The Growing Tension And Debate Over Bill 94 In Quebec, Canada

1525 words - 6 pages

Over the last several decades there has been an increase in the number of Muslim immigrants to Canada. The continued growth within the Canadian Muslim population has caused tensions to arisen regarding the accommodation of Islamic practices and beliefs. Quebec specifically has become a topic of discussion due to the recent possibility of legislating Bill 94. In 2010 Justice Minister Kathleen Weil introduced Bill 94, original called “An Act to Establish Guidelines Governing Accommodation Requests Within the Administration and Certain Institutions” to Quebec’s National Assembly (Conway, 195). If passed, the bill would limit the ability of Muslim women wearing the niqab to receive government services including health care, schools, daycare facilities, and courtrooms (Al Jazeera, 2010). Along with being banned from receiving government services, Muslim government employees would also have to refrain from wearing the veil (Al Jazeera, 2010). Bill 94 has historical relevance specifically to the 1960s Quiet revolution that caused Quebec to reconstruct its values and beliefs. The reconstruction has lead to tensions particularly with Muslim immigrants. The proposed legislation of Bill 94 has created the controversial debate between those who believe the Bill will end the oppression of Muslim women and those who see it has a violation of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This paper will analyze the controversial debate through the academic frameworks of John Locke, Jeremy Bentham and Stuart Mill. Since the 9/11 bombings in New York, Muslims have unfortunately been continually vilified and stereotyped in mass media which makes the motives of Bill 94 questionable– is it really for the protection of women, or protection of society from the Muslim culture?
The growing tension and debate over Bill 94 in Quebec hold historical relations to the 1960s Quiet Revolution. The Quiet Revolution introduced the active preservation of Francophone identity and culture (Conway, 2010, p.198). Unlike other provinces in Canada who have undertaken the values of multiculturalism; Quebec has instituted interculturalism (Conway, 2012, p.199). Interculturalism “works to encourage the integration of immigrants in a manner that is respectful to their cultural origins, all the while promoting the preservation of Francophone Quebec society” (Conway, 199). It is within the values of interculturalism that Quebec supports the introduction of Bill 94. The Quebec government believes that the niqab prevents cultural cohesion and prevents their ultimate goal of making all people “Quebecers” (Daily Motion, 2010). The Quebec government assumes that reveling the face of a woman will lead to cultural cohesion but the possibility seems unlikely especially when hegemonic media sources and pop culture continue to vilify Muslims and instigate fear surrounding the Islamic religion.
In Quebec, an average of 100 Muslim women wear the niqab (Daily Motion, 2010). There is a wide spectrum of...

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