Thursday, October 25, 2007

Estonian Identity Act

The topic of ethnic relations has been on the radar in Estonia for the past 6 months since the riots. Quebec languages laws have often been compared and contrasted with Eesti so I was amused when I read an article in the paper today about the purposed "Quebec Identity Act" which the Parti Québécois is purposing in Quebec.

Essentially the law would create a "Quebec citizenship" which you can get if you speak French and know enough about Quebec culture and history (I'm assuming through some sort of test?). Without Quebec citizenship you would not be able to for the National Assembly, municipal council or school posts, and from contributing to political parties (even Federal Parties) or petitioning the assembly. The article gives a nice example: Just imagine. A born-in-Canada computer analyst from Toronto who moves to Montreal for work could apply for "Quebec citizenship" only if he or she speaks French and knows Quebec culture..

Even if this proposal were somehow to become law (which it won't) there's no way it would survive a legal challenge but it's always interesting to see that Estonia's ethnic integration issues aren't unique and exists even very close to home.

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