Reasonable Accommodations Debate, Part III

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remind remind's picture
Reasonable Accommodations Debate, Part III

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remind remind's picture

Snert wrote:
Quote:
Yes the rights of those poor male civli servants are being trampled on because a woman wants another woman to take her picture.

Perhaps you already know this, but this accomodation isn't being denied in order to protect some "right" of a male civil servant. If that's your understanding of this, I think you've got the wrong end.

 

In as much as I hate having to occasionally agree with snert, I have now decided to see it as indicative that there is a place where everyone can meet in order to foster concilliation.

 

Agree snert, it is well beyond protecting the rights of a civil servant, so far beyond  had never even considered someone here would think so.

kropotkin1951

As usual I just lost a post while this was being moved.  I hate that!!!!

 

I will repost the last entry that made the cut since Remind seems to have ignored it and instead of responding threw out a nasty little slag at all who disagree.  

So Remind do you believe that freedom of conscience should be included in the Charter or is that the sticking point you have.  Or is it merely that you don't share this woman's believes so she is not only wrong but trampling on your right to have your world view imposed on this WOMAN..

Quote:

I don't know the reasons since I have been unable to read the decision so far.  i do know better than to presume that the MSM actually read or understood the nuances that this decision must contain.  What would be the reason to not accommodate such an easy request?  Either because it infringed on some male workers rights or because it is not a matter of conscience for the woman. Feel free to suggest other possibilities since most often dualities are not the only choices.

That is what I want to see in writing.  Too me the idea that a male civil service employee would be inconvenienced is irrelevant to the question of whether or not this is an item of conscience for this woman and whether the accommodation requested is reasonable and does not cause undue hardship.  What is being said here is that freedom of conscience should not be a protected Charter right when it comes to religious believes that are outside of the "norm."  At present freedom of conscience is a Charter right so why is this woman not being accommodated?

Snert Snert's picture

I think that looking at this solely in terms of "hardship", and with the assumption that hardship should be restricted to financial cost, undue burden, etc., is part of the problem.

No, it wouldn't really be impossible to have another employee take the picture.

Note, though, that another ruling at the same time ensures that nobody shall be accommodated if they ask to not be served by someone wearing a hijab (and presumably also a turban, etc.)  It also wouldn't be all that hard to ask another employee to take the picture, right?  If we're accommodating any article of conscience, why not that one too?  Sure, there's nothing in the Koran that prohibits being served by someone in a turban, but there's nothing in the Koran that forbids a woman from allowing her face to be seen by a man either.

The point is not whether it's an "undue hardship" to the organization, nor whether it infringes on the rights of a male employee (I'm not sure what those rights would be) but whether such accommodation would serve to advance equality, or the opposite.  Unionist's posts have been more lucid in that regard than I could be right now, so I'll just refer back to them.

remind remind's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:
As usual I just lost a post while this was being moved.  I hate that!!!!

That is why when I see they are at 100 or over I start a new thread instead of trying to squeeze another post in.

 

Quote:
I will repost the last entry that made the cut since Remind seems to have ignored it and instead of responding threw out a nasty little slag at all who disagree. 

What  are you talking about, whom did I slag nastily, please do slap the quote up where you allege I have done this.

Quote:
So Remind do you believe that freedom of conscience should be included in the Charter or is that the sticking point you have.  Or is it merely that you don't share this woman's believes so she is not only wrong but trampling on your right to have your world view imposed on this WOMAN..

This not about freedom of conscience, in reality. My world view is that no gets a pass in a public setting in imposing their "religious cultural" beliefs upon another.

 

Ghislaine made a beautiful post on this in the last thread.

Caissa

Since it has been mentioned many times, here is a link to the Charter

http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/1.html#anchorbo-ga:l_I-gb:s_2

Ghislaine

kropotkin1951 wrote:

As usual I just lost a post while this was being moved.  I hate that!!!!

 

I will repost the last entry that made the cut since Remind seems to have ignored it and instead of responding threw out a nasty little slag at all who disagree.  

So Remind do you believe that freedom of conscience should be included in the Charter or is that the sticking point you have.  Or is it merely that you don't share this woman's believes so she is not only wrong but trampling on your right to have your world view imposed on this WOMAN..

Quote:

 

I don't know the reasons since I have been unable to read the decision so far.  i do know better than to presume that the MSM actually read or understood the nuances that this decision must contain.  What would be the reason to not accommodate such an easy request?  Either because it infringed on some male workers rights or because it is not a matter of conscience for the woman. Feel free to suggest other possibilities since most often dualities are not the only choices.

