PQ's charter of values

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KenS

Rest of Canada afraid of secular values debate, PQ minister says

 

Quote:

The PQ minister responsible for promoting Quebec's "Charter of Values" says politicians in the rest of Canada of being too timid to do what his government is doing.

Translation: there are rascists in other provincial governments who do not have the "guts" to do what we are doing.

Good work idiot: turning Jason Kenney and Harper Crew into heroes.

 

 

Unionist

Yes, she is questioning her involvement in the independence movement.

 

KenS

I think its a desperate gambit.

The legislation will never survive. And it is not going to save the PQ's skins. [But what else do they have?]

But the bloodstains will remain.

DaveW

Summer wrote:

sanizadeh wrote:

Meanwhile, an Ontario hospital finds this an excellent opportunity to attract much needed talent from Quebec:

"We don't care what is on your head. We care what is in it".

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2013/09/12/quebec-values-ch...

 This is a BRILLIANT ad campaign!  Good for them.   It won't be the first time that Ontario has benefitted from Quebec driving some of its residents out of the province.    

No, frankly, that is stupid, and I would expect the ONT provincial govt to step in and ban similar ads, should they appear;

 ONT premier Davis did that in late 1970s, when there was some movement westward from QC

As for Summer's point, Lagatta protests above and I usually do too, but no question there was economic, political  and other demographic movement westward in the 1970s; called an exodus, foolishly, but still a fair number of people

but where Summer is so wrong is of course saying anyone is "forced out"; heck, I moved back to Quebec this year after 20 years abroad, and just got my new Quebec driver's licence, my first Hydro-Quebec statement, and my provincial Medicare card; Yay!

the literature accompanying each is, as I had requested, in English (only) .... Quebec is a far more flexible place than some people imagine, who only read headlines 

mark_alfred

Unionist wrote:

Yes, she is questioning her involvement in the independence movement.

 

Thanks for the confirmation.

DaveW

 

they are a party at roughly 30 per cent that held the dreams of a generation, and now its old warhorses see that slipping away;

the death of Bill 14 last spring confirmed, as one La Presse writer put it: "Exit le débat linguistique". Language no longer a sure thing to rally any troops.

Hence this charter thingy ...

sanizadeh

KenS wrote:

Rest of Canada afraid of secular values debate, PQ minister says

 

Quote:

The PQ minister responsible for promoting Quebec's "Charter of Values" says politicians in the rest of Canada of being too timid to do what his government is doing. He said many Canadians outside of Quebec would appreciate the same action from their provincial governments.

Jesus Christ. Is this guy trying to establish a local branch of the Aryan Guard in Quebec? Those guys are probably the only group outside Quebec who are clapping for him right now.

Unionist

I don't think so, sanizadeh. One shouldn't mistake appearances for reality. Better to try to understand what's going on. And if I were you, I would be much more worried about Harper and Kenney and Obama and their ilk than about the PQ. We'll fight this bullshit here, but we'll keep our eye on the ball too.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Unionist wrote:

Maria Mourani was awesome today, in my opinion, both in her statement and in her open frank answers to questions after. Very emotional. She announced that she's quitting the Bloc. She said Paillé had simply unilaterally changed the Bloc's position overnight (he had apparently commented just before that he didn't really support the ban on religious symbols) and demanded caucus "discipline". She said that the "ethnic nationalism" comment wasn't expressed as her opinion, but rather she was reporting the reaction that many people had had. She said that until now, the party leadership had managed to chase away the intolerant demons at election time, but now for the first time, there seemed to be a turn away from the "civic nationalism" inclusiveness that had long stamped the sovereignist movement. There was also some comment about the BQ becoming a branch plant of the PQ. She said that under Duceppe, they had real caucuses, where they discussed and decided, and everyone abided by the decision. That didn't happen. She got very emotional
speaking about her kids, and couldn't say who would defend their inclusion in Québec society.

