Quebec Court of Appeal Ruling, 2019-12-12

Some Quick Notes

2019-12-20 (2020-01-30, link added)

On December 12th 2019, the Quebec Court of Appeal delivered its decision in the case Hak, NCCM and CCLA versus Attorney General of Quebec, N° 500-09-028470-193 (local copy), rejecting the application to suspend Bill 21, pending a ruling on the substance of the issue.

Français Ce billet de blogue est disponible aussi en français sous le titre : Décision de la Cour d’appel du Québec, 2019-12-12.


What is at Stake

The plaintiffs requested that the court suspend two sections of Bill 21, An Act respecting the laicity of the State which implements State secularism in Quebec:

  • Section 6 which bans the wearing of religious symbols by some civil servants (as specified in Schedule II of the Bill) while on duty.
  • Section 8 which stipulates that civil services must be provided and received with the face uncovered.

In this case, two sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is part of the Constitution Act of 1982, are often referenced:

  • Section 28 which guarantees equal rights and freedoms to persons of both sexes.
  • Section 33, the famous “notwithstanding” clause, which allows legislators to adopt laws which operate notwithstanding certain provisions of the Charter.

The Judges and Their Decisions

There were three judges, two of whom rejected the plaintiffs’ request for suspension. Thus, the request is rejected by a majority.

  • Chief Justice Nicole Duval Hesler, who favoured granting the suspension of section 6 which bans the wearing of religious symbols (but not section 8).
  • Justice Dominique Bélanger, who rejected the appeal.
  • Justice Robert M. Mainville, who rejected the appeal.

Most of the judgement document consists of the grounds for the decision of each of the three judges.

A Few Observations

  • The judges Duval Hesler et Bélanger often assert that Bill 21 discriminates against religious believers! But this is obviously false, because the law applies to all religions.
  • The judges Duval Hesler et Bélanger often assert that Bill 21 discriminates against women. But this is obviously false, because the law applies to all persons, whether women or men. However the judge Mainville is not duped. He gives the example of a man who may not wear a turban on a construction site because wearing a hardhat is compulsory; and yet no-one claims that this discriminates against men.
  • The situation is obvious: Bill 21 does not discriminate against women. On the contrary, it is religions which discriminate against women. This is especially true of Islam, that most misogynistic of all the great religions, or at least its fundamentalist variant known as Islamism or political Islam. By imposing the wearing of the veil as part of its political programme, Islamism generates greater numbers of women who would defy Bill 21.
  • In paragraph [123], Judge Mainville implicitly recognizes this when he writes that the plaintiffs have abandoned the debate about religious symbols and now limit the debate about section 28 to the Islamic veil and the full veil. Thus, it is not Bill 21 which targets Muslim women. Rather, the plaintiffs themselves (and behind them, Islamism) are targetting Muslim women.
  • Why is it that Chief Justice Duval Hesler claims that Bill 21 discriminates against women, when it is obvious that it does not? Remember that this judge has shown herself to be prejudiced in favour of the ideology of multiculturalism. In fact, several complaints against her have been submitted to the Canadian Judicial Council. For example, the Chief Justice suggested, during one of the court sessions, that Bill 21 is a response to « visual allergies » that some people have towards religious symbols. This statement is very similar to the typical arguments of those who oppose any and all bans on religious symbols. They wantonly and completely ignore the argument that such bans are necessary to protect the freedom of conscience of users of public services. Instead, they claim that supporters of such bans are just expressing unhealthy personal whims.
  • One of the precepts of secularism, a consequence of the principle of separation between religions and State, is that the State neither recognizes nor privileges religions. Thus, religious beliefs and practices are entirely the responsibility of believers. But those who promote Canadian multiculturalism, on the other had, adopt the opposite attitude: multiculturalists (i.e. communitarians) hold the State responsible for the consequence of religious beliefs and practices and must accommodate them, hence the notorious practise of religious accommodation. Religious believers are thus relieved of all responsibility. This is completely backwards! The idea that the State should submit to the demands of believers is unacceptable. Such a communitarian approach is incompatible with secularism and its implementation in Canada is yet another proof of the necessity of Bill 21. The State must not be held hostage to people who choose to behave like walking billboards for a religion. Those who choose to wear religious symbols are the only ones responsible for their choice.
  • The judges talk a lot about infringements of fundamental rights of the employee of the State, but never mention infringements of the freedom of conscience of users of civil services or pupils in public schools. The judges refer only to the “public interest”—a rather vague term—without specifying that such public interest is in fact the need to protect the fundamental rights of users and students. When a teacher wears a religious symbol, he or she is violating the pupils’ freedom of conscience by engaging in religious advertising, i.e. passive proselytizing, thus violating the freedom of conscience of his or her pupils. Rights are not absolute. The rights of one person or group may conflict with those of another, as they do here. The obvious solution is for the teacher to abstain from wearing religious symbols while on the job, but maintaining full freedom off the job.
  • The Chief Justice expresses the opinion that the grandfather clause in Bill 21 weakens the government’s case opposing the suspension of the Bill, because the presence of that clause implies that there is no great urgency to apply the ban. Thus, she confirms that including that clause was indeed a very bad idea.
  • The grounds given by judge Mainville include a number of excellent points related to the Islamic veil and legislation in Europe and elsewhere relevant to the veil. In paragraph [139] he writes that “several democratic, liberal societies have adopted such measures” banning the wearing of religious symbols.
  • Even though Mainville rejects the appeal and his comments are much more reasonable than those of the other two judges, in paragraph [114] he seems unfortunately to be rather favourable to the communitarian and antisecular thesis that the State should take religious demands into account.
  • Judges Duval Hesler and Bélanger never consider the possibility of removing one’s religious symbol when going to work. And yet, that is exactly what Bill 21 is asking civil servants who wear them to do. Mainville does mention this point on one occasion, I believe.
  • Judges Duval Hesler and Bélanger say that Bill 21 may violate section 28 (equality of the sexes) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, even though that is obviously false. Sikh men sometimes wear a turban (whereas Sikh women rarely do), but as judge Mainville points out, this cannot be considered discrimination against men caused by granting unequal religious rights to men and women. Bill 21 does not discriminate against anyone. It applies to all religions and to both men and women.
  • Even if Bill 21 violated section 28, It has not been established the Section 28 has priority over the notwithstanding clause 33. The judges in the Court of Appeal discuss this, but reach no conclusion. Thus, it has not been established that Bill 21 violates the Charter. The case is before the courts and will not be heard until the fall of 2020. In the meantime, two court decisions (this one of 2019-12-12, as well as the previous decision of judge Yergeau, 2019-07-18) have already concluded that, if there is any violation, it is not serious enough to merit an injunction suspending the law. The law remains in effect for now.
  • Finally, from a Quebec perspective, the Charter is not some sacred document. Rather, it is part of the 1982 constitution which was never approved by Quebec. So Quebec may be legally required to respect it, but not morally required to do so. If ever Bill 21 is struck down, it will be a great injustice, an example of “Might Makes Right.”

