Mind Our PQs
Looks like everybody who’s anybody in elected politics is lined up against Madame Marois and her PQs for introducing a nationalist charter that reeks of discrimination against visible religious minorities employed or seeking employment in the public sector.
And good on them for ignoring the inconvenient fact that it reportedly has the support of 65% of Quebec voters, which means that a lot of non-PQ supporters are down with discrimination against visible religious minorities every bit as much as the PQ is.
But let’s be honest here. The PQ is pretty low-hanging fruit for making everybody who’s anybody in elected politics look above it all.
Cripes, on this one they make Conservatives look like bipeds.
So never mind accommodating religious people who sport their beliefs on their heads or around their necks. That’s easy. A no-brainer, as Stephen Harper would say, although he’d say it about approving pipelines to transport the dirtiest oil in the world over a country’s third largest aquifer.
What about actually accommodating their religious sensibilities, too? In the public service, I mean. Oh, and in the private sector, too, so that religious people can not only wear their religions at work, but live them, too.
I’m not being facetious. Or even an asshole, which is really the same thing, now that I stop and think about it. Because I’ve worked in the public service. There’s no reason why a colleague can’t spot another colleague to accommodate actual religious sensibilities. We just don’t extend accommodation that far. You know, far enough that it might actually inconvenience someone and therefore count as accommodation.
I’m not talking about whether an observant Muslim barber should have to give a woman a haircut. That’s the private sector.
Although should he? Did we solve that riddle yet? Or was there a lawsuit and either he’s unemployed or she’s got hair down to her knees.
I’m talking about whether a public servant should have to perform certain duties, on occasion, when there are other public servants who could spot him/her, if to do so conflicts with his/her religious beliefs.
My point being, we don’t really allow for freedom of religion in the public workplace, already. Or, at least, we’re moving away from allowing it in any real sense and have been for some time now.
And leaving that low-hanging fruit in Quebec for a minute, what if Kathleen Wynne or Naheed Nenshi or Stephen Harper were to introduce the same charter to their constituencies? What would polling reveal then about voter support for it?
For that matter, what if Rob Ford were to introduce the same charter to Ford Nation, I mean, Toronto?
Well, we know the answer. There would be an urban vs suburban and rural divide much like there is in Quebec.
Meanwhile, Rob Ford would pose for photographs with men wearing turbans and women wearing headscarves and make the case for recognition of Toronto’s official Christian heritage (c’mon, it’s just a cross, a symbol, it doesn’t mean anything, it’ll unite us, a culture everybody can enjoy) and voila, he’s elected mayor all over again.
Of course, there may be a significant urban split, too, with the “pox on all their houses” hard urbanites breaking away from the “people should be able to wear their religions to work” soft urbanites, confusing pollsters and everybody who’s anybody in elected politics alike.
You know it.
Meanwhile, just imagine how different those polls would look if Stephen Harper introduced a charter that allowed for actual freedom of religion in the public sector, so that no one had to perform a same sex marriage or provide an abortion or teach sex education if doing so went against his or her religious sensibilities.
Someone posted something the other day on my Facebook page about tolerance, to the effect that it really is the least we can do, and because it’s the least, it isn’t enough.
We should be accepting.
Of course, it was referring to the LGBT community.
But here’s the thing, there are plenty of public servants, spread throughout the public service, who could do the spotting for other public servants whose duties may on occasion come into conflict with their beliefs.
No one has to be married by someone who doesn’t want to perform the ceremony. There are plenty of people ready, willing and able to perform wedding ceremonies who want to marry same sex couples.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not religious. I’m a people person who believes in more civil and human rights for all.
But Jason Kenney doesn’t.
Nope. I smell a trap. That PQ fruit is hanging too low.