Sorry for offering some of my own summary, but I haven't seen a straight unbiased report in the media yet (English especially). You can read what's already been published easily by putting her name in the Google News search bar.

ETA: Oh - and Radio-Canada commentators, as well as Le Devoir columnist Michel David, noted (correctly) that her position on the Charter is
exactly the same as that of Québec Solidaire - that she is a personal friend of Amir Khadir - and that she'd be a natural fit if a provincial option opened up.

 

Why not form her own federal party, and call it Bloc Solitaire?

sanizadeh

Unionist wrote:

I don't think so, sanizadeh. One shouldn't mistake appearances for reality. Better to try to understand what's going on. And if I were you, I would be much more worried about Harper and Kenney and Obama and their ilk than about the PQ. We'll fight this bullshit here, but we'll keep our eye on the ball too.

True. I should have said "the only one openly clapping".

WyldRage

Explain to me something I am missing in the constant attacks against the charter, especially coming from Charles Taylor and Thomas Mulcair, both of which said they approved of the recommendations of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission (the first is obvious, the second is found here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/08/26/pol-mulcair-baird-quebec-religious-symbols.html )

One of the recommendation was to ban religious symbols from Public workers in authority roles, such as cops, judges, prison gards, etc. (source, in French, sorry: http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/National/2008/05/22/002-rapport-depot-jeudi-midi.shtml )

Once you admit that the state has the right to ban religious symbols for certain of its workers, it becomes a matter of degrees, no? I personally find it does not and should not include all public workers, but I do consider teachers as figures of authority, which I found baffling that BT do not. So at what point is it considered unacceptable? When they included teachers? Doctors? Service workers? 

And at what point does it become acceptable to scream bloody racism and fascism on all the rooftops? 

lagatta

I suppose when there actually is bloody racism and fascim. Look at what is going on in Greece.

Unionist

WyldRage wrote:

And at what point does it become acceptable to scream bloody racism and fascism on all the rooftops? 

At the point where you want to do Pauline Marois a gigantic favour, re-elect her with a majority, and confuse the hell out of millions of potential allies, both in Québec and the rest of Canada.

Or, at the point when you have finished installing a strong safety net below your rooftop.

Or, as lagatta said.

 

mark_alfred

WyldRage, I'm not sure how you get that Mulcair is levying "attacks against the charter" from the url you cited, that being http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/08/26/pol-mulcair-baird-quebe... In fact, right in the first paragraph the article reports that Mulcair "says he doubts Quebec Premier Pauline Marois will move ahead with a planned ban on religious headwear in public-sector workplaces because it would be contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."  This is NOT an attack against the charter from Mulcair.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  He's stating that governments cannot go against the charter.

WyldRage

That article was written before the charter was unveiled, this is now: http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/ndp-leader-thomas-mulcair-slams-quebec-s-proposed-values-charter-1.1448408

Unionist

mark_alfred wrote:

WyldRage, I'm not sure how you get that Mulcair is levying "attacks against the charter" from the url you cited, ...

Pretty sure he means this:

Quote:
Mulcair made the NDP's presentation to the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, which conducted public hearings in 2007 on the impact of religious accommodation on Quebec's identity and values. The commission was run by sociologist Gérard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor. He says the NDP agree with the recommendations of that report and will stand up against any proposal contrary to it.

The Commission recommended that those who have power of punishment or coercion (judges, police, prison guards, crown prosecutors) could be prohibited from wearing religious signs.

 

Wilf Day

Unionist wrote:

Maria Mourani was awesome today, in my opinion, both in her statement and in her open frank answers to questions after. Very emotional.

Well received in the anglo media. In my local pub tonight, I found clear admiration for her, not just because she had left the Bloc but for her principled position.

lagatta wrote:
secularism has to start out by targeting what is still the dominant religion, and get the bloody crucifix out of the National Assembly, and eliminate prayer at municipal councils (silent reflection is fine, though I'd be thinking of my grocery list).

