Barber refuses haircut to woman on religious grounds

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jas

onlinediscountanvils wrote:
I'm certainly no expert on Islam, but I somehow doubt that he's forbidden from hiring someone who is willing and able to cut women's hair. That would be the more likely recmedy, as opposed to; he'll be compelled by law to personally cut women's hair.

Yeah. OR. . . she could respect the fact that his religious beliefs prevent him from touching her - just as those same beliefs will sometimes cause Muslim women to forgo medical treatments - and she can agree to disagree with those beliefs, and still go to any number of other barbers who will serve her, and she will not have suffered any deprivation whatsoever, because the first barber was not rejecting her person. He was simply not allowed to touch her.

jas

Unionist, whatever section 32 of the Charter means, it does not abrogate sections 1 and 2.

Canadian Heritage definitely needs to word their explanation a little better. I'm beginning to wonder if it's some creepy Harper attempt to reinterpret the Charter. I went to click on their interpretation of Section 1 and look what I got. SurprisedWink

 

In any case, here is their explanation of Section 2, Unionist.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

jas wrote:

and she can agree to disagree with those beliefs, and still go to any number of other barbers who will serve her, and she will not have suffered any deprivation whatsoever, because the first barber was not rejecting her person. He was simply not allowed to touch her.

I wish the moderators would change the title of this thread. The lesbian part is unnecessary and highlighting this women's sexual orientation when it is not a relevant fact is itself a type of discrimination.

Maysie would you like to join me for coffee?  Unfortunately if this cafe is owned by an orthodox person they won't serve us because it is against their religious beliefs to have women and men eat and drink together.  Oh well we could always go somewhere else were they will serve us both. So what's to make a fuss over?  [sarcasm alert]

If a person opens a business in Canada they must be willing to serve all people subject to enumerated exceptions. That is the law. If you can't comply then don't go into that kind of business find something where your religious beliefs can be accommodated.  Providing services to the public means the whole public not subsets based on religion.  Lets not forget the religious part of the KKK.  Serving blacks offended their religious beliefs and that is what they used as a defence.  Today's racist south of the border rely on private property rights to say they should be able to serve anyone they chose and Jas you seem to be advocating something similar to that libertarian rationale.

 

Mr.Tea

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I wish the moderators would change the title of this thread. The lesbian part is unnecessary and highlighting this women's sexual orientation when it is not a relevant fact is itself a type of discrimination.

I started the thread and would be fine if the moderators changed the title as the fact that the woman is gay isn't particularly relevant. I guess I just used it because I initially learned of it when a lesbian friend of mine posted it to Facebook and because the article appeared in a gay publication.

Mr.Tea

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Maysie would you like to join me for coffee?  Unfortunately if this cafe is owned by an orthodox person they won't serve us because it is against their religious beliefs to have women and men eat and drink together.  Oh well we could always go somewhere else were they will serve us both. So what's to make a fuss over?  [sarcasm alert]

What "orthodox" person are you referring to? Orthodox Jews? I've been to plenty of kosher restaurants and none of them ever had a policy against men and women eating together. They won't, however, serve you pork, shellfish or meat and dairy together. So if you really want a bacon cheeseburger, you've got plenty of other options. A restaurant owned by devout Muslims probably wouldn't sell alcohol. Again, if you want a beer, you've got plenty of other choices. And when you do go for that coffee you mentioned, maybe a Mormon-owned establishment won't serve it since caffeine is against their religion. Again, no shortage of places to grab a coffee. Just like no shortage of places to get a haircut. Why go to the trouble of picking on this barber because of his faith? I mean, if he was rude or abrasive or something, I can see getting offended but there doesn't seem to be any suggestion of that.

Unionist

Fortunately our laws have emerged from the 19th century. The issue is to expand the protections, and enforce them. Sexism in provision of services under the cover of personal religious conviction must be condemned.

