Categories
Ethics Immigration

Failing the Values Test

This article in the Gazette offers examples of five questions from the new Quebec values test. I confess that if I answered them honestly, I would fail. Let me illustrate.

1. In Quebec, women and men have the same rights and this is inscribed in law. True. False.

The same rights as whom? Each other? Other men and women?

In fact, the people with the most rights are rich old white men. There is plenty of evidence that the justice system is tilted to favour them. I have seen numerous examples of this with my own eyes, both in Quebec and elsewhere.

The people with the fewest rights are young indigenous women. Especially if they’re missing or murdered. Perhaps the mechanisms of the law will be moved to help them. Maybe. Unless a rich old white man is indifferent to their plight. Which is most of the time.

Maybe if the question had asked whether they have the same rights as each other in theory. Though even then, it’s hard to make the case.

2. Choose the illustration or illustrations that indicate who is allowed to marry in Quebec. The illustrations depict: two men; two women and one man; two women; a man and a woman; two men and one woman.

The putatively correct answers are those with fewer than three people. It is not explained why the cut-off is two. This is especially ironic coming right after the question suggesting that everyone has the same rights.

A more challenging question here would be to ask whether old men can marry children (whether one, two, or many). Or whether people can act as though they’re married even though they’re not. Things like that.

I’d probably get this one right because it asks a factual question about what the law states, not a theoretical question about how it’s applied.

3. Identify which situations involved discrimination. A job refused: to a pregnant woman; to a person lacking the required diploma; to a person because of their ethnic background.

They are of course all situations that involve discrimination.

The intent of course is to ask which of these involves discrimination prohibited by law. But of course there’s the law as written, and the law as applied, and these are two different things.

For example: the Montreal Canadiens refuse to employ a pregnent women as a power forward on the second line. Is this because she is a woman, because she is pregnant, or because she didn’t make the team? Bonus points if you can answer in the case where the player is Hayley Wickenheiser.

Discrimination takes place in fact, and is often sanctioned in law, even if it is the sort of discrimination that is prohibited in theory.

4. Since March 27, 2019 by virtue of the secularism of state law, all new police officers may not wear religious symbols. True. False.

So, this is false.

Christians may wear their small crosses under their uniforms. Jedi can wear their Star Wars underwear.

The only religious symbols actually prohibited by the law are the visible religious symbols worn by some minorities that make Christians uncomfortable – turbans, kirpans, yarmulke, Odin-horns.

5. What is the official language of Quebec? French; Spanish; English; French and English.

Canada is officially bilingual, and Quebec is a part of Canada, so the answer is ‘French and English’.

That’s why when you’re in an airplane in Montreal, as I was just a couple of days ago, all the announcements are in English and French. Also Arabic, which is what was spoken by 90% of the people in the plane.

French is the official language of the government of Quebec, but that (of course) is not the same things as Quebec.

———-

That’s the problem with a values test.

I get that the government wants to get the message across to new immigrants that women are equal, gay marriage is permitted, job discrimination is prohibited, there is a secular government, and there is a common (linguistic) culture.

But the way to establish this is not to put the values in a test, unless the questions in the test are very carefully worded. The test provided here requires the respondent to answer with known falsehoods in four of the five questions.

It’s also unreasonable to require that new immigrants share a set of values and attributes a large number of people already living in the country do not possess.

We should promote our values, not by forcing them on people, but by living them, and proving by our own example how tolerance and respect for others creates a better society.

Categories
Environment Media

Responding to Sky News

I’ll quote this extract, posted on LinkedIn, in full:

Excellent response from a journalist from Skynews Australia to the youth who recently showed for the climate:

” …you are the first generation to have asked for air conditioning in every classroom; your lessons are all made to the computer; you have a television in each room; you spend all day using electronic means instead of walking to go at school, you take all kinds of means of transport. You are the biggest consumer of consumer goods in all history, you constantly buy the most expensive clothes to be “trend”, your protest is announced by digital and electronic means.

Kids, before protest, turn off the air conditioning, go to school on foot, turn off your phones and read a book.

None of this will happen, because you are selfish, poorly educated, manipulated by people who use you, saying you have a noble cause while having fun in the most insane western luxury. Wake up and close it. Learn about the facts before you protest and start by respecting your elders “.

First of all, the youth has a name: she is Greta Thunberg. Here is her address to the United Nations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9KxE4Kv9A8

Now for my response to the criticism.

Doesn’t the writer see the irony in this: “you are the first generation to have asked for air conditioning in every classroom?” They are complaining about global warming. One of the first effects, especially in Australia, is that it’s hotter.

But a lot of his vitriol is aimed at the use of electronics. “Read a book,” he advises. This is rich. I live in a nation where virtually all of the old growth forest was removed so that people like him could read a book. The paper production industry continues to destroy land and pollute the environment. Now it’s true that electronic media use a lot of power. But there’s no reason why this can’t be – especially in Australia – solar power. That is your fault, not the fault of the youth.

He also complains that youth use all sorts of means of transport instead of walking. Perhaps he hasn’t seen how cities are designed these days. Mostly, there is no public transport. They are spread out over wide areas and gas-fueled cars and buses are the only means of transportation. It is physically impossible to walk most places in a reasonable amount of time. All of that is your fault, not the fault of the youth.

He complains that youth are “the biggest consumer of consumer goods in all history.” The youth, looking at the McMansions and SUVs owned by their parents, might be surprised to hear that. But even they were the biggest consumers of goods, it was not them that created an economy dedicated to consumer spending, where demand is created by relentless advertising and media coverage. All of that is your fault, not the fault of the youth.

He complains that youth should “Learn about the facts before you protest.” We could ask who it was that was responsible for educating the youth. We could ask who it was that created climate change denial, misinformation, and fake news. On this issue especially, the older generation has been actively engaged in making it difficult to learn about climate change. And to this day, with columns like this, you continue to lie and mislead. All of that is your fault, not the fault of the youth.

The fact is, there is nothing the youth can practically do on their own that will make a difference, other than what they’re doing. They own none of the wealth and power that have created and powered an economy that is out of control and destroying the planet. In a world where dollars count as votes, they have no votes. The planet is being destroyed by the elder generation and its industries, and they respond by denying there’s a crisis, by saying they cannot afford to take their foot off the gas, and by blaming the youth.