The Ongoing Debate of the Removal of Kirpans
by Camille A-G on November 26, 2017 - 7:51pm
The debate around the Kirpan has been present in Québec for a few years and is still to this day discussed by opposite worldviews. The issue around the Kirpan, a religious symbol worn by Sikhs, comes from the debate whether the symbolic weapon should be accepted in schools or any other public place where security is mandatory. In his article for The Globe and Mail, John Ibbitson discusses the issue.
The debate around the subject has brought up the question whether multiculturalism functions well in Canada. Even though the Kirpan is considered a religious symbol and not a weapon by the Supreme Court, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously decided to adopt a motion to ban the Kirpan from being worn in legislature, in February of 2011.
Those who agree with the removal of the kirpan are against multiculturalism, as they believe that, according to then British Prime Minister: ‘’Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream... we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism.’’
Also agreeing with this idea, Louise Beaudoin, a Parti Québécois critic, claimed that in Canada, multiculturalism is a federal policy but not one in Québec, as the province did not sign the Canada Act of 1982, where multiculturalism was adopted into the Constitution.
This debate has brought up the subjects of multiculturalism and reasonable accommodation and the position of Canada in this topic. Although the country is one that is known to be very open-minded, the cultures and languages that separate Canada make us wonder whether Canada really is open to other cultures and religions.
According the the author, multiculturalism is an integral value in Canada and the desire for some to remove the religious symbol goes against this important belief of Canadians.
I also agree with the author. I believe that equality of gender, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity are crucial. Therefore, I believe that the removal of the Kirpan is disrespectful to the religion, as it is an important symbol that goes beyond just being a weapon. I strongly believe that some people’s arguments that it can become a weapon is a discriminatory assumption that Sikhs are dangerous. As someone who grew up in a country where difference is important and wonderful, seeing that some people agree with tearing away a religion’s symbol for our own disagreement of it is disrespectful of the religion.
Hopefully, acceptance will be brought into the subject and people will realize the importance of the religious symbol to the Sikhs and respect it, because equality is crucial in my eyes.
Ibbitson, John. ‘’Kirpan ban puts Canada on brink of multiculturalism debate no one wants.’’ The Globe And Mail, 11 Feb. 2011, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/kirpan-ban-puts-canada-on-brink-of-multiculturalism-debate-no-one-wants/article611650/. Accessed 21 November 2017.