QUEBEC'S CHARTER OF ORDERS
by ASA on September 18, 2013 - 2:29pm
I wanted to take this opportunity and write about the hottest subject on the news in Quebec and even in Canada: Quebec’s charter of values. The article that I chose relates the events of 14 September 2013 when thousands of people, wearing religious symbols, marched on the streets of downtown Montreal protesting against Quebec’s charter of values. Everybody has an opinion about this heated debate and people are clearly for or against it. This is only one of the few of the debates that I actually feel concerned about. As a seldom religious person, I am totally against Pauline Marois’ proposed charter of values because I don’t think that it is anybody’s business to tell people what they can or can’t wear while working. Right now, this is a very important issue in Quebec and the outcome of this debate will determine the kind of society Quebec is going to be. Therefore should we allow Quebec’s charter of values to be instituted?
People against Quebec’s charter of values have a very strong argument: it interferes with their freedom of expression. Quebec is supposed to be a free society and stopping somebody from wearing a turban, a hijab, a crucifix or anything else is suppressing their freedom to express themselves. Indeed, asking somebody to take off their headscarf or their crucifix is like asking them to drop their culture and customs. For some people, what they wear is a way for them to express themselves and it is closely connected to their identity. Furthermore, nobody has died or has been hurt until now because of people wearing religious symbols so what is the problem now? There is no law against having tattoos, piercings, or weird coloured hair ,even if it bothers some people, then why one against wearing religious symbols? Until very recently, people were living in peace and in harmony with each other (or at least people tolerated each other) and there was not much protest against religious symbols, but because of this charter of values a heated debate has started where only one side can triumph. This debate is only dividing people and giving them the opportunity to discriminate. An opportunity to discriminate religious communities (Muslims, Jews, Hindus…) by refusing, for example, to give them jobs, to fire them or worse expel students from their schools… Nobody wants Quebec to become like France where there is a lot of discrimination and no respect for the different cultural communities.
On the other side of this debate, people have a completely different perspective: the state’s neutrality. Establishing Quebec’s charter of values means taking a step towards secularism and becoming a place where no decision will be influenced by religion, but only strictly based on law. Quebec will be a better society where no display of religious symbols will mean equality between every individual. Indeed, some women wear religious symbols that might make them look inferior, in some people’s point of view, and by banning religious symbols there will be no more distinction between men and women. In a complete neutral society, nobody should cover their face or bring a kirpan to their place of work. Furthermore, there is no interference with people’s freedom of expression because by banning religious symbols it is a way to make sure that nobody gets judged because of their religion(at work) and people can always practise their religion ,at home, in private.
In conclusion, imagine two different kinds of societies: one where people will wear whatever they want, express themselves freely, live in a multicultural society (Quebec today) and one where neutrality, secularism and equality are essential. In what kind of society do you want to live?