Slumberjack

onlinediscountanvils wrote:
I'm certainly no expert on Islam, but I somehow doubt that he's forbidden from hiring someone who is willing and able to cut women's hair. That would be the more likely remedy, as opposed to; he'll be compelled by law to personally cut women's hair.

I'm not either, but if they were of a more fundamentalist variety, it would be unlikely that a satisfactory remedy could be found, unless as you suggest, a compromise involved the full time hiring of a barber who also happened to be an infidel, and in their presence they turned a blind eye to the touching of a woman's hair in this context.  As I mentioned earlier, the only correct response from the public at large to this incident is to revoke the operating license that has been bestowed upon this establishment by the public, until such time as their business practice is found to be in compliance with applicable municipal, provincial, and federal laws, including the Charter.  Society shouldn't be in the business of compromising with religious bigotry, but should instead stamp it out once and for all.

voice of the damned

So if you really want a bacon cheeseburger, you've got plenty of other options. A restaurant owned by devout Muslims probably wouldn't sell alcohol. Again, if you want a beer, you've got plenty of other choices. And when you do go for that coffee you mentioned, maybe a Mormon-owned establishment won't serve it since caffeine is against their religion. Again, no shortage of places to grab a coffee. Just like no shortage of places to get a haircut.

Bad comparisons, Mr. T. Let's try this...

News vendor 1: I'm not going to sell pornography, because it's against my religious beliefs.

News vendor 2: I'm going to sell pornography, but I'm not going to sell it to women, because I think it's wrong for women in particular to read that stuff.

NV1 is the equivalent of your restauranteur who won't sell hamburgers. NV2 is the quivalent of the barber discriminating between the sexes. Do you see a difference there?

And yes, someone refused a service on religious grounds can just go elsewhere, sure. But then, what point is there in enforcing ANY laws against discrimination by private businesses? You might as well just go whole-hog libertarian, and abolish them all. If that's what you're arguing, fine, but you should be clear that that is where your logic is leading.

 

Mr.Tea

Slumberjack wrote:

[  Society shouldn't be in the business of compromising with religious bigotry, but should instead stamp it out once and for all.

Why is HE the bigot? Does anyone think he's acting out of malice or motivated by hatred of women? I imagine he'd say that this policy is out of respect for women.

Slumberjack

Mr.Tea wrote:
A restaurant owned by devout Muslims probably wouldn't sell alcohol. Again, if you want a beer, you've got plenty of other choices. And when you do go for that coffee you mentioned, maybe a Mormon-owned establishment won't serve it since caffeine is against their religion. Again, no shortage of places to grab a coffee. Just like no shortage of places to get a haircut. Why go to the trouble of picking on this barber because of his faith? I mean, if he was rude or abrasive or something, I can see getting offended but there doesn't seem to be any suggestion of that.

Obvously there would be no reason to patronize a Muslim owned restaurant that served no alcohol if one wanted to chase their meal down with a beer.  Likewise, if I sat down in a Mormon restaurant and noticed the coffee was all de-caffienated, but I wanted caffeinated instead, it would be pointless to demand something that is not included on the menu.  When a sign says 'barber shop' but I'm refused service because of gender, it becomes a completely different issue when they say, 'sorry, we don't serve that here.'

Mr.Tea

voice of the damned wrote:

 religious grounds can just go elsewhere, sure. But then, what point is there in enforcing ANY laws against discrimination by private businesses? You might as well just go whole-hog libertarian, and abolish them all. If that's what you're arguing, fine, but you should be clear that that is where your logic is leading.

Well, I don't think I'd want to go "whole-hog libertarian". As I mentioned earlier, I don't think that race and sex are remotely analagous. I don't have a problem that some gyms have policies of "no men allowed" but I'd be appalled if one had a policy of "no blacks allowed". The barber got into this with the assumption that he'd be providing a service for men only, since that has always historically been what a barber does. Nothing suggests he's acting out malice, that he's some sort of bigoted asshole. He's just a guy trying to make a living and trying to follow his faith (even if it's not the one I follow or if the practices aren't something I adhere to). I don't see much point in having him punished when nobody was particularly harmed.

