Last Wednesday, the Quebec government passed legislation banning the wearing of face coverings for anyone receiving or giving a public service. This includes those who are riding the bus. Some call this a North American first.
As to be expected, this new legislation is causing a whole lot of controversy. Members of the Islamic community are saying that it violates the fundamental rights of Muslim and doesn’t allow them to express their religion.
“This has been a debate that’s been tearing Quebec apart for the past few years,” Premier Philippe Couillard said. “We need to hail this exercise. We need to remind people we are the only jurisdiction in North America to have legislated on this issue.”
The historical omnipresence of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec is causing several activists to view the movement for secularism as the natural evolution of modern Quebec.
The two basic components of the new bill, titled “Bill 62,” are that it bans the wearing of face coverings for people giving or receiving a service from the state and it offers a framework marking the way that authorities should allow accommodation requests based on religious beliefs.