Free to Be; Ontario Students Opposing Quebec’s Charter of Values

Say show who you are; don’t hide it
Rahman Mohamed

On September 3, 2013 the Globe and Mail reported that Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary, Alberta stated Quebec’s Charter of Values was “social suicide” and “intolerance”. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters “It’s very important to me that Ontario is a diverse province, that our laws and our policies reflect that diversity.” Today students at York University support them.

A group of students that have formed an organization known as “Free to Be” have been seen canvassing on campus, gathering signatures and promoting an online petition on Change.org to show the Quebec National Assembly their opposition to Bill 60, the Secular Charter or Charter of Values.

As part of their campaign they’ve been posting pictures of students wearing religious garments on a Facebook page.

What is the Charter?

It’s a Bill unveiled by the Parti Québécois to not allow public servants, including doctors, teachers, nurses, and government employees, to don religious symbols while in office.

Building on Canadian identity, “Free to Be” is appealing to the Parti Québécois and National Assembly of Québec to not pass the Charter of Values saying it’s a violation of human rights and will “impact cultural freedom and expression of all Canadians.”

On March 11 the Toronto Star reported that the PQ said it used a law the Nebraska state legislator passed in 1919 that would punish teachers for wearing religious clothing in schools, targeting Catholic nuns, but one the state has forgotten and isn’t enforced (like a law recently repealed by Oregon inspired by the Ku Klux Klan in 1923).

Last Monday (March 31) CBC reported Pauline Marois, Leader of Parti Québécois and seeking a majority government in Monday’s election (April 7) said she would use the non-withstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to override the Supreme court if they challenged her.

“Free To Be” at York University in Ontario is standing up to Quebec.

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