Some might be surprised to learn that our county school board replaced the Lord's Prayer at the start of board meetings with silent reflection back in 1974, on the motion of one of Port Hope's two trustees (a town with only four Jews had elected a Jewish woman as one of its trustees), who then became vice-chair of the board. What's taking you so long?

 

mark_alfred

Sorry WyldRage, I think I misinterpreted your post, and thought you were making some accusatory reference to Mulcair with a reference to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms rather than a reference to the PQ's planned charter.  I've been reading the comments section of too many mainstream papers recently.

ETA:  I just read Unionist's clarification, and now I'm doubly confused.  Well, needless to say, I'm not very familiar with what's up in Quebec.  So, guess I'll just keep reading.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Unionist wrote:

 

[...]

The Commission recommended that those who have power of punishment or coercion (judges, police, prison guards, crown prosecutors) could be prohibited from wearing religious signs.

 

A question for Unionist (or anyone else who might know the answer) - in the mid-1980s there were crosses prominently displayed in both Superior Court (directly above the judges podium) and in the municipal courts in Quebec. Is this still the case? [and please, don't make more of this question than intended, I am asking out of curiosity, not in the furtherance of any agenda]

Unionist

@bagkitty - I've never seen a crucifix in a Québec courtroom (municipal, superior, or court of appeal) - I'm sure they must have been there at one time and don't know how or when they were removed. That's an interesting question. But it's inconceivable that there could be any now... Someone would have said so in the midst of all this heated debate - Québec solidaire, if no one else! The only talking points are the one in the National Assembly, the one on Mount Royal (thought no one makes a really big deal of that one... it's not a government symbol), and prayers at some city council meetings. Someone mentioned bibles in courtrooms, but I think witnesses are allowed to swear on other books, or just affirm obviously.

Now how are we going to figure this out... Google, tomorrow...

mark_alfred

Thanks Unionist, I think I get it.  WR points out a bit of a contradiction in approving the recommendations of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission (BTC) while critiquing the proposed BQ Quebec Charter of Values (QCV), since there are parallels (IE, QCV likely expands restrictions, that do exist on some within the BTC recommendations, to many more).  Perceived authority seemed to be the justification for applying restrictions to some within the BTC, yet others could be deemed to also have authority.  So, where will applying restrictions stop?  When is enough enough?  At what point do we protest?

Anyway, so, not as serious a critique of Mulcair as I first thought (I had misinterpreted the reference to "charter" initially).  Rather, simply, an interesting obversation accompanied with a pertinent caution and some important questions.  Good.  Assuming I've understood this correctly, I believe I've learned something new about some issues in Quebec.  Learning is always a good thing.

lagatta

Nobody is asking to remove the cross on Mont-Royal - hell, like many of my age, I have exceedingly heathen memories of going ons under it, involving dope, sex and other goings-on...

I've never seen a cross or crucifix in a Québec court either.

Unionist

Mark_alfred, just about everyone in Québec agrees with that particular recommendation (judges, cops, etc.) - even though it's ostensibly contrary to the Charter (the Canadian one). Certainly all the parties in the National Assembly do. The furore is over expanding that to employees of all descriptions in the public service, plus health care workers (and nurses and doctors), K-12 teachers, child care workers, etc. Rightly or wrongly, I haven't heard anyone complain about the judges-cops-prison guards part.

So here I am, still explaining WyldRage's point, even though he seems to have moved on to another one... Smile

In any event, it is a point, and it's good to understand where the debate stands.

By the way, the Liberals have also said that if elected, they would re-introduce their bill which would prohibit covering one's face when delivering or receiving a public service (niqabs, burkas). And the Supreme Court has spoken on a related issue, as we know.

So... what's one more charter to muddy the waters?

ETA: Whoops, I should have said K-11. There's no Grade 12 in public schools nor most private ones. The equivalents of Grades 12 and 13 (and more in the case of non-university entrance) are the CEGEPs, and they would be able to opt out, like universities. But I don't even like describing this piece of crap legislation.