Next blog: Please Remove Your MAGA Hat at Work

Please Remove Your MAGA Hat at Work

Same rule for crucifixes, hijabs, kippahs, turbans, niqabs, burqas, etc.

2019-12-29

Religious symbols are no more sacred than MAGA hats worn by Trump supporters.

Sommaire en français Les signes religieux ne sont pas plus sacrés que les casquettes MAGA portées par les partisans de Donald Trump.

What would you think of a teacher who wore a Trump MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) hat throughout the day while teaching his or her class? I know what I would say: Take that thing off while you are at work. You can wear it all you want off the job. I would say the same thing to a person wearing a Christian crucifix, a Sikh turban, a Jewish kippah, an Islamic veil, etc. — i.e. NOT on the job.

A few political and religious symbols Click to enlarge
A few political and religious symbols

Quebec already has a law (Public Service Act, on the books since 1983) which bans civil servants from displaying partisan political opinions while on the job. The new Bill 21 simply extends that to religious symbols, which are, of course, often very political. A religious symbol is no more sacred than a MAGA hat. Do what you want off the job. But on the job — especially if you work for the State, and especially if you are in a position of authority — you should take it off, in order to be fair to users of public services and students in schools.

The crucifix is the MAGA hat of Christianity.

The kippah is the MAGA hat of Judaism.

The turban is the MAGA hat of Sikhism.

The hijab is the MAGA hat of Islam.

The niqab and burqa are the MAGA hats of Islamism.


Next blog: 5e anniversaire de l’attentat contre Charlie Hebdo

Ontario NDP: Still Crazy After All These Years

Follies of the Religious “Left”

2019-11-28, minor corrections 2019-11-29

A quick look at how the Ontario NDP has pandered to various religions over the years.

Sommaire en français Un bref aperçu de la pratique du clientélisme religieux par le NPD ontarien au fil des ans.

The Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP), just like other branches of the ostensibly left-of-centre NDP, has always had a pro-religious bias. Back in 1985 under the Conservative government of Bill Davis, and well before the ONDP came to power in that province in 1990, the ONDP fully supported the extension of public funding to the parallel Catholic school system to 100%.

Some two decades later, it was NDPer and former attorney-general Marion Boyd who in December 2004 proposed including Muslim sharia law in arbitration of family law and inheritance. Fortunately, a widely based opposition, including even the French FNLP (Fédération nationale de la libre pensée), succeeded in convincing the Ontario government to reject this idea and, further, to remove recognition of other religious traditions. This prompted the Quebec National Assembly to adopt unanimously, on 26th May 2005, a motion opposing the implementation of Islamic courts in Quebec and in Canada:

« Que l’Assemblée nationale du Québec s’oppose à l’implantation des tribunaux dits islamiques au Québec et au Canada. »

Source

The motion, put forward by then-MNA Fatima Houda-Pepin, only one short sentence in length, does not mention any other province explicitly nor target any specific legislation.

Fast-forward to 2019. English Canada, or what is commonly referred to as RoC (outside Quebec) is rocked by an hysterical and irrational wave of anti-Quebec sentiment, motivated by a wanton misreading of Quebec’s new Bill 21 which (partially) implements secularism in that province. Unsurprisingly, the Ontario NDP has jumped on the bandwagon, even driving it. On 25th November, Andrea Horwath, ONDP MPP and Leader of the Official Opposition, proposed the following rather verbose motion, which was adopted unanimously by the legislature:

Whereas all people who wear religious symbols, including turbans, hijabs, kippahs, crucifixes and other articles of clothing that represent expressions of their faith, are welcome to serve the Ontario public; and

Whereas discrimination based on religion is prohibited by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and

Whereas Quebec passed legislation, Bill 21, that prohibits the wearing of religious symbols and violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and

Whereas national civil rights groups including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, B’nai Brith Canada, the World Sikh Organization, the Canadian Bar Association, Amnesty International, and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs have all opposed Bill 21; and

Whereas municipalities across Ontario including Mississauga, Brampton, the Peel regional council and Toronto have already passed motions condemning the legislation;

Therefore the Legislative Assembly calls on the government of Ontario to communicate its opposition to Bill 21 by formally requesting the Quebec government immediately repeal Bill 21 and by intervening in any Supreme Court challenge of Bill 21 that may be heard by the courts.

Source

The organization Atheist Freethinkers has already responded to the above motion with a press release entitled “LPA-AFT denounces the hypocrisy and inconsistency of the Ontario legislature’s motion against Quebec Bill 21”. Suffice it to say here that Ms. Horwath’s motion indulges in gross exaggeration and misrepresentation of both the intent and scope of Bill 21, making assertions that have been refuted countless times already, both on this blog and elsewhere. Furthermore, it specifically targets legislation in another province and declares an intention to interfere with that province’s laws by means of a legal challenge. In addition, the motion expresses solidarity with some rather dubious organizations, in particular the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

But it gets worse. In her remarks made before the Ontario legislature in support of her motion, Ms. Horwath made a number of outrageous allegations. For example:

I believe that we in Ontario have to continue to stand up and speak out as Canadians against any form of discrimination, prejudice, racism and intolerance.…

No one should have to choose between their faith and their career. We all need to work together to fight Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and xenophobia wherever it happens and whenever and wherever we see it.

