Jewish hospital decries bid to ban religious garb in Quebec [CC]


The Jewish General Hospital in Montreal has announced that it would defy a proposed law to ban distinctively religious apparel in public institution in Quebec.Noting that the law would …



Here are reports of the story from CBC and Haaretz.

An English-speaking Canadian friend who lives in Quebec says there has been a lot of immigration from France over the past several years “worse” (I suppose she means more anti-anglophone) than the native Quebecois. I wonder if more French also translates into more secular.


Certainly the proposed laws ape some that are on the books already in France.


From the original article, it sounds like a good hospital to boot. I think it is good they are standing up against this. I just hope they don’t settle for a “special deal” or exemption that is private or exclusive to them, which (politically) is no doubt the first thing that will be offered.

They could “win” themselves a lot of public credit and thanks if they just shut this controversial law down by refusing it outright. I don’t believe the Quebec government is even remotely willing to start arresting nurses and doctors who serve the public over such a stupid law that, no doubt, Canada’s Supreme Court will certainly strike down if it evidently causes any serious dissension. It can’t stand anyways under the Charter.

More likely the Quebec Provincial Gov’t will start with fines if a special deal is refused - fines are more subtle. However, if people are vigilant and refuse to pay, then come the police. Still, they might arrest them one-by-one at home deliberately and randomly to avoid press coverage.

Geesh. Welcome to my country.


Related: Quebec’s neighbour province and English heart and homeland, Ontario, deliberately contradicts Quebec’s move:

With that, honestly, I think the Supreme Court will itch at the first opportunity to squash Quebec’s new law. It will just depend on the Quebec Judge who hears the first case(s): if way out in left-field (not meant politically, Quebec politics are very strange), they will do nothing (allow/uphold it), then of course the defendant must appeal; if a Judge who has a brain, then they will just strike it down citing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (quite rightly). At which point it will be effectively over.


This seems like an attack on religious liberty to me.


Quebec is the most secular region in Canada now, but there was a time when it was the most Catholic, with the Church strongly involved in politics and personal life.
Ironically though, the more things change, the more it is the same thing. Much of Canada’s sense of religious freedom was defined by court cases eventually decided against Quebec Catholic interests, when it was the Church’s strong influence that were pushing against the freedom of Jehovah Witnessess.
JW won that case.’s_Witnesses_in_Canada#Saumur_v._The_City_of_Quebec

Duplessis era[edit]

From 1936 to 1959, Jehovah’s Witnesses faced religious and civil opposition in Quebec. Historically, the Roman Catholic Church had been the dominant institution in the life of the province of Quebec and a major influence on French Canadian culture. It nurtured the young people of Quebec, in language and faith; and at the same time it endorsed the legitimacy of British rule and of the established economic order.
For generations, the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec worked with the government, schools, and the courts to maintain the values and attitudes that supported the Church. This encouraged people to vote for politicians who favoured the status quo, the existing political, economic and social order.
Under the premiership of Maurice Duplessis, politics and the Church were intertwined as the latter continued to maintain a firm and influential hold on the people of Quebec. Throughout his political career, Duplessis courted the support of the Church.
After World War II, the Church came under attack by the Jehovah’s Witnesses who challenged its doctrines. They were determined to seek Catholic converts. In response, the Duplessis regime mounted a campaign persecuting of Jehovah’s witnesses and communists. The result was a legal struggle taking place here between the Duplessis regime and lawyers such as Frank Scott and Pierre Trudeau who argued in defence of the rights of minorities.
The clash between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church became an issue of the competing ideas of freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. The Jehovah’s Witnesses went to court to establish the right to distribute their literature on the streets of Quebec. They also became political dissenters because during the Duplessis era, a challenge to the Church was tantamount to challenging the government. Any limitation of the Church’s authority would mean limiting Duplessis’s authority.
Duplessis’ efforts to rid the streets of Jehovah’s Witnesses took the issue all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. The legal issues concerned freedom of speech as much as it concerned freedom of religion. The Supreme Court held that there can be no freedom of religion without freedom of speech.
Saumur v. The City of Quebec[edit]
Main article: Saumur v. The City of Quebec
In 1953 the case of Saumur v. The City of Quebec (1953) 25 CR 299 (in which a Jehovah’s Witness challenged a Quebec City bylaw prohibiting public distribution of literature without a permit) left the question of religious freedom undecided, with some judges actually arguing that: “both Parliament and the provinces could validly limit freedom of worship providing they did so in the course of legislating on some other subject which lay within their respective powers.”
This decision was part of a series of cases the Supreme Court dealt with concerning the rights of Jehovah’s Witnesses under the Duplessis government of Quebec. Previous to this there was the case of R. v. Boucher [1951] S.C.R. 265 that upheld the right to distribute pamphlets. Subsequent to Saumur was the case of Roncarelli v. Duplessis [1959] S.C.R. 121 which punished Duplessis for revoking a Jehovah’s Witness liquor license.


What the Quebec government is doing is exactly the case why some politicians should be legally (perhaps criminally) responsible for the political decisions they make.

To ban people on the basis of religion, for employment in the public sector, violates the Charter and they should be punished for their Xenophobia.


We all know which religion caused this.


Do we, then why does the French laws that these laws in Quebec are modelled on target Christians, Muslims, Jews and others?


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