Quebec (twice) refuses to teach French to woman because she wears a Niqab

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Le T Le T's picture
Quebec (twice) refuses to teach French to woman because she wears a Niqab

link to CBC story

 

Perhaps girls in swimming lessons should be asked to leave if they want to wear a bathing suit with a top?

Michelle

Wow.  Sounds like they're hounding her from class to class at this point.  Every time some class welcomes her, provincial officials intervene and kick her out?

Let's call this what it is: racism, Islamophobia, ethnocentrism.

pookie

This stupid system is so user-unfriendly....

 

Anyway, already being discussed here:

 

http://www.rabble.ca/babble/central-canada/reasonable-accommodations-debate

toddsschneider

"MONTREAL – Last month, Quebec Immigration Minister Yolande James announced Muslim women enrolled in government-sponsored French courses would have to remove their niqabs in order to attend classes.

"Three days later, two Immigration Department officials turned up at a Montreal-area centre that offers the free French classes and told an Indian immigrant that she would have to follow the rules or would have to leave her class.

"Unwilling to remove the Islamic face veil, the distraught 25-year-old woman left the centre in tears ... "

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Niqab+wearing+woman+forced+class/2875471/story.html#ixzz0kyPSNjjw

Michelle

Boy, they really are heroes, aren't they?  Go, Quebec government, go.  Don't want the evil Muslim threat of veiled women threatening your English classes, now!  Run 'em out!  Make 'em cry - that'll show them how wrong they are for wearing veils!  Refusing necessary services to Muslim women, humiliating them in front of their classes and making them run out crying will show them how progressive you are when it comes to women's rights.

A real champion of women, that Yolande James, and her immigration henchmen.

And heck, why stop there?  Why not force all women down to miniskirts and halter tops?  Or maybe bikinis?  The more skin women show, the more progressive and feminist they are, after all!  I mean, think about it.  How can a woman REALLY communicate if you can't see the strength she has in her bare arms and calves and thighs and shoulders?  Actors will tell you that a huge amount of non-verbal communication happens through the back and shoulders - strip 'em down!  I wanna see them, or I'm not really communicating with you!  Real women are proud of their bare skin and want to show it to everyone.  There's only one way to be feminist, after all!

Exceptions to the bare calves rule will, of course, be made for CFMB's*.  And skin-tight leggings.

*Come Fuck Me Boots

Maysie Maysie's picture

Michelle, calm down. Kiss

Quote:

As a Muslim woman and spiritual counsellor, I see the pain, anguish, and the sheer paralyzing fear that Muslim Canadian women are feeling. We have been dismissed, stigmatize and relegated to the position of a sub-citizen. As one young woman stated to me "I do not wear a veil but this attack is very personal, under the guise of empowering us they have totally shredded our confidence."

What people are ignoring  is that Muslim women are human and deserve to be treated with dignity regardless of whether we agree with their choices or not.

...

 

As for the argument that some women are forced by their male guardians to wear the niqab, I am sure there are such cases. However the solution being offered by some to ban the niqab is to banish these women to a life of house arrest. The Canadian response should be to respectfully empower them through social interaction and education. 

The claim that to teach language the teacher needs to see her mouth is to state that blind people cannot teach or learn language and that on-line language classes are bogus. If the issue is pronunciation, then guess what, we all have an accent. Ask someone from France if they approve of Quebec French.

 

from Montreal Gazette: Quebec's veil law is a slap in the face to Muslim Women

...

Quote:

It seems obvious, and yet, remarkably few of the articles about the niqab ban (in fact, none that I’ve seen aside from this one) ever even acknowledge the possibility of a context other than one where everyone is sighted.  My own writing on MMW about it has been equally ableist in this regard (ironically, I have actually talked about this before in academic papers, but somehow that particular analysis hasn’t made it onto the blog yet).

Of course, the majority of people are sighted, so it’s not necessarily wrong to assume a context that involves a high degree of visual communication; much about the very concept of religious covering depends on assumptions that everyone involved  is sighted.  What’s problematic is when this context is assumed to be everyone’s experience.  Moreover, the privileging of sight can have disturbing implications for what’s being said about those who do not see, or who process visual information differently from what is assumed to be the norm.