That is what I want to see in writing.  Too me the idea that a male civil service employee would be inconvenienced is irrelevant to the question of whether or not this is an item of conscience for this woman and whether the accommodation requested is reasonable and does not cause undue hardship.  What is being said here is that freedom of conscience should not be a protected Charter right when it comes to religious believes that are outside of the "norm."  At present freedom of conscience is a Charter right so why is this woman not being accommodated?

The accomodation requested is not reasonable in the least. Freedom of conscience should be protected, but only to the point of not infringing on someone else's rights and equality. The example of justice of the peaces who do not want to marry gay couples came up. It is not a huge hardship for another justice of the peace to perform a certain marriage, but we should not go down this road. Men, women, gays and straits, etc. etc. should be treated the same in public services whether they are employees or clients. A justice of the peace has freedom of conscience in terms of the right to practice their religion and at home, etc. They can refuse to let gay people into their house if they want. They DO NOT have the right to refuse service in their job to certain groups.  Your freedom ends where mine begins is the principle. Similarily, barring issues of sensitivity, a male or female does not have the read to plead freedom of conscience if they do not wish to interract with the opposite sex. Another good example was police officers.

 

Ghislaine

Where would it end? If anything one claims as their personal "conscience" and belief is to be considered reasonable merely because it is a deeply held belief we are in for a wild ride down a slippery slope. 

kropotkin1951

This is not about this woman and some other member of the public. This is about a woman saying to the government I have these believes and I want an accommodation that is very easy.  If this isn't about her religious believes then what is it about?  You must understand that discrimination is supposed to be examined from the perspective of whether the believes are honestly held and whether they would lead to the government having to incur hardship to comply with a request. You seem to be turning it on its head to say that a citizen must prove the righteousness of their beliefs and if it fails some purity test it is not a protected belief.  She did not ask you are any other woman in this country to do anything or change anything about your life.  Do you really think that since her beliefs are not feminist enough for you her religious rights should be denied?  

If you didn't mean that people who disagree with you are so far beyond anything reasonable that you can't even imagine their viewpoint, please explain then what you actually meant by this. Sure sounded snarky and pointed to me so I await an explanation.

Quote:

Agree snert, it is well beyond protecting the rights of a civil servant, so far beyond  had never even considered someone here would think so.


 

Unionist

Snert wrote:

I think that looking at this solely in terms of "hardship", and with the assumption that hardship should be restricted to financial cost, undue burden, etc., is part of the problem.

No, it wouldn't really be impossible to have another employee take the picture.

This is absolutely correct IMHO. There is no issue of balance of convenience here, or whose suffering is greater. It is whether the duty to accommodate arises or not in this instance.

By the way, I have no idea with whether I would agree with the Commission's reasons for their opinion (it's not a decision - just their opinion - it's not binding on anyone). But I strongly agree with the result, for the very same reasons I gave in the language class scenario.

To the point of "hardship", I want to go back to an example I gave in that prior discussion. Let's say there are two French integration classes, both 50-50 male and female. Someone proposes that to accommodate a student wearing a niqab, the classes should be arranged on day one so as to be all male and all female. Hardship? None in the usual sense (financial, academic, etc.). Acceptable accommodation? NO. I don't think I'll repeat yet again my reasons for saying NO.

Quote:
Note, though, that another ruling at the same time ensures that nobody shall be accommodated if they ask to not be served by someone wearing a hijab (and presumably also a turban, etc.)  It also wouldn't be all that hard to ask another employee to take the picture, right?  If we're accommodating any article of conscience, why not that one too?  Sure, there's nothing in the Koran that prohibits being served by someone in a turban, but there's nothing in the Koran that forbids a woman from allowing her face to be seen by a man either.

Just a point of law. A person asking for religious accommodation doesn't have to show that her/his belief is authorized by some church or book. A sincerely held individual belief of a religious nature is good enough, according to the courts. The key thing is that accommodation which requires offending against another equality or anti-discrimination provision is viewed as unacceptable - or, if you like, as meeting the "undue hardship" test in and of itself.

 

j.m.

remind wrote:

I am not asking for rigorous proof of anything, I am stating that no such types of excluding accomodation are acceptable based upon relgion/culture in the public  secular sphere. It sets precedents for everything else.

