When Mustapha Benkada imagined his new life in Canada, he never saw himself lining up in the cold outside an eastend food bank.
After all, with a PhD in chemistry and biology from the University of Nantes in France, and a promising postdoctoral position at a Quebec university, Benkada had every reason for optimism.
But there he was Thursday, pushing a plaid shopping cart and swallowing his pride as he waited for a handout of Kraft Dinner, bread, breakfast cereal, lettuce, a few kiwis and canned peaches.
"It's very degrading," said Benkada, as snowflakes accumulated on the hood of his parka. "Even as a student, I never got this low."
How did he come to this? And even more worrisome: will this always be his fate? Those thoughts went through Benkada's mind while he waited, as they do every day.
Lured to Quebec in 2007 by a job offer from the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Benkada, 39, saw his contract terminated in July 2008. Born in Algeria and educated in France, he is a permanent resident of Canada. He has laid a complaint of discrimination against the university with the Quebec Human Rights Commission...Gotta love that "lured." Makes it sound so dark and sinister-like.
But tell us, Montreal Gazette, what would Mustafa do were there no "human rights" outfit to kvetch to? Wouldn't he'd do what individuals who aren't fortunate enough to belong to favoured victim groups do when they lose their job--i.e. go find another one, maybe even move somewhere else (somewhere warmer?) to find it?