For example, when someone talks about being able to see the mouth as necessary for the proper instruction of a language, what are they saying about the abilities of someone who doesn’t see?  If having the chance to see each person’s face is supposedly a core feature of Canadian (or French, or whatever) society, what can we take from this about the social place of  people who are blind or otherwise visually impaired, or who have difficulty processing facial features or making eye contact?

 

from  Muslimah Media Watch "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Niqab Debate and Ableism"

....

Quote:

There are many things about this bill that are horrendous.  For example, that whole universal healthcare thing – of which many Canadians are so proud – will become pretty UNuniversal; since if you’re wearing a niqab you can’t see a doctor.  Bill 94 returns us to suffragette era politics, where some women (i.e. white ones) got the vote while others didn’t; since if you’re wearing a niqab you can’t vote.

To me one of the most appalling things about Bill 94 is that it is actually being sold as a gender equity thing.

 

...

How many times does it have to be said that gender equity is about giving women the right to make their own choices?  If a woman’s choice is to wear a niqab, BARRING her from wearing one by removing access to work, childcare, healthcare and education is the absolute opposite of gender equality.

I cannot say enough how disgusting and dishonest this is.  If this bill was motivated by a real concern for women made to wear the niqab against their will, wouldn’t it make more sense to partner with organisations for Muslim women and/or organisations for women fleeing abuse and violence?

 

from Racialicious: The Quebec Niqab Ban: No/Non to Bill 94

Michelle

An interesting solidarity action (if it would be welcomed by Muslim women, of course) might be for women, Muslim or otherwise, who do not normally wear niqabs and who do not support this racist government action to don them in classes across the province.

Le T Le T's picture

Great links, Maysie. Awesome rant, Michelle.

Le T Le T's picture

A friend of mine recently suggested wearing Niqab in a drag show in a show of solidarity.

Michelle

I think that if we make all women strip to the point that white, western men and women feel comfortable, that this will create gender equality.  It's very important that all people conform to white, western norms when they emigrate from elsewhere to our land of freedom and gender equality.

VanGoghs Ear

Niqab refers to the full face covering only doesn't it

oldgoat

Yup.  It's a bit more common around where I work, and I've become fairly accustomed to it.  Not a big deal really, even in the language classes on the floor shared by my office.

Michelle

I particularly liked the article about how ableist the discourse has been around this, particularly the ridiculous excuse that you can't teach someone another language if you can't see their mouth.  Really?  So does this mean that visually-impaired people also can't teach language classes in the name of "equality" in Quebec?

skdadl

Unionist, you seem to me to be saying that you know, you just know, what women who wear the niqab are thinking. Am I putting words in your mouth, or is that what you believe? If so, how do you know?

Unionist

Well, Michelle, I think there's a difference between someone's disability and someone's choice in how they dress.

For example, you have freedom of speech, don't you? How about if a store clerk tells a customer how they really feel about capitalist enterprises? Do we accommodate that?

How about if a store clerk really deeply sincerely wants to wear a tank top, bikini shorts, and bare feet to work? Wanna have a solidarity movement around that?

But if a store clerk becomes visually impaired (or is visually impaired before hire) - or if their religious beliefs prohibit them from working on Sunday or Saturday or Friday - there is a legal duty to make every reasonable effort to accommodate that person up to the point of undue hardship. Oh, by the way, it may happen that it's not possible to accommodate, in which case the clerk either makes a concession in terms of their beliefs (like almost every religious person I know has to do to survive in modern society), or they go work somewhere else. The visually impaired person may have to go work somewhere else too, even though they are unable to make concessions. It depends on the nature of the job.

I think that's where the balance should be struck.

Sorry if that sounds too white and western for you.

Unionist

skdadl wrote:

Unionist, you seem to me to be saying that you know, you just know, what women who wear the niqab are thinking. Am I putting words in your mouth, or is that what you believe? If so, how do you know?

Skdadl, just go ahead and quote for me where I ever indicated such a thing, and I'll be happy to reply. So far, I've tried to concentrate on letting people know what I'm thinking.

Unionist

Quote:
How many times does it have to be said that gender equity is about giving women the right to make their own choices?

First, the word is equality, not equity. What happened to equality? Is this just a typo?

Second, does anyone here agree that the struggle for equality for women is equal to giving women the right to make their own choices?

