Kirpan Kerfuffle


So a few Sikhs try to walk into National Assembly…

It’s a terrible joke if only because the punchline is so damned obvious: said Sikhs go through the metal detector, which goes off because of the ceremonial daggers on their waists, one of the fellows holds a press conference as a result, the (anonymous) brain trust at our august national newspaper blames Quebec, Quebec media pushes back and–voila!–a made-in-Canada scandal. And it’s not even noon yet. Why do people even get out of bed?

There are two important thing to remember here: reasonable accommodations, a phrase that has become so catch-all so as to be essentially meaningless, go both ways. That is to say, if a person wearing religious garb sets off a metal detector, there should be some understanding on the part of that person that a) the metal detector is there for a reason; and b) they don’t lose an ounce of their religiosity if they remove that object for the purposes of public safety–especially if they are doing so to testify in the name of religious freedom.


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Kirpan Kerfuffle

  1. Please provide legal authority for both your "important points".

    • Wow, you're on a real streak of stupidity. First you mention how it would be so much better if only … things were exactly as they are now. http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/01/18/the-case-for-a….

      Now you ask for legal authority for points that are not legal in nature, but which simply flow from common sense.

      And people like you dare accuse conservatives of being stupid.

      At least your stupidity has some entertainment value.

      • Isn't it fun when someone calling someone else "stupid" posts the same comment twice in a row? Or is that irony?

        • No that's the comment software going bezerk. But I just dont call him stupid. I demonstrate his stupidity, so that he may learn from it. It's a favour Im doing him really.

      • I can see my decision to stop replying to you until you improved your comment quality was the right decision!

  2. Or

    On Tuesday, the members of the World Sikh Organization of Canada were told by legislature security to leave their small, stylized daggers at the door if they wanted to enter. They refused.

    The Sikhs said that, while their own religion forbids covering women's faces, they had planned to speak out against Bill 94 anyway, in the name of tolerance for other religions.

    They had apparently been warned in advance that they might not be allowed to enter with the daggers. But the Sikhs noted that legislatures in other provinces and in Ottawa had always allowed kirpans — as had last year's Vancouver Olympic venues, despite heavy security at the Games.

    • "They had apparently been warned in advance that they might not be allowed to enter with the daggers. " Yet they chose to wear them anyway.

      Call me cynical, but this sounds like a deliberate act designed to provoke just this response so they can play it up in the media.

    • Emily
      Unfortunately for me I am a born and bred Canadian and for the life of me I can not understand why we have to change our rules, regulations, and customs to suit immigrants period. Yes our Country was built on immigrants but they came over, intigrated into our laws, etc, and became outstanding Canadians. Now people wish to immigrate to our beautiful Country and bring with them their old customs which did not work for them in their own land and expect us to except them. Please "When in Rome, do as the Romans," or stay home. I think everyone should have equal rights but when you come to a new country, you know before you come what you are stepping into, be prepared to change.

  3. But the Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites and so on are okay eh?

    • Most Certainly! They Live "WITH" us, not against us & DONT try to manipulate & dictate their ways or religion using them as a political ploy to "sway" us from our own personel agendas…The vast majority of them also work & support themselves & families & "their Country of choise, "CANADA" unlike 3/4 of the "unwanteds" for their lack of supporting this land & want to do nothing except "change things here " to the ways of hahala….they can take themselves & all their "very displeased , disgrunteled, with this "GOD FOR SAKEN COUNTRY" people, RIGHT BACK HOME….I KNOW, I KNOW, WE WILL BE REGETING THAT WHEN THEY GO, but, THEY MUST DO WHAT THEY MUST DO. HOW CAN WE EXPECT THEM TO STAY WHEN THEY "LONG SO BADLY" FOR THEIR own home land…NOT TOO MENTION BLOWING UP AIR PASSENGER PLANES = MURDER + HONOUR KILLINGS [MURDERS]??? THIS PART OF THEIR LIFE STYL, THEY CAN TAKE WITH THEM, TOO

      • We really have to address the problem of mental illness in Canada.

      • And a ping to boot the software.

        • Jezpaznthru..I just figured out your troll name..''.just passin thru '' Is this your way of telling us that your just here to create havoc with your silliness then dissapear ?…Good…See ya, sooo long bye,bye..toodles….

  4. Everybody see now why are Charter is so important?

  5. I am amazed that the Eleventh Guru has decided to reveal himself here, to inform us that it is not actually mandatory in Sikhism to wear the kirpan, and that a Sikh does not "lose an ounce of religiosity" by failing to wear it.

    • Don't post things without sources.

      • Don't be such a snot… we can post whatever we like. Just like you did.

        • There is no 11th guru…which is why he has no source. Pay attention.

          • Yeah, you've missed his point I believe. He's actually making the point that PAQUIN cites no one in saying that "they don't lose an ounce of their religiosity if they remove that object for the purposes of public safety". That's fine for Paquin to SAY, but what authority does he have in the Sikh community to make those decisions??? Is Paquin suddenly the Eleventh guru?

            I could say that a Jewish person doesn't lose an ounce of their religiosity by eating pork if they're starving, but I'm not a Rabbi, so my saying that hardly makes it true.

          • Okay…I'm not familiar with Steve's sense of humour, so I apologize to him. My bad.

          • Ping for apology.

          • I think you may have confused Canadian-born Academy Award-winning actress Anna PAQUIN with the author of this blog, Martin PATRIQUIN. ;-)

            Poor Martin often gets overlooked. Even the great Chris Selley misidentified the author as Martin's partner in crime, Philippe Gohier, when he linked to this piece in his Full Comment blog: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/01/19/ch

          • LOL Can you blame me though? Who would you rather have on the brain, Martin, or Anna?

            Honestly though, the problem was that I didn't go all the way to the top to confirm the spelling of Martin's name, I only looked up as far as Mike T's reply above mine!

          • Sooner or later, i lead everyone astray!

  6. The ceremonial daggers Sikh wear are to show their willingness to fight for their religion. If indeed this is the case, then make the daggers truly ceremonial. That means no sharpened steel blades capable of actually inflicting harm.

