The Québécois are racists

According to Statistics Canada, unemployment rates for immigrants living in Québec in 2006 were significantly higher than for immigrants in any other province. For very recent immigrants, the unemployment rate in Québec was an estimated 17.8%. This was nearly three times as large as the Canadian-born unemployment rate in Québec (6.3%). For recent immigrants, the unemployment rate was still more than double the Canadian-born rate in Québec (13.4% vs. 6.3%). Such hard evidence doesn't lie; the Québécois are racists. That's what some people want to believe and it's kind of hard to argue.

Still, my personal experience is that Québec's society is generally curious and welcoming for minorities. I mean... that's what those I've met in school, at work or in my leisure time have been telling me. Although I've seen some discontent, I've never experienced it up close. Of course, there's the occasional "maudit [fill in the blank]!" here and there, but most of the time, it's more along the lines of an aggravating "Fatso!" than a true racist slur. I think the average Jean-Guy is more exuberant than the average Doug.

The Bouchard-Taylor hearings?... xenophobic you say?... maybe. But the media mostly focused on the controversy and some testimonies were consistent with my personal observations. Most clashes presented at the hearings were religious based, not of the racial type or out of fear of the stranger. Having booted the Catholic Church stronghold out of the public place less than 50 years ago, the Québécois know exactly where religion, whichever one, can lead some people.

The Québécois are worried about the 'purity' of their lineage?.... not sure either. Most have Amerind blood running down their veins and don't seem to mind it. In 2006, the Québécois, with a smaller population, adopted a third more non-Caucasian babies than Ontarians.

Intolerant?... probably not. In 2006, five census metropolitan areas had police-reported rates of hate-motivated crime that were well above the national average of 3.1 per 100,000 population. Calgary led with a rate of 9.1 incidents for every 100,000 population, followed by Kingston (8.5), Ottawa (6.6), London (5.9) and Toronto (5.5). Provincial comparisons of hate crime were limited to Québec, Ontario and British Columbia. Ontario was highest at 4.1 incidents per 100,000 population, followed by British Columbia (2.5) and Québec (1.4).

Immigrant unemployment rates is hard evidence that the Québécois are racists?... perhaps, but that's not the only explanation. Signed in 1991, the Canada-Québec Accord came on the heels of the failure of the Meech Lake Accord and largely accomplished what would have taken place in the area of immigration had Meech Lake passed. Similar agreements followed for other provinces, but the Canada-Québec Accord gives the province the most latitude. Is it possible that federal civil services are doing a better job at finding immigrant skills for the market needs?


Anonymous said...

Could high unemployment rates in Quebec be because their immigration policy is such that it would include almost exclusively unilingual French people from former French colonies (ie most of North and sub-Saharan Africa, Haiti...).
Also in semi-rural Quebec, there is a really obvious racist attitude towards people of colour and Native Canadians, I have found. It seems a little naive, considering that most of the people around here in Western Quebec have some native blood in them somewhere up the family tree.
I know because I worked in a dépanneur for 5 years, so I got to see the full cross-section of society.

Anonymous said...

This information is contrary to the advice I get frequently offered in Quebec, that Quebec is the only truly multicultural province in Canada and the only truly welcoming place, as opposed to white, protestant, anglo-saxon Toronto, or whatever. Interesting.

Michel Bolduc said...

To Anonymous of Sept. 5, 2009 8:34 AM,

Have you compared your empirical observations at the dépanneur with similar samples in other Canadian regions? Inter-provincial stats would tend to forecast even more racist behavior. Can you refute this?

You write that immigration policy is such that it includes almost exclusively unilingual French people from former French colonies, but it's not that simple. Knowledge of French is only one of many aspects that are taken into account. In 2007, 60% of immigrants knew French and more than half of these immigrants also knew English.

Anonymous said...

I'm still laughing (no offence to anyone) at the idea that Toronto is white, anglo-saxon, protestant! My God, those people giving that advice need to visit Toronto! It hasn't been like that in 50 years! The only thing that would be true is the Anglo-Saxon structure of gov't is intact, just as it is in Québec, for that matter. 50% of the city was born in another country and there is no place in Québec that is as multicultural as that.

Anonymous said...

(and saying there is no place as multicultural as Toronto in Québec is not a jab at Québec or its immigration policy...it is just a fact that Toronto is more multicultural as it takes in significantly more immigrants...infact, I think the Greater Toronto Area takes in more immigrants and refugees than all of the province of Québec! Toronto alone takes in 43% of the entire country's immigrants...)

Michel Bolduc said...

I have been to Toronto many times for business and leisure in the last several years. I can attest to the fact that the city is more ethnically diversified than Montréal. What some Torontonians have told me however, is that ethnic groups don't mix with the majority as easily as they do in Montréal. Unfortunately, these are only observations.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, as a person who vacations in Montréal and Québec, I'm hesitant to make any grand declarations about how life is there. Having been born and raised in Toronto, I'll share the observation that the mixing of races tends to be a generational issue. People born in the sixties (age of my parents) tend to have made most of their friends ages ago and continue to mix in the same circles to this day, which are usually mostly white. People my age (twenties) usually went to schools where whites were a minority like anybody else and have friends from every ethnic group. Socio-economic background also play a role because some neighbourhoods are more mixed than others, bringing about a natural mixing of ethnic groups in some areas more than others. Some of the richer parts of Toronto tend to be overwhelmingly white to this day, particularly in areas that are made up predominantly of old money. I'm not sure how that measures up to Montréal, but those are my personal observations having been born and raised here, for whatever they're worth.

home staging Toronto said...

Well, it doesn't necessarily have to mean Quebec is racist. True, though, that here in Ontario the situation might be better. The immigrants are certainly not perfectly integrated into society here either. But where in the world are they?