Quebec Passes A Controversial Bill

July 12, 2019

Should government workers be allowed to wear religious symbols to work? Some say yes; others say no. In Quebec, Canada, a bill called Bill 21 just passed that makes it illegal for public servants (people who work for the government such as judges, police officers, and public school teachers) to wear religious symbols to work. That means no cross on a chain around a person’s neck, turban around a person’s head, or a hijab (or headscarf), would be allowed at work.

As with most bills, there are those who support it and those who don’t. Those who support it believe that the law keeps the role of the public servant neutral. In other words, if no employees wear religious symbols, there won’t be any bias or preference in the way they are treated. Those who oppose the bill believe that it’s discriminatory and restricts people’s freedom of expression.

Canada is not the only country that is dealing with questions involving inclusion and exclusion of different religious groups. Sri Lanka recently banned veils that cover people’s faces. This law drew a lot of criticism from communities where veils are considered part of their religious identity.

What do you think of Bill 21? Would you be for or against it? Why?