In a time of fools in Quebec.

There is no more appropriate time to recognize the foolishness of the bigotry that emerges periodically in Quebec than April Fools Day. They bring it on themselves. Quebec leaders and politicians seem endlessly adept at bringing derision on themselves and their province for bigotry and tribalism.

The provincial paranoia seems to have settled on immigration as its greatest threat today. It is hard to understand what end the politicians seek to achieve. The latest stunt in the national assembly in Quebec City is for premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec government to introduce another bill to confirm the religious neutrality of the state. To do this, the government is proposing that nobody in a position of authority is allowed to wear anything with religious connotations. This seems to include everything from head scarves, to crucifixes, to skull caps and turbans.

To get away with this thinly disguised bigotry, the national assembly is being asked to over-ride both the Canadian Bill of Rights and Freedoms and the similar Quebec bill of rights. It seems that the guarantees of religious freedom under these rights bills are not as guaranteed as we assumed.

Immigration minister Simon Jolin-Barrett told the assembly that this bill is a logical follow-up to Quebec’s Quiet Revolution of the 1960s when Quebec threw off many of the controls the Roman Catholic Church held over education and health care. Actually, it reads more like the failed Quebec values bill of the PQ’s Pauline Marois in 2012.

At least the law-makers had the grace to also remove the large crucifix that dominated the décor of their assembly hall for many years.

What is obvious is that most Quebec voters do not know the difference between a head scarf, a hijab, a niqab or a burka. Nor do they realize that these styles of clothing are mainly cultural in origin and have little to do with religion.

But ignorance is no excuse for a bill that promotes bigotry. Premier Legault and his CAQ colleagues should be ashamed of themselves.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to

Comments are closed.