Three recent examples of the insanity of Canadian anti-secularists.
Sommaire en français Trois exemples récents de la folie des antilaïques canadiens.
There is no lack of examples of irrational reactions from the Rest-of-Canada (ROC) against Quebec Bill 21 (“An Act respecting the laicity of the State”). Here are three particularly egregious ones.
- Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary:
Calgary city council recently voted unanimously to denounce Quebec’s Bill 21. Why? Mayor Nenshi explains:
“We stand up for human rights and for dignity and we cannot believe that we live in a country where provinces passed a law where you have to choose between your faith and your job. The second reason is actually an incredible encroachment on municipalities. The government is telling cities in Quebec who they can hire, and they can’t hire the best people.”
This quote is from the CBC Radio programme Because News, 2019-10-12, starting at about 9 min 20 sec. His declaration was followed by the obligatory applause from the other panelists.
Mayor Nenshi’s statement contains at least three blatant falsehoods:
- He implies that his city’s opposition is based on respect for “human rights.” This is nonsense. Their opposition goes against human rights by violating the human rights of users of public services and students in public schools. Their opposition is based on support for religious privilege, i.e. the privilege of religious believers to engage in religious advertising and passive proselytism while on the job in positions of authority in the public service.
- Nenshi claims that Bill 21 forces people to “choose between your faith and your job.” No, it does not. It requires that State employees in some positions remove any religious symbols while on the job, just as a long-standing Quebec law requires that partisan political symbols not be worn on the job.
- Nenshi claims that Bill 21 is “telling cities in Quebec who they can hire.” False. It simply requires that anyone hired to a position of authority abide by the simple rule of not engaging in religious advertising while on the job.
- The Globe and Mail editorial of October 28th 2019:
I have already written about this odious screed in the blog “The Virulence of the Globe & Mail” published on the website of Atheist Freethinkers. The editorial contains several whoppers, perhaps the worst of which is its outrageous assertion that “The federal government is secular…”
- The Ontario legislature at Queen’s Park, Toronto:
On November 7th 2019, the Ontario legislature unanimously adopted a motion, put forward by MPP Michael Coteau, which “reaffirms our support for diversity & our commitment that we would never introduce a law, like Bill 21, that would seek to limit or restrict religious freedoms.” The legislature thus jumps on the bandwagon, displaying a total—and probably voluntary—incomprehension of Bill 21, stupidly calling it a restriction on religious freedom when in reality it restricts only religious privilege, while helping to protect the freedom of conscience of citizens. The unanimous vote is an indicator of the totalitarian nature of the campaign against Bill 21. No dissent will be tolerated. Evidently Ontario MPPs do not care that the bill was adopted by the democratically elected government of Quebec and that it is widely supported by the population. Could they perhaps mind their own business? When was the last time the Quebec government passed a motion condemning an Ontario law, other than criticism of mistreatment of Franco-Ontarians?
All three instances described above are examples of cowardly conformism and opportunism. It is politically expedient to bash Quebec by misrepresenting and vilifying progressive legislation adopted by that province. By doing so, Mayor Nenshi, already a darling of the political and media elites because he has declared himself Muslim, ingratiates himself even further, while he throws secular Muslims who support Bill 21 under the bus. The Globe & Mail rides a wave of anti-secular hysteria which it has itself been a leader in creating. Meanwhile, MPP Michael Coteau hopes to capitalize on anti-secular panic as part of his strategy to achieve the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party.
Ironically, polls show that almost 40% of Canadians outside Québec support Bill 21 whereas that figure is greater when all of Canada (i.e. with Quebec) is included. Evidently, ordinary Canadians are more enlightened than their mainstream political and media leaders.
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