Quebec values charter tossed at Canadian envoy in Turkey

Turkish official mentioned controversial charter in talks with Canada’s ambassador for religious freedom


WASHINGTON – A Canadian official says his attempt to discuss human rights with a foreign government prompted it to throw Quebec’s controversial values charter back at him.

Canada’s ambassador for religious freedom says the issue came up as he was discussing minority rights in Turkey with a representative of the government there.

Andrew Bennett says that’s the only time it’s arisen in his first year in the position.

Because his mandate does not involve domestic issues, Bennett says he can’t offer a personal opinion of the Quebec legislation that would bar people who wear hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes and large crucifixes from working in the public sector.

But he does reject any attempt to compare the persecution of minorities abroad with what’s happening in Quebec.

He says Canada has an office of religious freedom because it enjoys that freedom at home — which includes constitutional protections, backed up by politicians who will fight for minorities and a legal system where people can seek redress.

The values charter could soon become an issue in a Quebec election, expected as early as this spring.

Bennett is currently in Washington, D.C., where he’s met the Dalai Lama, think-tanks, and American counterparts.


Quebec values charter tossed at Canadian envoy in Turkey

  1. We can’t preach to others if we don’t do it ourselves.

    • Wait a second. The Quebec Values Charter is about taking away religious privilege; it is about treating people equally and not giving religious people rights that non-religious people don’t have. I can’t promote my non-religious beliefs if arrived at through reason, logic, preference, or conscience, but the moment they become a religious belief I can. It places religion above reason and other means of belief despite our Charter putting “conscience” on equal footing with “religion”.

      It seems to me that the Quebec Values Charter is exactly the type of equality beliefs we’re trying to promote worldwide to remove theocracies and religious privilege. Our existing religious privilege is the embarrassment when trying to promote equality, not the goal.

      How is setting religion equal in power to other forms of belief a bad thing?

      • You can rationalize anything if you try…..and you have rationalized the persecution of others to yourself.

        Clothing makes no difference whatever. It’s ideas, beliefs….that matter….and nothing we do can expose or stop what people think.

        The point here is that we need to remove religious ideas from govt….not hide clothing.

        • It is you that is rationalizing. I am actually arguing for equal treatment. I am explicitly not allowed to wear clothing or symbols that promote my beliefs, unless those beliefs are religious in nature. Religious people have a right that I do not have. That is the very definition of inequality.

          To suggest this is “persecution” is rationalizing. If telling them they cannot promote their beliefs is persecution then by your own definition I am currently being persecuting because I cannot promote mine. Stop rationalizing and start listening, and thinking.

          What is it about a religious belief that makes it ok to promote but not for reasoned beliefs?

          • You can wear anything you like in Canada.

            However, wearing or not wearing something doesn’t change what you think. If you wore a burkka would that make you a Muslim woman? If you wore a black cassock would that make you a catholic priest? Wrap yourself in the Lithuanian flag…does that make you a Lithuanian?

            It’s beliefs that make the difference, not clothing.

            If you want to wear something atheist….feel free….but eliminating the clothing doesn’t eliminate the belief.

            It’s the belief we need to keep out of govt….it doesn’t matter what anyone wears.

          • You do understand that the Quebec Values Charter only applies to what people can wear as public servants, right? I am a public servant. I cannot wear what I like. They can. At least when we’re talking about the clothing or symbols that promote beliefs. The Charter aims to correct this inequality.

            Your statement “It’s the belief we need to keep out of govt….it doesn’t matter what anyone wears.” is inconsistent with the existing rules. Public servants cannot generally wear clothing or symbols that promote their beliefs. Most certainly not political beliefs. No public servant is allowed to wear a political symbol, logo, or clothing that promotes a political or party view. Are you suggesting this should change? Should police be allowed to wear political pins to promote their views when they stop you? Doctors? Passport clerks?

            As you point out yourself, and I agree 100%, “It’s beliefs that make the difference, not clothing.” Exactly. So having religious and non-religious people and beliefs have the same standard of rules for what they can promote via clothing and symbols is equal. By your very point, removing religious symbols does not affect belief; it is the belief they hold that matters, not their clothing. So you agree then that the Quebec Values Charter is correct then by your own point.

            It appears to me you just don’t understand what the rules are for public servants or just what the Quebec Values Charter actually says.

          • Yes, we all understand that. I have no idea what kind of public servant you are.

            I do however recognize flim-flam when I see it.

          • As do I. And your comments are flim-flam.

            I am a very good public servant; that’s the kind I am. I am, however, annoyed that I am treated as a second-class citizen.

