Kirpans not allowed in National Assembly

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Maysie Maysie's picture

Thank you Lachine Scot.

Le T Le T's picture

Exactley LS. And might I add that calling Kirpins "knives" would be like calling neck ties "nooses" or dress shoes "projectiles". It's easy to decontextualize something by calling it something different.

It think that this story, and people's reactions to it, expose some of the subtexts of what some people call "secular society". If governments ban "religious symbols" in public should they not also ban symbols of Eurocentric secularism (a religion in itself)? Or perhaps logos of sports teams? Pretty soon we will run out of things to ban and we'll all be in prison--except of course those doing the banning.

gadar

Ghislaine wrote:

Wow, I never expected the Bloc to take a stance like that.

Second you on that.

Liberals and NDP have also made their stand clear on this.

While the Cons dont have a comment. I am sure they would have a lot to say if somebody said something against zionism.

 

Unionist

Lachine Scot wrote:
Not letting them into the legislature is no different to me than law enforcement harassing them in their regular life or other forms of institutional racism.

Without wanting to take too many sides here, let me point out that they were not harassed or barred from the legislature - they were asked to check their kirpans on the way in to conform with the security rules of that particular place - a place where, you'll recall, [url=http://archives.cbc.ca/on_this_day/05/08/]three people were murdered by a person toting a submachine gun[/url] when security was much more lax than it is today. No, I'm obviously not suggesting that the representatives of the WSO posed any risk whatsoever - just recalling what triggered the increased security at the National Assembly.

I'm quite certain the Sikhs weren't asked to check their turbans or any of the other most visible signs of their culture, faith, and identity, which is why I question the instant conclusions of "racism" and "religious intolerance". Accommodation can be a two-way street. Rules must be reasonably bent by society to accommodate matters of conscience, disability, etc. - and likewise, individuals need to accommodate aspects of their beliefs to live in a particular society.

That's why some religious Sikhs have to choose between temporarily parting with their kirpans for the purpose of air travel, or not use air travel. That's why my immigrant parents had to choose between strict (and I mean strict) observance of the Sabbath, and scraping together a living in post-war Canada. That's why some people have to choose between wearing their face veil at all times in public, and getting a passport or driver's licence.

And as Caissa noted above, Québec is a nation and society with its own history and norms. Superior outsiders may describe it as "xenophobic", for example, to want to bar all public displays of religion in some contexts. The kirpan certainly doesn't fall within that category (as it's not visible), and that's a separate debate.

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Exactley LS. And might I add that calling Kirpins "knives" would be like calling neck ties "nooses" or dress shoes "projectiles".

 

Um, actually it would be more like calling a necktie a necktie, or dress shoes dress shoes.

 

Or if you still disagree, what exactly do you think a Kirpan is? Do you find that the handle, sheath and edge make it bear any similarity whatsoever to what we call a knife?

 

Again, I'm not suggesting we need a crackdown on Kirpans. But it beggars belief to be expected to pretend that it's not a knife.

 

pookie

Unionist wrote:

And as Caissa noted above, Québec is a nation and society with its own history and norms. Superior outsiders may describe it as "xenophobic", for example, to want to bar all public displays of religion in some contexts. The kirpan certainly doesn't fall within that category (as it's not visible), and that's a separate debate.

 

This is a tiresome point, but I consider myself a Quebecker.

And, regardless of the specific context of the Assemblee Nationale, the fact that the Bloc is now specifically dragging Parliament into this gives rather a different tenor to the discussion.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

This thread reminded me of this story from 2008: Crucifix has deep constitutional roots in Quebec because the crucifix was mentioned in this thread, and, in June of that year (2008) the National Assembly unanimously rejected a proposal to remove the crucifix from above the speaker's chair, which had been placed there by  the government of Maurice Duplessis in the 1930's. If I understand Charest's argument, the crucifix is more than just a religious symbol.  I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the rest of story I linked to, by the way. Embarassed

 

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This is clearly a freedom of expression issue but apparently many people in Quebec do not believe individuals should have Charter protections.  The context is there are no rules regarding kirpans being worn in the National Assembly buildings and this delegation was trying to speak about religious tolerance while wearing the symbol of their religion that many people are intolerant about.  

