The PQ feels that halal meat should be labeled for consumers to make an informed decision. Sounds reasonable... no issue here... next! The PQ claims the traditional religious ritual used to kill the animals hurts Québec values because it is inhumane... oops!
When I read about it [Google translation] in La presse, I thought: "wow!... this is great material for the federalist press". I was right. It didn't take very long for The Globe and Mail to write an editorial about it... headlining that "Québec's controversy over halal meat is another manifestation of politics of exclusion"... yep!... "another manifestation of politics of exclusion".
According to the editorial, if critics of the practice could show that animals are made to suffer more than those slaughtered by the usual methods, then the objections would have merit. To me, an exhaustive coverage of the controversy, even for an opinion piece, would also have merit.
Three things come to mind. First, the editorial barely touches the PQ's main point, i.e. that halal meat should be properly labeled for consumers to make an informed decision. Second, the editorial makes no mention of Charest supporting appropriate labeling of foods produced under religious rites. Third, it neglects to mention that the CAQ also shares the PQ's point of view. That's it... three simple items that could have been part of the editorial.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not defending the PQ's use of Québec's values to appeal to some while ostracizing others. I may not be convinced that religious rites in food distribution (click here for some real examples) are still as justified today as they were when devised, but I respect them. In contrast to the editorial's conclusion, and like the majority of Québécois, I easily find common ground with recently arrived immigrants, and don't particularly feel tempted by the politics of exclusion.
My point has more to do with the Globe's intent. As it is too often the case, this was too good an opportunity to not hit the nail of intolerance and demonize the sovereigntists again (click here for more)... especially in the favorable light the PQ has been recently looked at.
Still... it strikes me how quick federalists are to jump on such incidents. It's as if intolerance and exclusion were the only handles they had to counter the appeal for a sovereign Québec. I wish federalists spent half the efforts boasting the merit of our great country. Is this too much to ask?