 

Unionist

Wilf Day wrote:

 

Some might be surprised to learn that our county school board replaced the Lord's Prayer at the start of board meetings with silent reflection back in 1974, on the motion of one of Port Hope's two trustees (a town with only four Jews had elected a Jewish woman as one of its trustees), who then became vice-chair of the board. What's taking you so long?

We had an #anglojewmayor for a minute, till he was led away in handcuffs. And our city council only prays to Mammon. So we're not doing too badly. But I think they still drink sacramental wine at council meetings - because where there's port, there's hope.

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

lagatta wrote:

Nobody is asking to remove the cross on Mont-Royal - hell, like many of my age, I have exceedingly heathen memories of going ons under it, involving dope, sex and other goings-on...

I've never seen a cross or crucifix in a Québec court either.

Oh they were there (1980s). I saw someone fined for contempt for getting into an argument with a judge after he objected to the presence of what he called "that bloody torture device" on the wall directly above the judge's seat. I am glad to hear you and Unionist saying they are no longer in place.

sherpa-finn

Lou Arab wrote:  I thought the Bloc had already come out against the charter.  Or that they had concerns or something. Did I get that wrong? 

Actually the PQ version of the Charter went further than the BQ's longstanding position, which was certainly pro-secular but not in favour of a blanket ban on religious symbols in the public sector. The historic position advocated by Gilles Duceppe was that such a ban should only apply to public sector employees in positions of authority (judges, police, etc).

So a number of BQ supporters find Paille's suspension of Mourani a little over the top.  And there is suspicion that Marois pulled rank on Paille and told him Mourani simply had to go after her speech denouncing the charter.  

And en passant, Aislin strikes again .... http://www.montrealgazette.com/opinion/editorial-cartoons/index.html

6079_Smith_W

@ WilfDay

Funny you should mention the silent reflection thing. They just started last year doing it at our kids' school after the anthem at assemblies. No idea who started it, and we have a new administration so I am interested to see if they will continue it. I don't know if it's connected at all with the "honour the troops" stuff that seems to be creeping in, but I'm just a bit suspicious of why it was started when there was no such moment of reflection before. I know that ostensibly it is a good or at least a benign thing, but it almost feels like the thin edge of a wedge.

I do wish I had bookmarked that article about schools out here which still break the rules against prayer outright.

 

KenS

just wanted to make sure Wilf saw this

Unionist wrote:

 But I think they still drink sacramental wine at council meetings - because where there's port, there's hope.

Boze

So "just about everyone in Quebec" agrees Sikhs can't be prison guards or police officers, Unionist?

A religious symbol is only a religious symbol because it means something to the people of that religion. Suppose I create my own symbol. It means nothing to anyone except me. But if I find enough people to agree with me, then it becomes a religious symbol and it's fair game to be restricted by the state?

Similarly, I can talk to people about my belief in a Flying Spaghetti Monster, and that's fine, but if enough people actually believe me, then it becomes a religion and I can't talk about it in certain places? I remember as a teenager learning that my school teachers were simply not permitted to have frank discussions about religion or politics, and being appalled. Our right to exchange ideas was apparently trumped by a fear that I might somehow be "influenced" by this person in a position of "authority."

I also want to say I find Stockholm's "litmus test" talk absurd in the extreme. As an anarchist I don't think any country "should" exist, including Canada - this is a sentiment expressed perhaps most famously by John Lennon when he asks you to "imagine there's no countries." The thought of someone of my political persuasion representing the federalist NDP in Parliament is therefore horrifying to him! This attitude on the part of Anglo-Canadians is exactly why we have had such a hard time working with progressive forces in Quebec, and why there is no provincial NDP in Quebec.

I guarantee that none of the NDP's Quebec MP's has been forced to make any such denunciation.

voice of the damned

I remember as a teenager learning that my school teachers were simply not permitted to have frank discussions about religion or politics, and being appalled. Our right to exchange ideas was apparently trumped by a fear that I might somehow be "influenced" by this person in a position of "authority."

