It will take more than a tragedy to recast the accommodation debate: Hébert

Good advice from Chantal Hébert on Bill 62:

It will take more than a tragedy to recast the accommodation debate along lines more respectful of minority rights.

Consider, on this score, Quebec’s Bill 62. It is the latest legislative proposal designed to bring closure to the religious accommodation debate. It will do anything but that.

The bill would require anyone offering or receiving public services in the province to uncover his or her face, a disposition that could hardly apply to anyone except to a minority of Muslim women.

Quebec’s opposition parties do not feel that goes far enough. The PQ would impose a secular dress code on members of the police force, judges, prison guards and Crown attorneys. The CAQ would also include teachers and child-care workers. If the Liberal bill passes as is, the opposition parties will campaign on expanding its dispositions in next year’s provincial election.

The national assembly was expected to shortly resume debate on Bill 62. The attack on the Quebec mosque will result in a pause. But sooner rather than later the parties will pick up where they left off before this week’s events.

After a decade, it may be overdue to seek the input of people less inclined to play football with the rights of religious minorities, or at least to bring a referee unto the field.

If premier Couillard decided to refer his bill and the opposition’s proposals to the courts to find out how well if at all they sit with the Quebec and Canadian charters of rights, he would render this debate a much needed service

Source: It will take more than a tragedy to recast the accommodation debate: Hébert | Toronto Star

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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