Do men have the "right to make their own choices" in this society?

What happened to the struggle to eliminate the wage gap? To eliminate job ghettoes? To value and share housework? To de-objectify women in our culture, our religions, our economy? To get women into politics and positions of power? To stop women's voices being scorned and drowned out in every cell of our society?

Abortion is indeed about women's "right to make their own choices". But when did this watchword become the sum total of what women's struggle for equality is (in the words of this author) "about"?

Women are equal when they can choose to wear bras and niqabs? This is some struggle worth having in this country in 2010? We're going to have a solidarity movement with women who want to cover their faces? How about foot-binding - that too?

Charest's xenophobic focus on face veils in Bill 94 has really struck home. No one likes veiled faces (surprised to hear that?) and almost no one wears them. So there will be little opposition from ordinary folk. The xenophobes and Islamophobes will be pleased as punch. And some progressives, who are confusing forests and trees, will go into impassioned battle for the "right" of people to "wear whatever they want wherever and any time they want". A worthy cause for civil libertarians - and grist to the mill of the racists, who were really disappointed when the whole "reasonable accommodation" scandal fizzled out and Mario Dumont and the ADQ were destroyed.

By the way, these articles, which show no clue of understanding of Québec, its history, and its present - which ascribe this whole phenomenon to "racism" - which can't even fathom why the discourse of gender equality is so powerful here - are less offensive than they are irrelevant.

Michelle

So it's okay to make accommodations regarding ability, but not okay to make accommodations regarding religious observance in this particular case of language classes.

The point is, if a blind person were to be teaching this class, she or he wouldn't be able to see ANYONE'S mouths, but they would make accommodation and allow that person to teach because you can bet there's no way the Quebec government would pass a law saying that blind people can't be language teachers. 

So obviously it's not the "seeing the student's mouth" thing that they have a problem with.  It's something a little deeper.  A little more racist and xenophobic.

Yes, that IS a little too "white" and "western" for me, thanks.

VanGoghs Ear

I don't see many women wearing niqabs anywhere in the city but where I work several women wear veils and baboushka's(not sure that's the right word)  but they are not allowed to wear tank tops or short shorts or sweat pants, ect. So my understanding of this has been that clothing that is worn for religious reason is accepted( I don't think it would be against the dress code anyway). While the clothes that have no religious connection can be disallowed, so is this not a bit of discrimination against the non- religious.

 

I don't what exactly the true issue is but I don't think it's really so simple as Islamophobia - If she was wearing a veil her face wouldn't have been covered and nothing would have happened.

remind remind's picture

The blind teacher would be "seeing" said mouth through their hands, just as they "see" everything else they need to see.

 

Indeed, speech therapy for the visually impaired includes touching of the mouth of the teacher to "see" what positions the mouth is in when a word is pronounced.

Michelle

So let's think about the worst that would happen even if this whole bullshit excuse about the absolute necessity of seeing someone's mouth in order to learn language was true (which it's not, since this woman was considered by her teacher to be the best student in the class before she was chased out by the Quebec immigration crusaders). 

The worst that would happen if the niqab really did affect her learning is that this one woman might get slightly less out of the class than her classmates.  This isn't a class that is a dealbreaker here.  It's one where people learn the language better.

So, if you really think the niqab creates some kind of barrier - the only person affected is the woman herself.  So if she's willing to take on that risk, then who the fuck cares?

I mean, seriously.  The threat of maybe 20 women in the entire province wanting to go to the hospital or to language classes with a niqab on is some sort of national security issue?  It's some kind of huge threat to all the women of Quebec if a handful of women wearing niqabs somehow manage to get into a language class?  Perhaps the husbands of all women in Quebec will start forcing them to wear niqabs if the idea isn't nipped in the bud by vigilant white crusaders?  Is that it?

Caissa

I'm with Michelle on her critique.

Also, I like the "new" immoderate, Michelle.

Sineed

Michelle wrote:

I think that if we make all women strip to the point that white, western men and women feel comfortable, that this will create gender equality. 

In the interest of nit-picking: exposing one's face isn't a "western" value.  The vast majority of women in Asia don't wear niqabs, either.

