Volatility Feared at Hearings

August 22, 2007

Author: Jeff Heinrich

Source: CanWest News Service


MONTREAL - Quebec's "reasonable accommodation" consultations could degenerate into volatile forums for xenophobes fed up with minorities, and airing their grievances could have "major consequences" for society, the two men heading the process say.

With tensions growing in the province's French-Canadian majority over religious freedoms granted to Muslims and other minorities, commissioners Gerard Bouchard and Charles Taylor warned yesterday that reports on the hearings need to be wary of inflammatory remarks participants make.

Five months in the planning, the consultations begin on Sept. 10 in Gatineau and wind up on Nov. 30 with a final hearing in Montreal. In all, the commission will visit 17 cities to hear from Quebecers concerned over the reasonable accommodation issue.