Slumberjack

Mr.Tea wrote:
Why is HE the bigot? Does anyone think he's acting out of malice or motivated by hatred of women? I imagine he'd say that this policy is out of respect for women.

Gender based discrimination is entirely contained within the definition of bigotry.  Unless you're working from a narrower interpretation?  Yes, I'm afraid the owner is acting on the basis of malice and hatred inspired by ignorance.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist,

I don't think sorting out compliance with the law and protecting people from discrimination is helped by the very emotional response of calling it offensive and disgusting or out-of-date. Whether the barber was in the right or the wrong, I seriously doubt his intent justifies that.

On the regulations,  I'd say you are right, though the fact remains there are businesses in some Canadian juristictions - like gyms and some saunas, and as well in some sports, which seem to be under the radar, and can get away with gender discrimination.

But when we put it in the real context of someone perhaps ending his profession it's not that clear to me at all. A small business owner may not have the option of hiring staff. In that sense, the solution may be for him to have an outside contractor on call in case this happens again. But I don't feel at all that this is some great victory against discrimination.

If anything, I am concerned that an emotional reaction to this runs the risk of inflaming judgment and discrimination on all sides of this dispute.

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I don't think sorting out compliance with the law and protecting people from discrimination is helped by the very emotional response of calling it offensive and disgusting or out-of-date. Whether the barber was in the right or the wrong, I seriously doubt his intent justifies that.

It's not an emotional response, but an accurate description of what it actually is.  The intent is to discriminate, to refuse service to a member of the public, on the basis of that person's gender.  Society shouldn't stand for it.

6079_Smith_W

@ SJ

See my comment above. The owner may not be in compliance with the law, but I don't see any grounds for charges of malice, hatred or ignorance.If this has nothing to do with religious rights (as Unionist said) then lets keep beliefs out of it and focus on compliance.

If we want to end discrimination maybe we should just do that and keep the demonizing to ourselves.

(edit)

Seems to me this fellow's intent was to follow his beliefs, and this situation arose because he didn't know how to deal with a situation he was not expecting. It's not like he had a "women keep out" sign over his door.

 

 

Mr.Tea

Slumberjack wrote:

Gender based discrimination is entirely contained within the definition of bigotry.  Unless you're working from a narrower interpretation?  Yes, I'm afraid the owner is acting on the basis of malice and hatred inspired by ignorance.

I don't think so. Where's the evidence that he "hates" women? He said he'd cut his wife's hair jsut not the hair of a woman who wasn't his wife. In a similar vain, I'll have sex with my wife but I won't have sex with anyone else. That doesn't make me a "bigot" who "hates" women. If anything, it just means I love and respect my wife. Now, I (and most other people) don't consider getting a hair cut as intimate as sexual intercourse but, evidently, some Muslims feel that it's too intimate or personal to be consistent with their religious values. For that matter, I know quite a few Orthodox Jewish women who will not shake my hand, and whose husbands will not shake my wife's hand, because they do not believe in any physical contact with non-family members of the opposite sex. Again, it's not my practice or my values but I don't take offence at it. Part of living in a multicultural society is coexisting with people whose values are different from your own.

Slumberjack

Mr.Tea wrote:
Now, I (and most other people) don't consider getting a hair cut as intimate as sexual intercourse but, evidently, some Muslims feel that it's too intimate or personal to be consistent with their religious values. For that matter, I know quite a few Orthodox Jewish women who will not shake my hand, and whose husbands will not shake my wife's hand, because they do not believe in any physical contact with non-family members of the opposite sex. Again, it's not my practice or my values but I don't take offence at it. Part of living in a multicultural society is coexisting with people whose values are different from your own.

