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Anti-semitic Sentiments Are Rife in the Province of Quebec

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Anti-Semitic sentiments are more prevalent in Quebec province, and in its largest city, Montreal, than elsewhere in Canada, according to a survey by B’nai B’rith The lowest incidence is in British Columbia.

The B’nai B’rith 1985 Review, just published, reported that from 1983 to 1985, an average of 22.4 percent of Montreal residents felt Jews have too much power, compared to 16 percent in Toronto and 5 percent in Vancouver.

In Montreal, 14.2 percent of respondents to a poll said they would not vote for a Jew, compared to 7.1 percent in Toronto and 4.5 percent in Vancouver. On a province-wide basis, 19.6 percent of Quebec citizens would not vote for a Jewish candidate. The percentage was 7.1 in Ontario and only 2 percent in British Columbia.

Although there has been a decline in anti-Semitic incidents nationwide, 16.4 percent of Canadians in 1985 thought Jews have too much power compared to 12.7 percent in 1984 and 13.5 percent in 1983.

Prof. H. Taylor Buckner of Concordia University in Montreal, who analyzed the poll data, told a press conference that “lack of contact between Francophone Quebecers and the Jewish community” explains the greater prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes in the province.

Buckner suggested that contributing factors were Quebec’s history and the teachings of the Catholic Church. He noted that older and less educated persons tended to be more prejudiced than younger persons and those educated beyond high school. The 1985 poll was conducted among 2,059 adults.

On the plus side, anti-Semitic incidents such as vandalism, attacks on synagogues and on private Jewish property, fell from 126 in 1984 to 95 in 1985, a 24.6 percent drop.

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