I don't think that teachers, while on the job, have the same "right to exchange ideas" that other people do.

I can stand on the street corner holding a sign that says "Outlaw Abortion", or go door to door handing out pamplets advising the same thing. But if I'm a teacher, I don't have the right to wear a button saying "Outlaw Abortion", even if I allow pro-choice students the chance to rebut my views. Because the relationship between teachers, who have a state-mandated power to pass or fail, and students, who are the ones being passed or failed, is not an equal one.

I'm not saying that all classroom debate shoule be as verboten as in my example, but it is subject to neccessary restrictions, in a way that speech in other venues is not. Same goes for policemen, prison guards, doctors etc.

Unionist

VOTD, fully agree with your point.

There are many many ways you can express yourself on a street corner, but not on the job - any job. The key thing is that restrictions on expression must stand the test of being reasonably necessary in the employment context. And such restrictions can't be arbitrary or discriminatory or in bad faith or with ulterior motives not related to the proper operation of the enterprise.

Marois's dress code can never meet those tests, especially not the good faith one.

 

Boze

I agree with that, certainly, and with the "reasonably necessary" criterion, but in my experience, a lot of things are justified as being "necessary" because they are convenient for someone with power. In the case of school students it is surely parents who are the ones demanding "official neutrality" on "sensitive" topics, because they want control over what goes into their kids' heads. I agree that the power to pass or fail can be problematic (one reason I'm opposed to it, and to grades, and to public schools as they currently exist) but I don't see how that relates to the exchange of ideas. In my experience it is usually students (kids being naturally inquisitive) that are the ones who would like to talk about things that the teacher has to say "sorry, can't touch that." Even in private. What this says is that we have no faith in students' ability to use reason to evaluate the relative worth of ideas...and seems to contradict what should be the prime function of schools, to nurture and satisfy a student's natural inquisitiveness.

I have an even harder time seeing how it's necessary to keep turbans off the heads of police officers or prison guards. Yeah, they have authority. For better or worse, we trust them with a certain amount of authority. What is the fear, exactly? Inmates are going to feel compelled to adopt certain religious obervances because they see guards sporting icons of faith?

6079_Smith_W

voice of the damned wrote:

I'm not saying that all classroom debate shoule be as verboten as in my example, but it is subject to neccessary restrictions, in a way that speech in other venues is not. Same goes for policemen, prison guards, doctors etc.

I assume you aren't equating propagandizing with clothing. I think you aren't, but it bears pointing out that they are not the same thing at all. I have no problem with a judge, cop or anyone else wearing a religious symbol. The assumption that you can tell how someone thinks or behaves based on that symbol? Well you tell me what that is.

For that matter, there is all sorts of stuff in school which is passed on as truth which is really just opinion - the existence of the state, as mentioned above, or voting as the litmus test for a fair society.  And I don't think the requirement for speaking about religion or belief systems in school is all that complicated. If you are talking about it - no problem, and I don't see how ond could teach history, for example, without some discussion of religion.

If you are passing it off as the truth, or teaching those values, then it is a problem. And again, the question of undue influence applies to all sorts of values and discrimination that authority figures already have (and which is in fact built into much of the law. The notion that we are talking about PREVENTING it with a dress code is laughable.

 

 

 

WyldRage

At work, so I will be brief.

For figures of authority, the reasoning is that they have to be impartial. For example, a Sikh and a Jew go to court, the judge wears a turban or a kippah, one side may feel their right to a fair trial will have been breached. 

6079_Smith_W

And how is that any different than a judge with an invisible jesus hat? Or the invisible white guy hat? Or the invisible rich hat? This matter has already been settled when it comes to the RCMP.

I know some feel different, and I get the argument; but it is no reason at all, and it is in fact discrimination. What it does is shut people out from those positions of power. I have mentioned it a few times, but a strict application of this would mean that no Native person who wears braids would ever be able to serve in the judiciary. This country already has a long and shameful tradition when it comes to that specific form of religious and cultural assimilation.

