Quebec (and Canada) is having a number of 'reasonable accomodation' issues..Thu, February 1, 2007 - 12:00 AM
The city of Herouxvile, in a backlash response to various 'reasonable accommodations' discussions, surveys and what not have decided to publish a code of conduct, which "declares women have the right to drive a car, sign a cheque and dance, and should uncover their faces if they teach in schools." not to mention that burning/killing women isn't allowed.
There are both French and English versions of the statement on their web site, including the recent explosion of 'hits', local and international, coupled with lengthy and overwhelming support from all over. There are some rare voices against their actions, but you have to hunt for them.
(Look under 'Avis Public', however if you don't understand french it won't do you much good except for the PDF Publication of Standards.)
For some context, some recent events:
- A poll seems to indicate that 59% of Québécois say they're racist.
- Montreal police has added directives, which among others:
"the Montreal police force recommends that female officers call on male backup when dealing with Hasidic men because Jewish law restricts observant Jews from fraternizing with women."
(I haven't found a copy of the police edict yet, but another clause has something to do with not searching kids if they have a religious knife
-A police officer in quebec got into some hot water over a song he submitted, not quite as anonymously as he would have liked:
(Note, it seems that the officer will not be reprimanded.)
(The actual song can be found here:)
Other related events, such as a YMCA darkening it's windows in response from a complaint from a nearby Hasidic synagogue; men banned from pre-natal classes, separate swimming exams for Muslim girls, a kid's eating habits, windows smashed at a Muslim school, firebombing Jewish schools...
And apparently there are numerous other minor incidents cropping up with increasing regularity.
I am missing far too many details - hey newspaper reports are limited as is my time.
In short, the kettle is boiling so to speak, and I doubt it's just in Quebec.
Fortunately, so far it's mostly (but not only) stances, heated discussion and whatnot.
But it does beg several questions:
- Are we going to far, or is this just various cases of over-reaction fueled by media hype?
- Xenophobia or legitemate concerns? (edit: Added for clarification)
- Is the Montreal police force setting itself up for some real problems down the line (as it is, my most recent interaction with them was less than spectacular, to say the least. Underwhelming, and personally highly disquieting when cops ignore an assault case.)
- Are we reversing time and undermining various rights we as a society fought long and hard for (eg: women rights, freedom of [from] religion])? Aren't some of those listed above against our charter of rights? I mean, yes people are allowed religious freedoms, but it seems that in some cases they are coming directly at odds with constitutional freedoms (eg: female police officers).
- The media HASN'T AFAICT been reporting cases of accomodation being performed the other way. Is it because there aren't many cases, or because they're not newsworthy enough?
- Why aren't we enforcing that we should be responsible and ensure that what we do does no harm unto the seventh generation? That 'property' is a meaningless concept, to be replaced with stewardship? (edit: this last is a reference to my interpretation of some native American philosophy.)
- Where SHOULD we draw the line?
Granted I have different opinions on most of those, but that isn't the point.
What is the point, is that it's becoming increasingly obvious that a significant portions (majority?) of the people have had enough. Emotions are flaring as many feel like their boundaries have been crossed and abused, and 'Salut la visite' attitude is coming to the forefront with increasing force. This is becoming serious and we seem to be having more sessions of 'bitch-ins' than any real dialog. Are we all being infected by some sort of intolerance meme? That's one vaccine I'd like to see!
Comments? Added details, corrections?
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Yes, I have been following the debate.
The Québec society is a very tolerant one.
However, tolerant does not mean accepting people's intolerant behaviour on account of the "tolerance issue".
As a woman I used to get followed all the time when I lived in Montréal by Moslems and Saphardic Jews who felt I had to put out as a Western whore and then claimed racism as I didn't.
I even felt like a prisonner in my own society.
I even got a whole bunch of stupid guys giving me the leaway which was exactly what I wanted.
You know of course that sexism as the largest discrimination world wide.
You really have to analyse both sides of the issue.
Such things as cliterectomy are actually prohibited by the Charts. As a society, we come under the rule of Law and I am very glad that we do!
That one is not negotiable.