It's no one's fault but their own and the religion in particular if touching a woman's hair for the purpose of providing a hair cutting service is considered and treated differently than touching a man's hair for the same purpose.  It's not a woman's fault if hair touching in this context is considered too intimate for a business operating under a public license.  If the Orthodox Jewish men and women in question operated a business where they said patronage from non-Orthodox customers is unwelcome and forbidden, but that they received their operating license from public offices elected and/or paid for by all citizens, similarly this cannot be co-existed with either.

onlinediscountanvils

Mr.Tea wrote:
I don't see much point in having him punished when nobody was particularly harmed.

 

Then you should take comfort in this: 

Pascale Demers, communications officer for the OHRC wrote:
It’s not a punitive process per se; it’s about bringing the person back to a place that is not discriminatory.

6079_Smith_W

SJ

I wasn't saying anything against having the barbershop comply with the law.

What I said was that making assumptions about people's motive, and calling them malicious, hateful, ignorant, disgusting or backwards is irrelevant, probably inaccurate, and it certainly doesn't help resolve a situation like this.

Again, if this is not about religious beliefs or values, then maybe we should just just focus on what is in those regulations, and leave our own opinions out of it.

 

 

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
What I said was that making assumptions about people's motive, and calling them malicious, hateful, ignorant, disgusting or backwards is irrelevant, probably inaccurate, and it certainly doesn't help resolve a situation like this.

Did you read the OP?  There is nothing to assume.  The mechanisms to resolve this incident are already in place.

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
If we want to end discrimination maybe we should just do that and keep the demonizing to ourselves.

It's not demonizing.  Either the establishment is in compliance with applicable laws, or it isn't.  We can certainly take note of the motivating factors behind acts of non-compliance with the law, and to ascertain the prevalence of such motivations within the society as a whole in order to determine if more needs to be done in terms of reducing or eliminating such instances of non-compliance.  If you want a society determined by the rule of law, and I assume that you do, then what I have proposed would seem to be the proper course of action.  Now if you're suggesting something else other than handling the issue in accordance with the existing laws, such as the burning out of this or similar establishments by persons affected by the discrimination and their allies perhaps, then I would suggest there’s ample scope for a separate thread in which to delve a little further into it.

ETA:  May I further suggest the Anarchy 101 thread?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Mr.Tea wrote:

I don't think so. Where's the evidence that he "hates" women? He said he'd cut his wife's hair jsut not the hair of a woman who wasn't his wife. In a similar vain, I'll have sex with my wife but I won't have sex with anyone else. That doesn't make me a "bigot" who "hates" women. If anything, it just means I love and respect my wife. Now, I (and most other people) don't consider getting a hair cut as intimate as sexual intercourse but, evidently, some Muslims feel that it's too intimate or personal to be consistent with their religious values. For that matter, I know quite a few Orthodox Jewish women who will not shake my hand, and whose husbands will not shake my wife's hand, because they do not believe in any physical contact with non-family members of the opposite sex. Again, it's not my practice or my values but I don't take offence at it. Part of living in a multicultural society is coexisting with people whose values are different from your own.

There needs to be no evidence of intent.  That is one of corner stones of Human Rights law in this country.  We don't care about the discriminator's viewpoint. They are either offering the SAME services to everyone and not discriminating on the basis of gender or other enumerated grounds or they suffer the legal consequences of breaching our human rights code. 

I think this thread is beginning to question the fundamentals of our human rights law. 

Unionist

dp

6079_Smith_W

Sure I read the OP, and the article.

If the barber has to change his way of doing business or shut down, then that is how it is. That will be up to the tribunal.

But there's no justification for accusing him of malice, hatred or ignorance, or otherwise passing judgment on him personally.

 

 

Slumberjack

The human rights aspects of law are really the only thing I respect about laws generally.  If even these are to be set aside out of respect for someone's pet fairy tales, then it leaves people to respond to affronts to their human dignity in whichever way they will.

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Unionist,

I don't think sorting out compliance with the law and protecting people from discrimination is helped by the very emotional response of calling it offensive and disgusting or out-of-date. Whether the barber was in the right or the wrong, I seriously doubt his intent justifies that.

