PQ Violates Human Rights...in the Name of Human Rights?

by gabriel_heuvelink on October 18, 2013 - 3:45pm

In the article "PQ values charter violates human rights law, commission says" by CBC news highlights the fact that the highly controversial Charter of Values proposed by the minority Parti Québécois is in violation of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms adopted by the province in 1975. The proposed Charter of Values would ban the wearing of religious symbols for public employees, and ensure gender equality. The Quebec Commission on Human Rights has proclaimed the government, should it decide to pass the charter, would be violating several fundamental human rights laws and "calls it a misguided attempt at solving a problem that doesn't exist." However, the minister responsible for the Charter, Bernard Drainville has responded by saying that the commission is not on the same page as Quebec society. Jacques Frémont, the commission's chairman said that "it is the most radical proposal modifying the Charter since its adoption" He continues on the subject of wearing religious symbols by saying that “It’s a fundamental right, and the state has an obligation to remain neutral. What that neutrality means is that the state cannot force anyone not to wear religious signs if it is the person’s wish to do so.” The other facet of the Charter is Gender Equality, had caused a conflict between Drainville, who says there have been numerous cases of gender inequality caused by religious differences, whereas Frémont states that “The real issues are access to labour, access to high positions and discrimination against women who are pregnant," 

If it were my way, the Charter would not even exist. In recent news, there has been no question about gender inequality, or problems associated with religious symbols, so why drag up a non-existent problem? To me, this Charter is simply a violation of human rights. Why should anyone be forced to not proclaim their religion? As so many have pointed out, the symbol does not make the person religious. Taking away a hijab or something similar would not make someone less religious, the same as being in a church doesn’t make you Christian. This Charter was proposed under the guise of becoming a more modern society, however, I believe that we are doing the exact opposite, a modern society, to me, is accepting and religion is present, but does not influence the government’s decisions.

Link to the article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/pq-values-charter-violates-human-rights-law-commission-says-1.2101449


I would first like to say that what you wrote is very interesting, clear, and concise. Your summary flowed very well and I enjoyed reading it. I chose to respond to this post in particular because the charter of values in Quebec is something that really "hits home" considering that I (as do you) live in Quebec. This is an issue that got a lot of people talking in our community. After all, it's something that could eventually affect all of us if it were to pass. I really like the point you've made on people not being any less/more religious by taking away things that may play part in one's faith. I personally believe that any form of government should not intervene in value judgements as I think they are in no position to do so. The government's role is not to inflict personal changes on the lives of people; and because of this, I really like the first quote you incorporated in your article "[...] a misguided attempt at solving a problem that doesn't exist." I must say however that I do personally believe that the problem exists, just not as far as the government is concerned. This is because foreign customs have shown to be change the way many Quebecers live nowadays. For example, many public pools now have hours where only women can swim, and when men can swim because of Muslim influences. All in all, I think you did a great job at summarizing the article and your opinion was very well-thought of!

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