This article in Le Devoir examines similarities between anti-niqab legislation in Quebec, France and Belgium. These countries articulate their positions differently: thus far, Belgium has proposed a more radical approach proposing a full ban for niqabs in all public spaces, while the proposed law 94 in Quebec suggests restrictions to public services. France has yet to fully articulate its legal position.
According to a new poll from Léger Marketing-Le Devoir, three-quarters of Quebecers feel that the Charest provincial government is too lenient in its “reasonable accommodation” of religious minorities. 57 percent of respondents agreed that the provincial government should ban religious signs in government-related offices.
The poll results are not yet available to the public through Léger Marketing’s website.
Speculation that the deaths of three Montreal-area sisters and their female caregiver could have been “honor” killings has rekindled the reasonable accommodation debate in the Quebec press.
Le Devoir columnist Jean-Claude Leclerc called the tragedy, which took place in Kingston, “the pretext for another dispute over tolerance in Canada.” Le Journal de Montreal’s Richard Martineau declared the killings a result of a “barbaric” extremist ideology and concluded by quoting French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s statement regarding the banning of the burqa in France: “We should not be ashamed of our values, we should not be afraid to defend them.”
In La Presse, Patrick Lagacé reserved some of his outrage for the police officers involved in last week’s press conference.
As his native France cooled in recent years to his increasingly publicly strident criticism of Jews, the French comic Dieudonne M’bala M’bala has been able to count on Quebec for a soft landing. He has been the toast of French-language comedy festivals in the province and in 2008 chose to debut his latest show in Montreal. “Dieudonne: the clown isn’t funny anymore,” read a headline in Saturday’s Le Devoir. A senior aide to French President Nicolas Sarkozy last week mused about having Dieudonne’s party and its “overtly anti-Semitic manifesto” barred from running in the election. Dieudonne is also facing legal action under French hate-speech law for a show in December 2008 in which he brought on stage notorious French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and awarded him a prize for “unrespectability.”