 

I amended that post, but somehow the original version remained, as you could easily have ascertained. Anyway, you totally misunderstood my unamended post. I was referring to Mr.Tea's comments as offensive and disgusting, when he said (and repeats) that the woman (who has now become the culprit, you see, the shit-disturber) can "go somewhere else". Jim Crow allowed African Americans to "go somewhere else" - but the radical troublemakers insisted on eating, sleeping, riding buses, and going to the toilet in the same places as white folk. And there was "somewhere else" for Jews in my parents town to live once the Nazis set up the ghetto - why the fuck would they insist on living among Catholics? Shit disturbers.

If this were truly what it means to accommodate religious beliefs (and I don't believe it for one instant - I've explained how accommodation works under the law above), then we would need a clearcut statement in human rights legislation that in the hierarchy of accommodation, religion comes LAST.

In fact, the Canadian Charter (even though it doesn't apply here) gives primacy to gender equality above all else, in Section 28:

Quote:
Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.

There is a movement in Québec to codify that same principle at the provincial level. You won't be surprised to learn that I support it fully.

 

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
But there's no justification for accusing him of malice, hatred or ignorance, or otherwise passing judgment on him personally. 

There's every justification.  He's reading or interpreting from a script laid down by the patriarchy as it existed in the year 632, in order to determine who he should be providing barber shop services to in the year 2012.

Mr.Tea

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Mr.Tea wrote:
I don't see much point in having him punished when nobody was particularly harmed.

 

Then you should take comfort in this: 

Pascale Demers, communications officer for the OHRC wrote:
It’s not a punitive process per se; it’s about bringing the person back to a place that is not discriminatory.

The quote goes on to say: "If the OHRC finds that the barber shop violated McGregor's rights, it could order a monetary settlement or order the shop to implement a set of “public remedies,” such as ordering the shop to offer services “in a way that is considered non-discriminatory.” That may involve hiring additional staff, for example, she says."

So, yes, a "monetary settlement" is punitive. Or forcing him to hire an additional staff member (which he may not be able to afford) is also "punitive", no matter what euphemisms the OHRC may wish to use.

Mr.Tea

Unionist wrote:

I was referring to Mr.Tea's comments as offensive and disgusting, when he said (and repeats) that the woman (who has now become the culprit, you see, the shit-disturber) can "go somewhere else". Jim Crow allowed African Americans to "go somewhere else" - but the radical troublemakers insisted on eating, sleeping, riding buses, and going to the toilet in the same places as white folk. And there was "somewhere else" for Jews in my parents town to live once the Nazis set up the ghetto - why the fuck would they insist on living among Catholics? Shit disturbers.

You compare not being able to get a hair cut to Jim Crow and the Holocaust and I'm "disgusting and offensive"? You're in need of some perspective. This is why people are no longer taking these Human Rights Commissions seriously because there's so much focus on petty complaints and there are people like yourself willing to hold them up as being of great significance, using absurd comparisons that just serve to trivialize real struggles. She's not Rosa Parks, putting herself on the line standing up against an elaborate system of injustice and brutality. She's just pissed off cause somebody didn't give her a hair cut.

6079_Smith_W

Sorry for the misinterpretation U, and thanks for the clarification.

@ SJ #77

No. Sorry, but I don't buy that. 

Are we looking to ensure fair access to all people, or are we going after other people's cultures and beliefs? Because it doesn't help either cause by mixing them up needlessly like this.

Like I said, I don't see any great evil or any great victory here. What I see is some people who are probably pretty uncomfortable and embarrassed to be found on the wrong side of the law, and who probably did not intend to hurt anyone at all, and are probably very concerned about how this will make them look to the public.

How about we just let the tribunal make its ruling about what they are going to have to do to comply with the law, and leave their private beliefs out of it.