And while Native culture is a special case, the effect would be no different if we were talking about targetting a few other specific cultures.

 

Unionist

So, Smith, if a judge's religion requires him to say a prayer out loud thanking the Pope for the strength to decide cases wisely, would you stick up for a lesbian that felt uncomfortable having her case heard by him? Or a worker in an abortion clinic who had been threatened by some anti-choicer? Or would you stick up for the judge's freedom of religion and expression?

I just reported what the consensus in Québec is. I'm perfectly well aware that such rules for judges etc. are prima facie Charter breaches, though they may well be upheld on a balancing of interests. But religious accommodation is a many way street. If someone is determined to be a judge, they may have to leave their nun's habit or other religious garb at home. Life is full of choices.

Quote:
This matter has already been settled when it comes to the RCMP.

"Settled"? How was it settled? The RCMP decided to allow them. No court ruled on the issue. The same RCMP which continues to treat women like shit and is in denial; the same RCMP with its well-known behaviour toward indigenous people. I wouldn't hold that up as much of a "settled" issue.

Male Sikhs who want to work in a railway yard or shop still have to wear hard hats, even though it means being unable to wear a turban. That's what the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Bhinder. Religious freedom isn't absolute. Oh, and when Marois's Charter says that religious accommodation can't trump gender equality? That's a universal consensus in Québec as well. And I'm all in favour of that one. You know, like, someone dials 911 and demands a male or female cop for religious reasons? Or wants to send their kid to public school, but demands an all-male or all-female classroom? Nah. Not here, not now, no thank you.

So there are limits. I think Bouchard-Taylor did fairly well in defining some of those, basing themselves largely on existing Canadian jurisprudence and lots of testimony about real life in Québec that they heard. While vigorously resisting Marois's ploy, we mustn't get caught in the trap of turning the clock backward either - or she will win. Like, no Sharia law or rabbinical tribunals in civil matters here. Etc.

 

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

WyldRage wrote:

At work, so I will be brief.

For figures of authority, the reasoning is that they have to be impartial. For example, a Sikh and a Jew go to court, the judge wears a turban or a kippah, one side may feel their right to a fair trial will have been breached. 

How do you feel about powdered wigs?

Boze

Unionist wrote:
You know, like, someone dials 911 and demands a male or female cop for religious reasons?

What if someone demands a male or female cop for reasons that aren't religious?

I don't get the special status ascribed to religion here. It's no different from any other belief, attitude, or practice that a person may hold or observe.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist, you are talking about policing what is in people's heads, and that is impossible.

People ALREADY have those kinds of biases - or not. The notion that you can judge that based on a hat on someone's head is not only discriminatory; it does nothing to address real abuse of power.

And I might feel differently if this were not directed against things which ONLY stand out because people with a European mindset misunderstand and fear them. Again - the Catholics and Evangelicals? they don't have any magic hats.

Turning the clock back? I think assuming you can read someone's mind based on their faith or clothes is turning the clock back.

I know I posted Paul Martin's statement a few times here on civic responsibility trumping faith, which he made when marriage equality was introduced in the house. You might want to read it. We don't like it when people try to stuff us into boxes. Should you be surprised when others feel the same?

(edit)

Lets not forget that it was a staunch Catholic who declared that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

And actually, Unionist. you are making some contradictory arguments. Why should a person be able to demand a certain person on the bench any more than on a 911 call, based on rules or assumptions? Trying to rig the game for a sympathetic judge is just as much an abuse as rejecting someone you assume is an unsympathetic one.

(though of course that is standard practice when it comes to picking juries)

Your safety argument? Fair enough (though that has been used as a bullshit argument in the past). But that is not the motivation for this law, and I should think that if a person can be demonstrated to do the job one of the prime concerns should be non-discrimination when it comes who can do that job.

@ Boze

No, I don't see any difference either. Racist, classist, sexist, political? The only distinction I see is that an abuse of power is an abuse of power.