I disagree with a public sphere that is so fixed in place that it can predetermine exclusion based on difference (sound familiar?). I like how this woman's insistence can challenge what is deemed public in the same way that progressive, Western feminists have challenged what is public.  Hegemony in the public realm is never fair, nor democratic, and so if you are going to qualify the public sphere as 'secular', then you have automatically excluded a number of interests from showing up.

remind remind's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:
This is not about this woman and some other member of the public. This is about a woman saying to the government I have these believes and I want an accommodation that is very easy.  If this isn't about her religious believes then what is it about?  You must understand that discrimination is supposed to be examined from the perspective of whether the believes are honestly held and whether they would lead to the government having to incur hardship to comply with a request. You seem to be turning it on its head to say that a citizen must prove the righteousness of their beliefs and if it fails some purity test it is not a protected belief.  She did not ask you are any other woman in this country to do anything or change anything about your life.  Do you really think that since her beliefs are not feminist enough for you her religious rights should be denied?  

If you didn't mean that people who disagree with you are so far beyond anything reasonable that you can't even imagine their viewpoint, please explain then what you actually meant by this. Sure sounded snarky and pointed to me so I await an explanation.

Quote:
Agree snert, it is well beyond protecting the rights of a civil servant, so far beyond  had never even considered someone here would think so.

 

Oh no, I was not meaning you at all, was completely serious, it never even crossed my mind that anyone would not get the end result of such an accomodation.

 

Let's say I was a teacher who was teaching a  Mennonite gentleman, and the Christain gentleman wanted to be accomodated for his "religious beliefs", meaning that he expected me to be wearing  the little net hat that Mennonite women have to wear, or a man would have to teach him, or his children, should he be accomodated?

 

The answer is of course NO.

 

You see, I do not care what gender within any religion that is being brought into play in this regard. You start accomodating 1, you have to accomodate all.

 

This is not difficult to understand, and I could go further in indicating the slippery slope one would go upon if religion were to be accomodated where secular only should apply, by saying that some religion/culture may believe that children should be the sexual slaves of their father, should we accomodate them? Would we even be discussing it? NO to both.

I am not asking for rigorous proof of anything, I am stating that no such types of excluding/including accomodations are acceptable based upon religion/culture in the public  secular sphere. It would set precedents for everything else. Thereby,  actions in one area would put undue hardship upon others in another realm.

Short sightedness in these circumstances does no one any favours.

 

What someones private religious cultural beliefs are is entirely up to them. They have no place in the public secular realm, if accomodating them,  sets a precedent that will impact others in differing, but simalar circumstance.

remind remind's picture

 JM, where I am from there is a whack load of Mennonites, and they are pretty damn fundamentalist. Their wives and daughters all wear the head gear, and many home school as they do not want they children impacted by the public school system.

 

Now we start accomodating one religion in the public realm, we have to accomodate ALL religions. The Charter would demand it.

 

So this would mean they would have a right to demand that their children and themselves be accomodated in the manner they want. The teachers would have to dress according to their dictates, sales clerks would have to slap on the little net cap to serve them, or their religion would be affronted.

 

Seriously this is not difficult stuff to get. But I think people are so concerned with appearing tolerant and politically correct, it blinds them to the realities of accomodating for exclusion/inclusion preferences based upon religious dictates, based upon Charter equity rights.

kropotkin1951

Quote:

Let's say I was a teacher who was teaching a  Mennonite gentleman, and the Christian gentleman wanted to be accommodated for his "religious beliefs", meaning that he expected me to be wearing  the little net hat that Mennonite women have to wear, or a man would have to teach him. should he be accommodated?  

You have turned the facts upside down.  The woman in this case did not ask for anything but the right to sit at the front and not expose her face to men in the class.  Now obviously if she couldn't se the board this would be reasonable but it is not reasonable as a religious conviction.  In your hypothetical above the man is asking that the teacher actively wear the clothing. This woman did not insist that her teacher had to wear a veil to teach her which is your scenario not the facts.

If you want to discuss whether we should accommodate religious believes that is fine but since we do I don't see who I trust to determine which religion is acceptable and which religion is not. That is exactly why the courts look at the conviction of the believer not what sect she belongs to.  She did not ask for anyone to be excluded from anything.  To throw that in is a red herring in this discussion about a specific case. I don't think that she ever expected the teacher to put on a veil or convert.  

kropotkin1951

No Remind you have the fact scenario on its head.  I agree no one would accept someone had the right to insist others wear clothing they don't want to.  You are saying that these Mennonite women can be told that they must remove the little cap to receive a service. That is the closer analogy to the facts in the veil case. 

remind remind's picture

No I don't, you are not looking far enough.

Secular public services need to remain secular, with no religious consideration nuances based upon inclusion or exclusion principles, from either side.

 

Hence my statement of SSM and officials or hall rentals.

 

And indeed my Mennonite  parallel.

