Quebec Election 2018 : Get To Know The Parties You’ll Be Voting For; Be prepared for one of the province’s most adversarial elections in years.

The Quebec parties are gearing up in preparation for a day that will shape the province’s political landscape for the next four years.

The Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), Coalition for Quebec’s Future (CAQ), Solidarity Quebec (QS), Quebec Party (PQ) and Green Party of Quebec (PVQ) are currently all in full election mode: new star candidates have been introduced in multiple major constituencies; presentations and promises on social and economic projects have been made; party leaders have visited different districts across the province.

All this activity demonstrates how competitive this election has become.

At the moment, it appears that CAQ leads, followed by PLQ, according to surveys. For the first time in a while, the PLQ is facing a formidable political adversary who has been climbing the ladder of popularity in the polls. The CAQ is trying to present itself as the alternative choice for both the traditional supporters of both the PLQ and the PQ.

The challenge that both PLQ and PQ are facing by the rising political power, the CAQ, is that it presents itself as a party that believes in keeping Quebec within the Canadian confederation — it is a federalist group competing with the PLQ on its traditional political territory. In parallel, the CAQ competes with the PQ in its own sphere by demonstrating a “nationalistic” ideology, the term that Mr. Legault, the party. chief prefers to use instead of being labelled a sovereignist who’s tough on the language issue, immigration policies and on the civic rights of the province’s minorities.

By having the sovereignty off the elections table for the first time in decades, the focus has turned to immigration as substitute.

Liberal Party of Quebec

Founded July 1, 1867, the PLQ believes in social democracy and is considered centre to centre-right. It is a federalist provincial political party and has been independent of the federal Liberal Party of Canada since 1955

In reflecting it’s rhetoric of inclusion and diversity, the PLQ, in the current elections, has chosen many candidates from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds to run in order to be elected as members of the National Assembly in Quebec City.

The PLQ has traditionally supported Quebec remaining within the Canadian federation, while also supporting reforms that would allow Quebec a substantial level of autonomy. The party believes in a strong governmental role in the economy and supports socially liberal policies.

The PLQ has its marks in Quebec politics since the beginning of the Quiet Revolution, which dramatically changed Québec society. It has literally formed all governments in the province since 2003, whether minority ones or majority, with the exception of 2012-2014 that was formed by the PQ.

In October of 1967, the former cabinet minister René Lévesque’s requested that the party endorse his plan for sovereignty association , which the PLQ refused to do. As a result, some Liberals, including Senior Cabinet Minister René Lévesque, left the Liberals to join the sovereignty movement, participating in the founding of the Parti Québécois (PQ) under Lévesque’s leadership.

Coalition for Quebec’s Future

The CAQ is considered a centre-right provincial political party in Quebec. It was founded by former Parti Québécois cabinet minister François Legault. Although party opponents question Mr. Legault’s position on Quebec sovereignty, he continually denies his eagerness for any referendum over the subject.

On the other hand, the party has engaged in what many consider “divisive” policies and rhetoric against new arrivals and other cultural communities within the province. The party has capitalized on the fear surrounding identity and independency as citizens of Quebec.

In recent statements, Mr. Legual, clearly expressed vision on cutting on immigration and the obligation on all newcomers to learn French. By creating an uneasy atmosphere, CAQ is risking more alienation of the new comers which may lead to their departure to other provinces. However, it seems that Mr. Legault’s, at this time, eyes are more into getting more votes in the elections that analysing the well-being of the new immigrants and their positive contribution to Quebec society .

Solidarity Quebec

The Québec solidaire party (QS) is a democratic socialist, sovereigntist, left-wing political party in Quebec. It was founded by Mrs. Françoise David, a renowned feminist icon in the province.

The QS shares the same ultimate goal as other Quebec political parties: to separate from Canada. However, the party doesn’t carry the flag of separation at all times; rather, they focus on the social aspects of society in Quebec. The QS believes in what is thought of as more “fair and just “economy policies. In its published program, QS spoke about fighting poverty by granting minimum income for those who are in need. Furthermore, the party has promised to work on humanizing work place by reducing working hours, fighting discrimination and strengthening unions.

A crucial and positive difference between the QS and some of the other parties is that the QS chooses not to use the stigma surrounding the cultural, racial or religious communities the province as a weapon. The party has pushed for some initiatives to achieve inclusivity in certain areas.