But go ahead tell them they should express themselves differently.  That implies that these specific Sikh's seeking to speak to the point of the hearings cannot be trusted. Their view that it is their right to express themselves by wearing a kirpan and other symbols of their faith not only did not get a hearing but it was rejected by a low level security guard, ruling that it was not a religious symbol but a weapon. 

IMO it is quite frankly beyond absurd to point to security as a reason to deny them their freedom to wear the expressions of their faith while speaking to religious intolerance. Methinks that they have proven the point that their is no tolerance in Quebec for any religion except Christianity. All others may discretely practice their religions in their homes.  

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

milo204 wrote:

kropotkin, i don't think any of us here take positions based on whether or not the media takes a similar position.  consequently, i'm not going to oppose something simply on the basis it is supported in some way by the media.

I think the observation is relevant.  If there is an option that respects religious practice and also fits in with universally accepted security requirements, why would it be wrong to suggest the wearer take that into account?

isn't that the very definition of reasonable accommodation?

In many contexts I would agree.  But in this case we have no security issues in most of our legislatures around the country over the wearing of kirpans.  There are no "universally accepted security requirement" and therefore I would argue it is not a bona fide requirement that could override a right.  

I keep trying in every post to include that this is about the context of this delegation trying to speak.  I do not think there is a security issue here in this case.  Some random person walking in off the street to tour the building as tourists would be a different set of facts but that is not the case here.  

To me this is clearly a denial of their Freedom of Expression at the place that it counts the most. I note that the Quebec parties are not saying this is not a Charter breach but that they don't care because they never signed it anyways. 

Le T Le T's picture

Quote:
IMO it is quite frankly beyond absurd to point to security as a reason to deny them their freedom to wear the expressions of their faith while speaking to religious intolerance. Methinks that they have proven the point that their is no tolerance in Quebec for any religion except Christianity. All others may discretely practice their religions in their homes.

It should be noted that many places did (and still do) try to ban smudging and pipe ceremonies on account of the fire code or anti-smoking legislation. Ethnocentric thinkers like Snert see a ceremonial pipe and worry about lung cancer.

 

Unionist - I get what you are saying vis a vis "two way street" BUT a parliamentary chamber is a site for civic ceremony (for those that believe in such a fraudulent form of governance). This was not a plane. The point of the Assemble is that it is a place were symbols and protocols are used to make it into a special place of ceremony. If some symbols are exluded based on the inability of half-wits to know that Kirpans are not weapons then there is no other way to describe this than xenophobic exclusion.

Snert Snert's picture

It would certainly be handy if Christians carried a functional replica spear ("to remind them of Christ's suffering at the hands of the Roman soldiers").

Then, if all the Christians were welcome to carry their spears on a plane, carry their spears in a courtroom, carry their spears to school, and so on, it would be crystal clear that we're making an exception for Christians and displaying intolerance toward Sikhs.

Instead we seem to be saying that because we're still debating a knife carried by Sikhs, but we don't debate St. Christopher medallions, that's conclusive proof that we're racist, ethnocentric xenophobes.

I agree with Unionist:

Quote:
I'm quite certain the Sikhs weren't asked to check their turbans or any of the other most visible signs of their culture, faith, and identity, which is why I question the instant conclusions of "racism" and "religious intolerance".

 

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Yea, make up shit. That'll help the debate.

