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Canadian-style multiculturalism poses a grave threat to Quebec culture, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe told Quebec's travelling commission on integrating minorities on Tuesday.

 

If Canada continues to treat Quebec like every other cultural minority, the end result will be assimilation into the dominant North American English-speaking culture, Duceppe said.

 

"Multiculturalism as a model of integration does not work in Quebec.

 

"Immigrant cultures and beliefs must merge with Quebec's culture and beliefs if the latter is to survive. They are coming to a nation with values, a culture, and history. The model developed in Quebec reflects that reality," he told the Bouchard-Taylor commission on reasonable accommodation, at a Tuesday hearing.

 

"It's in total contradiction with the definition of a Canada that is bilingual and multicultural."

 

Duceppe decried the federal government's reluctance to allow the language of work in federal institutions to reflect the common language in each province. He said the federal government allows less important matters like the minimum wage to be set provincially.

 

Commission co-chair Charles Taylor suggested "it's the lack of recognition that causes your problems, not multiculturalism."

 

Calls for more French in workplaces

 

Duceppe also wants a renewed emphasis on promoting the use of French in Quebec workplaces and on allowing newcomers to use foreign credentials in Quebec professions.

 

Quebec has been in an uproar for months over how far the majority culture should go in adopting to minorities. but Duceppe suggested the controversy is overblown.

 

"I don't believe Quebec is in crisis," he said.

 

"We've all seen countries in crisis, and this isn't it. A malaise? Yes. Questioning? Yes. But not a crisis."

 

The commission headed by sociologist Gérard Bouchard and Taylor, a philosopher, is touring the province studying the issue and hearing opinions from a wide range of Quebecers.

 

Their hearings are nearing an end and the two academics are expected to issue a report in March.

 

A last public hearing will be held in Montreal on Thursday.

 

(Courtesy of CBC / The Canadian Press)

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