    People need to remember that prior to them coming to Canada….Canada already has its own values and customs. They too, need to be respected.

    • Goes for hunting knives too I take it?

      • Hunting knives are for skinning game,Emily, and therefore need to be sharp and utilitarian. If taken in context, Kirpan's would only need to be sharp for skinning people who threaten the Sikh religion.

        Hope that clears things up for you.

        • I know what they are, I have one.

          Knives are knives…not illegal, and not on any registry.

          • Emily, dear, what the hell are you going on about? There's absolutely no logic applied to any information you retort with. You seem so blindly concerned with Sikhs having their religious weapons taken away that you'll pull absolute none sense out of your ass if it means you get the last word. How old are you, and more importantly are you currently enrolled in a religions class at an alternative school?

          • It's perfectly legal to carry a knife in Canada

            Kindly don't indulge your phobias in personal attacks.

            Canada has guaranteed freedom of religion.

            I've been an atheist longer than you've been alive.

          • But can you carry a hunting knife into a parliament building? I have a lovely little black Swiss Army knife that I use frequently, but I wouldn't expect to board and airplane or tour a building with security screeners with it in my pocket.

          • Exactly! Calling something a ceremonial religious symbol makes it no less a weapon – and no less deadly: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/crime/article/791

            Think I'd be allowed in with my Holy Hand Grenade?

          • Emily be reasonable. Would you expect to pass through any security check be it court house, hearings or airline travel with it? I guess not.

    • The exact manner in which one decides to exercise one's religion is left up to the individual person. Courts generally don't like to decide matters of whether somebody is going about religious observances properly or not. If a person sincerely believes that a real dagger is the only way to properly be a Sikh, then he gets prima facie protection. Of course, it still has be legally determined if the practice is reasonable – THAT's where the difference between a real knife and fake one comes into play.

      This happens to Tarek Fatah every time he goes on TV. He says "the veil is not religion!" another panelist points out its up to the individual, Tarek agrees and then makes the exact same argument next appearance.

    • You do realize that carring a blade is a Canadian tradition brought here by the Scott's and Irish. My family has continued to hand down this important part of our heritage and shall continue for generation's to come.

      • Interesting point. Would a full dress kilt with a sgian-dubh cause this much uproar?

        • lol, I don't know but I'd be willing to give it a try, "You can take my life but you can't take my freedom" Celt and PROUD.

        • Well, I'm not sure it's an interesting point in quite the sense you mean, since no one wearing a sgian-dubh would refuse to remove it for security reasons, but it does make me wonder if anyone's ever worn a kilt with sgian-dubh in the National Assembly.

      • Cross….I have been carrying the same Jacknife my Father gave me when I Ten years old..My Son has also been carrying the one I gave him when he turned Ten years old….It's the code of the west……

    • FYI, the kirpan is typically dull and blunt for most people and serves its purpose moreso as a part of Sikh identity rather than a practical purpose …

      Mr. Singh

    • Emily is a white guilt apologist.

  7. It is worth noting the Quebec National Assembly acted unconstitutionally – the Supreme Court ruled on this very issue in 2006, and was abundantly clear…

  8. Another banner day for deity cultism.

  9. Wait a minute!

    If we go to a country of this nature – i.e Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. – we are obligated to follow the rules and customs of their country. Is it expected then that we can walk into their court rooms with a side arm or a woman without a burka.

    No – absolutely not, so then why should we be expected to show tolerance by being accused of "religious intolerance" when individuals of another faith show up with weapons strapped to them and call it "part of their religious rights". This country has gone over the edge in terms of accommodating people's religious rights!

    You don't like it here in Canada – go home!

    • Because Canada has different values than other countries….that IS our culture.

      • Emily, the problem with your comment is that you're assuming that your values are in line with the rest of Canada. Has it occurred to you that A Proud Canadian may be more in tune to the feelings of Canadians than you are? I'm not going to presume to know how the majority of Canadians feel regarding this issue or any other that may follow but I know in this instance, A Proud Canadian has made me feel proud to be Canadian.

        • Unlike your comments, I suppose?

          Canada is 144 years old….and we've been passing legislation and shaping this nation all that time. With the full support of Canadians. We are happily globalizing.

          Canadians are a known quantity….your personal xenophobia and parochialism are not Canada.

          • Yes, unlike my comment. You lump your values together with all of Canada and that is a mistake on your behalf. I agreed with a comment that was made earlier and made no claims that what he or I believe is what all people believe. You saw fit to make that claim for me. Which of us now sounds more Canadian?

            As for your notion that our government operates with the full support of its citizens; maybe you should check out the voter statistics and find out what percent of the population the government truly represents. Canada, with the help of our leaders and the weak minded people who have put them in power, will one day be recognized globally as the worlds largest, friendliest refugee camp.

            I hope this legacy sits well with you.

          • Canada is happily globalizing, whether a small group of Cons dislike it or not.

            You'll just have to learn to live with the idea that the majority rules.

      • Bowing to multiculture, other people's cultures that they expect to practise intact in Canada is not a culture.

    • Grrrr….ping!

      • I'm not reading your posts anymore Emily. This one says it all. I am politely suggesting that you take a deep breath and think through your responses before you reply to everyone… and with such hostility. Although I have to thank you for amusing me this morning.

        • Is that a promise?

        • I can't believe someone just announced their refusal to read any more posts from Emily based on a "ping" comment attempting to test the comment system.

          Of all the things Emily's said in the comments of the Macleans boards, her frustration with the vagaries of the comment system is what pushed you over the edge?!?!?!

    • In Canada we allow freedom of religion in a manner the countries you mention do not. it is one of the things that make us "better" than "them".

    • And you know that Sikh's aren't muslims, right?

    • The Reform party is alive and well, despite Jason Kenney's valiant efforts.

    • Has it occurred to you that someone wearing a beard and a turban, here in Canada, might actually be, you know, . . .home?

