If there is a topic that transcends elections in all democracies, it is immigration. This topic is even more important because democracies have been experiencing a sharp decline in the birth rate for several decades.
Italians’ discontent with immigration policies is in large part what explains the rise of the Brethren of Italy, who promise radical solutions. Italy, whose birth rate is one of the worst in the world.
In France, the National Front is fueled by the fight against immigration. Britain’s exit from the European Union depends in large part on a rejection of the EU’s own immigration policies. The recent elections in Sweden also brought an anti-immigration party to power. In the United States, immigration is one of the Republicans’ favorite amateur horses.
Immigration and religion
Behind the topic of immigration hides another topic in Europe that politicians approach with humility: religion, and Islam in particular.
The strong religiosity of many immigrants contrasts with the fundamentalist Christianity of part of the local population and the weak religiosity of other citizens.
In an ideal world, everyone could and should live in good conditions. But religion does interfere in politics, especially on topical issues such as abortion or sexual morality.
For religious fundamentalists, it interferes with democratic institutions themselves, because they place the decisions of religious leaders above those of elected officials.
The end result is that in many democracies, very right-wing parties, with the support of Christian religious fundamentalists, are proposing anti-immigration and pre-natal policies.
Silence in the middle and on the left
One of the most amazing features of democracies is that parties of the center and the left tend to be silent on issues of immigration and religion.
When François Legault refuses to comment on immigration, arguing that the topic is “too sensitive,” he follows the tide in which he immerses the majority of leaders in democracies. In doing so, it strengthens the far right of Eric Dohemy.
Paul Saint-Pierre Plamondon is not afraid to address this issue that distinguishes him among the moderates.
By avoiding these topics, the ranks of extremist parties swell as citizens grow increasingly anxious.
In Quebec, immigration goes beyond the problem of the survival of the French. As elsewhere, it affects the place of religion in the society of tomorrow and the values by which societies will live.
It also affects the performance of the economy after decades of low birth rates.
It shakes the foundations of democracy.
Unfortunately, growing multiculturalism prevents us from discussing these issues in a calm manner. Not to mention some feminists who imagine that talking about the birth rate means enslaving women. Likewise, many religious lobbies are exploiting immigration to strengthen themselves.
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