It is absurd to pass a law which clearly violates this constitution and its Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that he would not rule out federal intervention in a challenge to the law on secularism in Quebec, but he disagrees with Bill 21. “I don’t think anyone one should lose his job because of his religion in a free society. theoretical problem. “
The National Assembly of Quebec has approved a bill that requires civil servants and citizens who request government services to cover their faces. This legislation is known as Bill 21. It affects Muslim women wearing religious face coverings such as the niqab, burqa or other similar face coverings.
Trudeau said he believed Fatemeh Anvari, a teacher, had been fired because of her religious beliefs and that the issue was of concern to many Quebecers. He said he was unwilling to criticize beyond his personal opinion to avoid giving Legault “the excuse of a fight between Ottawa and Quebec”.
Certainly, this problem of Muslim women covering their faces elicits extreme reactions, both from the point of view of rights and freedoms and from the point of view of those in our society who view this religious practice with great suspicion and suspicion. . The reality in Canada today is that if a woman chooses to cover her face to observe her religious traditions, our constitution protects her right to do so. Frankly, it is absurd to pass a law that so clearly violates this constitution and its Charter of Rights and Freedoms, leaving me openly to question the motivations of Quebec legislators.
I was speaking with an older Catholic friend of mine who, during a conversation on the same topic, recalled how as a child whenever her family attended mass her mother had to either wear a hat that covered most of his head or wear a lace veil called a mantilla to cover his head. This Christian and Roman Catholic practice has not been completely abandoned, with female dignitaries visiting the Pope often pictured wearing black garments and a mantilla to this day. A strange older woman is still seen wearing one to mass, but no one is rushing to scold her for observing a practice that has faded from widespread use as the conventions of worship in this faith have evolved. over time.
I also have strong feelings about this issue that come from my own personal experience as a member of a visible minority which, from time to time, has been the subject of “strong reactions” from people. over my turban, or on occasions when I wear traditional clothing or wear a kirpan – a ceremonial dagger. I well remember the doomsday predictions of blood and bloodshed that were made when practicing Sikhs were allowed to wear their Kirpans in schools, workplaces, and even courts. These are ceremonial and symbolic objects, and none of the hysterical predictions of the raging knife-wielding Sikhs have ever come true. Neither do they.
Quebec nationalists should stop hiding behind the denigration of Quebec every time they are criticized. Not all opinions agree with the government. It is embarrassing and irritating. The recent controversy in Quebec on Bill 21 is essentially the fact that Quebec says: “Ok, yeah, Canada, but still in Quebecers”. Quebec is Quebec. We follow our own rules. “
Almost everyone like Jews, Vietnamese, Sikhs with turban, Muslims, Haitians, Chinese. It doesn’t matter if Canadian multiculturalism comes into conflict with secularism.
The Canadian conflict between multiculturalism and Quebec secularism highlights another Canadian paradox: you can celebrate your heritage in both official languages but not in the other. Pierre Trudeau, in founding Canadian society on the principles and practices of bilingualism / multiculturalism, effectively guaranteed a permanent conflict due to their inherently antagonistic nature. Suffice it to say that it allowed Quebec society to indulge in a hypocritical double standard. All Canadians are subject to official bilingualism, but only English Canada is subject to multiculturalism.
The law poses serious challenges, such as potentially pitting nurses, teachers, and physicians against each other – and their standards of professional practice that require them to provide medical services to all patients and students who present for care and education – against the law, which essentially prohibits them from providing such care to a woman whose face is covered.
For many who see these “foreign customs” through the prism of Western sensibilities, women choosing to cover their faces or bodies is at best a curious practice, or at worst a practice of dangerous and suspicious motives behind it. the orthodox religious convention. Even within Islam, the practice of wearing the niqab can be controversial, with some Muslim scholars voicing the view that it is not mandatory, while others assert their belief that it is.
Mandatory, not mandatory – for women who wear the niqab or burqa, this is clearly a requirement for them when choosing to interpret their religion, and ultimately our constitution guarantees them that choice. If we are successful in depriving these women of that choice, then I think we can deprive our citizens of any choice. It’s not freedom, it’s oppression. And it is not worthy of Canada.
Prime Minister Trudeau says he will not be involved in Quebec’s fight over Bill 21. Because he doesn’t want federal intervention to be used by Quebec, this just shows another example of a prime minister with weak knees. Why is he afraid to stand up to the misogynistic Premier of Quebec? He is afraid of losing votes. It all comes down to politicizing a simple decision. Trudeau must use the federal powers at his disposal to repeal Bill 21.
Surjit Singh Flora is a seasoned journalist and freelance writer based in Brampton, Ontario.
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