Bill 60 hearings begin today

Although many doubt that the current administration will be listening to the arguments presented with an open mind and with a willingness to compromise, it’s still important that people who oppose this horrible piece of legislation make their presence known.  We do not want to be remembered as the province that stood idly by as our government stripped its people of their rights.

You can follow the proceedings here.

Bill 60: We stand united

Photo Credit: John Kelsey

“The issue is not of political persuasion, but about protecting the rights of our community.”  Those are the words of student Senator Haley Dinel at the November 20th Senate meeting, and McGill’s Senate unanimously agreed.  Several provisions of Bill 60 go against the values of our institution, and we must make every effort to ensure that this kind of government-sanctioned discrimination never becomes law.  The McGill community is strong and influential.  We are many and we have a voice.  Stand up and make sure that you are heard.

The Charter is no laughing matter… except…

Photo Credit: Montreal Gazette

OK. I think we’re all a little freaked out by Bill 60. I mean, it was all fun and games until the PQ actually tabled it at the National Assembly. Now, we can no longer pretend that it was just some summer prank. It looks to be a real issue that we’re really going to have to do something about. Fortunately, Jess Solomon has a solution. She has drafted a revised Charter of Values. Check out Bill 60.2 – Charter of Montreal Values: Charter affirming the values of multiculturalism, bilingualism, and providing a framework for not accommodating unreasonable requests from Quebec City.

Now, if only we could get Jess Solomon to run for Pauline Marois’s job…

Happy Friday everyone!

A matter of perspective

In Québec, the French and English media have been buzzing about a letter penned by Janette Bertrand and signed by a number of well-known Québec feminists.  This letter (see English translation here) states that these women feel compelled to speak out in support of the Charter of Québec Values because equality between the sexes is being compromised in the name of freedom of religion.  These women contend that unless Québec women stand up and fight, men will use religion to oppress women, just as they have always done.  In their opinion, legislation is required to ensure that women are protected from their misogynistic faith, whether they like it or not.

However, another Québécoise has a different perspective.  She also wrote a letter that somehow, the French media missed.  Fortunately, it was picked up by the World Observer Online.  In her letter, Sophia Baig, a young Muslim woman, muses on how others can “free” her by dictating to her what her freedom must look like.  From her perspective, being told how to live in order to be allowed to fully participate in society meets her definition of oppression.  Ms Baig states that wearing her hijab as part of practicing her faith is her choice.  She notes that we are free to choose differently.  She also states that we are free to feel angry, uncomfortable, or annoyed by her hijab.  However, those feelings should not be reason enough to take away her choice.  The way she sees it, it doesn’t matter who is trying to force your hand; being forced to remove her hijab would be no different from being forced to wear one.

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