PSAC rejects Bloc Québécois proposal on federal government services


People hold up signs during a demonstration in Montreal on April 7 in opposition to the Quebec government’s Bill 21. The legislation proposes to ban some public servants from wearing religious symbols in the workplace. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

The Public Service Alliance of Canada firmly opposes the Bloc Québécois’ proposal to restrict Quebeckers’ ability to work in the federal public service, and their ability to receive important services from the federal government –including the right to vote.

Inspired by Quebec’s widely condemned Bill 21, the Bloc’s proposal would force federal government workers to have their face uncovered in the course of their work, and would also force Quebeckers to have their face uncovered when receiving a federal service for identification or security purposes.

The proposal would also significantly limit their ability to vote.

There are broadly no issues with the delivery or receipt of federal services because of face coverings; nor is there any record of widespread voter fraud in federal elections because of face coverings. In attempting to address ‘problems’ that do not exist, the Bloc Québécois has revealed their recent policy announcement for what it is: an attempt at inflaming anti-immigrant and racist sentiment.

It is also clear that this proposal is targeting Muslim women. Any legislation that requires individuals to remove their religious garment is unconstitutional and discriminatory on the basis of religion, race and gender. Furthermore, this type of legislation would deliver a dangerous precedent in which a government can dictate what a woman can or cannot wear.

The only thing this proposal will accomplish is the increase of anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, racist, and sexist sentiments, as well as incidents, both in the workplace and outside of it.

Conservatives embrace populism, rage at Trudeau, talk separation at annual gathering


Danielle Smith, a former Alberta MLA for the Wildrose Party and Progressive Conservative Party and now a Global News Radio host, shakes hands with Ontario Premier Doug Ford on March 23 in Ottawa. Photo by Kamara Morozuk

Two or three decades ago, Preston Manning’s Reform Party was seen as embodying a right-wing populist movement in Western Canada that advocated for shrinking government by cutting social welfare and culture programming.

Lately, however, right-wing populism has been associated with the nationalist, anti-immigrant and authoritarian tendencies of leaders like U.S. President Donald Trump, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Concern about keeping climate change in check less vocal than concern about maintaining a prosperous oil industry, @ottawacarl reports from the Manning Networking Conference, an annual conservative meetup.

Conservative leaders Jason Kenney of the Alberta United Conservative Party and Andrew Scheer of the federal Conservative Party have also been accused lately of being too tolerant of white nationalism.

None of that, however, stopped the conservative leader of Canada’s most populous province from grasping the mantle of populism during an appearance on stage Saturday at the Manning Networking Conference, an annual right-of-centre gathering in Ottawa.

“If you want to call me a populist, sure. But I call it listening. Listening to the people. Not the full-time protesters, not the activists,” said Ford, who received a standing ovation. MORE