Or at least the parts of it that tell people what they can and cannot wear to work. And any other bits of blatant nativism/racism that may have escaped the media firestorm around this staggering piece of bigotry-made-policy. I’m no expert in this but it seems to me the whole reason that we want to have a secular state is so that we can welcome and serve people of all ethnicities, cultures and religions. As they are.
I’m not saying Canadians in general are without their prejudices and fears. Far from it. Indeed I’m surprised this secular charter business isn’t bubbling up from other places.
But Québec is so progressive on so many other fronts – child care, post-secondary education, community health care, labour legislation – it makes me heartsick and scared to see this coming from Québec. I hope someone can explain it to me in way that doesn’t go too far the other way where get out the stereotype brushes and start painting Québecers. That’s not helpful either.
Part of what troubles me is why Premier Pauline Marois’ government is bringing this in while holding only minority support in the National Assembly. What exactly is she trying to do with it? It’s a wedge issue and a hot button issue that will likely polarize politics, driving some supporters underground or to Québec Solidaire. Might she be trying to corral her right flank and bleed support from the right wing parties?
If so it’s a viciously cynical move that will have dire consequences for the people – nay citizens and taxpayers – whose outward demeanour and appearance she would control during half their waking hours. That is contemptible enough.
It’s not a money bill so its defeat will not bring the government down. But to stake so much political capital on it seems nonsensical.
So what if it’s actually important to her (and presumably her cabinet as well) that “the ethnics” be put in their place?
Let’s not find out, shall we? Take the thing off the table. Let’s agree that people of all faiths and cultures can carry out their public sector jobs just fine as they are.
All will be forgiven.