Good points about the small minority of women this involves.  In my neighbourhood, during the last election in Toronto, there were a few niqabi women quietly, informally accommodated by showing their faces to women returning officers for ID purposes.  

Don't think we need laws for every tiny little thing, especially when it gets everybody's knickers in a twist.

skdadl

Why do you need to show your face for ID purposes? I mean, my face does show because I don't cover, but that's not how I'm ID'd. I have no photo ID. The returning officers take two pieces of ID with my address on them, and my face is pretty much irrelevant. (Although, like so many babblers, I am jaw-droppingly gorgeous.  Wink  )

Michelle

That's true regarding face covering.  However, in France, you're not even allowed to wear head scarves in schools, and it's the same reasoning and motive behind that - because it's somehow "anti-feminist" or "anti-secular" to wear a scarf on your head, and it makes white western people feel uncomfortable.

Just how far should white western people expect their comfort levels to be accommodated?  First ban the niqab because they're uncomfortable with that - and then what?

VanGoghs Ear

Skdadl  - Why do you need to show your face for ID puposes?  You really don't know that?  To prove the ID your showing actually belongs to you.

skdadl

Huh? My face confirms nothing about my ID, because there are no photos on my ID. I said that: no photo ID -- c'est moi. I just have official pieces of paper with my address on them. My face is irrelevant.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
 First ban the niqab because they're uncomfortable with that - and then what?

 

Muslim arbitration tribunals?

Michelle

There's a difference between setting up religious legal systems and letting people wear what they want.

VanGoghs Ear

I don't know where you show yr ID

Many services require ID with a photo - such as buying beer at a store or club or getting on a plane or driving ...

Michelle

Heh.  How DO you get away with buying beer or liquor without showing your photo ID, skdadl?

I get asked for mine all the time because of my gorgeous, youthful good looks.  They tell me, "Gosh, you're 37?  You don't look a day over sixteen!"

Isn't that right, radiorahim? :D

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
There's a difference between setting up religious legal systems and letting people wear what they want.

 

In this context, not a huge difference.

 

Jews had private arbitration for years. It's little more than a contract, agreeing to accept the judgement of the tribunal on purely civil matters, and it's voluntary. Muslims who want to use it can, and those who don't want to, of course, don't have to. So given that, why should we prevent two grown adults from seeing arbitration that they both want?

 

I bring it up in this context because arbitration, like the niqab, is something that I suspect people think Muslims *shouldn't* want, or that they believe Muslims are being forced into against their will. In the case of niqabs there's another side to the argument that claims it's just a woman's choice to wear one or not wear one. So I wonder, why can't it also be a woman's choice to use a tribunal that's in keeping with her faith, or not use it if she prefers?

skdadl

Michelle wrote:

Heh.  How DO you get away with buying beer or liquor without showing your photo ID, skdadl?

I get asked for mine all the time because of my gorgeous, youthful good looks.  They tell me, "Gosh, you're 37?  You don't look a day over sixteen!"

Isn't that right, radiorahim? :D

 

Well, as you can imagine, Michelle, I get that all the time at the beer store and the clubs too. lol. VGE: I'm 64 yrs old. It has been a loooong time since anyone worried I was underage for anything. I don't drive, and they'll have to pry my old health card out of my cold calcifying fingers (although I have a feeling they're preparing to do that).

 

I should get a new passport, I guess. Is it true that you can't fly any more, even domestically, without photo ID? I haven't flown for a while, and would actually rather not, although it's hard to get to Scotland surface. I wish we had ferries -- Nfld --> Greenland --> Iceland --> Scotland -- most sensible.

Michelle

Anyone can make private agreements with each other, Snert.  People were already able to do that and are still able to do that.

I think a lot of people had no idea there were quasi-judicial religious tribunals that carried the force of law.  Of course, I agree that there was probably Islamophobia involved in the rejection of sharia tribunals when that whole debate happened.  But I think that many others who rejected the idea (me included) also reject religious tribunals of any type that have any sort of legal standing and had no idea that there were such things.

