as of 2001) “cultural-community representation” in public sector employment is a mere 2.2%, despite that group comprising roughly 20% of the population. This would be more troubling if the PQ hadn’t placed third in the last election, since the Liberal minority government is clearly not going to support this. It’s possible the second-place ADQ would vote for this, though, as their base lies solidly in that other 80%.
In other news, I see the evangelical Christian voting bloc in the US has yet to get behind a presidential candidate, which could be interesting since depending who you ask they comprise up to 40% of the electorate. Unsurprisingly, they really don’t seem to like frontrunner Giuliani, although they may still prefer to vote for him over Clinton. But perhaps a significant number will just stay home because they’re feeling uninspired by their choices. I’m interested to see what happens.