Canadian Party to Ban Religious Headgear
The Parti Quebecois in Quebec, Canada is planning to forbid employees in public institutions from wearing religious headgear. The ruling would affect Jews, Muslims and Sikhs, who would be forbidden to wear kippahs, hijabs, and turbans.
Necklaces, including the crucifix, would still be allowed, if worn “discreetly.”
The ban would be part of what the party has dubbed its Charter of Secularism.
Party members have dismissed warnings that the ban would be in violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “Our boss is not the Supreme Court of Canada, our boss is the will of the people of Quebec,” candidate Jean-Francois Lisee told The Canadian Press. “We do not want to legislate while taking into account Canadian judges. We will legislate considering the interests of Quebecers.”
Jewish community leaders have criticized the plan. Bnei Brith League for Human Rights head Moise Moghrabi told the Canadian Jewish News that the plan is “a flawed attempt to fit Quebec’s pluralistic and diverse society into the PQ’s own restrictive and exclusionary model for integration.”
Jewish National Assembly member Lawrence Bergman slammed the proposal as “odious and shameful.” Bergman noted that Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois had recently supported his motion to commemorate the anniversary of the political emancipation of Jews in Quebec and said, “Obviously, she wasn’t paying too much attention to the message of that motion.”
Parti Quebecois is leading in public-opinion polls as the provincial elections approach.