 

There is nothing in Mennonite apparel that would be in breech of secular society requisites, such as showing your face for government ID, or indeed choosing to participate in a publically paid venue,  that functions upon differing rules than you hold in your private life.

In the case of Mennonites, they know they cannot force their beliefs being applied into secular public school systems, so they opt out, aka choose, to provide their own venue and home school, or build a private school, where they are bosses.

 

let say, I believed that in order for me to learn, based upon my religion, that I must smoke a joint continually while doing so, in order to honour where that teaching is coming from, do I have a right to insist that  I must be allowed to do this in the public realm?

 

The answer must be NO.

 

Take the niqjab and Muslim out of the equation and insert any other religious practise into the equation and see if it would float, eh!

 

because if you do not sniff examine  an issue from every  parallel, you are in danger of forming an opinion that has not been welll thought out, and/or could indeed be racist in and of itself, while believing one is not being so.

 

Give you another example, let's say my daughter wanted to do a smudge of the school room each and every time before she would enter it to learn, based upon her spiritual First Nations beliefs, should she be allowed to do so?

 

The answer must be NO.

 

 

kropotkin1951

 

Quote:

because if you do not sniff examine  an issue from every  parallel, you are in danger of forming an opinion that has not been welll thought out, and/or could indeed be racist in and of itself, while believing one is not being so.

you win I'm a racist and will stop posting on this subject.  Sealed Sealed

 

 

remind remind's picture

did not say that at all, said you were being short sighted

j.m.

remind wrote:

 JM, where I am from there is a whack load of Mennonites, and they are pretty damn fundamentalist. Their wives and daughters all wear the head gear, and many home school as they do not want they children impacted by the public school system.

 

Now we start accomodating one religion in the public realm, we have to accomodate ALL religions. The Charter would demand it.

 

So this would mean they would have a right to demand that their children and themselves be accomodated in the manner they want. The teachers would have to dress according to their dictates, sales clerks would have to slap on the little net cap to serve them, or their religion would be affronted.

 

Seriously this is not difficult stuff to get. But I think people are so concerned with appearing tolerant and politically correct, it blinds them to the realities of accomodating for exclusion/inclusion preferences based upon religious dictates, based upon Charter equity rights.

I'm not the one with my hand on the throttle, nor are you. It is not like "we" are opening the flood gates to other interests. We are other interests, too. How can you not acknowledge that creating preconditions for exclusion fosters a very non-democratic and closed public realm? As a matter of fact, it isn't public at all if it is only for some and cannot be accessible - even through contestation - by others. Sorry, but this preoccupation for letting marginal interests in is a recipe for more fearmongering and xenophobia of the other.

 

remind remind's picture

How can you not acknowledge that creating preconditions for minority inclusion based upon excluding factors fosters a very non-democratic and closed public realm?

j.m.

remind wrote:

How can you not acknowledge that creating preconditions for minority inclusion based upon excluding factors fosters a very non-democratic and closed public realm?

I never suggested that anyone *must* be included through preconditions. I stated that everyone should have the right to struggle in the public realm and that preconditions on who can participate and how they can participate are inherently exclusive. The minute anyone starts deciding who belongs and who doesn't belong in the public sphere we are engaging in marginalization. This form of framingreally bothers me about this debate.

So, if we place limits the sphere how does this make us any different than other exclusionary groups?

I appreciate that based on the interests that progressive babblers want to protect they will try to exclude dangerous interests - as other communities would do. Let's just not fool ourselves in thinking that we are democratic and open when we say "no, never" to those interests and act on our promise.

 

Ghislaine

The only way for Canada to remain a diverse democratic country with religious freedom and various cultures is for the public sphere to remain secular.  We have a long way to go in that regard. 

Defining the refusal to show one's face to a civil servant when getting an ID photo taken based on their sex as a right based on reasonable accomadation will not help. Again, where does it end? In this instance, it is a female not wanting a male employee to see her face. What if this were a male client not wanting a female to serve him? 

In the classroom example, the issue was not the individual's religion or dress, but the request to disrupt the class and create divisions based on gender. If one's sincerely-held religion, conscience, beliefs or whatever do not allow them to participate in secular society, it is not secular society's responsibility to change. if you look through history the fact that our society is even somewhat secular in the public sphere is very recent and very tenuous and not even nearly complete (ie the many references to God that need to be removed). Saying "no, never" to tolerating sexism and inequality of the sexes in the public sphere is progressive, open and democratic. It is crucial.  No one is being excluded. Sexism is what is being excluded. A person's beliefs, etc. are their right to hold and their choice - however they must understand that society will (I sincerely believe and hope!) remain secular. 

remind remind's picture

Another excellent post Ghislaine!

