Quebecer’s Values or the Government’s Values?
by camillecharlebois on August 29, 2013 - 4:38pm
Recently, one of the hottest topics in Quebec is the Parti Quebecois’ latest proposal: the Charter of Quebec Values. As every French Canadian news channel has informed us within the last month, this is our government’s most recent stab at reducing mounting tensions related to multiculturalism. This new policy, if put in place, will have numerous repercussions for all Quebecers. Not many citizens are atheist and every single one of us will eventually come in contact with workers of the government, therefore the instillation of this charter is sure to not leave anyone indifferent. In essence this charter prohibits workers of the public sector from wearing any visible religious symbols, regardless of the religion such as turbans, hijabs or crucifixes. This leads me to wonder: is the implementation of the Charter of Quebec Values fair for all Quebec citizens?
This is a difficult question to answer since it is so complicated to define Quebec as a whole and even more so its citizens. Our province is one of the most multicultural in Canada and has a very distinct heritage. That in itself may influence a lot of political figures in their decision or legislation making for the province.
I believe that the Charter of Quebec Values shouldn’t be put in place, at least not as it is currently written. A vast majority of immigrants living in Quebec practice a religion and “foreign-born immigrants now make up 23 per cent of Montreal’s total population” (Shingler 1). When one is a devoted follower, it is rare that he or she will concede and cease wearing religious articles that have a great significance to them. This means that numerous jobs in the public sector will not be available for a significant proportion of the population, immigrant or not. This simply isn’t fair. How does the wearing of religious symbols affect the quality of service provided by the individual? Aren’t we as a society supposed to teach our children to accept other cultures, be respectful of others and not discriminate? I believe so and therefore this chart would be going against my personal values.
On the other hand, some might be inclined to think that banning the wearing of religious articles in the public sector would be a good idea since it would make all employees appear neutral when it comes to religious convictions and equal. According to Pauline Marois, “the charter will help bring Quebec together” (Canadian Press 1) and “affirm, once and for all, the equality between men and women” (Canadian Press 1). The Charter of Quebec Values is supposed to reflect Quebec’s values as a whole. This in itself seems like an excellent goal our province should strive towards achieving. But is outright banning certain groups of people really the right way of proceeding in order to unify our province? That is the question we all should ponder. Now I ask you: should we as a province allow this charter to be legislated?
Shingler, Benjamin. "Charter of Quebec Values Expected to Limit Religious Accommodations." The Globe And Mail. Phillip Crawley, 01 July 2013. Web. 27 Aug. 2013. <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/charter-of-quebec-values-ex....
"Charter of Quebec Values — with Controversial Ban on Religious Garb — Will Unite Province, Pauline Marois Says." National Post. N.p., 25 Aug. 2013. Web. 27 Aug. 2013. <http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/08/25/charter-of-quebec-values-with-co....