 

WyldRage

Boze wrote:

Unionist wrote:
You know, like, someone dials 911 and demands a male or female cop for religious reasons?

What if someone demands a male or female cop for reasons that aren't religious?

I don't get the special status ascribed to religion here. It's no different from any other belief, attitude, or practice that a person may hold or observe.

Quite true. And public workers are prohibited to express any other beliefs (especially political ones) while they are working. Only religion has a free pass... Though I would wager that wearing a "There is no God" T-shirt would get one fired.

Unionist

Smith - you really don't get what I'm talking about, do you? I am NOT talking about what's in a person's head based on what they wear. I am NOT talking about biases that a judge or cop or prison guard may or may not have. They all have them, no matter what they wear. I fully agree with you. And if and when they demonstrate them to the detriment of their functions, they should be subject to coaching or discipline or discharge as the case may be.

I'm talking about the state, its neutrality, and the appearance of neutrality when it comes to religious matters. Just that. Marois says that means a cashier in a state-run liquor store can't wear a kippah. Bouchard-Taylor (and QS and just about everyone else) draw the line at judges, prison guards, cops, crown prosecutors. I don't know if I would draw that line. I do know, however, that launching a crusade for the right of judges to appear in nun's habit will meet with my strenuous and unalterable opposition in the conditions of Québec today.

But you haven't answered my questions. Why not?

Quote:
So, Smith, if a judge's religion requires him to say a prayer out loud thanking the Pope for the strength to decide cases wisely, would you stick up for a lesbian that felt uncomfortable having her case heard by him? Or a worker in an abortion clinic who had been threatened by some anti-choicer? Or would you stick up for the judge's freedom of religion and expression?

My view: No, it's not about the litigant being able to "pick" a judge. It's about the state telling judges to leave such paraphernalia at home. It doesn't matter if it's a lesbian or a Jew or an atheist or an indigenous person or a poor person. None of them should have to be judged by someone whose religious beliefs are so deeply held that they can't leave those symbols at home while performing this fundamental state function.

 

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

OK, I am much more a political amateur than others here. A propos of Quebec, I have a working knowledge of French, have enjoyed traveling to lesser-known parts of the province, and enjoy French literature, food (!) and culture.

But I am having a hard time understanding the  PQ's rationale(s). If the objective of the PQ in this "Charter" is to advance a pure laine agenda, isn't there a strong possibility that it will result in a pyrrhic victory? IOW, they can pass the legislation and when, foreseeably, they lose the legal case, invoke the "Notwithstanding" clause to enforce it regardless. The effect of this however is to generate an anti-Quebec backlash ... after all, there is always some simmering anti-Quebec feeling, apart from the issues here. But, do they not risk driving out a number of educated, valuable citizens and discouraging immigration of precisely the people they need to build a strong economy?

I know I read recently, but can't cite the source, that French-Canadian Catholics (practicing or not) have one of the lowest birth rates in the world. Isn't a policy based on appealing to this demographic likely to have numerous negative sequelae? 

Not to mention, policies that, overtly or not, pander to racism, the politics of envy, xenophobia and other unattractive human traits are dangerous in themselves. I do understand there's a difference in French vs English intellectual history about the concepts of laicite and  freedom of religion, but the whole picture is not making sense to me.

sanizadeh

Regarding what people may feel in presence of a judge wearing a religious symbol, I recall a case in England where a hardline Muslim fundamentalist accused in the court had requested a jury with no Jew or Sikh on it. It caused an uproar and was rightly rejected, if memory serves me right. I am not sure how people may "feel" about a person of authority in turban or headscarf matters, as long as it can be shown that the person in question remains impartial on the job.

or do people here seriously think that anyone wearing a headscarf necessarily supports sharia and rejects secularism?

as for teachers influencing pupils by their display of religious symbols, I think this is nothing but a red herring and has little to do with secularism. The important thing is to have a secular curriculum; if the person is teaching it competently, his/her appearence matters little. Anyone seriously thinks that your child would come back from school and say "my teacher had a cool headscarf; I have decided to convert and join the jihad!"

