The Quebec ‘state’ says it intends to be neutral, non-sectarian. So, no religious symbols can be worn, unless they are small crosses or invisible head coverings.
This is an obvious ploy to create a wedge issue. If the rest of Canada, in the form of the federal government, stops this, Pauline Marois can claim interference and hope to drum up separatist support. If the rest of Canada, in the form of a series of (tedious) court cases overturns this, interference from the ‘rest of Canada’ can still be claimed.
I think this starts a very scary trend. It could be difficult to keep a job in Quebec province if you have a strong religious belief. This could cause other cultures’ people to leave Quebec, possibly strengthening the ‘we versus English Canada’ which is the core of the separatist complaint. If this gambit works (and on-TV interviews indicate people born in Quebec will, reluctantly, relocate rather than remove (for example) turbans), then what is the next thing? Being a visible minority could be seen as being not-separatist? How about wearing a gay/lesbian wedding band? Is that a spiritual decision? Is being married a spiritual decision, at least for some couples of any persuasion?
There is some comfort in this article, however. The entire island of Montreal, some 16 mayors or equivalent, have stated that they will opt out of this charter, should it pass. And, the analysis says, the whole thing may backfire on Marois.
I’m not so sure. I hereby predict:
- the law passes.
- the Federal government, aka Stephen Harper, goes mute or prorogues parliament.
- the courts temporize.
- Marois loses support anyway.
Obviously, these are all guesses, but the first three seem decent bets.