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The Quebec Government vs. Niqab

One of the oddest places to understand is Quebec and that's not to say I'm suggesting anything bad. For most Canadians it is viewed as some whinny child that will never get its way. It's something that most would regard as much further left wing when compared to the rest of Canada. But something that I really like is that have real pride and desire to defend their culture, which is something I don't see much of in the rest of Canada.

I personally don't believe that people in Quebec are as left wing as they're made out to be. The Bloc Quebecois does quite as a political party because they're sort of just sticking it to the rest of Canada in Parliament. I think if the likes of Maxime Bernier can be elected in Quebec by the largest majority then you really can't center their politics around the Bloc Quebecois. Anyway, enough background and to the topic at hand.

I saved a link a few weeks ago regarding an incident in Quebec.

MONTREAL - After months of balancing a woman's religious beliefs with her desire to learn French, the Quebec government stepped into her classroom to offer an ultimatum: take off the niqab or drop the course.

The woman opted to keep her Islamic face-covering and has filed a human-rights complaint against the government.

In a province where the government frequently faces accusations of doing too much to accommodate minorities, these actions have prompted a fair bit of praise.

The woman began taking a French course designed for immigrants at a Montreal college in February but she refused to remove her niqab while men were present.

The college was initially willing to accommodate her, but eventually balked as her demands escalated.

According to a report in a Montreal newspaper, she was allowed to give an oral with her back to the class and asked men to move so they wouldn't face each other.

The breaking point occurred when the woman again refused to take off the niqab, though teachers had stressed it was essential they see her face to correct her enunciation and facial expressions.

In what appears to be a highly unusual move, provincial Immigration Minister Yolande James intervened. Officials from her department, acting with the minister's knowledge, met with the woman to discuss her options.

"The government has specific pedagogical objectives in its French courses," said James's spokesman, Luc Fortin.

"We couldn't accept that these objectives, or the learning environment in the class, be compromised."

Several groups, including several teachers' unions, applauded the government for drawing a line in the sand. So did moderate Muslim groups.

"When people come to Canada we're not coming to the Islamic Republic of Canada," said Raheel Raza, a Muslim women's-rights activist who has argued for a public ban on religious face coverings.

"We are coming here because we want that freedom, we want the separation of church and state."

The question that needs to be asked is how accommodating do we need to be for those that are new here. This is the boundary where multiculturalism runs into problems because there is a culture that defines the country and values that people find important.

Here is an article I saw in the news today:

New Quebec law: Uncover your face if you want to deal with provincial government

MONTREAL — Muslim women will need to uncover their faces from now on if they want to deal with the Quebec government, according to landmark legislation tabled Wednesday in the province.

In doing so, Quebec has delved into sensitive territory where governments in Canada have largely avoided treading. The bill tabled in the legislature says people obtaining - or delivering - services at places like the health-or auto-insurance boards will need to do so with their faces in plain view.

It says people's face-coverings will not be tolerated if they hinder communication or visual identification.

Premier Jean Charest told a news conference that the province was drawing a line in the sand in defence of two principles: gender equality, and secular public institutions.

"This is a symbol of affirmation and respect - first of all, for ourselves, and also for those to whom we open our arms," Charest told a news conference.

"This is not about making our home less welcoming, but about stressing the values that unite us. . .

"An accommodation cannot be granted unless it respects the principle of equality between men and women, and the religious neutrality of the state."

While the debate over such identity issues has raged in Europe for years, Canadian politicians have generally been reluctant to weigh in.

Quebec has been an exception.

The Charest government has actually faced persistent criticism from opponents who say it has done too little to draw up guidelines for accommodating minorities.

Newspapers have been full of stories where people express outrage over perceived religious excesses, and the opposition has clobbered the government in the legislature over its supposed inaction.

The bill tabled by Justice Minister Kathleen Weil explicitly points out that any provisions are subject to the guarantees of gender and religious equality outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In Quebec, this debate has consumed a tremendous amount of attention for what amounts to a miniscule number of cases.

It's hard for me to actually add to what Premier Jean Charest said because he pretty much said it all. I know that some multiculturalist (cultural relativist) will see this post and I'm going to be called bigoted or racist. I'll point out that Islam is not a race, it is an ideology. Also, wanting equality under the law is not racist or bigoted.

Let's just get right down to the core of things. I'm an engineer and that's what we do best. We're talking about an ideology that believes women are nothing more than second class citizens. An ideology that believes a woman is half that of a man. And the reason that they wear a Niqab (or burka or hijab) are nothing more than tools to illustrate that women are simply second class. It is one of the most sexiest and anti-female thing occurring in the Western world and there doesn't seem to be enough people standing up to it.

The problem with multiculturalism (in a nut shell) is two specific beliefs: First, the belief that all cultures are just different and second, the belief that you should be tolerant of them because they're different. The first point is a fair point, but the second one isn't. I CAN'T tolerate backwards ideologies and cultures. I just can't do it. If you think women are second class citizens, then I don't want you in this country. I won't respect it, and I assume most people wouldn't either. But when you cloak it in a religion (Islam) it suddenly becomes taboo for me to oppose it.

That is the whole issue and it is what I wanted to say. At least the Quebec government is deciding to fight against backwards culture. They're fighting for equality of the sexes and they're fighting for a completely secular government that isn't going to treat people different because they come from a specific religion. Good for them.


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