Quebec’s lawmakers passed a much-anticipated bill that would require public workers and citizens seeking government services to have their faces uncovered.
Naturally Bill 62 is seen against a small number of Muslim women.
The Liberal government’s bill on religious neutrality was passed in Quebec’s National Assembly, reported CBC. The bill needs the lieutenant-governor’s assent to become law in the province.
“We are just saying that for reasons linked to communication, identification and safety, public services should be given and received with an open face,” said Premier Philippe Couillard of Quebec.
“We are in a free and democratic society. You speak to me, I should see your face, and you should see mine. It’s as simple as that.”
Vallée said Bill 62 doesn’t specifically target religious symbols, as the law would also apply to masked protesters.
Interestingly Bill 62 makes no mention of the niqab and burka but it is evident that it targets Muslim women wearing a niqab or a burqa who ride on public transit.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims slammed the bill’s passage, saying it “boils down to ugly identity politics” before the provincial election next year.
Meanwhile in Ontario, the Liberal government says it believes Quebec’s new law on religious neutrality runs contrary to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and will lead to legal challenges.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said while the federal government does not interfere with provincial laws, the rights of all Canadians should be respected, the CBC reported.
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi says the government disagrees with the law passed by Quebec’s national assembly in a 66-51 vote today, and won’t consider a similar bill.
He says governments must respect a person’s right to express themselves and their religion. – CINEWS