Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Homogeneity is Overrated: the PQ can Keep Their Charter

I am so sick and tired of the elected leaders of this province I live in called Quebec.  Today, the leaders of the Parti Quebecois (PQ) have put forth a Charter of Secularism which, among other things, forbids public servants from wearing religious garb while performing their duties.  As an educator at the college level, I am a public servant, and though I almost never wear a kippa in my day to day life, I don't see what business it is of this provincial government if I should decide to do so one day.

The minister in charge of what I would call the charter of division, Bernard Drainville, defends the proposed changes to civil servant dress code as follows: "If the state is neutral, those working for the state should be equally neutral in their image."

When one sports a religious symbol, one's capacity to perform one's duties is undiminished.  If the population is so offended by workers wearing such symbols, then what they need is a lesson in tolerance; they do not need legislation that reinforces such xenophobia.

When I look at the richness of the matter that is around us, I see heterogeneity.  I see hundreds of different kinds of atoms that intermingle in countless ways, forming compounds, each exhibiting unique properties.  The diversity of matter can serve as a model for society.  It saddens me that Pauline Marois, Quebec's Premier, sees multiculturalism as a threat to her Quebecois ether.

I want to live in a society where one's belief system is outside state jurisdiction.  Those behind this charter would likely deem it to be progressive, but it is clearly regressive.  It's aim is unmistakable: to make those whose heritage is not Quebec feel unwelcome.

I could rant on and on about this, but I need to prepare a lecture on mixtures.  As a civil servant, I will fulfill my duty, and focus only on homogeneous ones.

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