By: Surjit Singh Flora
Last week, Quebec’s legislature passed a bill that prohibits future government employees “in positions of authority” from wearing religious symbols or garb during office hours. Known previously as Bill 21, the law includes traditional clothing for Muslims (hijab) and Jews (kippah), even the Sikh turban as well as crosses or crucifixes for Christians. Teachers, police officers, and judges are all covered by the new law. No specific religion was identified in the Bill. Existing employees are exempt from the new legislation.
I cannot believe that a Quebec province passes such harmful Bill 21 and Bill 9 that attack every sense of decency that I thought the majority of Canadians possessed.
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,’ Trudeau tweeted in Jan. 2017
So, after these people arrived here, looking for a job, freedom and they have to face all this, what kind of “ALL WELCOME” is this? This is totally insulting the religious and their faiths.
A racist premier and a government that follows blindly is a great danger to Canadian democracy. I also cannot believe the PM Justin Trudeau Liberal government, which constantly talks of welcoming people from other countries, would allow such draconian laws to be passed.
After this law passed by the Quebec’s legislature, here in Ontario Peel Police released a press letter saying, “Government of QC has passed Bill 21 prohibiting the wearing of “religious Symbols” by individuals in positions of authority, including police officers, and whereas the Peel Regional Police believes in the Values of diversity and inclusion, including the accommodation of religious symbols, the Regional Municipality of peel police Services Board invites all affected individuals, either pursuing or training for a career in policing in QC, to apply for a career with peel Regional Police, and future that Peel Regional Police place select advertising within QC promoting a career at Peel Regional Police.
Main while Brampton Mayor Patrice Brown wrote in a press release, that “We need to send a strong message to the proponents of Bill 21 in Quebec. This legislation is a challenge to religious freedom and an infringement to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Also, Brown wrote in his PR that motion would be tabled to debated at our Special City of Brampton Council meeting on June 26. We need to join the legal challenge initiated by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the National Council of Canadian Muslims to protect religious freedom. If we don’t stand up for religious freedom in Brampton, which is the most culturally and religiously diverse City in Canada than who will?
Not only that he also mentioned that “We will ask the Brampton Fire and Emergency Services to advertise in Quebec promoting career opportunities in Brampton. The values of diversity and inclusion are essential to our City.
We are ground zero for multiculturalism. I will continue to speak out for Canada’s multicultural mosaic and religious freedoms.”
Bill 21 is already accepted. That violates Canada’s human rights, the UN policy on human rights, and Quebec’s own human rights bill. A referendum would basically be saying, “We don’t care about humans’ rights, as long as a majority of us decides to do away with them.” The question presented is not whether a majority of Quebeckers accept Bill 21 (they do, at about 70%) but whether it is the right thing to do?
This issue of Muslim women covering their faces is one that elicits very strong reactions, both from a rights and freedoms perspective as well as from the perspective of those in our society who view this religious practice with great suspicion and mistrust.
The reality in Canada today is if a woman chooses to cover her face to observe her religious traditions, our constitution protects her right to do so. Frankly, it’s absurd to pass any law that is so obviously a violation of that constitution and its Charter of Rights and Freedoms, leaving me to openly question the motives of Quebec’s lawmakers.
The law poses serious challenges, such as pitting nurses and doctors and their professional standards of practice that require they provide medical service to all patients who present themselves for care, against the law, which essentially forbids them to provide that care to a woman whose face is covered.
But for the Sikhs, Turban on the head never cover the face, all we are talking about here faces under the cover, that it’s little dangers, and a stranger while trying to no idea whom you are dealing with, communicating with. So why Sikh turban?
The bottom line is that Quebecers’ asking separation from long, they want their own separate country, and after a long fight, no success, now they are starting with this kind of foolish religious games. It’s racism so they can create the troubles to get succeed in their mission of separation.
To many people who view these “foreign customs” through the lenses of western sensibilities, women choosing to cover their face or their body is at best a curious practice, or at worst a practice of dangerous and suspect motives hiding behind the orthodox religious convention.
Even within Islam, the practice of wearing the niqab can be controversial, with many Muslim scholars expressing the opinion that it is not required, while some scholars are asserting their belief that it is.
Those women who do wear the niqab or burqa, it is clearly a requirement to them as they choose to interpret their religion, and ultimately, our constitution makes it their choice. If we can successfully deprive these women of that choice, then I believe we can deprive our citizens of just about any decision. This is not freedom. It is oppression. And it is not worthy of Canada, especially for the Quebec’s legislature to pass such Bill.