 

 

onlinediscountanvils

Mr.Tea wrote:
forcing him to hire an additional staff member (which he may not be able to afford) is also "punitive"

Well, by that definition, forcing a business to pay taxes or implement health and safety standards, both of which they "may not be able to afford" is also punitive. If you can't afford to operate your business in accordance with what's expected of you by the broader community, you shouldn't be in business. That's not being punished. That's recognizing that you're in the wrong line of work.

Unionist

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Mr.Tea wrote:
forcing him to hire an additional staff member (which he may not be able to afford) is also "punitive"

Well, by that definition, forcing a business to pay taxes or implement health and safety standards, both of which they "may not be able to afford" is also punitive. If you can't afford to operate your business in accordance with what's expected of you by the broader community, you shouldn't be in business. That's not be punished. That's recognizing that you're in the wrong line of work.

Exactly right. Similarly, a general practitioner who can't touch women should think about other career choices.

Mr.Tea

Unionist wrote:

Exactly right. Similarly, a general practitioner who can't touch women should think about other career choices.

And a woman who owns a salon and doesn't want to perform "bikini waxes" on men's pubic regions should do the same?

Unionist

Mr.Tea wrote:

Unionist wrote:

 Exactly right. Similarly, a general practitioner who can't touch women should think about other career choices.

And a woman who owns a salon and doesn't want to perform "bikini waxes" on men's pubic regions should do the same?

 Read the OHRC and figure it out yourself. I've provided the key citations. No charge.

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Are we looking to ensure fair access to all people, or are we going after other people's cultures and beliefs? Because it doesn't help either cause by mixing them up needlessly like this.

Like I said, I don't see any great evil or any great victory here. What I see is some people who are probably pretty uncomfortable and embarrassed to be found on the wrong side of the law, and who probably did not intend to hurt anyone at all, and are probably very concerned about how this will make them look to the public.

How about we just let the tribunal make its ruling about what they are going to have to do to comply with the law, and leave their private beliefs out of it.

I have to agree, Smith. This can't be turned into a good-evil narrative about the motives of the Muslim barbers. Our society needs to clearly set out the rules, and then people can order their lives to be in conformity with that. I dearly wish that Orthodox Jews didn't make women sit in separate sections in synagogues, and that Catholics didn't demonize contraception and divorce and abortion and (sorry, list is too long) and that Muslims didn't do some of the things they do... But to blame the individual believers misses the mark of where the problem lies. They too are victims.

jas

Mr.Tea wrote:

Part of living in a multicultural society is coexisting with people whose values are different from your own.

Yes, and we apparently need to decide how far we're willing to go with that.

If the motivation behind the refusal of service was because, according to Islam, women are bad or unclean or shouldn't be out in public or seeking haircuts, then, in Canada, that would be discrimination based on sex.

But the action wasn't about that. It was about a religious restriction against men. It's a restriction on men's behaviour, not women's. He is not restricting her right of freedom or her right to get a hair cut. He is simply saying he can't provide that service.

It's a Muslim-owned barber shop. Men don't cut women's hair there. That's a "sorry, we don't serve that here".

Mr.Tea

Unionist wrote:

 I dearly wish that Orthodox Jews didn't make women sit in separate sections in synagogues

Why? Nobody is forcing you to attend such a synagogue. You can attend another synagogue where men and women sit together or not attend at all. Just as nobody's forcing you to keep kosher, preventing you from driving on Shabbat, etc. If other people want to adhere to those standards, who cares?

Unionist

Mr.Tea wrote:

Unionist wrote:

 I dearly wish that Orthodox Jews didn't make women sit in separate sections in synagogues

Why? Nobody is forcing you to attend such a synagogue. You can attend another synagogue where men and women sit together or not attend at all. Just as nobody's forcing you to keep kosher, preventing you from driving on Shabbat, etc. If other people want to adhere to those standards, who cares?

