Values and religion


Chris Selley sees Jason Kenney’s argument as a matter of values, not practicalities.

He mentioned it in the same breath as other initiatives he has championed, such as beefing up language requirements, the citizenship test and the Citizenship Guide. “This is part of a broader action plan to invest greater value in Canadian citizenship,” he told CBC. But he also stressed, correctly, that this is no “technical or practical” tweak. “It is, rather, a matter of pure principle, which lies at the heart of our identity and our values with respect to openness and equality,” he said at a speech in Montreal.

It’s controversial, and he didn’t shy away. He expressed his personal distaste for the burka: “It’s a cultural tradition, which I think reflects a certain view about women that we don’t accept in Canada,” he told CBC.


Values and religion

  1. And it will be one of Kenney’s ‘values’ until he discovers Jews also cover their faces….at which time we’ll see another U-turn in ‘our’ values.

    • Or Catholic women wearing veils.

      • Yeah, Kenney didn’t think about that.

        • Which would bother you more: if he’s just hostile to Islam and will weasel in exceptions for Jews and Catholics, or if he had thought of those and really intends to apply the policy equally to members of all religions?

          • Legally, what applies to one applies to all…so he can’t just pick on Muslims.

            I say let him try it on all religions…..running from a mob would be good exercise for him.

          • There aren’t any Catholic women wearing veils anymore….there are hardly any nuns wearing the head-dress.  I am sure there are not any Jews either or this would not be happening.  What this is really about is oppressing women.  Why don’t they oppress men for a change?

  2. Canadian society, as has been written about Quebec, is becoming Taliban-like.  We now think it’s right to mandate the government to tell women what they can and cannot wear.  We now have a border agreement with our neighour that will allow them to know where we travel, even if we have no intention of traveling to the US.   Loraine Lamontagne went to Spain this fall and the US government now has a right to keep of a record of this.
    Shelly and Kenney are right:   this is not a matter of practicality. Presentation of a photo ID being mandatory, the official attending the witnessing of the signing of the oath has the opportunity to make sure that the person in front of them is who they claim to be and could do so in the same respectful manner that is used at the voting stations. 
    At least the minister is candid.  The message the government wishes to send on my behalf is that it can act like the Taliban if it so desires and stop women from dressing as they wish.  Jason Kenney doesn’t like the Burka and so will stop you from wearing it when he has the opportunity to do so, with the blessing of the majority of Canadians. Whatever else Kenney doesn’t like women to do, he has the power to stop us from doing. 

    • Good luck with the “Banning the burka is something the Taliban would do!!1!!1!” argument.

      • Forbidding women to dress as they wish is something the Taliban would do. 

        And it is not my argument but the one used by the Globe and Mail for describing the attitude of Quebecers towards the veil… (G&M, 2010: “It may be practiced in some Arab and west Asian countries, such as the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan, but empowering state agents to enforce dress codes and bar the education of women is hitherto unknown in Canada “)

        Canadians and Québécois – même combat !

  3. What’s that view, Jason? That women are allowed to dress themselves as they like?

  4. The word religion should be taken out of this title as the niquab and burka are not affiliated with islam.You will not find that women have to cover their faces in koran…

    • I think this point is worth repeating, and I have sympathy for the argument, but it’s also worth noting that the courts have pretty well established that the freedom of religion to be an individual right.  A belief doesn’t necessarily have to be sanctioned by religious officialdom, nor found in sacred scripture, in order to be protected as a religious freedom.  In theory, a sincerely held belief (/practice) held (/observed) by only one single person on the planet, and no one else, could still be ruled a protected religious belief.

      While it’s not a certainty, it’s not at all unlikely that faced with a scenario of a citizen whom the Court believed sincerely held a belief that covering her face and keeping it hidden from members of the opposite sex was a religious necessity important to her relationship to a higher power, that the Court would rule that such an act was a protected form of religious practice, that could not be infringed in this context..

      Of course, said court could also rule that it is a protected religious practice but that requiring the removal of one’s veil while saying an oath (perhaps particularly the oath of citizenship) is a reasonable limit on that freedom in a democratic society (as someone has said elsewhere, much like the Hutterites being required by the Court to get photos taken for driver’s licenses despite the taking of photos being prohibited by their religious beliefs).

      Then again, it’s possible that the Court would rule that the wearing of the niqab or burka is NOT a protected religious practice.  I wouldn’t count on that though, and certainly not solely on the basis of it not being mentioned in the Koran.

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