Unionist

j.m. wrote:
It is still exclusionary to tell people what content and actions are to be private.

 

You say "exclusionary" as if that's always a bad thing. Anytime you want a list of things that we do and should exclude from the public sphere in this society, send me a PM.

And yes Ghislaine, an excellent post indeed. Thank you.

j.m.

Ghislaine wrote:

Saying "no, never" to tolerating sexism and inequality of the sexes in the public sphere is progressive, open and democratic. It is crucial.  No one is being excluded. Sexism is what is being excluded. A person's beliefs, etc. are their right to hold and their choice - however they must understand that society will (I sincerely believe and hope!) remain secular. 

Call it the "open, democratic, progressive public sphere" if you want. It is still exclusionary to tell people what content and actions are to be private.

I acknowledge that you are trying to foster democratic inclusion of marginal or unequal groups, but that don't make it "open".

j.m.

Unionist wrote:

j.m. wrote:
It is still exclusionary to tell people what content and actions are to be private.

 

You say "exclusionary" as if that's always a bad thing. Anytime you want a list of things that we do and should exclude from the public sphere in this society, send me a PM.

Until people stop using the words "open" and democratic" to describe exclusionary practices then there cannot be a sincere discussion of what constitutes the public sphere. Exclusion isn't always bad, and it is at times necessary for the interests of certain groups.

If you have a list of prescriptions for society, good for you. If you want to publicize them and enact them - even better. I just dislike this notion that progressives are interested in protecting and coddling what is "public" when the public sphere doesn't belong to them, and this is what offputs me about the prescriptions for what should happen in the public. 

In a nutshell, what has been stated here on this forum are a series of particular interests that are vying for inclusion in the public. This is what is democratic about the public sphere, not that you get to have your way and keep having your way.

Caissa

We do not have a secular society. Listening to the National Anthem or observing which holidays are privileged makes that clear.

Ultimately, the courts will decide what constitutes a "reasonable accommodation." It would be interesting to know what the SCC would have to say on the current case.

Unionist

Here at long last is the [url=http://www.cdpdj.qc.ca/fr/publications/docs/Avis-RAMQ-Accommodement.pdf]... text[/url] of the three opinions issued by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse. The part about the full face veil is on pages 7 to 17. Unfortunately I haven't found an English version, if indeed one exists.

mahmud

Ghislaine wrote:

Where would it end? If anything one claims as their personal "conscience" and belief is to be considered reasonable merely because it is a deeply held belief we are in for a wild ride down a slippery slope. 

This type of argument is usually held by members of the politically dominant segment of society -more frequently males- as their own interests are entranched within the structure of society and are very unlikely to seek any accomodation (the whole structure accomodates them) let alone to be denied one. 

mahmud

Caissa wrote:

We do not have a secular society. Listening to the National Anthem or observing which holidays are privileged makes that clear.

Ultimately, the courts will decide what constitutes a "reasonable accommodation." It would be interesting to know what the SCC would have to say on the current case.

 

I agree. From prior SCC decisions on the matter of accomodation, the question that is usually asked is "what harm or hardship" an accomodation causes. My personal view is that there is not one argument that can stand scrutiny whatsoever, and Caissa touched on the "secular" argument. Doesn't hold water! Or maybe the "prununciation" argument when the same ministry advised that the student take the course online.

lagatta

Yes, but we have been fighting the domination of the (Catholic) church for decades - we have pretty much achieved secular school boards, but there are still those damned subsidies to religious schools (Catholic and fundie Evangelical Christians, Muslims, Jews, and perhaps others) that preach that women are subhuman beings who have to cover/produce children or whatever misogynist demands that they ALL make on us, those brothers in arms.

I am well aware of Islamophobia and prejudices endured by people (including friends and comrades) assumed to be Muslim, whatever their actual beliefs or lack of beliefs. Racism must be combatted. But idem the oppression of women in ALL patriarchal religions.

Unionist

Agree - both about the struggle against oppression of women, and the need to end subsidies to private schools.

And maybe we should talk about two goals:

1. Freedom of all individuals, regardless of beliefs, race, gender, orientation, origin, disability, etc., to participate as equals and without discrimination in every aspect of the society.

2. Freedom of individual conscience, including freedom of the individual to not only maintain, but to put into practice beliefs which negate goal #1.

... and how to strike a balance between the two.

 

Caissa

Muslim women and others with concealing headwear will have to uncover their faces when they deal with Quebec government services, under landmark legislation tabled Wednesday in the province's legislature.

