Bill 62: Neutral or Alienating?
by Camillebouchard on December 2, 2017 - 4:33pm
During the Fall of 2017, the inauguration of Bill 62 has created a significant controversy that seems to divide people on the matter of religious neutrality. This bill, which puts a restraint on access to public services to people that wear a Hijab, Niqab or Burqa, only to name a few, has made people question whether this bill is about neutrality or against the Muslim religion.
The author of this article, a Muslim Quebecer woman, underlines that not only does Bill 62 fails to address any current situation, but it also promotes ‘’alienation and marginalization of a minority community in Quebec’’. Although authorities have figured that Bill 62 does not only apply to wearing items of religious significance that cover the face, such as big dark sunglasses, the way by which Bill 62 is presented tells the opposite as it is referred as a bill promoting religious neutrality.
Furthermore, the author highlights the fact that by restricting people from their right to wear these items of clothing or to access public services, it specifically targets Muslims instead of actually being neutral. The Bill also implies that some Muslim values are not coherent with the democratic worldview of Quebec, which only contributes to this idea of alienating Muslim people instead of bringing the idea that everyone stands on equal ground no matter what their religion is.
Although I am not personally targeted by this Bill, I think that it is not okay to restrain people from dressing according to their values and beliefs, especially under the excuse of religious neutrality. I definitely agree with the author when she says that the bill only creates more awareness to differences in a negative way instead of actually facing more serious issues. In 2017, I believe it is important to let everyone have the freedom of expressing their beliefs and religion in the way they see fit if it does not harm anyone around them, especially in the highly multicultural country we live in. I also believe that this Bill puts the concerned people in a tricky situation since they have to choose between sticking to wearing what they want to wear or getting access to public services such as the bus or going to the emergency room. In my opinion, it is crucial to revise the Bill and promote freedom of religion instead of trying to make everyone fit into the same mold.
Do you think Bill 62 is a good representation of religious neutrality or should it be improved to benefit people instead of restricting them?
Djossou, Myriam-Morênikê. “The irony of Bill 62.” The Journal, www.queensjournal.ca/story/2017-11-09/opinions/the-irony-of-bill-62/.