Affirming that Ontario values diversity…

…stand up and call out these kinds of discriminatory pieces of legislation and other acts of discrimination, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-Black racism.…

Source

Ms. Horwath’s exaggerated statements vilify Quebec Bill 21, and indirectly the majority of Quebecers who support that very reasonable legislation, by associating it with discrimination and intolerance (Bill 21 is not discriminatory), by repeatedly evoking racism (Bill 21 has nothing to do with race), by using the nonsense term “Islamophobia” (which implies that criticizing a religion must be the result of a phobia, i.e. a mental illness). She and other participants in the debate on the motion also make liberal use of the fashionable buzzword “diversity” which is a form of virtue-signalling, so overused that it has lost much of its meaning. To use that word correctly, Bill 21 is secular legislation, and secularism is, among other things, a method of managing religious diversity, something of which the Ontario MPPs clearly have no understanding, or which they refuse to understand.

It does not stop there. You can, if you can stomach them, read the remarks of another ONDP MPP, Kevin Yarde, which are even more outrageous than those of Horwath. They basically amount to paranoia garnished with industrial quantities of whining about those poor religious victims “subjugate[d]” by “very barbaric” Bill 21.

The reality is that Bill 21 simply insists that State employees in position of authority be religiously neutral — in appearance, not just in their behaviour — while on the job. Why? In order to respect the freedom of conscience (which includes freedom of religion) of users of public services and students in public schools. This is eminently reasonable and helps protect freedoms, not threaten them. As I said in a talk at the Rationalist International conference in Cambridge, UK, last July:

For the State to be independent of religion and to show itself to be free of religious influence, both its physical installations and its human agents must be free of religious symbolism. Displaying a religious symbol on the wall of a State building or allowing a State employee to wear a visible religious symbol while on the job are both clear and obvious violations of religion-State separation. In either case, the religious symbol constitutes at the very least passive endorsement by the State of the religion being symbolized. An anti-religious or atheist symbol would also be unacceptable in both situations and for similar reasons.

Religion is, or should be, a private matter. When a religion practices exhibitionism, there is an obvious political purpose, a purpose which has no place in civic institutions.

When a public servant wears a religious symbol while on the job, they are saying that their religious affiliation is more important than their role as a representative of the State whose mandate is to serve the public. They are saying that their individual freedom of expression takes precedence over the freedom of conscience of the users and students whom they serve. This is backwards.

When the State bans the wearing of religious (or anti-religious) symbols by public servants while on the job, it is saying that it is committed to treating all citizens, all members of the public, equally and fairly, regardless of their religion or lack thereof. The State thus undertakes to respect the freedom of conscience of the users of public services and students in schools.

When a public servant refuses to comply with a ban on the wearing of religious symbols while on the job, they are saying that their religious practice is so fanatical, so fundamentalist, that they cannot even present a neutral facade when it is their duty to do so.

Source

As for the Ontario NDP, they are guilty of abject clientelism. They have completely prostituted themselves to religious apologists, especially the most pious and fundamentalist, whose goal is to maintain and extend the considerable religious privileges which they already enjoy.


Abbreviations used in the above article:

  • MPP = Member of Provincial Parliament
  • NDP = New Democratic Party
    NPD = Nouveau parti démocratique
  • ONDP = Ontario New Democratic Party
  • RoC = Rest of Canada

Next blog: Three Examples of Cultural (Mis)Appropriation

English Canada Continues its Hysterical Opposition to Quebec Bill 21

2019-11-18

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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…”
  3. 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.


Next blog: L’immigration, cette question intouchable

Two Questions About Bill 21

2019-10-31

My responses to two questions, asked by a media studies student, about Bill 21.

Sommaire en français Mes réponses à deux questions, posées par un étudiant en médias, à propos de la Loi 21

As president of Libres penseurs athéesAtheist Freethinkers, I recently received an email from a university student in Toronto, asking two questions about Quebec’s secularism legislation, Bill 21. Both questions are a bit bizarre, perhaps resembling assertions more than questions. The second question is particularly tendentious and sounds almost like an accusation. The person asking the question seems to be declaring that Bill 21 somehow threatens freedoms, which is of course part of standard anti-secular propaganda. In reality, Bill 21 does the opposite: i.e. it extends freedom by protecting (partially at least) the freedom of conscience of users of public services and students in public schools.

However, in my replies which I sent to the student, I did not bother with such subtleties. I did not attempt to read between the lines or intuit the mental state of the questioner. I simply took the questions at face value and answered them directly. Below are my replies.


Question 1. Do you believe Bill 21 makes so much of an impact on Quebecers?

Bill 21 has had an enormous impact on Quebecers because it is legislation which responds to the desire of the majority of the population, and it was achieved with great difficulty and required great determination. The reaction from Canada outside Quebec (and from some inside Quebec) has been extremely hostile and irrational. Bill 21 is very moderate and positive legislation. Yet supporters of Bill 21, including the majority of French-speaking Quebecers, have been slandered and vilified by opponents of the legislation who are either too lazy or too closed-minded to even attempt to understand it.

Religious symbols are banned in public services and/or schools in France and in parts of Switzerland, Belgium and Germany. Face-coverings, including the full Islamic veil, are banned in many European and African countries, including some Muslim-majority countries. Quebec’s Bill 21 is neither exceptional nor unreasonable.

Quebecers are justifiably proud of themselves and their government for having stood firm against the overwhelming hostility of anti-secularists. The recent surge in popularity of the Bloc Québécois, as shown by results of the October 21st federal election, is due largely to the Bloc’s support for secularism.