Caissa

I'm wondering how far i could go in insulting Snert before I get a warning or a suspension. A little guidance from a moderator might help me tone down what I really want to type. Wink

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Caissa wrote:

I'm wondering how far i could go in insulting Snert before I get a warning or a suspension. A little guidance from a moderator might help me tone down what I really want to type. Wink

Wink

Snert Snert's picture

We "make shit up" all the time, and it doesn't seem to kill the debate.
"If MEN got pregnant..."
"If Michael Bryant had been a poor black man..."
Whatsamatter?  Your imagination get amputated when you were a kid?

Quote:
I'm wondering how far i could go in insulting Snert before I get a warning or a suspension.

PM me.

pookie

I wonder why Snert is getting all the grief in this discussion when he clearly is not the only one sympathetic to the Bloc/PQ position.

Never mind - figured it out.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Snert wrote:
We "make shit up" all the time, and it doesn't seem to kill the debate.

"If MEN got pregnant..."
"If Michael Bryant had been a poor black man..."
Whatsamatter?  Your imagination get amputated when you were a kid?

 

This is a personal attack. moderators alerted. Send him to hell.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

pookie wrote:

I wonder why Snert is getting all the grief in this discussion when he clearly is not the only one sympathetic to the Bloc/PQ position.

Never mind - figured it out.

Personally I will admit I don't like gnats so it is likely bias in my case. 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Snert, if you are going to make snarky comments oblivious to context and dismissive of other babblers' opinions in an effort to score discussion "points," you should expect that babblers so maligned will not respond very kindly to such a style. That said, if the personal attacks could be dialed down (gnats, etc.) that would be great.

There is actually some good discussion going on here. I'd like to see it continue. Thanks kindly.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Darn. I was looking forward to a large, Snertian conflagration. Carry on.

Unionist

pookie wrote:

And, regardless of the specific context of the Assemblee Nationale, the fact that the Bloc is now specifically dragging Parliament into this gives rather a different tenor to the discussion.

I agree. If the Bloc wants to represent and defend the interests of the Québec nation in these matters, they should stop short of telling others how they should handle kirpans in secure settings. There is a strong secular sentiment among a good segment of the Québec population, having lived through the Grand Noirceur, that leads to conclusions less generous than elsewhere to notions of "I can do whatever I want because my god told me to". The balance between individual liberty and social interest is drawn in different ways in different societies. But to present this as an issue of "keep the kirpans out of Parliament too" puts the debate on a very different plane.

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Sineed wrote:

In my workplace, someone was stabbed with a ballpoint pen.  It was nasty.

I remember when the manufacturer of Bic pens used to run a television commercial where they used one of their pens to puncture a tin can, and then demonstrated that the pen could still write. I think of this commercial every time I hear about new security restrictions and derive a certain sick amusment from thinking about whether or not a ballpoint pen would still write after puncturing one of the thinner parts of the skull (the temple comes to mind).

I do have a few problems with the way the "debate" in the MSM is focusing on the fact that the kirpan is a blade (the preferred term they use is knife) without pausing to observe that the perched over the throne in the National Assembly is a representation of an execution (execution by torture) device -- the crucifix (colloquially a cross, but this one seems to have the human figure attached, so lets call it by its symbolic name). Colour me suspicious, but I suspect at least one of the commentators, and at least one of the MNAs, might have one of these symbolic representations of a really nasty way to kill someone hanging around their neck. I guess some symbolic representations are waaaaaay scarier than others. One thing I perceive as missing from the commentary, is a description of the size of the symbolic representations that they are seeing fit to ban (the kirpans, not the crucifixes) -- are these machete size? paring knife size? nail clipper size*? Is the reaction of security proportional to the size of the threat?

It strikes me that if one is concerned about blades, one should be equally concerned about torture/execution devices. But if a scale model of a torture/execution device is permissible, so should a scale model of a blade... sounds sort of like a reasonable accomodation to me.

In the meantime, I think the security staff at the National Assembly should be forced to watch the Bic pen commercial that I referred to and to take appropriate steps to ensure that the public, workers at the National Assembly and the MNAs themselves are protected from attack by writing instrument.