In 2015, during the first session of the school year, Mrs. Francois David visited a Muslim community school. Following her visit, she was bombarded with an Islamophobic smear campaign targeting her personally. In spite of that, on Oct. 1, 2015, Quebec National Assembly witnessed a symbolic milestone motion presented by Mr. David which saw an unanimously agreed upon condemnation of Islamophobia in Quebec.

The QS has recently provided various community activists a chance to run in the coming general elections.

Quebec Party

The PQ is the provincial political party in Quebec. The PQ advocates for national sovereignty for Quebec which involves independence from Canada and establishing an autonomous state.

The PQ is the result of the 1968 merger between former Quebec Liberal Party cabinet minister René Lévesque’s Mouvement Souveraineté-Association and the Ralliement National. Following the creation of the PQ, the Rassemblement pour l’Indépendance Nationale held a general assembly that voted to dissolve the RIN. Its former members were invited to join the new Parti Québécois.

In 1976, the Quebec elections witnessed the first-ever formation of a provincial government by a sovereign political party. At its start-up, the PQ labelled itself as progressive left wing. However, they have created very tense and shaky relations with the cultural communities in Quebec. The party has always been seen doling out very tough and harsh policies and rhetoric against Quebecers of different cultural and religious backgrounds.

Although, the party is facing true challenge in this coming elections be being ranked far third in the recent polls, however, it’s clear that it misses the momentum to adapt its political platform to the general population in Quebec.

When it comes to how the party view its relation with other cultural groups in the province, the “chart des valeurs” presented by the PQ is considered the manifestation of such policies towards diverse Quebecers. After their outstanding defeat in the 2014 elections, the party has witnessed tremendous political blows whose waves are felt up till now.

Green Party of Quebec

The PVQ is a Quebec political party whose platform is based on promoting greener values. They are orientated towards the promotion of sustainable development and participatory democracy. The party wants to differentiate itself from other political parties in Quebec by representing the left federalists of the province.

The PVQ is a coalition of activists and citizens for whom environmental issues are a priority. They believe that the government should help form a greener and more equal and democratic society. Their main principles are inspired by the Global Greens Charter which revolves around six main ideas: ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, sustainability and respect for diversity.

The PVQ has promoted diversity in the province by promoting women candidates from different Quebec ethnic, cultural and religious groups.

This blog is intended to give a brief general idea of the main political provincial parties participating in the Quebec general elections, which are to be held on Oct. 1, 2018. As we draw nearer to this date, it must be reminded that Quebecers have proven time and again that when it comes to the moment of truth, politically, their love, unity and harmony has trumped many attempts at fear-mongering and disillusionment.

Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF).

Increase women participation in society

From Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez to Rashida Tlaib in the US Congressional Election to Souad Abderrahim as the first woman in Africa to win the post of mayor of Tunis in Tunisia, names have been blurred in the media in the last two days to be added to their peers in a number of countries, Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Africa, South America and other parts of the world.

Of course, this is in addition to those women “fighters” who work on the ground, many behind the scenes here in Montreal and in Canada. We have the honor that some of them have been in the front lines of the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF) for a long time, continuously, none stop. And there are others are also present in many important locations and spots are around the world. And the whole universe witnesses and can’t deny  women’s struggles and sacrifices.

Those women have shown that they have borne the concerns of their societies and fought for them without dispensing on the beliefs and values ​​that characterize them; they still pride themselves with their identity and distinctiveness.

We raise the hats of respect for women who have assumed the same heavy responsibilities as men.

It is the ethical, practical and spiritual duty to support the movement to demand the participation of women who have sincerity, values ​​and love of good for all to have a leading role in society at all levels.

*Samer Majzoub


متى سيَنْعَمُ الكنديونَ بتدابيرِ مكافحةِ رهابِ الإسلامِ؟

متى سيَنْعَمُ الكنديونَ بتدابيرِ مكافحةِ رهابِ الإسلامِ؟

بقلمِ ميراندا غالُّو وسامر المجذوب

(نشرت باللغة الانكليزية في صحيفة هافنغتن بوست)