I mean, heck, people can agree to anything with each other if they feel like it.  There's nothing stopping a Muslim woman now from going to some religious scholar or clergy and getting them to help her come to an agreement with someone else and writing it down together and signing it.  But certainly such a process shouldn't be given any more legal weight (nor such an intervention given a quasi-judicial "tribunal" status) than radiorahim and I coming over to your place and getting you to help us come to an agreement on how to divide laundry duty and then he and I writing it down and signing it.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I fly a lot these days, and yes, I'm pretty sure they want photo ID.  Intra-Canada, I usually use my driver's license, passport anywhere else.

ETA:  I'll take the plane -- I have a thing about water.  Cold water you can drown in, especially. 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
I think a lot of people had no idea there were quasi-judicial religious tribunals that carried the force of law.

 

I think a lot of people wouldn't necessarily recognize that this is what People's Court or Judge Judy are. It's why, when Judge Judy says "I rule on behalf of the plaintiff in the amount of $5000" the defendant doesn't just say "screw that".

 

Quote:
But I think that many others who rejected the idea (me included) also reject religious tribunals of any type that have any sort of legal standing

 

That's kind of my point. They only have the legal standing that voluntary users give it. It's not clear to me why we would need to prevent people from giving legal weight to an arbitrator when they want to give legal weight to that arbitrator. Why did we need to save people from doing what they believe to be right for them, in keeping with their faith?

 

 

skdadl

Timebandit wrote:

I fly a lot these days, and yes, I'm pretty sure they want photo ID.  Intra-Canada, I usually use my driver's license, passport anywhere else.

ETA:  I'll take the plane -- I have a thing about water.  Cold water you can drown in, especially. 

 

True -- so many ways to die when travelling, and I don't really like any of them. And deep water makes me dizzy.

 

But no, it's the airports that I most dislike. I really suffer in airports. I don't do a Helena Guergis, mind, but I have been known to assume the fetal position.

skdadl

Snert wrote:

They only have the legal standing that voluntary users give it. It's not clear to me why we would need to prevent people from giving legal weight to an arbitrator when they want to give legal weight to that arbitrator. Why did we need to save people from doing what they believe to be right for them, in keeping with their faith?

 

Because we need to ensure that if one of the supposedly voluntary users discovers that the regular courts would have treated her differently and she decides that that would have been better for her, then she will have that recourse.

Snert Snert's picture

But using Michelle's example of two people agreeing on something and signing their agreement, we ordinarily don't have the option of a do-over once we've agreed to something.  I'm not sure why this should be different.

I'm also not sure why you wrote "supposedly voluntary".  We seem to believe that a woman wearing a niqab is making an independent decision and doesn't need us to intervene.  Why do we think tribunals would be different, and require us to prevent a Muslim woman from doing something she claims to want to do?

skdadl

The default assumption is always -- ALWAYS -- that an adult is making an independent decision. (NB: When the decision is to commit a clearly criminal act of another kind, o' course, we hold people responsible on precisely that basis. Homicide is always a crime, eh?)

 

If, however, at any time a citizen or resident of Canada turns to the civil authorities and says "I need help because ..." and wishes to avail her/himself of the guarantees of the Charter and our laws, then those guarantees must override any private agreements made previously. I'm thinking obviously of civil liberties and equality guarantees -- I know nothing of contract law (maybe the courts are more flexy there).

 

An adult is allowed to change her/his mind, and if the change is in the direction of appealing to Charter rights, then the state must back her/him up.

Unionist

Michelle wrote:

There's a difference between setting up religious legal systems and letting people wear what they want.

So that's where you draw the line - where the white western judicial system is called into question?

By the way, I do not believe there is such a thing as a "human right" to "wear what they want" - for anyone.

And just so you know, Bill 94 (the product of cheap pandering to xenophobia) does not force women to remove their niqab in publicly-run language class. Any woman who wants to invoke religious belief may ask to be accommodated. What Bill 94 does is to deny that accommodation where the requirement for a bare face is justified on grounds of security, identification, or communication. That is a matter that a tribunal can hear and decide. So, if showing one's face is in fact not required for language instruction (as several here claim), then a niqabi will have the right to wear her niqab in language class. But first, they have to invoke their right to ask for accommodation, and stand their ground.

 

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
If, however, at any time a citizen or resident of Canada turns to the civil authorities and says "I need help because ..." and wishes to avail her/himself of the guarantees of the Charter and our laws, then those guarantees must override any private agreements made previously.