Question 2. How have the Atheist Freethinkers taken action to ensure freedoms can be maintained?

What we have done, and continue to do, is to support Bill 21 actively and to promote extending it further. Bill 21 promotes human rights and freedoms by removing some partisan religious symbols from public services and schools. It would be even better if it were extended to ALL public servants, not just those in positions of authority. Banning religious symbols for public employees on the job is a small, reasonable restriction on those employees (which only applies when they are on the job) which has a positive benefit for all users and students because it provides them with an environment free of religious advertising and passive proselytizing. It is not enough to remove religious symbols from the walls; they must be removed from State employees too.

We at Atheist Freethinkers participate in a coalition called the Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL). See, for example, the page Press Conference RPL, 2019-05-06 about the RPL’s press conference a few months ago.

Here is some suggested reading:


Next blog: English Canada Continues its Hysterical Opposition to Quebec Bill 21

There is Nothing Friendly About Hemant Mehta’s Gross Ignorance

2019-08-31 — Updated 2019-09-03

My response to a particularly inept, obnoxious and anti-secular blog by a well known American atheist blogger who opposes Quebec Bill 21.

Sommaire en français Ma réponse à un billet de blogue particulièrement inepte, infect et anti-laïque publié sur le site d’un blogueur américain athée bien connu qui s’oppose à la Loi 21 au Québec.

Hemant Mehta is an American blogger who uses the nickname Friendly Atheist and who claims to support secularism. And yet, in a blog entitled Quebec’s Bill 21, Now a Law, Foolishly Bans Religious Symbols for State Workers, published the day after the adoption of the bill which institutes State secularism in the Canadian province of Quebec, Mehta attacks the legislation for its removal of some religious privileges (which Mehta, like religious bigots who oppose secularism, mislabels as “rights”).

We all know, or should know, that human rights cannot, in general, be absolute. There are always reasonable limits. The rights of one person may conflict with the rights of another. Freedom of expression cannot be infinite because, for example, defamation is unacceptable. Most reasonable people would agree that the rights of a pregnant women—i.e. to health, well-being and survival—have priority over any supposed “right to life” of the foetus she is carrying. The rights of children are limited because they lack the maturity to exercise those rights fully. Furthermore, one right of a person may even conflict with another right of the same person. If a child refuses a life-saving blood transfusion for religious reasons, then the child’s life must take precedence over the child’s freedom of religion, because a dead child has no freedom. Freedom of religion must not be absolute for adults either. If an airline pilot were to leave his or her post during take-off or landing, claiming that it was time for prayer, he or she would be guilty of criminal negligence.

Now consider the case of a classroom in an elementary or secondary school, with one teacher and, say, twenty pupils. Suppose that the teacher wants to wear an ostentatious religious symbol, even while teaching. Here we have yet another case of a conflict between rights, between the freedom of religious expression of the teacher and the freedom of conscience of the pupils, i.e. their right to an educational environment free from religious proselytism, including passive proselytizing using symbols. Which should take precedence? The answer is obvious:

  1. Schools exist in order to educate students, not to employ teachers. Students are the reasons schools exist, so their rights should have precedence.
  2. The students are for more numerous than the teacher. Thus, again, their rights should have precedence.
  3. The students are children or adolescents and are thus highly susceptible to influence. They should not be subjected to unnecessary advertising (which is what religious symbols are).
  4. The teacher’s duty is to impart knowledge, teach skills and serve as a role model. The teacher should remain neutral when dealing with sensitive subjects such as religion.

The obvious solution to the conflict between the teacher’s desire to express their religion even while teaching and the student’s right to a quality educational environment free from propaganda is for the teacher to maintain religious neutrality, including visual neutrality by refraining from wearing obvious religious symbols on the job. To do otherwise would be to grant the teacher a religious privilege incompatible with the rights of students. The teacher regains full rights when off the job.

Quebec’s Bill 21 wisely takes this approach by banning teachers from wearing religious symbols. Unfortunately there are exceptions: there is a grandfather clause for teachers already employed before the Draft Bill was first published. Also, it does not apply to private schools, which nevertheless receive considerable public funding in Quebec. Nevertheless, Bill 21 is a very good step in the right direction. The law also bans religious symbols worn by police, prison guards, prosecutors and judges, and this is also a progressive measure because all of these positions exercise coercive authority, and hence their neutrality, both in deed and in appearance, is very important.

So what does Hemant Mehta have to say about Bill 21 in his June 17th blog?

  • In the very title, Mehta says that the ban is “Foolish” when in fact it is eminently reasonable as explained above.
  • Mehta writes that religious symbols are banned for some users of public services too. This is patently false. For users, only face-coverings are banned.
  • Mehta writes that some religious believers are “required by their faith to wear certain symbols.” This is nonsense. Unless the individual is forced by their family or community to wear such a symbol (in which case banning symbols will help that person to resist unacceptable coercion), then they are not obligated by anything other than their personal choice. Even religious activists who vehemently oppose Bill 21 claim that they wear their symbol by choice. Well then, they can choose to remove it if required to do so for their job.
  • Mehta complains about the law’s invocation of the so-called “notwithstanding clause” to make the legislation less vulnerable to court challenges. That clause is part of the Canadian constitution. It is perfectly legitimate to use it, especially when, despite strong popular support for the legislation, a small but extremely noisy and irrational opposition (whose ideas Mehta himself echoes) threatens to delay or disrupt adoption of the law.
  • Mehta wants to have his cake and eat it too, to call himself secular while allowing religious interference in the State.

  • Mehta hypocritically claims that he “actively supports the separation of religion and politics.” That is false. Mehta wants to have his cake and eat it too, to call himself secular while allowing religious interference in the State. If he would allow a policeman or policewoman, for example, to wear an obvious crucifix or hijab or other religious symbol while on duty, then he is not separating religion from the State. On the contrary, he is allowing the State to endorse the religion being displayed.
  • […]advertising, whether commercial or religious, is not benign, especially where children are targetted.

