The Parti Quebecois is now also at war with religious accomidation

The PQ have taken it upon themselves to start a culture war in Quebec. First, the PQ discriminated against the English and hired a radical to be the aide to language minister Diane DeCourcy. Now, they intend to start conflicts by banning harmless religious symbols at soccer fields and choosing to place fixed election date on a Jewish holiday. There is no reason to be spewing conflict among Quebec's diverse communities but for some reason the PQ think they are justified in doing so.

The Quebec government isn't keen on making friends with diversity. They are not only keen on attacking the anglophones with Bill 14 and insulting comments from the aide of DeCourcy, they are now going after religious accommodation. There is no reason to attack those who want to practice their faith, and there is no reason to start conflicts with them either. There are 365 calendar days, of which a majority remain event-free and religion-free but of all the dates Marois wants to use for a fixed election date, it's the first Monday of October every four years, creating conflict with Jewish communities.

Another decision has prompted harsh condemnation in the federal spectrum by all but the NDP. Should turban-wearing Sikh children be allowed to play soccer with other children in Quebec? Quebec's Soccer Federation said no, adding they can play in their backyards. They said the turban poses safety concerns... what safety concerns? This is just another cheap shot from a minority of radicals in Quebec who wish to forward their racist and discriminatory agenda - one of intolerance and one that should not be tolerated.

Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews denounced the decision on June 3, saying, “Telling 5 year old kids they can’t play soccer because of bogus safety excuses is not acceptable in any province.”

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau also condemned the decision. “Wearing a turban shouldn't stop you from playing soccer or participating fully in any other activity,” he tweeted, in both official languages.

“The (federation) must drop its ban now.”

The NDP, however, opted not to defend Quebec's decision, but instead decided to call on FIFA to change its guidelines, a move that allows them to say they are against discrimination but prevent them from having to take firm action in the province - likely to support their new-found nationalist base which is behind the PQ.

“If they (FIFA) would get their act in gear and respond, everyone would be able to move forward with this,” said NDP sports critic Matthew Dube. The NDP said they urged FIFA to clarify its policy on turbans but hasn't gotten a response.

However, Conservative MPs have already started to respond.

Conservative MP Parm Gill sent a petition to FIFA on June 4 asking them to “expressly permit the wearing of religious head coverings.”

The federal Minister Responsible for Sports Bal Gosal said, “We believe that amateur sports like soccer should encourage the participation of children rather than exclude them. We see no valid reason why kids should be banned from playing soccer because of their religion.”

Conservative Minister Jason Kenny also noted: “A sport such as soccer should encourage children to participate, and not exclude them because of their religious traditions,” in French.

The Quebec Soccer Association's director-general  Brigitte Frot was asked what she would do if a 5-year old Sikh boy wanted to sign up for soccer with a group of friends. She responded, “They can play in their backyard. But not with official referees, not in the official rules of soccer. They have no choice.”

Quebec is the only province to be attacking religious accommodation. Furthermore, the PQ decision to place fixed election dates on a Jewish Holiday also prompted opposition from opposition MNAs. 

If the next election were held on October 3, 2016, Jewish people, who are a part of Quebec society would not be able to vote.

When the Quebec Liberals called the idea intolerant, PQ Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville said there were too many religious holidays.

“The issue of intolerance, please, give me a break,” said Drainville. “The main issue here is not a Jewish holiday. That’s not the issue. The issue here is the principle of not setting the election date according to the different holidays. There’s more than 100 religious holidays in the calendar.”

Drainville said once you make an exception for one group, you need to make an exception for every group. But not every day is a religious holiday. 

Jack Jedwab from the Association of Canadian Studies said the PQ are acting in bad faith - despite agreeing with the principle of fixed election dates.

“It’s best if despite the merits of fixed election dates it doesn’t result in the exclusion of some groups on the basis of their convictions,” Jedwab said.

Liberal leader Phillipe Couillard proposed a simple solution to the PQ's problem.

“There’s a solution that has been adopted by other provinces, where instead of saying it’s going to be that day, you say at the start of the next legislature the Premier and the government will determine within that interval what the date of the election will be. It’s a very simple amendment,” he explained.

The amendment was proposed but shot down by both the PQ and CAQ.

Drainville argued the date shouldn't matter because of advanced polling. 

“It’s already possible for someone who wants to vote before the election date to do so,” said Drainville. “You can either vote by anticipation or at the office of the Chief electoral officer.”

But why make an issue over one date and religious traditions when there are 365 calendar days and based on Drainville's assessment 265 other days where there isn't a conflict with religion? Why not accept Couillard's simple amendment that would retain a fixed date but prevent conflict with holidays? The PQ are stubborn and driven by their hatred of the non-Francophone communities. 

It is shameful that their policies and their ideas are representing Quebec based on the thinnest of minorities. Only 32% voted for Marois in the last election, a difference of a mere 1% for the Liberals. The PQ hold a minority in the legislature and one can only be thankful they don't have a majority. In this regard, perhaps it is pointless to debate a fixed election date when the government can be toppled at any time - just waiting for CAQ leader Francois Legault to finish his walk down memory lane.

What do you think of the PQ war on religious accommodation? Are they picking fights they don't need to be? Are they acting in bad faith because of their views on non-francophone communities? Share this article, join the discussion and let us know what you think: Facebook, Twitter, Google+