Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

PQ plan threatens rights

  • Print

Quebec's separatist government is reported to be preparing to introduce legislation that would severely restrict religious symbols and clothing in an effort to create a so-called secularist society, free of the trappings of spiritual identity.

Some pundits say it's only a trial balloon, but it should be shot down before it disgraces the floor of the Quebec National Assembly, tainting not just Quebec's reputation, but Canada's, too.

Quebecers started shedding their special relationship with the Catholic Church in the 1960s during the Quiet Revolution, and the Parti Quebecois obviously thinks it's time for other groups -- Jews and Muslims in particular -- to get over their spiritual and cultural accoutrements.

Even the Christian cross would be banned from public view, with the exception of the legislature, where it is regarded as an historic artifact.

The proposed legislation, which PQ leader Pauline Marois touted during last year's provincial election, would be confined to provincial government jobs, including schools, day cares and hospitals. It would ban turbans, kirpans, niqabs, hijabs, Jewish yarmulkes and anything with a religious meaning.

Such a measure would have obvious repercussions in the private sector, where many people would feel uncomfortable in anything but a suit and tie.

Quebec has a long history of xenophobia, but it has evolved over the last decade into a mean-spirited, anti-democratic war against minorities that some critics have labelled "Putinism," a reference to the assault on human rights in Russia under President Vladimir Putin.

If the legislation was enacted, it would clearly violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects minority rights and freedom of religion and assembly.

It is assumed minority groups and others would challenge such a law in the courts. But even if they were successful, the province could invoke the Charter's notwithstanding clause to override a court's ruling.

In such an event, the federal government and every province ought to use their leverage to compel compliance with the country's basic principles. Quebec's governments may not have embraced multiculturalism, but they cannot deny the fundamental rights that are the foundation of free and open societies.

Canadians have slowly grown accustomed to Quebec's view of itself as a distinct society, but not if it means accepting a pure laine society with an irrational, pathological fear of religious and personal freedoms.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Gerald Flood, Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 22, 2013 A12

History

Updated on Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 7:29 AM CDT: adds art

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

RMTC preview of Good People

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100615 - Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 The Mane Attraction - Lions are back at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Xerxes a 3-year-old male African Lion rests in the shade of a tree in his new enclosure at the old Giant Panda building.  MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A goose heads for shade in the sunshine Friday afternoon at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg - Day 26– June 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google