Consume, digest, rinse and spit

Cartoon by Garnotte, Le Devoir

Jeff Heinrich is a tenacious and patient fellow. Not only did the Gazette reporter sit through 37 hearings on ‘reasonable accommodations’ (otherwise known as ‘Whatever do we do with all these immigrants?’), but he published a well-received book about the whole mess shortly afterward, with a colleague from Le Journal de Montréal.

Mr. Heinrich’s tenacity paid off this past weekend, when he got his paws on several chapters of the forthcoming final report from the commission’s two Grand Poohbahs, Gérard “brother of Lucien” Bouchard and Charles “the philosopher, not the murderous dictator” Taylor. Set to be released this week, the report was to suggest how the province can best weather the “reasonable accommodations” crisis that apparently has the province in a death grip.

The Bouchard-Taylor report is one of those “eagerly awaited” tomes that pop up every so often here in Quebec. Had Heinrich not leaked it, the Bouchard-Taylor report would have become, like the Castonguay Report and Johnson Inquiry before it, the subject of one or even three existential crises, several dozen editorials, something about sovereignty, a few kicks at “les anglos du West Island” before devolving into the usual partisan bickering. Consume, digest, rinse and spit. Hey, at least we’re predictable.

Jeff’s early jump, which can and should be read here, here, and here, has dialed up the fury extra early. “Learn more English, be nicer to Muslims, get better informed,” was how he pithily summed up the chapters he received. The advice has fallen on deaf ears in certain circles. “If this is all the commission has to offer, it is quite worrisome,” Pauline Marois told the Globe.

It isn’t, of course, but that didn’t stop Marois or anyone else from dismissing the commission outright. The report isn’t even out yet, and already nuance has been chucked out the window. “What surprises me is why 80 percent have to bend at the knees and learn English, and not the other way around?” read a typical comment on Lagacé’s blog.

Sigh. Plus ça change. Consume, digest, rinse and spit.

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