_________

* I also wonder about the ban on nail clippers on commercial aircraft justified as a "security" precaution. I have this image in my mind of a wannabe hijacker grabbing a member of aircrew and threatening them while wielding said nail clippers... "Do as I say or I am going to give you SUCH A PINCH!!!"

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Well the point has been made, and more than once, that all these security precautions may have something to do with forcing obedience from a compliant population - or CREATING such a population - and little to do with genuine security concerns.

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

I've personally visited the dining areas of two legislatures and the House of Commons.  In all three cases I had access to steak knives. I'm sure the situation is similar in other legislatures.

Isn't that as much a security risk as a Kirpan?

milo204

but can the people here who are against "security restriction" address the issue of having people wear a different, but still acceptable version (as far as religious observance) of the kirpan in these settings as opposed to the larger knife like one?  doesn't that still seem like the most sensible solution in this case?

pookie

milo204 wrote:

but can the people here who are against "security restriction" address the issue of having people wear a different, but still acceptable version (as far as religious observance) of the kirpan in these settings as opposed to the larger knife like one?  doesn't that still seem like the most sensible solution in this case?

That question has pretty much been rendered a non-starter given the caselaw.  There is no controlling religious dogma that can provide a legally binding answer.  Basically, every observant male Sikh would be able to determine that for himself. Those who clearly believe that it would not be acceptable (Like Navdeep Bains) would then have to defend against the argument that their right to wear the kirpan is rightly limited because of security concerns. Note, though, that the standard is not "absolute security" but only security that is "reasonable".

milo204

interesting, and there has been some talk (featured in the original article) in the sikh community about making a kirpan that cannot be unsheathed, since it's not supposed to be used, just worn.

 

TariAkpodiete

Tories mum on Sikh right to carry kirpan

http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/canada/article/749246--tories-mum-on-sik...

snippet: "A proposal to ban a Sikh ceremonial dagger from Parliament had two of Canada's three main national parties racing to the defence of the religious symbol — while the Conservatives refused to take a public stand."

kinky friedman

Hmm, Tory supporters like CHA come out in favor on the kirpan ban, while Tories themselves refuse comment.

We can infer from this what their real attitude is.

 

 

TariAkpodiete

kinky friedman wrote:

Hmm, Tory supporters like CHA come out in favor on the kirpan ban, while Tories themselves refuse comment.

We can infer from this what their real attitude is.

the best part is that we also have a pretty good idea of the true feelings of the reform party, excuse me Tory party, towards supporters such as the CHA (non-white immigrant types). that old guard doesn't really like them either, but grins and bears it while taking their money,

 

kinky friedman

TariAkpodiete wrote:

kinky friedman wrote:

Hmm, Tory supporters like CHA come out in favor on the kirpan ban, while Tories themselves refuse comment.

We can infer from this what their real attitude is.

the best part is that we also have a pretty good idea of the true feelings of the reform party, excuse me Tory party, towards supporters such as the CHA (non-white immigrant types). that old guard doesn't really like them either, but grins and bears it while taking their money,

 

Not quite true. Most of the old guard Reform people are in Harper's cabinet and are the most enthusiastic in implementing the rabid Hindu agenda, starting with relations with Modi/ Gujrat and continuing with nuclear trade.

That's like saying they are really anti semitic at heart.. even if they are, so what if they are selling out the country to Israel?

Cold comfort. They take money from these cretins, and Canada pays the price in return. Great.

 

 

TariAkpodiete

kinky friedman wrote:

TariAkpodiete wrote:

kinky friedman wrote:

Hmm, Tory supporters like CHA come out in favor on the kirpan ban, while Tories themselves refuse comment.

