Quebec pushes through bill banning public servants from wearing religious symbols

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Quebes’c Legault and Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette – Photo: Legault Facebook page
By Asia Samachar Team | CANADA |

Muslim women wearing headscarfs and Sikhs donning turban will be impacted by a new law just passed by Quebec.

The Canadian state has passed a bill that slaps a ban on certain categories of public servants from wearing religious symbols.

Passed late on Sunday (16 June 2019), the Canadian state under François Legault passed the law described as a ‘Bill on secularism’ while those opposing it has badged it as an affront to personal liberty.

Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government saw the passage of the divisive Bill 21 by a 73-35 vote, with backing of the Parti Québécois.

In a Facebook entry, Legault described the legislation as a ‘Bill on secularism.

“From now on, religious signs for employees of the state in authority position will be prohibited. We listened to quebecers, we heard them and we finally turned the page on a debate that has been over for more than 10 years,” he writes.

Earlier Sunday, it was reported that the CAQ used its majority to push through Bill 9, a law that enables new French-language and values tests that the government says will protect Quebec identity while refocusing immigration on economic interests.

The weekend in the legislature was marked by acrimony reflective of the debate that has roiled Quebec for more than 10 years over the place of religious minorities in the province. Some exhausted MNAs cursed at each other, others said they were on the verge of tears at times, reports Globe and Mail.

At the very last minute it reported that Legault’s government added a provision to allow inspectors to verify the law is being followed. “Securalism police!” shouted Quebec Liberal member Marc Tanguay in one of the final outbursts of the debate.

Another last-minute amendment said the inspector could impose corrective measures and supervision. A final addition said “the targeted employee could be subject to disciplinary measures for failing to comply.”

Bill 21 will ban teachers, police, government lawyers and others in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols such as Muslim head coverings and Sikh turbans. Police officers, provincial jail guards and prosecutors who wear religious symbols are rare in Quebec but the province has dozens of female Muslim teachers. Religiously dressed teachers already on the job will have acquired rights to continue wearing the garments but they will not be able to take a transfer, promotion or new job and wear them, the report added.

The law will also require people receiving or giving government services to uncover their faces for security purposes or confirming identity – a measure that mostly affects Muslim women who wear a full-face veil.

 

RELATED STORY:

Beard and turban approved for US Sikh airman (Asia Samachar, 7 June 2019)

US Sikh school bus driver reported years of harassment over his turban and beard (Asia Samachar, 29 May 2019)

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Looks like secularism is the fastest growing religion in Quebec! This is a sledge hammer law that does not differentiate between a Sikh turban that represents a commitment to do good, and a burka that seeks to hide a body for reason of shame. It is also a law against modesty because a woman who wears a simple headscarf could just be doing it out of modesty.

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