            The simple fact is that my religious public servant neighbour can promote his beliefs by wearing overt religious symbols, but I cannot wear symbols promoting my beliefs (because they are not religious.) If you can explain to me how this situation is fair, equal, liberal, or in keeping with the principles of the Charter of Rights, then I might score you a point.

            If your position cannot stand up to reason or scrutiny, perhaps you should begin to think that maybe you are on the wrong side of this. If calling it “flim-flam” is all you’ve got, you’ve more or less admitted you have no explanation for how the current situation is fair or equal. All you’ve got is some vague mental inkling. Perhaps you should question it with some critical thinking.

          • I meant whether you work in a kiosk or as a fireman….that usually determines clothing.

            Most people think public servants live high off the hog, so complaining isn’t going to get you any sympathy.

            You going to refuse to let nuns and priests wear habits and cassocks? They work in schools and hospitals.

            You going to refuse to let Mennonites, Amish etc work for municipalities?

            Or is this all just about Muslims?

            The actual charter says freedom of religion. The Quebec ‘charter’ will be tossed out of court.

          • “None so blind”… (you)…sad.

          • I’ve been an atheist for over half a century…..I am very aware of the number of religious people there are.

            I’ve never had anyone in the public service…..anywhere in Canada….say anything about religion

            There are JW and Mormons at my door……and there are religion-based laws in our govt. Those have to go

            Clothes are….meh

          • Just read your post…EXCELLENT!

          • You are at odds with yourself. “it is a belief we need to keep out of Government” YES !!
            Government employees while on the job, should display neutrality . What they wear OFF the job their choice.

            Religion is a personal thing..IT SHOULD BE NOT FORCED ON OTHERS…….Do you not realize how an individual, possibly of Jewish decent, would feel in coping with an obvious” Muslim”,
            Government official when transacting business..obtaining a drivers license, building permit…whatever

            If you do NOT realize how dress affects are very much out off touch…
            You have an excellent mind…PITY it is closed on many views

          • a) you are confusing clothing with belief

            b) you are assuming others will try and force their religion on you while doing their job

            c) Sikh men….for example …..never cut their hair. The turban holds it in. Would you prefer that loose on the job?

            d) There are over a billion Muslims in the world. There are 13M Jews in the world. Jews interact with Muslims all the time.

            d) In Canada we are all equal.

          • a) Clothing ADVERTISES a particular belief. (How can you state otherwise? Would you allow YOUR employee to wear and ad for a “product” when on YOUR time?.

            B) The fact they may wear a type of clothing that in the the country we both originated from, holds terrible continuations for me? (you find that acceptable?)

            C) IF one`s long hair does not fit under the uniform`s regulation hat………..Then perhaps they should find other employment.
            I have no problem as to the color of the skin under an R.C.M.P hat…but it should be a regulation Hat

            d) Yes ,there is interaction with Jews and Muslims all the time…ALL brimming with brotherhood and love.

            d( In Canada we allow SOME to force THEIR changes on CANADA..that is NOT equality..that is political correctness.

            Just for the record as a 50 year Atheist married 47 years (very happy ones) to a devoted practicing Roman Catholic……..
            I am very understanding WITH ALL religions…….Those wishing to be welcomed here to Canada HAVE religious freedoms… there is NO reason for US (here)to adapt to their point of view what so ever.

          • Clothing doesn’t ‘advertise’….you’ve watched too much TV!

            Get over the old country. You live in Canada now.

            Nope….all Canadians are equal, and Sikhs can be mounties….we settled that years ago.

            No changes in Canadian life are being forced on anybody. What is wrong with you?

            If you married a devoted practicing RC I doubt you’re an atheist.

            Canadians have always been multicultural and pluralistic and we’ve all adapted together all along the way.

          • Hmmmm. Would appear we agree to disagree
            “get over the old country”……..yes those who immigrate here should do so.
            Why would you be surprised that as an Atheist I CAN
            accept happily ANY religion(including R.C.)
            That is the whole point we can ALL live together with RESPECT of each others beliefs…..WITHOUT rubbing the “differences” in each others faces.

            It will be interesting to see the results of the next Quebec provincial election.
            There appear to be many who DO support the charter.
            If so, THAT IS THEIR CHOICE whether it is politically correct
            or not.

          • ‘Get over the old country’ applies to you too.

            Marois wasn’t popular, and the economy is the pits… she appeals to hate….like so many leaders before her….and lo and behold you and Daniel Schegh pop up.

            You don’t get to vote on people’s rights….sorry.

          • The Quebec people will make their choice at the next election.That…. in OUR democracy is THEIR choice .