      • Apparently for many people, anyone that isn't clean shaven and caucasion is an immigrant or not a "real" Canadian. They must be invading "our" country and trying to push "their" country's beliefs on us.

        Our country is turning into this ultra-conservative nation of whining people that believe people need to look like them to fit in. "You know, why don't they just take their turbans off?" – it's ridiculous. Canada is a mosaic of different beliefs, cultures, races, this is the real fabric of our nation. We are not a melting pot, I don't know why people are starting to go away from this principle that our country had stood so proudly for in the past.

        • I think it's called security concerns. A weapon is no less a weapon because it is a religious symbol. A mask is no less a disguise because it is a religous symbol. Reasonable accomodation has to work in both directions, or we wind up the national equivalent of the tail wagging the dog.

        • "Apparently for many people, anyone that isn't clean shaven and caucasion is an immigrant or not a "real" Canadian. They must be invading "our" country and trying to push "their" country's beliefs on us."

          Yeah, and what's your point?

    • I am a Sikh born in Canada. My parents were born in Canada, where should I go?

      • Manja….

        Apparently, not Quebec.

      • Please, don't try to make that "proud Canadian" think. A) it's cruel. B) It's guaranteed to produce disappointing results.

    • Please smarten up. They ARE home.

      — a prouder Canadian

    • I'll help to pay to send them back.

  10. This is from Wikipedia:

    "The kirpan is both a defensive weapon and a symbol. Physically it is an instrument of "ahimsa" or non-violence. The principle of ahimsa is to actively prevent violence, not to simply stand by idly whilst violence is being done. To that end, the kirpan is a tool to be used to prevent violence from being done to a defenseless person when all other means to do so have failed. Symbolically, the kirpan represents the power of truth to cut through untruth[citation needed].

    Not all those who identify themselves as Sikhs carry or recommend carrying a kirpan usable as a weapon. Hardeep Singh Kohli, who identifies himself and most of the Sikhs he knows as secular Sikhs, criticised UK Sikh judge Sir Mota Singh QC for calling for Sikh schoolchildren to be allowed to carry the kirpan, saying "he thinks it's OK for kids to take knives to class. … I'm simply not comfortable with knives being allowed into school. …small, symbolic kirpans are attached to combs that Sikhs keep in their hair. Similarly, small kirpan-shaped pendants are worn around the neck, again fulfilling the criterion of the faith that the dagger be ever-present.[1] Other Sikhs consider that a kirpan must be viable as a weapon to fulfil religious criteria"

    If the kirpan is symbolic and required to be worn by Sikhs, why does it have to be functional? By the same rule if the 10th Guru were to make the rules today, he would have the Sikhs carrying hand guns or even AK47s. This may have some sort of religious symbolism but as I read the rules it could be a rubber knife and look impotent. Real dagger kirpans are only enforced by hardline Sikhs.Most Canadians in a civil world would react very strongly to guns carried by religious groups, It appears that the Sikhs advocate vigilantism with deadly force and that is against Canadian law.

    • The Supreme Court ruled on this some years ago.

      There are many branches of christianity…and the same goes for other religions.

      • OK, so I guess it's OK for me to carry a Holy Hand Grenade?

    • it has to do with the individualistic nature of a sincerely held religious belief, as addressed by the Supreme Court of Canada in a case called Anselm. While people may not be allowed to observe certain religious practices for practical purposes, a court can't (and shouldn't!) just choose to interpret a complainant's religion differently from the complainant in order to deny relgious freedom.

      • When is the court going to declare our rights not to be confronted with religious nonsense. Try reason and commonsense instead.

    • Hey Kevin, I am a sikh and I fully agree with you. To fulfill the religious purpose the sikhs can and should wear a small symbolic kirpans and if still some the sikh people want to have the real dagger, its good for them to go back home.

      • And some mennonites think it's OK to have electricity in the barn and some don't.

        • A false analogy… use of modern convenience does not equate with the carrying of weapons

    • I have one problem with the wiki info from Kevin. The info relates to Sikhs living in their homeland.
      Here in Canada everywhere the police tells us to call 911 if someones life is threatened.

      If the Sikh religion requires them to wear a ceremonial kirpan, let it be made of cardboard or some
      other soft material.


      • Cardboard hunting knives for all hunters….interesting concept.

        • Specious argument, Emily. We generally don't allow people to wander the streets, go to school or enter secure zones with hunting knives strapped to them.

      • ping

        • They were Canadian rules as well. We are talking about security. I understand that the National Assembly, where an armed man killed three persons, would be concerned to have visitors respect their rules.

        • No it's about security at the National Assembly. Sikhs are free to practise their religion and go about their daily business in Canada. But they are not allowed to bring it a blunt metal object into the National Assembly – neither am I, nor are you. Three persons were killed by a gunman at the National Assembly a few years ago and some MNAs would receive threats regularly. I would imagine Jean Charest receives threats almost daily. The need for strict security measures is understandable and desirable.

          I listened to a Sikh this morning explaining on radio that they will remove their kirpan for security purposes when travelling on airplanes. I don't see how this would be different.

        • I have to ask… what are all these "ping" entries supposed to convey? They seem like some kind of Tourettes-like nonsensical responses to me…

        • Pong

          • Lol!

        • Ping?

    • It appears that the Sikhs advocate vigilantism with deadly force and that is against Canadian law.

      You know, a lot of Christians wear ceremonial crucifixes. Does that mean they're advocating violently torturing people to death?

      • You know, a lot of Christians wear ceremonial crucifixes. Does that mean they're advocating violently torturing people to death?

        Gee, I always thought of it as a rather special thank-you note to the character who died for their sins.

      • Ever try nailing someone to one of those suckers? Let me tell you, it's not easy!

        The crucifix worn by many Christians equates to the ceremonial kirpans worn in hair combs or around the neck by some Sikhs. I don't think anyone (other than rabid xenophobes) would object to those kirpans; it's the ones that are genuine weapons that cause concern.

        I've snidely referred to Monty Python's Holy Hand Grenade in some other posts to make the point that calling something a religious symbol does nothing to make it less deadly and dangerous.

