An important question went unanswered Thursday night in the Quebec election’s second televised leaders’ debate. Opening the segment on the infamous charter of Quebec values, host Pierre Bruneau noted that more than half of Quebecers hold a negative opinion of Muslims and Jews. Was that not one of the “pernicious effects” of the deep divisions unleashed by the Parti Québécois government’s bill to ban religious symbols in the public sector?
Pauline Marois didn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole, of course. But neither did the other three leaders, even while spending a great deal of time on the topic.
Bruneau was referring to a poll showing that 57 per cent of Quebecers do not like Muslims and 56 per cent do not like Hasidic Jews. (Besides exposing the level of bigotry, the finding was instructive in another way: whereas the pollster and the respondents could separate out the Hasidim from the orthodox, conservative and reform Jews, both thought of all Muslims — conservative, liberal, non-observant — as one big evil collective.)