 

It's my understanding that at no time would a judgement from a tribunal be outside of Canada's laws. Similarly, I cannot sign (and courts will not enforce) a contract that runs afoul of the law. But let's imagine that this is a problem: would it not be perfectly feasible to insist that the outcomes of any tribunal must be compatible with Canadian law, just as any other contract must? Why would that be such a problem that we would need to throw the baby out with the bathwater?

 

 

Michelle

Yes, that's where I draw the line, Unionist.  No public funding or public establishment of religious institutions, but freedom for everyone to express themselves by whatever observances they feel the need to do through clothing, prayer, etc.

Snert Snert's picture

I'm not trying to be contentious for its own sake, but my understanding is that for a pious Muslim, an arbitrator is the proscribed way of solving civil disputes.  It's not like, say, some Irish guy wanting to buy his new car from O'Riley's Auto or French immigrants preferring French restaurants.  I suppose it would be more like "Islamic banking", which is more than just a personal preference.

So clothing, yes, prayer, yes, tribunal, no.

As for "no public funding or public establishment of religious institutions", well, that's a super idea.  Let's float it past some of the students and teachers at St. Aloysius' Publicly Funded Roman Catholic Institution.  And then we'll abolish those, yes?  When?  When will we?

mahmud

I suggest that Sharia law, harnessed and superceded by Canadian law woud have been much less dangerous to society and its members than Canon Law which seems to be a 'don't go there zone'. According to this article, Canon Law puts the 'reputation of the Church' before the criminal process.

-The Toronto Star, Sun Apr 11 2010

 Church's fear of scandal led to cover-ups

When crimes occur, Catholic canon law requires bishops to consider church's image, expert says

 ROME-The Catholic Church's worry about the scandal sex abuse allegations will cause - often leading to their cover-up - reflects a deeply rooted legal principle that governs the church, a leading canon law expert says. "The principal of scandal is very important in penal canon law," says Marco Ventura, a professor of religious law at the University of Siena, referring to the Vatican's legal code. "Preventing scandals from taking place is crucial from all points of view. The bishop is in charge of determining how to fight against scandals which could affect the good image of the church," he added in an interview. Avoiding scandal was a key concern of the late Bishop Joseph Windle, of Pembroke, Ont., when he wrote a letter to the Vatican about a pedophile priest in 1993.

 

http://tinyurl.com/y6xtzyo

skdadl

Snert wrote:

Quote:
If, however, at any time a citizen or resident of Canada turns to the civil authorities and says "I need help because ..." and wishes to avail her/himself of the guarantees of the Charter and our laws, then those guarantees must override any private agreements made previously.

 

It's my understanding that at no time would a judgement from a tribunal be outside of Canada's laws. Similarly, I cannot sign (and courts will not enforce) a contract that runs afoul of the law. But let's imagine that this is a problem: would it not be perfectly feasible to insist that the outcomes of any tribunal must be compatible with Canadian law, just as any other contract must? Why would that be such a problem that we would need to throw the baby out with the bathwater?

 

I honestly don't follow the logic-chopping you're doing here. The operative clause to me would be "(and courts will not enforce)," which is to me what matters. Otherwise, I'm not opposed to culture-specific arbitration; I'm just saying that if someone involved in such comes to believe that she was treated differently in that system, and to her disadvantage, than she would have been by the civil courts, then she should have recourse to those courts if she changes her mind and decides she wants it. She should also have the freedom to call the fire department or the police department or other emergency services whenever she needs them.

 

Sheesh. This is not rocket science.

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
 Otherwise, I'm not opposed to culture-specific arbitration; I'm just saying that if someone involved in such comes to believe that she was treated differently in that system, and to her disadvantage, than she would have been by the civil courts, then she should have recourse to those courts if she changes her mind and decides she wants it.

 

I don't follow. If I dent my neighbour's car, and agree in writing to pay him $500 to fix that dent, I don't get to say later "Hey, I bet I could have got a better judgement going to court" and then get to nullify my original agreement and try again.

 

I had, I guess wrongly, thought that you were referring to judgements from a tribunal that could not have similarly been judgements from a Canadian court. As an (extreme) example, I cannot agree with my neighbour that in compensation for denting his car I'll cut off my pinky. No Canadian court would ever issue such a settlement, and no Canadian court would uphold our private contract in that regard either. And that's what I thought we were talking about when referring to "outside of Canadian law".

