Quebec assembly to debate bill banning face coverings in public service

19 October, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Lucie Lamarche

Causing further confusion amongst those affect Quebec politicians say the legislation does not mention when the ban on receiving services while wearing a face covering would come into effect immediately, as the implementation of the law is likely to be hindered by the many questions that remain.

This included workers like teachers, medical staff, day-care workers, and anyone giving or receiving provincial government services, such as driver's licence offices, and even anyone riding on public transit.

Muslim women in Quebec "are feeling targeted" by the law, which is the latest in a series of attempts by the provincial government to "raise the issue of Muslim women's attire", Ashraf told Al Jazeera. You speak to me, I should see your face, and you should see mine.

"So what are they supposed to do?"

The law will also provide for the possibility of religious accommodation if certain criteria are met.

Vallee has defended the legislation, telling CBC News this week that it was about "living together in harmony".

Transit workers also are demanding clear guidelines on the rules as they see themselves being put into an unpopular and hard position of policing such a rule. The government is expected to form a committee and release its guidelines by July.

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"By tabling this discriminatory legislation, the Quebec government is advancing a unsafe political agenda on the backs of minorities, while pandering to bigoted populism instead of practising principled governance", said NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

Gardee added that the advocacy group will be looking into legal avenues "to defend the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadian Muslims and, by extension, those of all Canadians".

"We don't know how this is going to be applied and how it will be enforced", said Gardee.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said he remains very uncomfortable with the legislation, especially as it applies to the city's public transit. Forcing someone to uncover, or forcing someone to cover: "for me that's not neutrality", she said.

"Is this really the most pressing issue before the Quebec electorate in the lead up to the Quebec election (next year)?" he said in an interview with CTV News Channel on Tuesday.

"People are scared because the debate is extremely violent", he told Al Jazeera.

Quebec's minister of justice, Stéphanie Vallée, who sponsored the bill, has said that the legislation will foster social cohesion.


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