Quebec, along the same lines as France, is taking strides toward aggressive secularism.
And I don’t mean aggressive like people usually mean “militant” when talking about atheists. I mean that they are actively looking into banning religious symbols across the board for public servants, and by the group of secularists who turned out for a rally there have had it with religious accommodationism.
Multiculturalism may be a Canadian value but it’s not a Quebec one. We haven’t signed the Constitution of Canada because it contains this notion of multiculturalism.
Of course this isn’t all news, as dating over the past year there have been attempts in Quebec to ban the burqa but now they’ve banned the Sikh kirpan from the National Assembly (despite it’s allowance in Parliament and other legislatures). The federal Bloc Quebecois is following suit and demanding that, despite the presence of Sikh MPs in the House of Commons, the kirpan be be banned there as well.
On behalf of Canada’s second largest labour union, the PQ is even recommending a Charte de la laïcité (aka a Secularism Charter) that sets out:
The republican principle of secularism should be respected in public services that ensure the security and then apply the requirements. These rights and duties are as much about public officials (strict neutrality) as the users (equal treatment). The Charter should be widely disseminated in all departments and must be visibly exposed and accessible in all places that welcome the public. [translated by Google, see original if your French]
An interesting proposal, which despite the fear-mongering of many of the commentators in the first article, is less about enforcing cultural norms upon society as having a neutral government that treats people fairly. What a novel concept.
My favourite quote comes from the first article I linked to in the Montreal Gazette by Catholic (although not identified as such) Religious Studies professor Daniel Cere:
If you get this kind of consensus about daycare [where Quebecois agreed to ban religious teaching], you wonder what the next step is. I think religious education is going to come under attack.