 

But a court wouldn't strike down my $500 agreement solely on the basis that I'd like to shop around for a better deal. A Canadian court could easily pass such a judgement and would therefore have no grounds to strike down such an agreement, if entered into voluntarily.

 

What you're endorsing is "judgement shopping".

 

 

skdadl

No, Snert, I'm not. I'm talking about the cut-off-my-little-pinky case. As I said above, I'm talking about Charter rights.

 

Women of every cultural background in Canada, like citizens of several other designated groups, always have reason to fear that just about anyone short of the courts could be discriminating against them, or worse. Some may not care, and if that's an adult decision, then there you go. But some may not know, and if, when they discover that they have further recourse, they choose to turn to the courts, then to me, that's no different from calling the fire department. On the grounds of civil liberties and equality, we always back adults up, one person at a time.

kropotkin1951

There seems to be confusion in regards to terminology of alternate dispute resolution systems.  

An arbitrator is a third party chosen by two parties to a contract to resolve issues relating to the contract.  In labour law the rules for conducting that are in the various labour codes across the country. In commercial deals the Commercial Arbitration Act is used as the legal model.  An arbitrator is given the power to decide an issue and is not a mediator trying to find a consensus. The reason there are laws regarding arbitration is that due process is a tricky thing to get right and these are decisions of a third party.

Mediation on the other hand is two parties agreeing to meet with a third party who will help them reach a settlement that is acceptable to both parties.  If the parties sign a mediation agreement then it becomes a contract like any other and is enforceable in the courts.  Mediation is available in the courts in BC for small claims actions and family law matters. Mediation is legal for any dispute because the decisions are still made by the parties involved and the mediator is facilitating not deciding.

Snert Snert's picture

How do Charter rights play out in the context of religious belief?  We would all agree, for example, that the Charter should guarantee that no woman can be turned down for a specific job solely on the basis of being female.  But then what of the Catholic woman who wants to be the priest?  Or the Pope?  Do we not assume that in choosing to worship at a Catholic Church, you're waiving any right to challenge your Church's beliefs on Charter grounds?  I'm not expecting to see the Lesbian Pope any time soon as a result of a Charter challenge. 

 

Quote:
 I'm talking about the cut-off-my-little-pinky case.

 

An example would help. Knowing as I hope we all do that a tribunal would not be venturing into criminal law (so no stonings or behandings or any of that scaremongering that the right fomented back when) I'm having a hard time imagining a judgement from an Islamic tribunal which would fall outside of the in that same way. There's a lot of variance in judgements in good old Canadian courtrooms and I would expect anything falling inside of that variance should be acceptable if it came from a tribunal as well, yes? Or if not, why and how could it not be? If, using my example above, a tribunal ordered me to pay $500 for my neighbour's car, and in fact some Canadian courts have reached a similar judgement, I'd say we're most certainly not talking about pinkies. We might be talking about a higher judgement than some courts might make, or to be fair, also a lower judgement than some others might make. But why should I have recourse to another court just because I don't like that judgement?

skdadl

You're not familiar with the history of family law in Canada, are you, Snert? You're not familiar with the historic battles feminists waged in the 1970s and 1980s on that turf, are you?

 

I have no idea whether culture-specific arbitration courts would pressure women into accepting oppressive conditions on their lives or unfair legal settlements or other discriminatory measures. I do know that white men do that to their womenfolk -- daughters, wives, sisters -- every day in Canada in "private" life. I know that for sure, and I know that every woman has reason to be concerned that that continues to be true.

 

I am saying the obvious: an adult who does not wish to be interfered with in her private choices should not be unless we are looking at criminality of other kinds (at some point the police do have to step in to battery cases, eg, even when women don't want that, and many don't). But if she decides that she's leaving the private compacts behind and asks for the justice promised every adult citizen by the Charter, then there's no question -- she gets all our support.

 

Snert, you are a kitchen-sink contrarian (by kitchen sink, I mean as in "everything but the ...") You persist in dodging issues of democratic principle by imagining utterly irrelevant and trivial examples pulled out of the ether every which way. It is boring to argue with you. If you're not arguing from the Charter, then I'm not interested.

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