In tabling the controversial bill, Quebec has delved into sensitive territory where governments in Canada have largely avoided treading.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/03/24/quebec-reasonable-accommodation-law.html#ixzz0j7FwGlPu

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

This law affects less than 0.5% of Quebeckers. Why was it necessary?

ETA: Actually, my numbers were off:

Quote:
Of the more than 118,000 visitors to the health board's Montreal office in 2008-09 only 10 were niqab wearers who asked for special dispensation.

There were no such cases among the 28,000 visitors to the Quebec City service centre over the same time period.

For those keeping score, that is 0.007% of Quebeckers. What estimable bravery!

lagatta

No surprise that Québec solidaire thinks this (silly) law is skirting the real issues:

 

In short, it is pointless to talke about secularism and equality between men and women while continuing to fund religious and private confessional schools, and that women who are victims of the different religious fundamentalisms should be provided aid.

That was an example, personally I'd say the same about LGBTI people. This law is bullshit and aims to "accomodate" the fears of people such as ADQ types who never have met a woman wearing a hijab, much less a niqab. Indeed, as unionist says, there are real problems of clashes of rights (which some of the "civil libertarians" seem to ignore) but legislation such as this does nothing to attempt to grapple with these; it simply panders to fear.

Source: www.quebecsolidaire.net

Projet de loi sur les demandes d'accommodements Il faut en faire plus, estime Amir Khadir

Le 24 mars 2010

Québec, le 24 mars - Amir Khadir, député de Mercier, estime que le projet de loi établissant des balises encadrant les demandes d'accommodement déposé par la ministre de la Justice est trop mince pour assurer l'égalité entre les hommes et les femmes et la laïcité de l'État.

« Il manque à ces balises certaines restrictions pour mieux affirmer le caractère laïque de l'État québécois et pour assurer la protection de l'égalité hommes-femmes au Québec, explique le député solidaire. Afin de préserver l'image de neutralité de l'État en matière religieuse, il est raisonnable par exemple, d'interdire le port de signes religieux aux détenteurs de postes d'autorité, tels les policiers, juges ou autres agents de la paix. »

« Le gouvernement vient de faire un pas pour baliser les accommodements, qui se résume à interpréter explicitement la notion d'accommodement. C'est mince et ça ne nous dispense pas de l'exercice de nous entendre au Québec sur les principes de la laïcité et d'en définir les applications », ajoute le député de Mercier.

Selon lui, toute intervention qui touche ce sujet sensible doit être empreinte de la plus grande cohérence possible, et c'est précisément là que le bât blesse : « Le gouvernement ne peut pas prétendre respecter la laïcité qui exige la neutralité de l'État et continuer à subventionner les écoles religieuses et confessionnelles privées. »

De plus, pour M. Khadir, le gouvernement doit être plus actif pour assurer l'égalité hommes-femmes lorsque celle-ci est menacée par des intégrismes religieux. À titre d'exemple, il suggère une campagne de sensibilisation et une offre des services de soutien social et juridique pour répondre aux besoins des femmes qui vivent des situations d'oppression découlant des pressions exercées par un milieu familial, communautaire ou religieux contraignant.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

The unfairness of Bill 94 unveiled

Quote:

To understand why Canadians are today faced with Bill 94, a bill whose writers seek to redefine and delimit the principle of accommodation as it is understood and practiced in self-proclaimed multicultural states like Canada, I begin with some general narratives that have become, with the aid of the "War on Terror" and Canada's military involvement in this war, staples in our everyday lexicon. The byline of this often repeated story goes something like this: Muslim women are oppressed via an inherently misogynistic text and age-old religious practices and traditions that are fundamentally incongruent with western notions of modernity, secularity, and progress. Head and face coverings, particularly face coverings, are products of Muslim women's false consciousness and evidence of Islam's control over Muslim women's sexualities.

In the case of the niqab, the narrative that is told over and over again is that a liberated woman would not freely choose to cover her face. In Quebec, a good Muslim woman, in the interests of security, communication, and integration, should remove the piece of clothing unanimously declared offensive by public officials and fellow citizens alike. A good Canadian citizen, after all, is one who cedes the will of the majority and respects laws and regulations formulated in the interests of upholding Canadian values, including Canada's commitment to immigration and gender equality. Canada, as the chorus goes, is a secular state that respects difference.

Repeatedly we hear that Canadians are freedom-loving folks who object to tyranny, battle against oppression, and protect the weak. But what do these stories, powerfully wielded by state officials, media, and the military, conceal? What narratives do we write out when we construct ourselves as protectors and saviors and render Muslim women objects of our benevolence and good will?

Nice article by Dana Olwan. Although isn't it about time to stop with the "veil" puns when talking about women and Islam?

