Over in Quebec, they were getting annoyed because we weren't paying enough attention to them. "How can we assert our individuality and piss off the rest of Canada at the same time?" They pondered for a while, before Kathleen Weil, minister of justice, came up with a brilliant plan: "Let's sponsor a bill requiring women to take their clothes off!" and everyone agreed it was a good plan.
Bill 94, currently under debate in Quebec stipulates creating a law requiring women to remove their niqab while receving services in certain federally funded institutions (places of child-care, education, health-care, and family resources for example.) They include all the usual noise about "respecting equality, gender rights, charter rights, etc., but specifiying that it should only be requested if it would not cause "undue hardship". Does that mean the state is going to start telling people whether or not denying their religious beliefs is too hard? Or that if they don't like it, they can just, you know, stop receiving services?
It should be noted that the government is doing this without prejudice, favor, or disfavor to any religion. Non-Muslim women will be required to show their face as well.
The sittings are only available in French, but I'll have more details as soon as I kidnap a frenchman, although I'm not sure it will make much of a difference, apparently the deadline for public interaction was May 7th.
The bill is being pushed under the headline of solving "oppressiveness in Islam" but this is just about the worst defence I've heard since that guy who tried to explain away murder because of a caffine overdose. This is functionally, providing thicker makeup to battered women. If there is a problem in Islam (Which is a whole different debate being argued by people smarter than I see "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali) then insisting the party who is purported to be "in danger" ignores their religious orders, is going to cause more problems than it solves. Let us give them the benefit of a doubt, for a second, and assume that this really is an issue between protecting and meddling, the fact of the relatively small population of Muslim women that do adhere to the Hajib, suggests either the proponents of the bill are woefully uninformed, or that it is really not about protecting Muslim women at all. If there were genuinely interested in protecting or empowering muslim women, just trot a couple Niquabitches around the streets. No word on whether these women have received death threats yet. (I'd learn french just to figure out what everyone is saying.)
Stripping away the ridiculous defense that they have erected, one is able to realize the true motivation of this bill; to alienate and assimilate Muslim women. Creating a less hospitable atmosphere, possibly in the hopes that they will settle elsewhere, will allow them to "weed out" the people they consider less desirable neighbours in either an attempt to homogenize Quebec under one color - oops I mean flag, or a "preemptive strike" against a religion that intolerant bigots see as "terrorist".
I also really hate that this is twice now I have published a post to discover that it was a topic of hot debate - several months ago. Edmonton affairs? I'm pretty up to date. Canadian national affairs? Have you guys heard about this railroad they're building? Keen, huh?