            Perhaps some individuals do not wish to be FORCED to purchase their drivers license from a Quebec Government employee,dressed in Muslim religious clothing.

            The fact Muslims preach “death to unbelievers”(Christians)

            may be a factor in their feeling an uneasiness with this situation…an infringement ON THEIR FREEDOM

          • No, I’m afraid it’s not.

            Their rights are protected….and this nonsense will be tossed out.

            Muslims have lived in Canada since day one….there are in fact more Muslims than Jews here…so you can forget being a sensitive flower.

          • As far as the situation goes I PERSONALLY do NOT care what individuals wear ,or do not wear. Government… whatever.

            YOU obviously have little, if any ,contact with the average
            working class Canadian. In Quebec or anywhere else.

            Your “attitude” to Quebec is the reason why there may be another referendum…………you make no effort to understand the average person on the street (or working in McDonald’s)
            You have your “politically correct agenda “and you stick to that regardless.
            You are fixated on the fact YOU think I am attempting to
            ” alter your beliefs” NOT AT ALL. JUST the fact it is educational TO UNDERSTAND the thinking of the average
            person out there……….no big deal………keep your mind closed…….your loss not mine.

          • I’m 67. Had contact with Canadians all my life. I’m not the least concerned you’re trying to change my beliefs. I don’t have any.

            Nobody had a problem with clothing until Marois invented it.

            Nobody had a problem with Muslims till 9/11 either, even though Muslims have been here since Confederation.

            It’s just an excuse to be racist….and gawd knows some people don’t need much help.

          • 76 and born in Canada. ……….My wife 47years(a retired teacher) is NOT white and a Catholic..(Our son is a University professor).. Our friends are a variety in shades of colour and religions( including 2 Muslims)
            We have traveled Canada fairly extensively as well as other parts of the world.
            I believe IF we ALL understand EACH OTHER`S viewpoint
            (agree or not) Society would benefit as a whole.
            That might facilitate more compromises (much needed)
            Faint hope… I admit!!!

            Quebec is protective of their culture. JAMMING that of others down their throat in the name of “religions freedom”
            Is repugnant to them.
            Those who do not allow Quebec to judge what is acceptable to THEM . ie NOT having a religion flaunted in their face by a Government employee

            Will …in all probability, FIRE up another referendum .

            This is beyond your comprehension..obviously …
            much the pity…….but irrelevant in the state of humanity as a whole.

          • Not gonna happen OTH….sorry. If you’re that easily offended, stay home.

            The world is globalizing, so learn how to play nice in the sandbox

          • Enough of this Topic..(interesting as it is)

            I am off to read a Book ..”The Sixth Extinction”
            by Elizabeth Koldbert…… doubt you would consider it “flam..flam”….but to each his/her own.
            Have a pleasant afternoon.

          • Agree ,again, with your posts.

            The Quebec Charter affects ONLY those EMPLOYED by the Government..They must be “neutral in clothing ” as to NOT flaunting a particular religion or sect while “on duty” at their work.
            Allowing certain religions privileges such as Turbans violating the standard uniforms of out National Police force.

          • Your rationalization requires you to fundamentally understand the notion of “practice”. I suggest you read some Bordieu.

            You have the right to practice religion in any way that you wish. You do not practice religion, and thus that right does not impact your domain.
            A disabled person has the right to be accommodated for their disabilities.
            If someone is not disabled, that right does not apply to their domain.
            Both you and a religious person are completely equal with concern to the domains of practice within which you are both involved in. The fact that you are involved in different domains is not inequality, it is humanity.

            This is just basic logic applied to how society actually works.

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  2. hich includes constitutional protections, backed up by politicians who will fight for minorities….

    I assume he’ll be taking mr. kenney to task for his attacks on women who want to exercise their constitutional right to wear a veil to their citizenship ceremony? Asak for his resignation, perhaps?

  3. I guess Quebec politics is just about as big of a joke outside of Canada as it is with the rest of the provinces in Canada.

    • I’m glad you are amused by the fact that people in Quebec are gradually having their rights trampled, and that PQ policies are likely affecting investment in Canada. The PQ, combined with Harper are really beginning to make Canadians look like a bunch of fools.

      The other problem is that she is using Harper-like tactics in Quebec, and, like Harper, may weasel her way to a majority in an election that she just recently said wasn’t coming. I hope you think it’s funny if she holds another referendum and further damages the economic situation in Canada.

      Make no mistake about it, all Canadians pay a certain price for this political uncertainty, and it’s not something a vote to separate would fix for anyone. For the good of the country and the economy, this antiquated ideology that the separatists have should be put to rest once and for all.

  4. Why is this man wasting our money?