لن تواجه الحكومة الفدرالية صعوبةً لو قررت تفعيل توصياتِ التقرير المتعلق بالمذكرة المئة والثلاثة (M-103) مع تزايد الدعم الشعبي لهذه الخطوة. 
فمنذ عام 2012 تسهد كندا ارتفاعاً مُطَّرداً في المواقف والحوادث العدائية التي يتعرض لها المسلمون، التي بلغت ذروتَها في الاعتداء الذي استهدف مسجداً من مساجد مدينة كيبك في التاسع والعشرين من كانون الثاني عام 2017، فأودى بحياة ستة وجرحَ تسعة عشر من المسلمين. وقد وعد رئيس الحكومة عقِبَ الاعتداء بدعم المسلمين، مؤكداً النية في “الدفاع عنهم ومناصرتهم”.
وبناءً على المذكرة المئة والثلاثة التي قدَّمتها النائب اللبرالية إقرأ خالد، كُلِّفَت اللجنة الموكلة بالتراث الكندي بإجراء دراسةٍ بشأن كيفية محاصرة العنصرية الممنهجة والتمييز بسبب الدين أو القضاء عليهما، ومن ضمن ذلك مكافحة رهاب الإسلام في كندا. وأخيراً في الأول من شباط، أي بعد عامين تقريباً من دعوة قرابة 70,000 كنديٍّ الحكومةَ لإدانة رهاب الإسلام في العريضة الشبكية (الالكترونية) “إي 411” التي وجهوها إليها، أُصدِرَ التقرير والتوصيات بشأن المذكرة المئة والثلاثة إلى العامة. 
تُظهِرُ بيانات دراسة إحصائية حديثة أجراها “شركاء إيكوس للبحوث” بِاسم “المنتدى الاسلامي الكندي” (CMF) و”الكنديين العاملين للعدالة والسلام في الشرق الأوسط” (CJPME) أنَّ كُثُراً متخوفون بسبب ارتفاع مستوى رهاب الاسلام في كندا، وأنهم يريدون أن تعمل الحكومة لحماية التقاليد الثقافية على تنوعها. 
كذلك أظهرت الدراسة أن الكنديين يُقرُّون بِكَونِ رهاب الاسلام مشكلةً قائمةً، يرفضونها بشدة، ويتوقعون من الحكومة أن تتحرك لمعالجتها. والحقيقة أنَّ نسبة ضخمة- 81%- من الكنديين تقرُّ بوجود رهاب الاسلام في كندا. 
وتشير الدراسة المشتركة التي أسس لها “المنتدى الاسلامي الكندي” و”الكنديون العاملون لأجل العدالة والسلام في الشرق الأوسط” أنَّ غالبية الكنديين تدعم التوصيات الفاعلة لهذا الوقت التي أُصدِرَت بناءً على مذكرة “أم 103″، منها التوصية الثانية والعشرين من التقرير، التي تؤكد أنَّ “على الحكومة الكندية الاضطلاع بدور قياديٍّ كبيرٍ كَي تدين بقوةٍ العنصرية الممنهجة والتمييز بسبب الدين، ومن ضمن ذلك رهاب الاسلام”. وفعلاً أظهرت نتائج الدراسة أنَّ 77% من مناصِري حزب الأحرار (اللبرال) و60% من الكنديين بشكل عام يتفقون على أنَّ عَلى الحكومة التحرك لمجابهة رهاب الاسلام في كندا. 
فلَدى سؤالهم عن “الطريقة الفضلى التي على الحكومة انتهاجها للتعامل مع التحديات التي يأتي بها التنوع الثقافي اليوم”، أبدى الكنديون الذين شملتهم الدراسة دعمهم لكل مسارات التحرك الذي أوصَت به اللجنة. التوصية التاسعة والعشرون من المذكرة “أم 103″، مثلاً، تدعو الحكومة إلى ضمانِ قيامِ المؤسسات القانونية المعنية “برصدِ الخطاب الحاقد على شبكة الانترنت وتفعيل القوانين القائمة” بشكلٍ أفضلَ. 
وكان أكثر مسارات التحرك أهمية بنظر الكنديين المشاركين في الدراسة “إِعمالُ القوانين القائمة بشكلِ أفضل لحماية الأقليات من التمييز العنصري والجرائم الحاقدة”. وقد أيَّد هذه المقاربةَ 48% من المشاركين، ما يشير إلى ثقة الكنديين بالآليات القائمة لدعم التنوع الثقافي. وفي السياق نفسه، يعتقد 42% من الكنديين أنَّ على الحكومة “تدريب موظفيها كي يُداروا الناس على اختلاف ثقافاتهم”، وهذا أمرٌ مذكورٍ في عددٍ من التوصيات في تقرير اللجنة. 
لكن من المُحزِن أنَّ اللجنة لم تستطِع، بعد عامٍ من تلقي الإفادات والدراسة، أنْ تضع تعريفاً ملائماً لمعالجة رهاب الإسلام. فمِن الظاهر أنَّ الجزءَ الأكبر من المعارضة التي وُوجِهَت بها المذكرة كان بسبب “اللبْس” في تعريف رهاب الاسلام، وقد أخفقت اللجنة في معالجة المسألة والإتيان بإجماعٍ بُغيةَ التقدم في حلِّها.
وجاءَت المواجهة الكبيرة في طريق المذكرة بسبب الأصوات التي تؤيد الجهات اليمينية، التي ادَّعَت أنَّ مصطلح “رهاب الاسلام” فيه لبْسَ، في حين أنَّ نتائج الدراسة تُظهِرُ أنَّ 70% من الكنديين قد اتّضح معنى رهاب الاسلام فعلاً بالنسبة لهم. وعليه، إن اتّضحَ التعريف بالنسبة للكنديين، فبالتأكيد تستطيع اللجنة الموكَّلة بمعالجة رهاب الاسلام التوصل إلى صيغة واضحة بشأنه.
يُقال إنَّ الأعمال أشدُّ وقْعاً من الكلمات، وهو كذلك. إذاً حتماً لا بد للحكومة الفدرالية من التحرك الآن وقد بات المسلمون يواجَهون بالتمييز العنصري في كل أنحاء كندا.
لقد انتظر كنديون كُثُر المجلسَ النيابيَّسنواتٍ ريثما يُقرُّ بحقيقة رهاب الاسلام في كندا. لن تواجه الحكومة الفدرالية صعوبةً لو قررت تفعيل توصياتِ التقرير المتعلق بالمذكرة المئة والثلاثة (M-103) مع تزايد الدعم الشعبي لهذه الخطوة، وعليها أن تتحرك لمساندة المسلمين.
(نشرت باللغة الانكليزية في صحيفة هافنغتن بوست)

