Separation of religion & state is racist: Canadian districts criticize Quebec law

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Jagmeet Singh: 'Cut your turban off,' voter tells NDP leader
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-49901451

EXCERPT: . . . In June, the province of Quebec passed a law banning certain civil servants from wearing religious symbols at work such as the turban, hijab or kippah. [...] The legislation, passed in June, bars civil servants in positions of "authority" from wearing religious symbols at work, including teachers and police officers.

A number of municipal governments, including Montreal and Calgary's, have voiced opposition to the bill, which has popular support in Quebec. Its supporters have praised the law as a reasonable step towards enshrining the separation of Church and state in Quebec. Critics say it will make it more difficult for religious minorities to integrate into Quebec society [...]

Mr Singh is the first visible minority leader at the helm of a major federal political party in Canada. His NDP is fighting to retain its 14 seats in Quebec ... Mr Singh was greeting voters at a popular food market in Montreal on Wednesday when he approached the man, greeted him and shook his hand.

The man leaned towards Mr Singh and was heard saying: "You should cut your turban off and you'll look like a Canadian."

"I think Canadians look like all sorts of people," Mr Singh responded. "That's the beauty of Canada."

"In Rome you do as the Romans do," the man said.

"But this is Canada, you can do whatever you like," said Mr Singh.

"Alright, take care," the man responded. "I hope you win."

Mr Singh later told journalists that he, like many Canadians, has faced racism and discrimination in communities across Canada. He added that he was confident in being able to move beyond any prejudice to highlight shared values... (MORE - details)

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Laïcité: , literally "secularity", is a French concept of secularism. It discourages religious involvement in government affairs, especially religious influence in the determination of state policies; it also forbids government involvement in religious affairs, and especially prohibits government influence in the determination of religion. However, laïcité doesn't preclude a right to the free exercise of religion...

Laïcité in Quebec (Canada): Public discourse in Quebec, the only predominantly French-speaking province in Canada, has been greatly influenced by the laïcité of France since the 1960s. Prior to this time, Quebec was seen as a very observant Catholic society, where Catholicism was a de facto state religion. Quebec then underwent a period of rapid secularization called the Quiet Revolution. Quebec politicians have tended to adopt a more European-style understanding of secularism than is practised elsewhere in Canada. This came to the fore during the debate on what constitutes the "reasonable accommodation" of religious minorities.

In September 2013, the government of Quebec proposed Bill 60, the "Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests." The bill would alter the provincial human rights law to prohibit public employees from wearing objects that overtly indicate a religious preference. The people who would be most impacted by such a law would be Muslim women wearing a hijab, Jewish men wearing a kippah, and Sikh men (or women) wearing a turban. Employees who do not comply with the law would be terminated from their employment. The party that had proposed the bill, the Parti Québécois, was defeated in the 2014 election by the Quebec Liberal Party (who gained a majority of seats), which opposed the bill. As a result, the bill is considered 'dead'.

In 2019 Premier François Legault's Coalition Avenir Québec(CAQ) government passed Bill 21, a secularism law banning public officials in positions of coercive power from wearing or displaying any religious symbols. However, the display of religious symbols affixed in public institutions like hospitals will be left for each administration thereof to decide. To counter charges of hypocrisy, the crucifix in the Quebec National Assembly was also removed.
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