  • Mehta claims that the wearing of religious symbols in this context is “harmless.” Bullshit. Apparently he has never heard of advertising. Companies spend millions of dollars on it—because it works. Whether to sell a product or simply to normalize a brand (such as the Islamist veil) so that everyone gets lulled into thinking it is perfectly normal, advertising, whether commercial or religious, is not benign, especially where children are targetted.
  • Mehta uses the familiar “religious minorities [are] persecuted” excuse in order to grant impunity to minority religions. This is a standard strategy of the regressive pseudo-left. By doing so, he stigmatizes criticism of these religions and he lumps all adherents of a religion into the same category, which invariably benefits the most pious, fundamentalist and even radical coreligionists. For example, failure to criticize the Islamist program of imposing the veil anywhere and everywhere empowers Islamists, while betraying more moderate, secular Muslims and ex-Muslims. Allowing the hijab to proliferate unabated—or worse, to celebrate it!—sends the message that women who do not wear it, especially Muslim women, are impure and unworthy of respect.
  • Mehta complains that Bill 21 contains provisions which monitor its application, for enforcement purposes. Well of course it does! What good is a law which is left unenforced? What good is a law which may be violated with total impunity?

Basically, what Mehta is saying is that the freedom of religious expression of public servants and teachers is absolute and that the freedom of conscience of users and students is worth shit. He would allow unrestricted religious advertising by public servants and teachers while on the job. He gives total priority to those religious believers who are so fanatical that they insist on wearing their symbol absolutely everywhere, as if it were as essential to them as an internal organ. By doing so, he betrays the vast majority of citizens who have a right to public services and schools without religious interference.

Mehta displays gross ignorance of secularism and a total disregard for the importance of secularism in the French-speaking world. In comparison, the English-speaking world displays a disturbing ineptness with regard to the key concept of separation between religion and State, without which secularism degenerates into a pale caricature of itself.

Mehta is apparently completely oblivious to the role played by the regressive or identitarian pseudo-left in opposing secularism[…]

But perhaps most disturbing at all, Mehta is apparently completely oblivious to the role played by the regressive or identitarian pseudo-left in opposing secularism and in poisoning debates about religion and secularism. That toxic movement affects many countries but is particularly strong in the U.S.A. and Canada. It has been weaponized by political Islam in order to demonize secularism with the goal of destroying it. France is currently a major target. Hemant Mehta falls right into step by repeating that movement’s propaganda against Quebec Bill 21. Mehta’s blog is a typical example of regressive pseudo-leftist discourse.

In conclusion, I have this to say to Hemant Mehta:

My name is David Rand. I am president of an organization named Atheist Freethinkers (AFT) based in Montreal and spokesperson for the Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL) which is a coalition of several groups (including feminists, North Africans, AFT and other secularists) working for secularism in Quebec. We supported and continue to support Bill 21, while criticizing its weaknesses (for example, it should apply to the entire public service, not just parts.) I am proud to be part of that coalition. The Québécois people are in the vanguard on the issue of secularism, just as they have been trailblazers for several other social issues.

As for you, Mr. Mehta, you have no excuse for your ignorance. An ordinary person with no particular involvement with these issues may be easily confused by biased media reports. But you are a well known blogger in the atheist and freethinking communities of your country. You have a duty to be better informed. You claim to be a secularist. Yet you throw Quebec secularists, such as us, under the bus. Indeed you throw the Québécois in general under that bus. You also abandon secular Muslims to the Islamist wolves. You side with the fundamentalists and obscurantists who cling to their religious privileges, some of which you are all too happy to let them keep. You have no excuse for your unscrupulous betrayal of secularism in the one place in North America—Quebec—where it has made the most significant progress in recent decades.

At least we know who are friends are not.


Next blog: Sometimes Makeup Is Just Makeup

A Reading List on Quebec Bill 21

Quelques lectures au sujet de la Loi 21 du Québec

2019-07-13, updated 2020-01-17

In EnglishEn français
The Bill itself, adopted 2019-06-16: Texte de la loi, adoptée le 2019-06-16 :
Court Challenges to Bill 21, legal documents. Contestations de la Loi 21, documents légaux :
Previously existing legislation which imposes political neutrality on public servants:
Public Service Act, articles 10, 11 and 12.
Législation préalable qui exige la neutralité politique chez les fonctionnaires :
Loi sur la fonction publique, articles 10, 11 et 12.
On this website (my blog):  
On the AFT website: Sur le site LPA :
On other websites: Sur d’autres sites :

Next blog: Le juge Yergeau reconnaît que la Loi sur la laïcité ne fomente pas la haine

Quebec Formally Declares State Secularism

2019-06-22

This blog has already been published on the website of Atheist Freethinkers. However, the subject—the adoption of Quebec’s Bill 21—is such a major and historic event that I am republishing the blog here.

Sommaire en français Ce blogue est disponible sur les site de Libres penseurs athées sous le titre Le Québec se déclare formellement laïque.

The 16th of June 2019: An historic day for Quebec and a great victory for secularism and democracy: the National Assembly adopts Bill 21, “An Act respecting the laicity of the State.” Despite its weaknesses and shortcomings, in particular in matters of taxation, this Bill formally declares Quebec to be a secular State and enshrines that secularism in the Charter.

The opposition whined about the fact that the CAQ government used closure to cut the debate short in order to have the bill adopted more quickly. However, closure is a parliamentary tool which has been used many times by various governments. It would have been a waste of time to allow the so-called “debate” to continue. That “debate” consisted basically of the opposition repeating ad nauseam the same fallacious (and sometimes toxic and hysterical) arguments, the same gratuitous accusations against the government and the same expressions of contempt for the population which massively supports the Bill.

