A disturbing law has been proposed in Quebec that could have implications beyond their borders if passed.
The provincial government is proposing a law that would ban all religious symbols on public service employees
Though this is in Quebec only right now, it does speak of a growing intolerance to those not Christian that is creeping into the Canadian consciousness. This is by no means an epidemic in this country, but non-Christian religions have seen a small uptick in crimes attacking them.
We need to be clear that this is unacceptable in Canada.
Canada does not have a clear separation of church and state as the United States does, but we do have freedom of religion. That has in the past been interpreted as freedom from religion as well.
Maybe the intention of Quebec is to give them a bit of that separation, but going after clothing would be totally pointless. The religion is still there, just not the symbols.
A ground called the Mouvement laïque québécois is praising the move, because their goal is to promote secularism in the province, and considers religious symbols a type of propaganda.
"The school is where you create citizens with the same feeling, the same awareness of their civic duties, their civic responsibilities and their civic rights," Michel Lincourt is quoted as saying in a CBC report.
Expect that school is also about teaching students to think about the world around them, and be tolerant of others. Taking away a teacher's right to wear a religious symbol teaches the total opposite of that.
For the most part the symbols don't affect anyone's day-to-day life. Whether a teacher wears a hijab, turban, Jewish kippah or a crucifix doesn't change what the student will learn in school.
The idea that these symbols might be seen as propaganda is ludicrous. On there own they are symbols of someone's faith. It may spark a conversation about why the person wears those symbols, but propaganda is about influencing someone by using facts selectively or with loaded messages to provoke a certain reaction.
Perhaps proselytization could be banned for public servants, but its doubtful many are engaging in that. If they were, they likely wouldn't keep their jobs very long anyway, as it would be outside their job duties.
Canada is a multi-cultural country, which should be celebrated. Instead by bringing this forward, even if it is shot down, says we are not a welcoming country. We should be encouraging tolerance, and instead this law promotes assimilation. That's not what this country should ever stand for.