Star Spangled C...

Well, because it is only Muslim women who would wear the niqab (just like a ban on yarmulkes would only affect Jewish men) and I think certainly that this is what is causing a lot of the discrimination.

Unionist

I object to calling people who wear niqabs "Muslim women". Why not call them Québécoises? Or Canadian women? Or women of Egyptian (or name some other countries) origin? Or immigrant women? Why MUSLIM?

It would be like consistently referring to the women of Bountiful as "Christian women". Or "women of British Columbia". Or "white women".

Or, consistently referring to JDL and B'nai Brith as "Jewish groups".

Even if more than 1% of women who identify as "Muslim" chose to wear niqabs, I'd still ask the same question.

This has nothing to do with "Muslims". It has everything to do with a tiny handful of people who, for whatever reason (and I don't think it matters much), wear face veils. Categorizing them as "Muslim women" does nothing but feed misconceptions about Muslim women - not to mention reinforcing stereotypical Islamophobia.

ETA: I guess I should add, ungenerously, that Dr. Olwan seems to be blissfully unaware of anything about Québec (which she calls "the Quebec province"), besides thinking that "Canadian multiculturalism" is some kind of slogan that has any support or currency here. Someone might mention to her that it does not. Wait till she finds out that the only official language is French!

skdadl

Um, Unionist? Have you bothered to read the entire article? If you picked up that general use of "Muslim women" from the excerpt that Catchfire quoted, even that much of the article should tell you that you were reading something of a parody, the author's quick summary of the conventional narrative that she is then setting out to challenge.

 

The only times I see the expression "Muslim women" appearing elsewhere in the article are the two times (early and much later) when the author refers to "Muslim women who wear the niqab." And she knows how few of those there are. Iow, the author isn't the one who's doing the projecting.

 

The article clearly means to challenge unexamined cultural assumptions nationwide, not just in Quebec. I thought it was very well done.

Unionist

skdadl wrote:

The article clearly means to challenge unexamined cultural assumptions nationwide, not just in Quebec. I thought it was very well done.

I guess you mean "countrywide" - because Québec is a nation. Something Olwan greets with a tin ear. Yes, I read the article, and it was full of things like this:

Quote:

Bill 94 is borne out of a masculine logic that projects men as guardians of women's independence and free will, rendering women dependents in constant need of state protection. As residents and citizens in need of state protection, we are to believe in the magnanimity of the writers and supporters of the bill. We are told that Bill 94 does not target one group or another but that it affirms the secular nature of Quebec in particular and Canada in general. To more readily absorb this historical and political distortion, we are reminded of the tyranny of religion and blinded to the dangers of staunch secularism.

"Masculine logic"? Olwan is obviously and painfully ignorant of the evolution of the women's movement in Québec. What would Olwan think, for example, of the fact that Québec women, alone among Canadian women, have been prohibited by law from assuming their hubby's surname on marriage for 30 years now? No doubt, she'd put it down to interference with women's right to choose. She'd say some "men" imposed this in an ill-conceived aim of "protecting" women's identity.

At least Uzma Shakir had enough knowledge to condemn "Québec feminists" for refusing to support this illusory "right" to wear whatever you want any time you want. Olwan seems blissfully ignorant that those feminists are on the wrong side of the trenches.

What do you think, skdadl?

And what does she mean when she says "we are told" that Bill 94 "affirms the secular nature of Quebec in particular and Canada in general"? Who tells "us" that? While Bill 94 is wrong-headed in many ways, who exactly has proclaimed the "secular nature" of Canada? News to me. It's Québec legislation.

And the icing on the cake: "... we are reminded of the tyranny of religion and blinded to the dangers of staunch secularism."

Tell us more, Dr. Olwan, about the "dangers of staunch secularism", while I stick another pot of popcorn on the stove.

 

toddsschneider

'Bill 94 targets Muslims, rights group says.

Ligue des droits et libertÉs at hearings; Quebec Bar advocates case-by-case approach'

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Bill+targets+Muslims+rights+group+says/3044696/story.html#ixzz0oNuH9lrU

'Bill 94, which aims to set guidelines on reasonable accommodation of minorities, including banning Islamic face coverings in some circumstances, is unnecessary, La Ligue des droits et libertés says.

' "It doesn't resolve anything," Nicole Fillion, coordinator of the rights group, told National Assembly hearings on the bill yesterday.

' Fillion explained that the Supreme Court of Canada has set guidelines for reasonable accommodation, concessions to ensure people can exercise such fundamental rights as freedom of religion ... '

kropotkin1951

Unionist will you also support a law banning yarmulkes and Sikh turbans or is it only these handful of women that threaten the very core of the Quebec nation.