    • Hi Kevin,

      Actually your analogy is incorrect. The 10th Sikh Guru could have made firearms or other weapons obligatory as they were available at the time. The kirpan is just right sized to serve as a reminder of the obligation to protect the weak and innocent and having to do so if necessary. In today’s time it is typically dull and blunt and serves as part of the Sikh religious identity. It’s not just a symbol but obligatory for baptized Sikhs, aka Khalsa. Also, the WSO was invited to speak there and has let security know they would be wearing kirpans. The fact they were denied entry afterwards seems contrived.

      Mr. Singh

      • The fact that they were warned they might not be allowed entry wearing them, yet they proceeded to wear them anyway, sounds equally contrived and designed to make a point, given that they could have worn other forms of kirpan (as described in other posts farther up this chain) that would easily have passed the security check.

        A letter opener is usually dull and blunt too, but probably would not have passed muster…

        • I think you do not understand. Removing the kirpan is not a trivial matter. It is not up to an observant Sikh to decide whether or not to wear the kirpan. The kirpan must be worn – it is a central tenet of the religion.

          • But there are options to the actual dagger; they could have chosen one of those options, but did not. Hence my belief that it was a deliberate, political act.

      • If it is so symbolic why not just have the handle? I am moved by neither krucifixes or curpans. Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense.

  11. They'd probably let you right through into the assembly, actually.

    • probably because with knitting needles you could knit an Afghan

      • I would think that would be a reason NOT to let her through!

  12. Are Sikhs carrying kirpans allowed to board airplanes in Canada?

    I mentioned knitting needles because passengers were not allowed to carry them in airplanes for years. Now we can again, but they recommend that we use bamboo needles and bring a self-addressed envelope, just in case: they still have the discretion to refuse entry to a passenger carrying blunt objects.

    Security is the issue – unless religion trumps security.

    • We are not discussing idiotic American rules for boarding planes.

  13. Juxtapose.

    Bringing a ceremonial dagger into Quebec's National Assembly: Go home ya damned furriners. Shriek, more multi-culti nonsense. Etc. etc. etc.

    Bringing a gun to an Obama rally: It's our right. Freedom to bear arms. Etc. etc. etc.

    • I didn't quite follow your analogy.

  14. I heard of a canadian war vet (white caucasian) having to remove his poppy because of the metal pin when getting on a flight. But daggers are OK ?

    • Hint….this is not about boarding a plane….or what you 'heard'

      • Hint… this is about security.

  15. All these crazy idiotic religious beliefs are insane. With all the
    polution man has created on this planet I believe covering the face and hair is just – perhaps all woman should do this. The same with
    a turban to protect from all the pollution man has created. All re-
    ligious beliefs are man-made and stupid. The Good Creator who
    provided clean air, healthy sun, pure earth and water, and all that
    come with it like forests and the wonderful wildlife that inhabit therein
    is the spirit all should praise and live by nature's rule not destroy or
    try to change it. Put away your knives – you're not going berry picking
    or mushroom hunting.

  16. Wow lots of bigots… You all are a bunch of cannibals. A plague of hate and discrimination. Move to Arizona or Texas you yanks. Canada is not like other countries because we accepting to other people's ideals. Instead of wining like little girls, why don't you petition then. Find out really how many people in Canada have your xenophobic way of thinking.

    • You're a moron. This is not an issue of bigotry, just an issue of rational thinking. Sikhs are still living in the past and came here to enjoy our freedoms and modern technology. If they can't give up a barbaric tradition than they should be happily escorted out of Canada. I liken them to my ancestors, who were probably Christian Crusaders, and would have thought wielding a sword and shield was a religious right.

    • Canada may be 'accepting' but it doesn't change the fact that this country has it's own rules. This isn't Punjab, rules will change with the times here and Sikhs (along with other religions) need to be flexible. Maybe some people commenting are zenophobes, but at the root of their argument is some hard truths that immigrants don't want to deal with, which is respect for rules in this country. If they say you can't carry a kirpan, you can't carry it, end of story. Not everyone is Sikh, and not everyone identifies with the reasons that Sikh's carry kirpan's. That's the bottom line…it's the ignorance of people in this country that leads to this and we just need to deal with it.

    • "like little girls" tsk tsk you aren't as tolerant as you think if casting someone as a female is a means for you to insult them.

  17. In our national goal of avoiding offending some people by permitting and sometimes even encouraging their antiquated customs and practices that have little relevance to Canada and most Canadians, we end up offending the majority of citizens who have little patience for such things.

    If the Sikh Community's sensibilities can deal with the fact that when they fly they cannot carry a Kirpan, then they can also deal with the idea that there are other places where society can also forbid them, without getting their turbans in a knot.

    • Unlike our [real Canadian] antiquated customs and practices eh?

      Of course Sikhs have been here since 1887…which makes them sound pretty 'real Canadian' to me

      • I'm sorry Emily, I cannot find the term "Real Canadian" in my post, but I did make a reference to "Most Canadians". Turning this into a racist objection only shows how weak your argument is. The discussion has to do with security.

        • No, you said 'most Canadians'…and tried to claim Sikhs weren't Canadian enough to suit you.

          However they've probably been here longer than your family.

          The Supreme Court settled this issue some years ago….so there is no point in trying to drag American airline rules into it. People here aren't that easily distracted

          • The Supreme Court did not settle this issue years ago as you claim. A Kirpan is not permitted on an aircraft, for security reasons. You are correct however, people are not that easily distracted by attempts to turn this issue into a religious intolerance one.

            Please cite the place where "I claim that Sikhs weren't Canadian enough for me. Clearly you have a very vivid imagination.

          • Yes, actually they did.

            And I repeat we are not distracted by your airline red herring. Or the fact you don't understand what you post.

          • Since you claim to understand the issue debated here, please enlighten us on the security aspect being debated. They were, after all, denied entry on security reasons were they not?

          • Red Herring? The airplane issue and the National Assembly issue both deal with security.
            I don't believe you think much prior to typing these comments.