Just before its adoption, several amendments were made to the draft legislation:

  • A simple, clear definition of religious symbols: “A religious symbol, within the meaning of this section, is any object, including clothing, a symbol, jewellery, an adornment, an accessory or headwear that:
    1. is worn in connection with a religious conviction or belief; or
    2. is reasonably considered as referring to a religious affiliation.”
  • Measures to monitor the application of the law and to respond to instances of noncompliance if any.
  • The declaration of a new right: “State laicity also requires that all persons have the right to lay parliamentary, government and judicial institutions, and to lay public services…”
a crucially important right […] the right to secular public services provided by State institutions.

Each of these three amendments constitutes an improvement and an enhancement of the law. The first adds clarity. The second is necessary because a law which fails to provide any means of monitoring or enforcement is ineffectual. But it is the third amendment which is most significant because it grants citizens a means of asserting a crucially important right that is rarely recognized: the right to secular public services provided by State institutions. This provision corrects, in part at least, the problem caused by the bill’s so-called “grandfather” clause which would allow any employee hired before the draft legislation’s publication date to keep their religious symbols. The parents of a pupil whose teacher wears a religious symbol may now require that the school provide their child an environment free of such symbols.

Opponents of the legislation have frequently and falsely accused it of violating rights. On the contrary, Bill 21 withdraws certain religious privileges—the privilege of being allowed to promote one’s ideology in the public service—and it protects and extends rights in at least two ways. Firstly, by banning religious symbols worn by public servants in positions of authority, it helps to protect the freedom of conscience of users and pupils. Secondly, this amendment enhances rights by adding a right to secular services, free of religious interference.

This law is therefore particularly important and beneficial for daughters of Muslim parents because it offers these girls the possibility of greater autonomy from their religious community.

The main beneficiaries of this law are schoolchildren and Muslim women. Schoolchildren benefit because they will be better protected by a school system with fewer religious displays. Muslim women benefit because it will help them resist the pressure to wear the veil, pressure imposed by Islamists who weaponize the veil for their own political purposes. This law is therefore particularly important and beneficial for daughters of Muslim parents because it offers these girls the possibility of greater autonomy from their religious community.

But this law will be good for everyone (except, of course, for fundamentalists) because it will help to protect the freedom of conscience of each and every person, whether female or male, child or adult, regardless of their religious convictions. The amendment which stipulates that every person has a right to secular public services is an explicit guarantee of that protection.

There are of course a certain number of Muslim women who noisily declare their determination to continue wearing the veil at all costs, their opposition to Bill 21 and their hatred for the government and the nation that adopted it, but they are far from being in the majority. These veiled women, in collaboration with antisecularists (who hide behind the euphemism “multiculturalism”), constitute objective allies of the fundamentalist Islamist extreme right.

Challenges to Bill 21 began immediately after its adoption. This is in no way surprising. We know whom we are dealing with. A veiled student, Ichrak Nourel Hak, launched a suite against the law, supported by the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). These are the same two associations which attacked the only provision of Bill 62 (adopted by the previous Liberal government of P. Couillard) which had any semblance of merit, its article 10 banning face-coverings in the public service.

As Loïc Tassé so justly observed in the pages of the Journal de Montréal, the controversy surrounding secularism is a conflict between democracy and religious fundamentalism. This battle is being waged before the courts, among other battlegrounds. As Fatima Houda-Pepin observes, we are living in the era of judicial jihad. This is an ideological battle being waged inside western democracies.

The most positive and promising aspect of Bill 21 is arguably its formal declaration that the Quebec State is secular and the enshrining of this principle in the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. This provision constitutes a powerful legislative tool which will facilitate the continued secularization of the State in future. It is important, for example, that the Ethics and Religious Culture programme—or at least its “religious culture” part— be withdrawn from Quebec schools because it indoctrinates pupils by presenting a sugar-coated and communitarian vision of religions. All faculties of theology must be withdrawn from publicly funded universities and all so-called “religious studies” programmes must be subjected to review. It is also important to extend the ban on religious symbols to private schools, childcare centres and finally to the entire public service.

But the issue which is undoubtedly of the highest priority, completely forgotten in Bill 21 which does not even mention it, is the tax system, i.e. the fiscal advantages and privileges which religious institutions have enjoyed for so long. Precise figures are difficult to obtain, but the cost to the taxpayer probably amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars for Quebec alone. The problem stems mainly from the fact that Quebec accepts the federal definition of a charity which includes as one of its criteria the advancement of religion. The daily newspaper Le Devoir recently published an important series of articles on this topic. The organization Pour les droits de femmes du Québec (PDF-Q, For the Rights of Quebec Women) which, like us at AFT, participates in the Alliance for Secularism, addressed the issue of a complete revision of the tax system which currently favours religions when it appeared before the parliamentary committee of the National Assembly studying Draft Bill 21.

In the months and years to come, secular activists must give very high priority to this issue of tax privileges granted to religions. The adoption of Bill 21 provides us with an excellent opening to do just that.

As for the hypocrites who call themselves “secularists” but who oppose Bill 21, they must now make a choice between two diverging paths: either they continue their alliance with the religious far-right, or they instead choose democracy, modernity and secularism.


Note: I thank François Côté for his very useful comments, displayed on Facebook, concerning the legal implications of the amendment on the right to secular public services.


Next blog: Le crucifix enfin retiré !

Quebec Bill 21 Causes Earthquakes, Anal Warts and the Collapse of Civilisation

2019-05-21

In this blog I present a sampling of articles in which opponents of Quebec Draft Bill 21 make outrageous claims as they attempt to rationalize their irrational opposition to the Bill.

Sommaire en français Dans ce blogue je présente un échantillon de plusieurs articles dans lesquels des opposants au projet de loi 21 du Québec font des déclarations extravagantes dans le but de rationaliser leur opposition irrationnelle à cette législation.

Given their lack of any plausible line of reasoning, antisecularists, in their vituperations against Quebec Draft Bill 21, have a strong tendency toward dishonesty, irresponsible speculation and sometimes complete nonsense. Here are a few examples.

