Washington Post article: Banning religious symbols in Quebec goes against Canadian liberalism. Why are politicians afraid to say that?
Criticized article in the Washington Post (The Washington PostPoliticians have been silent on speaking about the ban on religious symbols (Islamic veils and Sikh turbans) in Quebec as being inconsistent with Canadian liberal norms.
Writer J. McCullough said that Canadian Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole – who largely admits his continued inability to show right-wing goodwill – finally found an issue on which he was prepared to be a hard-line reactionary: Quebec’s ban on headscarves for public sector workers.
McCullough said that last month, after the ban was raised to fire a veiled Muslim teacher from her job, O’Toole told his parliamentary caucus that no public opposition on the matter would be tolerated.
McCullough commented that although O’Toole’s public speech is often vague, this remains his primary position today.
It seems that members of Quebec’s political class are already descending into a strange state, where they don’t want to argue, they don’t want to justify, they don’t want to defend, they just want to pass laws that are so inconsistent with Canadian liberal mores and then feel humiliated when they are criticized.
The writer pointed out that O’Toole’s alleged decision was part of other high-level responses in Canada to the school’s dismissal, a move that made the ban on religious symbols in Quebec – known as Bill 21 and theoretically controversial for months – suddenly seem more realistic.
As has been the case throughout the law’s lifetime, the recent reactions have been harsh, not on the Quebec government, of course, but on other Canadians who feel they have a say.
The writer believes that legislation of this type that can be passed in Canada reveals deep structural flaws in Canadian democracy, and therefore when Canadians see that many of their supposed basic rights can be suspended by simple legislation, they will inevitably express their anger and shock.
He concluded that members of Quebec’s political class do seem to have descended into a peculiar state, where they don’t want to argue, they don’t want to justify, they don’t want to defend, they just want to pass laws that are so inconsistent with Canadian liberal norms and then feel insulted when they are criticized.