          • Do none of you read what's already been posted?

            On Tuesday, the members of the World Sikh Organization of Canada were told by legislature security to leave their small, stylized daggers at the door if they wanted to enter. They refused.

            The Sikhs said that, while their own religion forbids covering women's faces, they had planned to speak out against Bill 94 anyway, in the name of tolerance for other religions.

            They had apparently been warned in advance that they might not be allowed to enter with the daggers. But the Sikhs noted that legislatures in other provinces and in Ottawa had always allowed kirpans — as had last year's Vancouver Olympic venues, despite heavy security at the Games.


    • Boarding a plane and going to your National Assembly are two completely different places.

      Not being allowed to go to see our Politicians, means that their voices are being limited, their rights being limited. It would mean that a Sikh cannot become elected into the National Assembly in Quebec. It means, that Sikhs are limited in what they are allowed to do in Quebec – that is unacceptable. As a fellow Canadian, I belive they should be given their right to enter parliament in Quebec (they already are in Ottawa).

      • The point is that if they can board a plane without losing their Sikh-ness, then they can also go to the National Assembly or any other location where the country or the province or any other civil jurisdiction dictates that they mus leave their Kirpan behind. We are now living in the post 9/11 world. Many of the liberties that we once took for granted no longer exist. Suck it up like the rest of us.

      • And so they need to bring knives to see their politicians? Just can't be done without it, huh?
        They have every right to "enter parliament", just not to bring weapons into it – same as your fellow Canadians.
        Don't try to make this a matter of denying political rights, that is the tactic of so-called multiculturalists who slyly use the cry of discrimination to twist the rules into their favour.
        I think the SIkhs can talk to government without their knives, don't you?

      • Just who is stopping them from seeing their politicians? Security is the issue here. Turning it into something else may have worked in the past, but we now live in the post 9/11 world. Many liberties that we once tuck for granted are no longer permitted.

        • Or we could return to sanity, and stop assuming everyone is 'out to get us;

          There is no reason to import American paranoia.

          But if you want to talk American…. "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" Ben Franklin

          • Emily sorry but you appear to be out of touch with the security requirements. The restrictions that we are referring to with respect to flying are Canadian. For better of for worse we have, as has most of the western world, adopted these restrictions. You have chosen to ignore several questions that I have posed in your attempt to turn this discussion into a racially motivated one. Don't hide behind your own prejudices. Most of us are very tolerant of cultural differences but I for one will not kow tow to charges of blackmail.

          • And again….the Sikhs were not boarding a plane.

            The only reason anyone has 'adopted' this plane nonsense is because of the Americans.

            I haven't ignored any questions….you just don't like my answers.

          • Emily sees discrimination everywhere. What she fails to realize its that it's her own negative feelings about everyone and everything that she reads into everyone else's words and actions.

      • Someone could claim that being refused from boarding a plane with a kirpan is a restriction, on religious grounds, of one's mobility rights. But Sikhs accept these restrictions as they understand security restrictions apply to all passengers for their own safety. Sikhs accept restrictions placed on all visitors at the National Assembly for security purposes. I just don't think these four are representative of their community at large: they are politicos, making a political statement.

        They were more than allowed to go see our politicians : they were invited to do so, and should have the same rights as any citizens and conform to the same laws and obligations, including those in place for the safety of the public.

        • Is it OK for Sikhs in B.C. to be treated differently from Sikhs in Quebec on this point though? After all, Sikhs can enter the B.C. legislature wearing their kirpans. I believe they can visit the House of Commons in Ottawa as well without having to remove their kirpans. I'm quite positive that Navdeep Bains doesn't remove his kirpan every time he goes to the House, and Sikh children are allowed to wear their kirpans to school, so it's maybe not quite as cut and dry as some people seem to be suggesting.

          • You'd also find some examples where Sikhs are not allowed to bring in kirpans – in an Alberta court house, for example. The House of Commons and the BC legislature have not been the subjects of attacks. The National Assembly has, and three persons lost their life in that attack. There might be more security threats against members of the MNAs than MPs (this wouldn't surprise me in the least). The National Assembly has the obligation, and the knowledge of security threats, to make that decision.

          • Freedom of religion applies to all Canadians, so good point.

          • There were three people killed in the QC NA. The National Assembly has the obligation to protect its visitors and its members. The National Assembly has its own safety rules based on the information they have about security threats.

          • Yup…and he wasn't a Sikh. Or a Muslim

          • No, he was carrying a weapon.

          • Yes, openly and not for religious reasons…

          • Yup, not hidden, and not religious.

          • Arguably, had he carried a knife, Lortie could have killed three persons.

          • I could perhaps be convinced that there are differing security concerns for the Quebec National Assembly than for the B.C. and federal legislatures, but I'm not sure anyone's actually assessed that, let alone made that argument yet.

            I also think that it's possible that banning ceremonial daggers in response to an attack that involved automatic weapons and grenades might be seen as overkill.

          • How about banning knitting needles on airplanes for years after the 9/11 attacks? Or nail files? Or tubes of toothpaste? How about my government informing the US governments of my flying over US territory on my way to a Mexican beach? Overkill, maybe, but religious intolerance, I don't think so.

            The security experts at the National Assembly may be wrong, but they are not allowed to take any risk. They are not acting to curtail the religious freedoms of some groups in this case. And I do think that the level of security threats to certain members of the National Assembly is higher than for elected members of others parliaments in Canada. You just have to read Patrick Bourgeois and others of his ilk to realise this.

          • You may want to closely read the QC newspapers every October. 2010's editions were particularly chilling. This should convince you that there are differing security concerns for the QC National Assembly than elsewhere. Before Lortie, there was the FLQ, the kidnapping of James Cross, the kidnapping and murder of Pierre Laporte, etc. Need I add more? Security issues in QC National Assembly are more 'demanding'.

  18. Don't metal crucifixes set off alarms? Couldn't a sufficiently large
    crucifix have the bottom sharpened and be used as a dagger?
    Maybe we should outlaw all symbols of superstition. Here, hold my lucky bingo dabber and rabbit's foot. Same difference.