  • The Ignoble Prize for Hyperbole goes to William Steinberg, mayor of the Montreal suburb of Hampstead, who accused Bill 21 of promoting “ethnic cleansing.” He subsequently qualified his remark by stating that he was talking about “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” not by direct violence. Either way, this outrageous claim is an extreme example of the defamatory behaviour of many opponents of the Bill.
  • The Ignoble Prize for Dogmatism goes to the Conseil québécois LGBT (Quebec LGBT Council) for its May 10th declaration « Des organismes LGBT dénoncent le projet de loi 21 » (“LGBT Organizations Denounce Draft Bill 21”) which (1) falsely accuses the Bill of being discriminatory, (2) repeats the slander linking the Bill to anti-Muslim violence and (3) laments the legislation’s restrictions on face-coverings which are “obviously aimed at veiled Muslim women and thus contribute to the stigmatisation of a population already hyper-marginalized.” In other words, the Council completely ignores the fact that fundamentalist Islam promotes death for gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities and instead chooses to express its solidarity with fundamentalist Islam’s favourite propaganda ploy, promotion of the veil, even the face-covering niqab. Why? Because unconditional defense of fundamentalist Muslims (while throwing secular Muslims under the bus) is part of the regressive pseudo-left dogma to which the Council evidently adheres.
  • The Ignoble Prize for Hypocrisy goes to CFI Canada (CFIC), an organization which claims to support secularism and critical thought but which abandons both in its attitude towards Bill 21. I discussed CFIC’s betrayal of its espoused principles in a previous blog.
  • The Ignoble Prize for Pseudoscience goes to McGill University psychiatric residents Sara Hanifi and Salam El-Malouf and many cosigners for their April 26th article which alleges that Bill 21 will negatively affect Quebecers’ health! They associate the Bill with “exclusion,” “hateful and racist speech” and “interpersonal and systemic discrimination” no less. Their discourse is replete with the familiar specious vocabulary (including the notorious “Islamophobia”) of the regressive pseudo-left which racializes religion and thus enables religious privilege. Their entire thesis is based on the false assertion that the Bill is discriminatory—a house of cards which crumbles on first inspection. Columnist Denise Bombardier qualified these psychiatrists’ theory as paranoid ravings. I basically agree, although I consider their nonsense to be more ideological than paranoid.
  • Coren […] fails to distinguish the public sphere (which is totally unaffected by Bill 21) from the civil sphere […]

  • In Maclean’s Magazine, Michael Coren has a cow over Bill 21 in his article “Quebec’s proposed secularism law is repugnant. Here are six reasons why.” Coren repeats the old canard about “discrimination” against Muslims, slanders Quebecers with the extremely tendentious and unacceptable term “Islamophobia.” He dismisses the Bill as populism, confuses religious neutrality with secularism (the latter extends the former greatly) and fails to distinguish the public sphere (which is totally unaffected by Bill 21) from the civil sphere (i.e. State institutions, where the Bill does apply, but only to some employees). What is repugnant here is Coren’s pro-religion prejudice.
  • Dan Bilefsky recycles old anti-Quebec clichés in his New York Times article “Quebec Proposes Bill Barring Public Employees From Wearing Head Scarves at Work.” The article greatly emphasizes declarations against the Bill and repeats several of Coren’s tactics, including use of “Islamophobia.” Even worse, Bilefsky links the Bill with mosque shootings in Quebec City and Christchurch, thus implying that the Bill would somehow increase the probability of such attacks. Such speculation is irresponsible. In fact, the exact opposite argument is more plausible: by taking action to reduce religious interference in State institutions, the proposed Bill would favour social harmony and reduce the danger of such violence.
  • […] by taking action to reduce religious interference in State institutions, the proposed Bill would favour social harmony and reduce the danger of such violence.

  • Montreal Gazette columnist Don Macpherson tries to ridicule the Bill in his article “The CAQ anti-hijab bill, worse than useless” but succeeds mainly in displaying his total ignorance of secularism. He maintains that the Bill “would weaken Quebec’s own charter of rights” when in reality it would significantly strengthen and improve Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms by inscribing “laïcité” into it, thus ensuring that future legislation would respect (1) the equality of all citizen—including male-female equality, (2) the freedom of conscience of all citizens, (3) religious neutrality and, most importantly, (4) separation between religion and State, i.e. State autonomy with respect to religions.

Antidotes to Antisecular Misinformation

The above list is only a small sampling of the wide variety of inanity and insanity which can be found in the media opposing Draft Bill 21. As an antidote, I urge you to read the article “Quebec’s Secularism Bill” in which author Luis Granados expeditiously cuts through the bullshit of the Bill’s opponents. A sample:

The ban covers all religions, including Quebec’s majority Christian population. No more crucifix pendants. No more yarmulkes. No more hijabs. No Satanic Temple t-shirts, should anyone be so inclined. Government employees get paid to do a job for the taxpayers, period. Advertising for the God industry has no place in the doing of that job, any more than advertising for a political candidate would. Employees are free to promote whatever they like on their own time, but not while they are officially representing the government. […]

Some are even threatening civil disobedience, because the laws of God should apparently trump those of mere humans. What should matter most here is not what the employees want, but what the “customers” want—given the customers are children whose minds are being shaped by those in authority. […] Children deserve to be educated in a neutral environment. They don’t need teachers putting up signs saying “Jesus is the Answer”—or wearing clothing that says the same thing. They don’t need teachers wearing a cap boasting that “I’m one of God’s chosen people, and you’re not.” They don’t need teachers silently communicating that women should be ashamed of their bodies—or the equally disgusting message that men are incapable of controlling themselves if they are sexually distracted by seeing the top of a woman’s head.

Finally, some logic and common sense about secularism from an English-language publication—a rare thing indeed.

