If you were born outside the country, the City of Gatineau welcomes you. But please refrain from bribing city officials or cooking “smelly foods.”
It sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit, but the wording is straight out of the city’s “ immigrant values guide.”
The xenophobic subtext wasn’t lost in translation, however. Following complaints from local residents, the 16-point values guide has been ripped from the shelves for review. No timeline has been set for completion, the CBC reports.
Released Nov. 28, the guide aims to “help newcomers integrate into local society and learn how to interact in a new environment.” Gatineau’s city council reportedly did not sign off on the original wording but will be involved in the revision, the CBC says.
Kamal Maghri, a Moroccan immigrant and Gatineau resident for more than 10 years, has launched a human rights complaint against the guide, which has “insulted immigrants,” he told Radio-Canada.
Small-town Quebec isn’t known for rolling out the welcome mat. In 2007, Hérouxville, Que., amended an “immigrant code of conduct” that included phrases such as “no female circumcision” and “no stoning of women in public” (which, strangely, implies it’s okay to do it in private).
Online responses to Gatineau’s gaffe range from incredulity to thumbs-up.
In a top-rated comment following an earlier Globe and Mail report, a reader by the name of Agent666 called for “zero tolerance for cultural and linguistic non-integration.”
Meanwhile, Jeng Dolan at CBC.ca wrote: “What do we do now? Have a guide for McDonald's and all Italian restaurants?” Fellow reader suggested that residents “need a guide for Gatineau City officials that instructs them that they should refrain from being bribed.” The writer, who identified himself as an immigrant who had moved to Quebec from Ontario, added he is “amazed at how many allegations of civic official bribery are thrown around here.”
Another comment on the same site addressed the issue of smelly cooking.
“Let me tell you if you live in an apartment you completely understand why [that point]is included,” Sgt.Pepper wrote. “It's too bad that we have to blunt about it, but it's a problem that needs to be addressed.”
No mention of the stench of Canadian bacon.
Do you think Canada is doing a good job of making immigrants feel welcome?