    • The metal detectors would definitely go off if a person carrying a large crucifix with the bottom sharpened tried to enter the National Assembly and that person would not be allowed in with the crucifix.

      This is not about freedom of religion – it is about security. I would imagine that a large number of MNAs have received threats of all kinds. A gunman did enter the Assembly a few years ago and killed three persons. I understand, and respect, the need for security in the NA.

      The Sikhs were informed in advance that they could not bring kirpans into the legislative buildings. If going there without kirpans went against their religion, they could have sent an spokesperson.

      Anyway, I am still curious : are Sikhs carrying kirpans allowed to board planes in Canada?

    • I agree about the symbols of superstition but honestly, your example is laughable. A "sharpened cross" would most definitely be confiscated or the owner turned away.
      If you want to get silly, everything can be used as a weapon but I think it is reasonable to ban, I don't know, say…weapons made specifically to be weapons. Hmmmm?

    • A crucifix sharpened so it could be used as a dagger would be a weapon and so should be banned in the same manner as any other weapon. But it's a pretty specious and silly argument…

  19. The solution, according to the wisdom of journalists and politicians, is simple: change the Sikh religion. Voila, there is no problem.

  20. Since we're cracking wise…

    It's 1984, a guy walks into the National Assembly with 2 submachine guns and a hackeysack full of ammo. A few minutes later three people are dead and another dozen wounded. A quarter century later people act surprised there are metal detectors at the doors and there's a zero-tolerance policy towards letting weapons into the joint.

    Put another way, try carrying a Swiss Army knife into the Ontario Court of Appeal and see how far you get.

    • There are at least two important distinctions here – can anyone tell herringchoker what they are?

      • Well, for one thing, while I'm not sure you could take your Swiss Army knife into the Ontario Court of Appeal, I believe you ARE permitted to wear a kirpan there.

        • Try it, and let me know how it goes. I bet you get patted down faster than you can say Kuldip Singh Samra.

          • Well of course it won't work for ME, I'm not Sikh!

          • So you're saying it's OK to disarm non-Sikhs but not Sikhs? Isn't that also a form of religious discrimination?

  21. I would like to establish a new church, where every baptized member are required to bring her/his religious symbols everywhere: one or more grenades and a choice of sub machine gun, with full ammunition.

    • I think if you can go back in time 300 years to establish that tenet, and develop a worldwide following of over 26 million people you might have a chance of having your religion recognized by the government.

      It might be hard to find any sub-machine guns in the 1600s to explain what you mean to your followers though.

      • So, should start now and wait for few centuries? :-)

        It can say, bring the most effective hand held weapon of your time.

        • Lemme guess — libertarian?

  22. Then perhaps you need new friends and a broader outlook, because Canada is a nation of immigrants…your family included….whether someone that you consider a 'good muslim' [someone who agrees with you] writes about it or not.

    I, btw, am an atheist.

    • How are so sure my family are immigrants? Oh right, you can't be. More evidence of your specious and irrational thinking.

      And, while i respect his courage, Ujjal Dosanjh is not a personal friend of mine. Did you even read the link I included or does the fear of confronting your ignorance too much for you? The many comments support an observational view (which is what I was referring to, not my friends – who happen to include sons and daughters of immigrants) that many Canadians, including non-white Canadians, feel that too many come here to change (for the worse) the things that brought them here in the first place instead of doing as their parents had done which is assimilate and contribute. These people kept their cultures and customs but adapted them to life in Canada, recognizing they weren't in their birth land anymore but were in their homeland now.
      Oh, and to further edify you, Ujjal Dosanih is a Sikh. You demonstrate so much ignorance I really wonder how you manage life at all.

      • Everyone in this country comes from immigrants….you included. Some just came earlier than others.

        I'm familiar with Mansur's writing. The column you posted is written by him, not Dosanjh.

        People can assimilate and contribute without giving up their religion…we've all done it.

        • "we've all done it."

          Really? As you've asserted proudly many times, you gave up yours! Or is athiesm a religion now?

          (Yes, I'm pulling your chain)

  23. Sikhs are tottaly cool! When the neXt war happins and Canada gets attacked full force on all full fronts, be it any nation including the USA, Guess who will fight for Canada till the last breath … Yes my fellow Canadians, the Sikhs. Read their history and learn something.

    • They might fight until their last breath, but being that they would be running around with silly little knives in a gun fight, I find it highly unlikely anyone would appreciate their contribution…. Anyways, Sikhs know no one wants to invade us, I mean that's why they came here, because were suck ups who will tend to everyones pathetic little religious whim, regardless of the fact that those we bend our rules to are none contributing zero's who hate our country.

      • Are you aware of any of your own history?

    • Will they be able to fly those 65 shiny new jets we're ordering?

      • The answer is: only if you elect a Conservative majority :)

        • No, This is a Liberal and NDP style policy. Bring in all the foreigner and let the Canadinan born adapt. Disarm the Canadian born so that when the Islamic Jihad starts, none of these poor, misunderstood Muslims will get hurt while they terrorize the populace.

          • What I meant was that Canada only gets the new jets if we elect a Conservative majority. The other parties will cancel them.


    • I guess whether they would fight for Canada would depend on a number of factors….
      One of them would be who are we at war with?
      The other would be why….
      Then again, what if the ones here are all pacifists?
      Stranger things have happened!

  24. Emily.

    that Ping-ing you hear…….are the erratic echoes of thoughts stirring in your cranium.

    Don't worry though…..none of them are original, and for the most part harmless.

    • No….it's a way around malfunctioning software on here.

      • I take it all back. I am truly a moron. I get off on saying irrational things about the history of multiculturalism in our country. I mostly do it because it's a hot topic for a lot of people, and I can get a lot of feedback when I apply my irritating pseudo logic into it.

        • Oh look everybody….it's a racist Con joke!

