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The Charter of Quebec Values

So, there has been a bit of an uproar (and well-warranted) lately in La Belle Province.

BASICALLY the provincial government is trying to pass a Charter of Quebec Values that is, as one writer, Peter Wheeland, aptly puts it: "tailor-made to appeal to religious intolerance within the population." It effectively bans 'visible' religious symbols adorning public servants, as this helpful photo demonstrates (for the non-French reading, the first row are acceptable displays of religion, the second and third are not).

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The party (PQ) supporting this charter is attempting to frame itself as a defender of "secular" values in the public service. However, many (including an opposition party member who may support parts of the bill) are suggesting that the real reason behind this charter is, well, fear and prejudice against Muslims. Back to Wheeland:

Like many in the United States and elsewhere, a significant number of Quebecers fear Islam, a religion about which most non-Muslims know next to nothing. It’s this fear that the PQ is hoping to exploit with the charter, a concept that many have rightly ridiculed as a solution to a non-existent problem.

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It’s no coincidence that the PQ’s proposed charter is aimed at banning “visible” religious symbols, which most affects the Islamic, Sikh and Jewish communities. It’s rare that Catholics these days wear anything that identifies them as such, and, in any case, even the most devout Catholic is not required to wear religious attire or jewellery.

SILVER LINING

The good news is there is basically no chance ever, like EVER that this will actually become law. Between the minority provincial government and existing federal laws against this type of discrimination, it just won't pass.

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Additionally, the mayors of the 15 municipalities that make up the island of Montreal have announced (in French, sorry) that they unanimously seek an exemption to the proposed law. Ah, Montreal. Knew I loved you the most.

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