Unionist

Only the Muslims. I support all the other religions.

Stargazer

Ha! good come back U.

remind remind's picture

Personally, I agree with unionist in this instance, and would state I disagee with her words, strongly.

  

Quote:
Bill 94 is borne out of a masculine logic that projects men as guardians of women's independence and free will, rendering women dependents in constant need of state protection.

Guess she wants to make sure the glass ceiling remains firmly closed behind her...it actually putsthe majority of women in a no win situation, we are not yet equal, but we dare not insist on equality measures, and human rights, because men, who are still in control of the state, have to give it to us...

And that BS reality, which only applies to 1% of women, such as the good Dr, renders the following flip statement not only nonsensical in the extreme, but a slap down for 79% of women.

 

Quote:
As residents and citizens in need of state protection, we are to believe in the magnanimity of the writers and supporters of the bill.

 No, let's not make the state give us equality afterall, it will come by osmosis. :rolleyes:

 

Quote:
We are told that Bill 94 does not target one group or another but that it affirms the secular nature of Quebec in particular and Canada in general. To more readily absorb this historical and political distortion, we are reminded of the tyranny of religion and blinded to the dangers of staunch secularism.

 As for this tripe, why is she denying the tryranny of religion, especially that in QC's history, and why is she pretending the tyranny of religion does not exist and that we have secularism across the nation?

 Obviously, she does not get out of her ivory tower much....and wants to keep it that way.

kropotkin1951

Unionist wrote:
Only the Muslims. I support all the other religions.

Thanks for the clarification I thought it was gender based and you were only talking about denying the rights of women to their belief system when it doesn't accord with your idea of the Quebec ethos and the mens ridiculous religious expressions were all right or at least in accord with your view of the proper Quebec ethos.

Unionist

Kropotkin, here is my pledge. When a sect comes along where men have to cover their faces and can only show them to other men - while women are free to walk around with bare or covered faces, as they please - I will defend the right of those men to their modesty.

But not the women.

There you have it! My misogyny, exposed (so to speak)!

You've really put your finger on the problem in Quebec today. We want women to resume their erstwhile subordinate roles. First step: make them show their faces. After that: who knows what other indignities we shall visit upon them!

remind remind's picture

You know her statement pisses me off more today than yesterday...

Could you imagine if a women had stated that fucking nonsense when our female ancestors were fighting for the right to people and to vote? Or to  us when we were fighting for the right to chose our future?

There would not have been a feminist women in the world who would stated that we could not accept the legislator's  Bill, or the courts,  making it so, because afterall it was patriarchial control mechanisms doing so, so they could not be trusted.

FFS some people need to grab some actual brains and reality knowlege.

kropotkin1951

Finally I understand it is modesty that is the problem. Because men don't want to be modest then it is wrong for any woman to want to be modest in public.  In fact it is not only wrong it should be a reason for denying them equal access to services. Is there something particularly improper about being modest with ones mouth compared to being modest with ones hair?

So I am awaiting the Quebec law that bans all women in full length skirts and kerchiefs from services because it is their belief in modesty that makes them wear such costumes. Start with the Ukrainian grandmothers and then the Amish women and the women of Bountiful and many women from the Jewish community who would never go into the street without a scarf. Why only the women who cover their mouths?  

If your modesty argument makes any sense than it can't just be about covering someone's mouth. It is about the pracitice of women being more modest then men have to be so why only the veil covering the mouth.  The rest of religious women's modesty appareel is for the same reasons and originates from the same basic sources in the religions of christianity , islam and judaism.  

Here's a site that has many examples of costumes designed specifically for modesty. When all these types of modesty apparel are also listed I will know it is about women's rights and not just more islmaphobia.

http://www.headcoverings-by-devorah.com/home

http://www.scrollpublishing.com/store/head-covering-history.html

 

remind remind's picture

Modesty apparel is telling women how to be, in as much as  high fashion does, and it is just as damaging to women. So don't be thinking that it is any better than high fashion telling women they have to be "SEXY".

kropotkin1951

I don't think it is any different that is why I think the law is discriminatory.  Even if one was to believe that a list of expressions of male dominance in women's apparel could be drawn up and thus used as a requirement to access government services even then banning ONLY one specific expression of patriarchy is discriminatory.  Why only this one thing? Is it an oral fixation?   Should a grieving widow be allowed to wear a veil in public? After all it is only within traditional patriarchal cultures that one sees a widow in a veil. If not laws then how would you see that those kinds of outrages are prevented?

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