Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
For those competitors to Canada, (and even those Canadians competing against study destinations in Quebec), a poster of Premier Pauline proudly proclaiming her new Charter of Values is a must for any waiting room of prospective international students and their parents. What a fabulous marketing tool to combat Canada’s positive image and real advantages as a great place to study !
Of course, an accompanying handbook of the now outlawed religious symbols in the Province’s public workplace, will also end up in those waiting rooms, and be required reading for anyone considering Canada as a study-abroad option to the US, England or Australia.
While Premier Marois and her Party deny flatly deny this is about domestic politics and garnering more PQ votes – in foreign student markets around the world, Quebec’s new “Charter of Values” echoes some very bad times for foreign students. Canada has largely been seen as a very different place from Australia and the UK, where crude and brutal episodes of violence and protest against international students became front page news in Delhi, Beijing, London and Melbourne.
When wearing a hijab or a turban is against the law – no rationalization nor intellectualized secular debate is going to convince the populace in some of the richest markets for international students in the world – to do anything but put a KEEP OUT sign in front of Quebec. In the world today, where fear is on the upswing, simply put, Quebec’s new charter scares people. Based on recorded human history, it probably should.
Sadly, the publicity from this story taints all of Canada, regardless of whether it’s a college in BC or a university in Ontario.