  25. Can or should a Celt be allowed a Dirk in his ceremonial sock. Should he and all skirt wears be forced into a underwear inspection on hygiene grounds. Can Americans claim they need to carry 44 Magnums as the defense of gun totting idiots, is that they will only use them in self defense, not in the altruistic public defense of other people in way of the Sikh.
    Interesting how many of the send em home brigade are in all probability anti gun control.

    • Yes, occasionally people go nuts and attack others….I believe we just had an example of that in the US.

      So I guess you want to take away all American guns eh?

  26. For Emily's information:

    « On voulait voir s'il y a moyen de nous accommoder, comme c'est fait au Parlement à Ottawa. Ça a été fait aux Olympiques en 2010 à Vancouver », exclaimed one of the persons who was refused entry with a kirpan (she wanted to test if they would accommodate a group carrying a kirpan, like it was in the Canadian parliament and at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.)

    Radio Canada also explains that last year a group of Sikhs carrying kirpans was denied entry into the National Aseembly. Nineteen of them agreed to remove their kirpans. Another agreed to remove his 20cm kirpan but insisted on keeping a 6 cm kirpan; he was escorted by a police officer during his visit.

    Yesterday's group knew what they were getting into – and they were officially informed about the safety rules in advance.

    I don't know what security measures would have been taken by the House of Commons or the Vancouver Olympics following a stabbing, but I feel that the National Assembly, where three persons were killed, has the right to impose safety rules on visitors.

    • Since I said pretty much the same thing in the second post on this thread, it's hardly news.

    • Just to be clear, your last sentence talking about the Olympis and the House of Commons suggests that the National Assembly's rules in this regard were made in response to a stabbing ("I don't know what security measures would have been taken… following a stabbing…") which isn't true. The Quebec NA's rules weren't put in place "following a stabbing", as far as I know.

      • No, the rules were put in place following the death of three persons who were shot by a gunman.

        It's not because Lortie used a gun that security experts would dismiss possible attacks by bombs or knives either. The important thing here is the protection of the members and employees of, and visitors to, the National Assembly from harm, no matter the weapon.

  27. They weren't asked to leave them. They were only asked to remove them temporarily while going through the metal detector a second time. And the refused. Make of it what you will, but they have the constitutional right to refuse. And so the legislature has the right to bar entry if they refuse. And so both parties exercised their rights. The Sikhs just didn't like the results, but both parties rights were granted.

  28. No, it's about people coming to my country and telling me I have to be nervous around them because it's a religious right to carry a deadly weapon. Being an atheist I have zero sympathy for people who choose to live in the dark ages.

    • Yes, it's 'our' county. That would include Sikhs who have been here since at least 1887.

      And I am also an atheist.

    • it's about people coming to my country

      "Your" country??? Is there a minimum number of generations needed before one can take ownership of the country? 'Cause I'm pretty sure there are Sikhs who were born in Canada, to parents who were born in Canada, who's parents were ALSO born in Canada, (etc…). It's just as much their country as it is yours, and Sikhs have been wearing kirpans in it since before you were born.

    • Kirpans don't kill people; people do.

      • Kirpan registry, anyone?

  29. I agree with adalric about the Sikh fighting ability. They have been brave warriors and allies on the same battlefields as Canadians.

    The question however, is whether a weapon should be allowed in a legislature.

  30. I'm stupid. Don't listen to me I'm just an attention whore.

    • Clearly the most intelligent comment that you have posted in this discussion.

      • Con jokesters….they love racism

        • You just can't get enough attention!! No soup for you!!

          • This is a 'discussion' board. For 'intense discussion' in fact

            Is 'discussion' not allowed unless everyone agrees with you?

          • Tell us all Emily, what else do you do to grab attention? Drive on the other side of the road and try to justify it? Does that satisfy your need? Playing the race card was your doing. Calling yourself a whore was your doing. I simply agree with you and yes don't let me stop you in this discussion. That is not up to me to do. Carry on.

  31. I could care less how long they've been here. Anyone who believes they have an exclusive right to carry a deadly weapon is an idiot. When I was younger my friends and I worked at a grocery store and the truck driver who dropped of the fruits and vegetables was a Sikh. It was incredibly intimidating witnessing the sword he carried on his waist, and everyone was extra careful not to offend him. He also seemed to love resting his hand on the blades handle.

    • You sure scare easily.

      • As I understand it, someone came to his country and told him he HAD to be nervous.

        • LOL I hope he avoids the Legion halls then….often numerous people wearing swords.

    • That certainly saves us the trouble and expense of the long gun registry. We can just have the government confiscate every gun in the country.

      Probably kitchen knives too. Those suckers are nasty. If I saw someone walking toward me with one I would be frightened.

      Don't get me started on chainsaws.

  32. Just last April Kirpan was used in violent attack, to stab a victim in abdomen and cause 12 cm wound: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/04/07… . So kirpan definitely can be and has been used as a weapon.

    While there are other stuff that can be used as a weapon as well (knife, hockey stick, etc.), but there are places where you cannot bring this stuff in; I bet you cannot bring these into legislature as well. Additionally, arguably the kirpan has been designed as weapon from the beginning, therefore can be more threatening if not more effective.

    So forbidding kirpan in some places is reasonable. If really necessary, some accommodation can be made where the kirpan is locked in, using apparatus that lock the kirpan to its sheath or enclose the kirpan altogether in a locked enclosure, whose lock is handled by the security of the building.

  33. I like to carry a knife for completely practical and rational reasons, not as a weapon but a tool which I’ve found useful in any number of unexpected situations for decades.

    Why is it exactly OK for people who carry them for completely non-rational reasons to demand the right to do so, but I can’t because my reasons for doing so are rational?

    Why is faith protected, but reason is not?

    • You are on Earth, fellow Vulcan. There is NO Reason here. Humans are primitive and superstitious. Please do not make your identity known. We are trying to put drugs in their water to make humans intelligent. So far, no success, after 40 years, rather the seem to be getting dimmer and dimmer…. You are correct, fear not, but logic is not the strong suite of homo sapiens.

    • Rational:
      Definition:realistic; of sound mind

      So I take it that you consider
      symbolic value = completely non-rational

      and you live in a Country that embraces diversity, multiculturalism,and religious tolerance because?