Here is another reality-check. Consider the fact that article 22(4) of Quebec’s Loi sur l’instruction publique (Education Act) stipulates:

“A teacher shall act in a just and impartial manner in his dealings with his students;”

How can a teacher be impartial while he or she constantly displays an obvious symbol of a particular religion when on the job, interacting with pupils in the classroom throughout the schoolday? The ban on religious symbols which Draft Bill 21 proposes is a simple application of the above stipulation. Even if you continue to oppose the ban, at least be honest in your opposition and avoid gratuitous accusations. It is patently outrageous to assert that Bill 21 is xenophobic or worse.

I leave the final word to columnist Mathieu Bock-Coté who, in an article entitled « La laïcité vue d’Europe » (“Secularism Seen from Europe”) writes:

“From a European perspective, Draft Bill 21 appears terribly minimalist, almost insignificant. Every time I explain the Bill to people in France, whether they are on the political left, right or elsewhere, they wonder how something so elementary could cause such scandal. When I talk about the accusations of racism directed at Quebec for something so minor, they sincerely struggle to believe it.”


Next blog: Le Québec est laïque !

Six Pseudo-Arguments of Antisecularists

2019-05-20

In this blog I summarize six fallacies used by antisecularists as “arguments” against Quebec’s Draft Bill 21.

Sommaire en français Dans le présent blogue je résume six sophismes qu’utilisent les anti-laïques comme « arguments » contre le projet de loi 21 au Québec.

Antisecularists who oppose Quebec’s Draft Bill 21 have no valid arguments to make, or at least none that I have ever heard. Their attacks on the proposed legislation can basically be summarized in the following six pseudo-arguments:

  1. Absolute Rights: By considering the rights of public servants and teachers to be absolute, while simultaneously ignoring completely the freedom of conscience of users of public services and students of public schools, i.e. their right to a environment free of partisan religious advertising, opponents of Bill 21 claim to be defending freedom but instead threaten it by granting a huge religious privilege to wearers of symbols.
  2. Absolute Libertarianism: “Don’t tell women (or people) what to wear (or what not to wear)” is a common mantra of antisecularists. This fallacy is an expression of right-wing libertarianism on steroids and is reminiscent of the mentality of opponents of gun control. Firstly, Bill 21 bans only religious symbols (and not even for all State employees) and does so for excellent reasons, i.e. religious neutrality and to protect users and students. Secondly, to reject any and all bans would mean the end of uniforms and would imply chaos even among non-uniformed employees. What would you think if your child’s teacher began showing up for work every day wearing a bikini, or a hazmat suit, or clothing covered with ads for fast food restaurants? And thirdly, dress codes—sometimes written, sometimes unwritten—are commonplace in society, even ubiquitous, and some restrictions, such as bans on political or religious symbols in certain contexts, are eminently reasonable.
  3. The opponents of the Bill never hold religious believers responsible for their own practices and beliefs; instead, antisecularists hold the State responsible for accommodating those practices and beliefs. This is obviously backwards.

  4. Deresponsibilizing Believers: The opponents of the Bill never hold religious believers responsible for their own practices and beliefs; instead, antisecularists hold the State responsible for accommodating those practices and beliefs. This is obviously backwards. The believers are the ones who make such choices and are therefore responsible for any consequences. If a person chooses to wear an ostentatious religious (or political) symbol at all times and refuses to remove it even while on the job in the public service, then it is that person who excludes himself or herself from that job. The State excludes no-one; rather, it only excludes partisan displays.
  5. Accusations of Discrimination: Opponents allege that the Bill discriminates against religious believers (especially minorities) and threatens religious freedom. This is false. The Bill does not target any group of persons; rather, it restricts certain behaviour, i.e. religious advertising by public servants. This is a small and reasonable restriction on freedom of expression, such as the restriction which already exists banning partisan political symbols worn by public servants (articles 10 and 11 of the Public Service Act), in order to protect the rights of users and students. A corollary of this pseudo-argument is the claim by some that there will be a massive exodus of people, especially religious minorities, from Quebec. This is a form of blackmail, as well as being alarmist nonsense. Many members of religious minorities, including Muslims, moved to Quebec because of its penchant for secularism and they support Bill 21. The vast majority of people concerned will undoubtedly comply with the law, regardless of their views. There may very well be a tiny number of religious fanatics who leave the province (probably very noisily, for maximum effect) and to them I say, Good Riddance.
  6. Accusations of Anti-Muslim Prejudice: Given that proponents of political Islam (with help from their sadly numerous dupes) are particularly aggressive in promoting wearing of the Islamic veil anywhere and everywhere in order to advertise their brand, radical Muslims, by their own actions, are a centre of attention in this debate. Opponents of Bill 21 thus claim “discrimination” against Muslims in particular when the reality is a campaign of religious exhibitionism by an extremely vocal subgroup of Muslims. Bill 21 does not discriminate against any particular religion; it applies to all.
  7. Defamation: When all else fails (as it inevitably does), opponents of Bill 21 fall back on slander, defaming supporters of the Bill with gratuitous accusation of “xenophobia” or “racism” or other, even worse sins.

[…] a law dealing with State secularism, a law which, all thing considered, is very moderate.

Given their lack of any plausible line of reasoning, antisecularists, in their vituperations, have a strong tendency towards dishonesty, irresponsible speculation and sometimes complete nonsense. Their behaviour is increasingly toxic. And on that disturbing note, I would like to conclude by quoting Pierre Allard, award-winning career journalist:

The debate about secularism has taken an unhealthy turn these days. […] black clouds are piling up on Quebec’s democratic horizon. I did not vote for the CAQ and undoubtedly never will, but the Legault government was elected. It has proposed a law dealing with State secularism, a law which, all thing considered, is very moderate. That government is confronted by a barrage of (minority) opponents who use extremist rhetoric and who, for no valid reason, question the legitimacy of a majority which governs without excess. This should worry us.


Next blog: Quebec Bill 21 Causes Earthquakes, Anal Warts and the Collapse of Civilisation