When Justin Trudeau first met Donald Trump face-to-face last February, the contrast between the Canadian prime minister and the American president couldn’t have been any sharper. Mr. Trudeau, worldly and dapper, can barely open his mouth without extolling Canada’s cheery multiculturalism or its open-border globalism. Mr. Trump lurches from thinly concealed xenophobia to America-first protectionism by way of insults and tirades.
Yet Mr. Trudeau survived their meeting and has remained in Mr. Trump’s good graces ever since. “I like the prime minister very much,” Mr. Trump told a gathering of his supporters last December. “Nice guy. Good guy.”
Mr. Trudeau’s smooth relationship with Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
A veil-wearing Muslim woman in Quebec can’t work as a provincial civil servant or a municipal garbage collector without removing her face covering. She’s prohibited from teaching, participating in P.T.A. meetings, paying her taxes in person or borrowing a book from the library while wearing her veil. When taking public transportation, she has a choice: show her face to the bus driver or order an Uber.
Canada is perhaps best known for its cheery multiculturalism and its equally cheery prime minister, Justin Trudeau. Yet Quebec, the province where Mr. Trudeau spent much of his life, last month put a ban on the face coverings worn by a handful of Muslim women, prompting a fractious debate over the place of non-Christian religions in Canada’s only French-speaking province.… Seguir leyendo »
Black-market marijuana has been very good for Michael.
For 22 years, he has grown and sold the stuff in and around Montreal. An illegal activity punishable by up to life in prison, selling the pungent bounty that he cultivates in his basement has nonetheless given Michael the sheen of middle-class respectability (though he would not give me his real name for fear of legal repercussions).
Marijuana paid for the bungalow and a half-acre of land in a Montreal suburb. It paid for vacations, golf memberships and his Mercedes. In his bachelor years, it paid for his copious restaurant bills. Now it keeps his young children in hockey gear.… Seguir leyendo »
“Where is it written in the criminal code that I don’t have the right to leave someone a pig’s head? Is it Islamophobic? Well, no, it’s just an anodyne gesture.”
So said the Quebec City radio host Éric Duhaime last summer, two days after a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec, the city’s largest mosque. The severed bloodied head was wrapped in cellophane and festooned with ribbons.
The culprits were never caught, though Mr. Duhaime was quick to come to their defense. The infraction, he said on air, was only a “bad joke,” comparing it to the times when, as a teenager, he would order pizzas to be delivered late at night to his neighbor’s house.… Seguir leyendo »
The term “Canadian values” is normally a harmless cliché — a reminder that the planet’s second largest country by land mass is a Boy Scout-like bastion of tolerance and fairness. This trope regained some of its luster with last fall’s election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who might as well be the country’s Boy Scout in chief.
“We’re Canadian, and we’re here to help,” the youthful 44-year-old said in an address to the United Nations General Assembly recently.
Were it up to Kellie Leitch, Canadian values would take a distinctly different turn. Ms. Leitch, a member of Parliament and one of seven registered candidates for leader of the Conservative Party, wants to screen immigrants for what she calls “anti-Canadian values.”
Ms.… Seguir leyendo »
It is easy to tut-tut the overindulgences of the American right. For Canadians, it is practically a birthright. None of our politicians, many of us would like to believe, would dare invoke the Trumpian galaxy of Mexican rapists, or ponder publicly, as the Republican nominee Ben Carson did, that Europe’s Jews would have fared better against Hitler if only the Third Reich hadn’t instituted gun control.
Yet over the last several weeks of an increasingly caustic election campaign, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canada’s ruling Conservative Party have managed to erase much of our trademark smugness.
Faced with a stalling economy and a corresponding dip in the polls, Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
Canada, so the reigning cliché goes, is a peaceable country, the quaint counterpoint to the aggressive ways of its southern neighbor. And while part of that cliché is hardly true — we’ve seen our fair share of wars — its central idea generally holds: Canadians tend to be less reactionary in the face of a perceived threat. Witness how Canada didn’t participate in the Vietnam War, or the Iraq invasion in 2003. Cooler heads prevailed, perhaps because (to borrow another cliché) they were watching a hockey game.
Two recent attacks on Canadian soldiers threaten to lay waste to this cheery sensibility.… Seguir leyendo »
In Quebec, Canada’s second most populous province, the governing Parti Québécois plans to prohibit government employees from wearing “overt and conspicuous” religious symbols while on the job. Everyone from judges to teachers would have to doff their hijabs, kippas, niqabs, turbans and outsize crucifixes. Day care centers would be forbidden to serve kosher or halal foods. Government workers would be allowed to cover their faces only for weather-related — not religious — reasons.
Bernard Drainville, the provincial minister responsible for the ban, part of a so-called Charter of Quebec Values, said it was necessary to “recognize and affirm some of the fundamental values that define us as Quebecers.” But far from unifying the province, the issue has underscored the divisions between the chaotic, multicultural island city of Montreal and the mostly white hinterland beyond its shores.… Seguir leyendo »