Secularism is in actual actions, not appearences.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist

Perhaps you haven't read my argument. At the subtlest level no one leaves that stuff at home, and believe me, you and I wear it more overtly than a lot of people who are religious.

Someone prays to a god for the power of careful discernment? What business is that of yours, and how would you police it if it were?

The only thing we need concern ourselves with is whether that person lets his or her personal dogma get in the way of the job. That is a factor of irresponsibility and arrogance, not faith, and it can happen to anyone who isn't committed to a sense of fairness and a respect for the law.

I think I have mentioned a few examples of religious people who manage to do it. What's the foundation of your argument?

Again, if it was a case of a Native person being able to refuse a white judge I'd think it was unorthodox and technically unsupportable, but it would make a bit more sense than what seems to be happening here - people who are already discriminated against getting more of it, while those who dominate get a pass.

and @ sanizadeh

Cross posted with you. I agree.

 

mark_alfred

I recall when the PQ was elected, I was happy that a social democratic party was taking over, and could do right by the students who had been protesting.  Seemed a victory.  Some have commented that this latest gambit by the PQ is a desperate measure to overcome their current failures, whether perceived or real, at administering the province (or, at least, to stem public dissatisfaction with them).  It's unfortunate.  What does this say about the ability of social democratic governments to maintain favour with the public?

6079_Smith_W

Only if you define "social democratic" in the strictest terms.

I'm sure everyone nowadays would scream bloody murder and fascism if Harper tried to shut down the department of Canadian Heritage.

All parties have policies and tactics which cover a wide spectrum

 

 

Unionist

I'm done with this part of the discussion. You don't seem to get that I'm talking about the appearance of neutrality, the appearance of secularism, the appearance of the administration of justice. Not picking and choosing judges (NO - aboriginal people have no right to pick judges on the basis of race or gender nor does anyone else). This is simply and entirely about appearances - the appearance of the state. Real actions, real biases - those can and must be dealt with.

That's why the PQ's charter must fail. They try to argue that someone wearing religious symbols will subtly proselytize (teachers in the classroom, etc.). They are so feeble in their pretend argument that they can't speak coherently.

infracaninophile wrote:
If the objective of the PQ in this "Charter" is to advance a pure laine agenda, isn't there a strong possibility that it will result in a pyrrhic victory?

The objective of the PQ is simply, purely, to create a wedge issue which will wipe out the CAQ and leave the PQ face-to-face with the Liberals, giving them a crack at a majority. To do so, they are prepared to incite xenophobia and chauvinism and divisions. But that's not their objective - it's just the dangerous means to a selfish narrow end.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

You don't seem to get that I'm talking about the appearance of neutrality, the appearance of secularism, the appearance of the administration of justice.

No I do get it. But saying that a person who holds a faith that requires some outward sign does not qualify, regardless of that person's committment?

Sorry, but "appearance" is just a Potemkin Village.

And what is behind it is racism. Maybe not for you, Unionist, but for a lot of those in the cheering section.

 

jerrym

The PQ's argument that people in positions of power should not overtly display religious symbols falls down when they then allow religious leaders to run for political office because the PQ argues they have the support of at least a plurality of the population. The political leaders have far greater power to affect the entire population than any individual bureaucrat. The policies being implemented by the bureaucrats, including the possible ratification of a 'secular' civil service, can only be implemented over time when at least a plurality of the population supports the political leaders. If the PQ were consistent they would ban overtly religious people from creating and influencing political policies by preventing their election. If this were Canadian policy throughout the 20th century, Andrew Hogan, a Roman Catholic priest, or for that matter Bill Blaikie, J.S. Woodsworth, Stanley Knowles or even Tommy Douglas, who were all church ministers, could not have run for the NDP. Logically the PQ has to twist their policy into a pretzel with a big hole in the center in order to make it appear to have even the slightest whiff of fairness. 

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