Quebec Accomodation Hearings Offensive, Racist: Poll

October 21, 2007

Author: Jeff Heinrich

Source: National Post/CanWest News Service

Before they had even begun, Charles Taylor and Gerard Bouchard worried that the cross-Quebec series of open-mike hearings they were about to embark on would become a Pandora's box of bigotry, to be pried open live and unfiltered on national TV.

Now -- six weeks after the 17-city "reasonable accommodation" road show got under way and derogatory remarks against Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and other religious minorities started flying -- it seems that Quebecers think the chairmen were right to worry.

In a new poll, 62% -- rising to 74% in central Quebec, scene of the Herouxville controversy -- said the commission should have done something from the outset to prevent racist and anti-Semitic statements from being expressed.

And 40% of non-francophones polled said those views are so objectionable that the hearings should no longer be carried live on Radio-Canada.