We can infer from this what their real attitude is.

the best part is that we also have a pretty good idea of the true feelings of the reform party, excuse me Tory party, towards supporters such as the CHA (non-white immigrant types). that old guard doesn't really like them either, but grins and bears it while taking their money,

 

Not quite true. Most of the old guard Reform people are in Harper's cabinet and are the most enthusiastic in implementing the rabid Hindu agenda, starting with relations with Modi/ Gujrat and continuing with nuclear trade.

That's like saying they are really anti semitic at heart.. even if they are, so what if they are selling out the country to Israel?

Cold comfort. They take money from these cretins, and Canada pays the price in return. Great.

speaking of 'nuclear trade', guess who has an opinion on that? yup, that's right, this chump:

Sell AECL to India

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/11/19/...

- Canada wants to sell CANDU nuclear reactors to India. A better idea is to sell India the whole company 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:

It strikes me that if one is concerned about blades, one should be equally concerned about torture/execution devices. But if a scale model of a torture/execution device is permissible, so should a scale model of a blade... sounds sort of like a reasonable accomodation to me.

 

Hasn't it already been established that any non-functional model of a kirpan, whether too tiny to use, made of plastic, or sewn into clothes so as to be inaccessible, are in fact permissible?

Caissa

Established by whom?

Snert Snert's picture

This discussion and our collective understanding.  Or, in the case of a one-inch long plastic kirpan the size of a keychain, just our common sense?

Dodger718

bagkitty wrote:

* I also wonder about the ban on nail clippers on commercial aircraft justified as a "security" precaution. I have this image in my mind of a wannabe hijacker grabbing a member of aircrew and threatening them while wielding said nail clippers... "Do as I say or I am going to give you SUCH A PINCH!!!"

The comparison to airline travel is a silly analogy. We put up with all sorts of restrictions to get on a plane because we recognize that it's a particularly dangerous place to allow anything that might be used as a weapon. If we want to treat parliament buildings like airlines, we may as well take away everyone's toothpaste and have some agent touch your junk before they let you in for a meeting.

kinky friedman

TariAkpodiete wrote:

kinky friedman wrote:

TariAkpodiete wrote:

kinky friedman wrote:

Hmm, Tory supporters like CHA come out in favor on the kirpan ban, while Tories themselves refuse comment.

We can infer from this what their real attitude is.

the best part is that we also have a pretty good idea of the true feelings of the reform party, excuse me Tory party, towards supporters such as the CHA (non-white immigrant types). that old guard doesn't really like them either, but grins and bears it while taking their money,

 

Not quite true. Most of the old guard Reform people are in Harper's cabinet and are the most enthusiastic in implementing the rabid Hindu agenda, starting with relations with Modi/ Gujrat and continuing with nuclear trade.

That's like saying they are really anti semitic at heart.. even if they are, so what if they are selling out the country to Israel?

Cold comfort. They take money from these cretins, and Canada pays the price in return. Great.

speaking of 'nuclear trade', guess who has an opinion on that? yup, that's right, this chump:

Sell AECL to India

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/11/19/...

- Canada wants to sell CANDU nuclear reactors to India. A better idea is to sell India the whole company 

Chump he is, but that was a very well written and researched article. Conclusions and contentions were all wrong and reflected his (and let's face it, his community's) bias, but the guy is not as dumb as we think he is.

BTW you may note that CCD and Canada-India Foundation all said more or less the same thing, but with far less research. Surprisingly, in cases like this, Canadian Hindu Advocacy seems to apply more academic rigour and reasoning than CIF.

One difference, though, seems to be that those other groups (or at least those who put 'Canada' or 'Canadian in their name) have the sense to either praise or stay neutral on the country. Chump Banerjee seems to have no qualms whatsoever about calling us dolts and idiots in a national newspaper, though couching it in better language.

Bombastic outbursts aside, though, Banerjee is very good at spin when he wants to be. Makes him doubly dangerous.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Snert yes you have established that you think it is permissible to tell people what their religious symbols should look like.  This was a delegation to the legislature not a tourist in the line to get into the gallery. They wanted to speak to a committee on religious intolerance and chose deliberately to wear the symbols of their religion as they believe they should look.  The act of wearing them and not hiding a plastic replica under their clothes was an overt insistence on their right to freedom of expression.  

