BY RATTAN MALL
THE same political opportunist – Quebec Premier Pauline Marois of Parti Quebecois – who vigorously defended the racist ban on wearing ‘patkas’ by the Quebec Soccer Federation last June now seems all set to further display her racism to Canada and the world by banning turbans in public sector jobs.
Marois, who heads a minority government, is desperate to try and increase her popularity by appealing to the basest instincts of Quebeckers all in the name of secularism. Leaked details of the so-called Charter of Quebec Values will prohibit public employees from wearing Sikh, Jewish and Muslim headwear or visible crucifixes (the cross) in the workplace.
Political opponents have accused the Parti Quebecois of floating a trial balloon. Federal Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau is the only one so far who has spoken out against it, saying that that plan was motivated by a defensive fear of the other. He said that although state institutions should be neutral, individuals who work there are entitled to their religion and freedom of expression.
Of course, Marois and her fellow bigots in Parti Quebecois are obviously aware of the results of the poll sponsored by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies on the issue of soccer players wearing a ‘patka’ and people’s reaction at seeing someone with a turban, hijab or kippa (worn by Jews) that was also carried in the Asian Journal last June and repeated just a few weeks ago.
Quebeckers emerged as the least tolerant people in Canada with 46 per cent agreeing with the statement: “I feel my identity threatened when I see people wearing a turban, hijab or kippa.” In the rest of Canada only 27 per cent agreed with that statement while 64 per cent disagreed.
However, as many as 48 per cent of Quebeckers disagreed with that statement – and that is why Marois must be nervous about her plan even as she tries to appeal to the lowest instincts of the insecure separatists in that province.
Let’s not forget that the same poll found that 47 per cent of respondents in Quebec agreed with the statement that “wearing a turban is a safety risk when playing soccer” while only 36 per cent disagreed with it. In the rest of Canada, only 30 per cent agreed with that statement and 46 per cent disagreed.
The executive director of the association that sponsored the poll told the media that the rhetoric they hear within Quebec suggests that “it’s not strictly about safety, that it’s about integration.”
Indeed, integration is being used an excuse to justify racism and bigotry – something that Quebec has always been notorious for.
Ironically, the banning of crucifixes makes me laugh at the Catholic Church that controlled politics in that province and shamelessly used politicians to harass other Christians such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, especially under the premiership of Maurice Duplessis (1936 to 1939 and 1944 to 1959). The Supreme Court of Canada struck down all the harassing laws against the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ right to spread their faith, noting that “there can be no freedom of religion without freedom of speech,” as stated in Wikipedia.
Now, Sikhs, Muslims and Jews should get ready to fight all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to establish their right to wear their religious headwear if the crazy and desperate Parti Quebecois politicians go ahead with their plan to ban those headgears in public sector jobs – and make Quebec a laughingstock around the world once again!