Federal government officials hinted last week that they are willing to fight Quebec’s controversial new charter in court if necessary.
Earlier this month, amid much controversy, the Quebec government announced intentions to implement a values charter that would ban public service workers from wearing any type of religious garment or symbol.
“We are very concerned by any proposal that would limit the ability of Canadians to participate in our society, and that would affect the practice of their faith,” said former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney when asked about the charter. “We are very concerned about any proposal that would discriminate unfairly against people based on their religion, based their deepest convictions.”
Human rights groups and immigrant advocates, both within Quebec and outside of the province, have expressed similar sentiments. However, recent polls show that most Quebeckers do, in fact, support the new charter.
Though the provincial government may have the support of its people, the Conservative government at the federal level has, in recent years, bolstered their power by increasingly appealing to the newcomer vote. If successfully implemented in Quebec, the federal government may have no choice but to take action against the charter.
The issue of religious accommodation has become more and more heated in recent years, with controversy erupting over, for instance, the place of turbans, hijabs and niqabs in Canadian society.
Though Quebec has often found itself in the midst of these cultural debates, the federal government has too been criticized for some policies, including an incident involving the 2009 citizenship guide, warning newcomers against “barbaric” practices such as genital mutilation and honor killings.
Source: Ottawa Citizen