I don't like ideoogies that treat women as subhuman, even if the pretext is, "well, God told me so". I grew up with that, and thank God I grew out of it. Now as long as they don't try to impose their misogyny in public life, I will tolerate the anti-human discrimination that they practise in private. But no one and nothing can make me like it. It deserves to be condemned by all, the same as the evil anti-woman practises of other religions (notoriously, the Catholic church).

voice of the damned

jas wrote:

Mr.Tea wrote:

Part of living in a multicultural society is coexisting with people whose values are different from your own.

Yes, and we apparently need to decide how far we're willing to go with that.

If the motivation behind the refusal of service was because, according to Islam, women are bad or unclean or shouldn't be out in public or seeking haircuts, then, in Canada, that would be discrimination based on sex.

But the action wasn't about that. It was about a religious restriction against men. It's a restriction on men's behaviour, not women's. He is not restricting her right of freedom or her right to get a hair cut. He is simply saying he can't provide that service.

It's a Muslim-owned barber shop. Men don't cut women's hair there. That's a "sorry, we don't serve that here".

So what about a doctor who says that, for religious reasons, he can't give a woman a complete physical? By your reasoning, that's a restriction on men, not women. The doctor is not preventing the woman from going to another practitioner who will provide that service. All okay in your books?

Mr.Tea

voice of the damned wrote:

So what about a doctor who says that, for religious reasons, he can't give a woman a complete physical? 

I'd personally not have an issue with it. Not with  a female doctor who didn't want to give a man a complete physical. So long as other doctors are available. Plenty of patients prefer to have a doctor of the same sex. Now, since we have a public health care system, I doubt they'd get away with it since it's a public service and obviously heavily regulated and the taxpayers spent a lot of money both educating doctors and paying their salaries (which is not the case for barbers). I doubt it would occur often. Even Jews (I imagine it's true of Muslims as well but don't know) who don't usually have contact with the opposite sex make an exception when it comes to medical treatment. I think there's a difference between getting important health treatment and getting a hair cut.

pookie

jas wrote:

Unionist, whatever section 32 of the Charter means, it does not abrogate sections 1 and 2.

Canadian Heritage definitely needs to word their explanation a little better. I'm beginning to wonder if it's some creepy Harper attempt to reinterpret the Charter. I went to click on their interpretation of Section 1 and look what I got. SurprisedWink

 

In any case, here is their explanation of Section 2, Unionist.

 

Section 32 does not "abrogate" the other sections of the Charter but it qualifies them in important ways.  It outlines the kiinds of things to which the Charter APPLIES.  The Charter does NOT apply to every aspect of our lives.

Bottom line: the barber could never be found to have violated the Charter.  Private individuals don't violate constitutional rights - only governments do.  BUT, the OHRC itself needs to be consistent with the Charter.  For example, it is possible that someone could challenge the current exemptions in the Code as underinclusive in a way that violates, say, the fundamental freedom of religion that the Charter guarantees.

Smashy76

Uhm?! you guys/gals are joking right? 

 

If any Muslim or similar went into a business and was told that religiously they can't be served, but their not being discriminated against, how long do you all think it would be before a parade and protest against the people and business that didn't serve the Muslim or Islamist? 

The issue here isn't anything besides the lack of equal treatment across the board for both minority and majority. Currently we live in a democratic country in which the majority rules. Equality comes from both sides taking the time to learn and understand each other and to come to a comprimise for both groups. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of understanding from the minority as the feeling is that the majority should just accept them as a whole, NOW or else they'll be called racists or bigots. <- ironic eh?! The lack in understanding is that 'change and acceptance' will not be immediate and the more that it is forced upon people, the more people will resist. Like any relationship, it takes time to strengthen, mature and become cohesive. A cooking analogy- cooking chicken- too much heat too fast, means that the outside will look cooked and ready, yet the inside is festering with blood and salmonella. If the time is taken to properly prepare, slowly cook and get ready, it's going to be good if not, it's poisionus and deadly. Force feeding won't work, slow and steady wins the race. 

