About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Quebec Debates Civil Servant Ban on Religious Apparel and Symbols

by Bidita Debnath on September 9, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Font : A-A+

 Quebec Debates Civil Servant Ban on Religious Apparel and Symbols

If a controversial proposal passes, Quebec's public sector employees including at hospitals and schools may be forced to abandon head scarves, turbans, crucifixes and other religious apparel and symbols.

The province -- under premier Pauline Marois, who has been in office just over a year -- has been working up changes for its "charter of values," to be presented publicly this week.

Advertisement

Although the details have not officially been made public, the government says its proposal aims to reaffirm "the principle of religious neutrality in state institutions."

And, according to early press reports, that's going to include a ban on religious symbols among public sector, and semi-public sector, workers.

"One of the responsibilities" of these workers "is to be neutral," the minister in charge of the issue, Bernard Drainville, insisted.
Advertisement

"The best way to protect the right to equality is by neutrality. The best way to respect the right of all religions is for the state to not have any religion," he continued.

Yet these reforms would not apply to the crucifix that has adorned the main chamber of the National Assembly since 1936, Drainville said, which will stay up at all costs.

"We will not turn our back on our heritage, our past," he said.

The proposal has sparked a raging debate between defenders of the "open" multiculturalism more common in North America and the strict secularism practiced in France, even when the reforms aren't due to be voted on for months.

Much of the discussion has centered on the practice of Islam, and the fight has shown signs of turning ugly: a mosque was vandalized in a remote region several days ago.

Marois told a Quebec newspaper that, for her, a day care teacher wearing a head scarf carries a "connotation of a certain gap between the respect of equality between men and women, of a sort of submission."

The liberal opposition, led by Philippe Couillard, though at first radically opposed to the government's initiative, seemed more conciliatory Thursday.

"We don't want to participate in create a climate of crisis and anxiety," he said at a press conference.

Nevertheless, he said his party remains opposed, "strongly, to any limitation on individual freedoms of men and women working in public organizations."

Polls show a majority of Quebec residents support the proposed charter, though they agreed it could cause divisions, local newspaper The Toronto Star reported.

But the Montreal City Council voted unanimously not to endorse the proposal, the Star said, and it has been strongly criticized by a number of federal politicians.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been less forceful in his response, expressing concerns but promising his government would protect fundamental rights.

In the last decade, school pupils have been banned from wearing headscarves or other traditional religious dress in countries including Spain, France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands, according to a 2012 report from Amnesty International.

In addition, France outraged many Muslims with a law against full face-covering veils in public which came into force in April 2011.

Source: AFP
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Printed Temperature Sensors help with Continuous Temperature Monitoring
Health Benefits of Giloy
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Benefits of Meditation / Meditation Therapy 

Recommended Reading
Quebec Unveiled Legislation to Allow Assisted Suicide
Quebec, the government of Canada's mostly French-speaking province unveiled legislation allowing ......
10 People Dead in Quebec Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak
A Legionnaire's disease outbreak has killed 10 people in Quebec City since late July, health ......
Tomatoes Turned into Wine by Quebec Vintner
An increasingly popular but unusual vintage crafted from a secret Belgian family recipe using ......
Quebec To Sue Tobacco Companies for $Can60 Billion
The province of Quebec on Friday launched lawsuit against big tobacco companies for more than ......
Benefits of Meditation / Meditation Therapy
Meditation therapy is one of the best Alternative Therapies. It is a Mind-Body Medicine....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use