  34. I don't care if a kirpan is symbolic. A rancher might consider his rifle symbolic. An AK-47 is symbolic for some people.

    If we can't take a beverage into an airport lounge, we should not be able to take a knife into parliament.

    • Just on that last point… we ought to be able to take a beverage into an airport lounge.

      I think we need to stop pointing to the airplane procedures in relation to this case. Some of our airplane restrictions are absolutely asinine, not effective, and in some cases COUNTERPRODUCTIVE TO SECURITY. I fear from some of the comments in this discussion that we're going to end up expanding some of our idiotic airplane "security" measures beyond the airport/airplane, and that would just be madness.

      • But — 9/11!!!

      • Yeah, I agree with you there.

      • I agree. One day we are outraged about how TSA is groping our children and then when opportunity knocks we use their intrusive and demeaning protocols to justify a security threat that does not exist. Yeah I understand life has changed after 9/11. How many years ago was that? Those Sikhs can't be trusted now!!!! Feeling slighted is not a reason or excuse for ignorance. Fortunately, the supreme court acts on reason and common sense.

    • s_c_f, – "A rancher might consider his rifle symbolic" – where do you live? I live in Calgary and grew up on a ranch. I can assure you that the ranchers that I know only have a rifle to shoot sick livestock and troublesome coyotes very occasionally. Some might do some hunting….they might see their horse as symbolic….but a rifle……Nah!

  35. Nice little staged kerfuffle. Another poster said that they had been informed about the rules before going in the building. And of course, a cameramen just happen to be there as they came out of the building.

    It is not going to fly. Rules are rules and that is that.

    It is ceremonial, maybe it was blessed by a god or something. To the person in charge of security, it is a blade and that person's job is not to let in any blades in the building. End of story.

    • If the rules conflict with the constitutional right to freedom of religion, it's hardly the end of hte story.

    • Rules are rules until someone changes the rules, period. Kind of like how air security "rules" have changed about fifty times in the last decade, and never in the direction of increased dignity.

      Rules are like money — for their validity they are dependent upon the acquiescence of the people.

  36. An sensible compromise would be locked kirpans.

    • Ah, another Vulcan, I see. Sir, has it occurred to you that you may be too intelligent to reside on this planet? See my reply to TJ Radcliffe, above. It is imperative that neither of you reveal yourselves! Humans are very ethnocentric… they will not appreciate you.

  37. I don't know what's more repugnant: the decision of the National Assembly, or the fact that anyone would support that decision even when given time for sober second thought.

  38. Many of you seem to be ignoring the assurances of the Skh bloggers who have indicated that the blades on the ceremonial daggers are almost always dull and the tips are blunted. Therefore, they aren't weapons at all. Surely, the security could just examine them and find that out. As for wondering if they would be allowed on a plane – let's face it, they would not be. I had my mascara confiscated. If your knitting needles are okay to go into a legislative assembly, Lorraine, I say the dull daggers should go in too. You could take someone's eye out with those things!

    • I meant the knitting needles could take someone's eye out Lorraine. Careful how you wield them.

  39. Those lauding the honorable history of the tiny number of Sikhs in Canada decades ago are telling an incomplete story. More recently, Sikhs were also responsible for the largest terrorist attack on Canadian citizens, Air India. Mr. U. Dosanjih has received death threats himself as a moderate Sikh and commented that British Columbia Sikhs agitating for Khalistan, a separate state are more radical and militant than Sikhs in India. Instead of the benign multicult fable, there are several cultures, Sikhs among them who are warring among themselves on the basis of old grievances brought intact from their country of origin and killing each other over it, as well as innocents as in the Air India case. The kirpan, a symbol of violence in the interests of a faith with some followers who still commit violence is not something Canada should have any interest in accommodating at the expense of security concerns.

  40. knives are knives , you can kill with a 3 inch common blade or a 6 inch decorated blade . It is against the law in Canada. . that Law applies to everyone . period . Go back to your your original country and feel free . Don't live here and complain.

    • They have lived here for hundreds of years and the laws have shown understanding to the their religious beliefs. What has changed now? It must of been 9/11 or better yet, the Air India attack in 1985. Ron Flower precedent has shown that Kirpan's are not considered to be security threats. That is why they are allowed in our schools. So who's complaining and more importantly, why? Security Issue or the ItsnotfaircauseIcant crisis?

  41. The kirpan is a symbol, harmlessly arbitrary, perhaps fashionable and functionally good for tightening your loose pants. Get a rubber dagger or a nicely drawn paper cutout and save us those costly debates and pontifications.

    • Or we could leave things how they were since it was not a concern in the first place. The Sikh people have not given us a reason for this perversion.

  42. You want to live in my Canada follow the rules end of discussion. We have to follow other countries rules when we visit there so give it up……..Don't change my country to yours. If you want your rules you will have to live in your country………

    • My country allows Sikhs to carry these DAGGERS. I respectfully ask you to leave Canada.

  43. Wasn't there someone stabbed by a kirpan last year out in western Canada? Quite a ceremonial event.

    • Oh I get it. Lets use a couple of isolated incidents with little relevance to question the ceremonial importance of the Kirpan. Good one Ed.

    • O I get it. Lets use isolated incidents with little relevance to question/mock the ceremonial aspects of another's religion.

  44. Multi-cultists are in hysterics here. They have used the legal system to force their values down the throats of Canadians. And yet the people resist! Way to go you Proud Canadians. Yes, most of us are immigrants or descendents of immigrants. Yet we didn't make nuisances of ourselves by forcing those already here to accommodate us (with the obvious exception of the Indians). We had to fit in and we did. Most immigrants today do the same but there are the professional immigrant types that make a living prosecuting citizens and whining for government grants to further their myopic visions. A house divided cannot stand and minorities have to realize that they are just that…minorities. The majority must rule or we don't have a democracy we have an oligarchy of multi-cultists.

  45. We won't leave because this is OUR land and you can't have it buster!

    • Said the natives before….

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