Michelle

As soon as I saw the phrase "Muslims or Islamist" in the first paragraph, I knew how racist the second paragraph would be.  And I wasn't disappointed.

jas

pookie wrote:

Private individuals don't violate constitutional rights - only governments do.

Thank you, pookie. I think this is the operative definition of Sec. 32

 

jas

voice of the damned wrote:

So what about a doctor who says that, for religious reasons, he can't give a woman a complete physical? By your reasoning, that's a restriction on men, not women. The doctor is not preventing the woman from going to another practitioner who will provide that service. All okay in your books?

In free market health care I believe yes, that is okay. The doctor loses a client. His choice, his loss. As long as it's not discrimination, which it's not.

In a publicly funded health care system I personally think all practitioners should conform to the standards set out by Health Canada or whatever provincial funding body applies. And I'm guessing that's the current standard here, since we haven't heard of these cases in health care.

Of historic interest to this conversation though: before modern medicine, barbers did perform surgeries. Surprised

 

Unionist

There's no difference between private and public or "free market". Discrimination in providing service as between men and women is illegal throughout Canada. The exceptions in Ontario are the ones I listed. It's amazing that anyone would believe, in 2012, that a private establishment could say, "we don't serve women" - or "we don't serve Jews" - and the only penalty is loss of customers. It's even more amazing that any progressive person could try to justify such discrimination.

jas

It's not discrimination. It's a religious restriction on physical contact between men and women. He did not serve her not because she was a woman, but because he was a man and she was a woman. A female and Muslim barber or hairstylist who observed that rule would likewise not be able to serve men. It's not discrimination against women.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

jas wrote:

It's not discrimination. It's a religious restriction on physical contact between men and women. He did not serve her not because she was a woman, but because he was a man and she was a woman. A female and Muslim barber or hairstylist who observed that rule would likewise not be able to serve men. It's not discrimination against women.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

jas wrote:

In free market health care I believe yes, that is okay. The doctor loses a client. His choice, his loss. As long as it's not discrimination, which it's not.

I thought we were talking about Canada.  Under our system there is no tort of discrimination so this barber or the doctor could not be sued for refusing anyone service for any reason at all.  That is what the common law has always said and it was confirmed by the SCC that there was no way to sue a discriminating asshole for saying we don't serve gays, blacks Asians women or anyone else like people we think looks pinko. The Canadian response was to pass Human Rights Codes that require anyone providing a service to the public to not discriminate on the basis of a set of enumerated grounds like sex or religion.  The various provincial and the federal HR Codes are quite different but they are all designed to fix the "free market" or common law version of business that says businesses have the right to conduct their business as they see fit. This barber is no different than any other business he is not allowed to discriminate on the basis of sex.

A Human Rights complaint is a look at whether or not a person was discriminated against because of their characteristics.  But for being a woman she would have got a hair cut ergo there is a case of discrimination under the Code.

Jas you are disputing the underlying basis of our human rights laws.  Canadians recognized that free market approaches were not good enough and we have passed laws to ensure it doesn't happen.  It is designed to be a restriction on the rights of business owners because it is wrong for business owners to discriminate.  Ayn Rand was wrong.

jas

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Jas you are disputing the underlying basis of our human rights laws.  Canadians recognized that free market approaches were not good enough and we have passed laws to ensure it doesn't happen.  It is designed to be a restriction on the rights of business owners because it is wrong for business owners to discriminate.  Ayn Rand was wrong.

I thought I was actually defending that underlying basis.

I won't belabour this point any further, and I'm also not Muslim so I can't pretend to defend their rules. But just from the information given about why the service was denied and what the rule is, I don't think it can be viewed as discrimination. In its intention, it's not a rule against serving female customers. It's a rule against opposite sex touching that applies to women and men alike. That's why I can't see it as discrimination against women.

I am sure there are many rules and beliefs in Islam that discriminate or appear to discriminate against women. I don't think this is one of them, and my concern is that even our well-intentioned understandings of Islam could be distorting our perception here.

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