Article: Justice Has Yet To Be Served For Indigenous Women

For years, calls have been made to society’s stakeholders, particularly various governments, to establish some sort of proper procedure to determine why Indigenous women have been the subjects of extreme violence and mostly unsolved disappearances for so long. 

At one point, Patricia Hajdu, the ex-minister for the status of women, had said that research emerging from the Native Women’s Association of Canada has shown that the number of victims was much higher than the 1,200 noted in a 2014 report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). She suggested that as many as 4,000 indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered over the past three decades. 

Broken families of the missing and murdered women have come forward many times to publicly share the pain and misery they have felt over their losses, and sometimes the unimaginable anguish that comes with not knowing the actual fates of those who go missing nor what kind of circumstances the women and girls are going through. 

Violence against Indigenous women has been prominent for a long time now. The devastation such violence leaves behind as well as the long-term damages should have led to an earlier awareness and, as a result, firmer decisions by policymakers in order to tackle the issue. But for too long, there were delays to put into place concrete actions to shed the light on the situation. It was not until 2016 that the federal government decided to officially hear from the victims’ relatives and other relevant details throughout an exceptional commission it launched as a special National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

 The commission is supposed to be probing the systemic roots of the violence against aboriginal women. Moreover, other factors are to be examined by the commission such as wealth, health, sexism, racism, etc.
The commission serves as a platform to hear testimonies from families of lost loved ones and survivors of violence at community hearings across the country. Whether the commission will be a successful starting point towards real positive changes to the well-being of Indigenous women and girls remains to be seen.

Safeguarding a non-violent environment for aboriginal women to have adequate education, good health care and job opportunities, among other elements, is essential to alleviate an uncertainty that the community has been dealing with for so long.

Nations that wave the flag for women’s rights and protection should be spearheading any policies and safety measures which guarantee that vulnerable women are not subjected to hardship and suffering as a result of their circumstances. In this respect, the dilemma of Indigenous women in Canada should be approached at different angles with different methods in order to give hope to their various communities that attempt to resolve their issues will be taken seriously.

The championing of human and civil rights for all women, men and children will involve using any and all resources in order to achieve proper fairness and equality, making sure that no human being will ever be discriminated against, targeted, ignored and/or overlooked due to their race, origin, belief, etc.

*Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF)

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