Quebec’s new conflict


On September 16, 2013, at a Quebec shopping center, Badia Senouci, a Muslim women claimed the her and her family were verbally assaulted and her son claimed that he was told to “change his religion.” The family believe that this has happened because of the new proposal for a charter of values.

Recently, Parti Quebecios has released a proposal for a so-called charter of values. This charter would include the banning of all religious symbols and head gear from any government associated work place. Religious symbols would include items like turbans, hiijabs, crucifixes, and kippahs. The movement for this new charter is supposedly to ensure religious neutrality throughout the employees. Some examples of workplaces that would ban religious symbols would be, daycare workers, police officers, doctors,  and teachers. The released proposal of this law has stirred up many tensions in not only Quebec but throughout Canada.

What does a crucifix on a chain signify except — to some degree, anyway — “I’m Christian” The same goes with the star of David, or even religious items like the burka or hijjab. Parti Quebecois can say and even pretend this charter is about religious neutrality but in reality it is about having power over others and abusing it.

The charter that is being proposed goes against all Canada stands for. We as Canadians believe in freedom. Freedom of thought, speech and religion. We are supposed to welcome new or foreign cultures and ethnicities with open arms. We pride ourselves as being a multicultural nation. By Quebec passing this law it will be like saying no to freedom of religion. Not only that, we will be saying no to multiculturalism in Quebec government workplaces.

Carissima Mathen, an Ottawa constitutional law expert ‘sees problems with the distinction the Quebec government wants to make between conspicuous and small religious symbols. “The individual freedom is determined by the person’s set of beliefs, and note that for some religious groups, the religious symbols are more conspicuous,” Mathen explains.’

The movement to pass this law goes against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  It violates human rights, freedom to express yourself and freedom of religion.  Not only this but the people in power do not need to oblige by this new charter (who are mainly Catholic). This then raises the question of Parti Quebecois simply being racist to “foreign” religions. Already when examining this proposed charter you can see flaws in it. If government workers are obligated to comply then why don’t the leaders. Are they so high above us that they do not have to participate in the rules of their charter? What happened to equality for all?

Although this proposed charter has become popular in the media I do not believe that it will be able to be passed. Parti Quecios is a minority government so for them to be able to even pass this charter they would have to combine forces with another party, like the Liberals, which frankly will not happen because they view things extremely differently. There is also discussion of many that the PQs are only doing this to get everyone’s attention focused elsewhere. People now are focusing on this outrageous charter instead of things like the economy, and unemployment. Is this ban of religious symbols meant for all or merely a veiled attack on minorities?

This charter will affect the types of job and employment for immigrants. Many that come to Canada have strong ties to there religion and asking them not to show there religion or have tradition clothing will limit many. For many, religion and cultural identity is the sole thing they bring with them when journeying to Canada. By telling immigrants that  Quebec bans any head gear or religious symbols will exterminate the one thing that they can depend on. It would be worse than stripping the clothes from their backs. Passing this charter will alienate immigrants that come into Quebec. Canada is supposed to be a country of the free, not a country where showing your religion is forbidden. Immigrants might feel that they are not welcome, especially in work places that run under the government. This is not the direction we seek for one of Canada’s largest province.

In my opinion a bills or charter should be something that will enhance the lifestyle of all people, not just minorities. The ban of religious garb in public institutions, except however the crucifix hanging in the house of parliament in Quebec, that they claim is part of their heritage is definitely questionable.  Parti Quebecois tell me again how this charter is simply to create religious neutrality?

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One response »

  1. I totally agree with you on this issue. Quebec’s new proposed charter which would prohibit Quebec citizens from wearing religious symbols in public. This would majorly violates the Canadian charter of rights of freedoms guaranteed to all Canadian citizens. Enacting the this secular charter in Quebec would deny French citizens from accessing their right to their freedom of religion. I believe that the freedoms that are guaranteed in Canada are what makes our country such a desired place to live and if you start allowing provincial governments to strip away these freedoms one by one you start to destroy and mutilate the morals and values of our country. If Quebec’s provincial government is allowed to go forth with this charter who’s to say other provincial governments won’t follow Quebec’s lead and slowly Canadian citizens will loose some of their key rights. This is why it’s so essential that the Quebec provincial government needs to be kept from enacting this charter or else it could be detrimental to not only citizens in Quebec but all over Canada as well.

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