At least the BQ and PQ are not denying that this is a Charter breach.  IMO it is clear that this delegation's right to express themselves with symbols has been denied.  The rights in the Charter are indivdual rights and the only defence is whether or not the limits are reasonable in a free and just society.  No threat to me means the denial is not justified.  In other circumstnce with other facts the Charter might not be breached and if it was the breach might be justifiable.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Snert yes you have established that you think it is permissible to tell people what their religious symbols should look like.

 

I couldn't care less what they look like -- styles seem to vary a lot. I think the issue is "are they also a functional weapon such as would otherwise be inadmissible?"

 

Funny, though, that while you refer to it as a "symbol", you seem distinctly against the idea that it should be anything less than 100% functional.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Snert I have explained my position to you enough times.  That you disagree is fine but why should you insist that I shadow box with your perception of my ideas.

Neither you nor I are Sikh's, so frankly in my world we have nothing to add to a discussion on what their symbols are or should be.  

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:

Neither you nor I are Sikh's, so frankly in my world we have nothing to add to a discussion on what their symbols are or should be.  

 

Fair enough. But as citizens, we should have something to add to a discussion of accommodation of religious beliefs. In that context I see nothing wrong with saying "if the chosen symbol was more like this then that would satisfy the need for safety".

Caissa

That is not accommodation of religious belief. That is a requested modification of a religious belief.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I am talking about freedom of expression and you keep talking about freedom of religion.  If you don't understand the difference yet and the different arguments I am sorry. I tried in good faith.

As for the subject of religious symbols generally, if I thought catholics should stop putting a body on their cross symbols because it is a graphic depiction of torture and murder, the only thing I would expect a catholic to say to me is, "who cares what you think?"

 

Snert Snert's picture

Is it?  As I understand it, the belief is that a Kirpan must be worn.  Don't suggestions of sewn-in Kirpans, plastic Kirpans or small Kirpans respect that belief, intact?? 

And if it doesn't leave that belief intact, are the Sikhs currently carrying an unusable Kirpan in violation of their own beliefs?? 

Le T Le T's picture

Snert - you are not Sikh so it doesn't matter how you understand it. Or whether you think certain models of a religious symbol, which you know nothing about, are congruent with a religion, which you also no nothing about. Nor does people telling you this mean that they are judging Sikhs who wear Snert-approved regalia as "in violation of their own beliefs". We are judging you for your inability to read/understand multiple posts that have tried to explain a position that you continue to misrepresent.

I will admit, it must be very hard to conceal the xenophobic root of your position but you should at least try to argue with people's actual ideas instead of your fantastical straw people. Unless you're just looking for attention, which would mean that you're trolling.

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Snert - you are not Sikh so it doesn't matter how you understand it.

 

Okay, let's everyone who's not Sikh stop posting in this thread then.

 

K?

remind remind's picture

Presenting a religion, any religion, as uniform in concept, design and practise, is a fool's errand, at best. Moreover, doing so is trying to control optics in presenting a false notion that  all are of one mind.

Reducing conversations/dialogues at babble to such a micro dynamic is pretty much sickening, encountering it in real life is one thing, here is quite another.

In fact, it is my view that presenting such a  phoney optic is oppressive language, if not also colonialistic mentality making no apologies for being such. Really, in thinking further, such a presentation is telling babblers that we are wrong to not have oppressive thoughts/words and a colonial mentality.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Please Snert take your ball and go home.

remind remind's picture

Snert wrote:
Quote:
Snert - you are not Sikh so it doesn't matter how you understand it.

 

Okay, let's everyone who's not Sikh stop posting in this thread then.

 

K?

 

edited, actually not posted at all, as it simply is not worth it.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Snert, stay out of this thread.

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