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Canada Bloc Quebecois Says Time Has Come to Ban Sikh Kirpan from House of Commons

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. spnadmin

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    Bloc Quebecois says time has come to ban Sikh kirpan from House of Commons

    The Canadian Press

    MONTREAL — Quebec's emotionally charged debate over multiculturalism has finally landed on the national stage and it centres on a ceremonial dagger worn by Sikhs.

    Members of the federal Parliament now face a demand to ban the kirpan - which is worn at all times by at least one Ontario MP.

    The discussion is being spurred by the Bloc Quebecois, which promised Wednesday to take up the issue with the House of Commons' all-party decision-making body. The initiative appeared to have little chance of success, because the board operates on consensus and the NDP described the Bloc move as shameful.

    That Bloc announcement came one day after a headline-grabbing move by security guards at the National Assembly to deny entry to four Sikhs because some were carrying kirpans.

    The incident became a flashpoint in the province's so-called "reasonable-accommodations'' debate, an ongoing discussion about where to draw the line on minority rights.

    That issue has already been the topic, in Quebec, of impassioned public hearings that led to the government tabling legislation.

    Bill 94 would deny government services to Muslim women wearing face-coverings, but the Pequiste opposition wants it to go further and regulate kirpans.

    Some commentators in English Canada expressed bafflement over this week's incident at the Quebec legislature. But commentary in the province has been almost universally positive - with some flashes of annoyance at the complaints from English Canada.

    The Bloc Quebecois wasted no time taking up the issue. The party released a statement applauding the previous day's move and announcing it would push the matter in Ottawa.

    "It was a well-founded decision (in Quebec) and it is perhaps time that Parliament adopt similar rules,'' the Bloc's whip, Claude DeBellefeuille, said in a statement.

    "It's not a debate about religious symbols or a social debate above and beyond that,'' she later told The Canadian Press. "It is really a security question and we have to look again at our practices.''

    Mixed reaction

    The issue hits close to home for one Liberal MP who wears the kirpan in the lower chamber. Navdeep Bains accused the Bloc of seeking to make cheap political gains from the controversy.

    "I think it's fear-mongering at its best,'' Bains said.

    "There is no real reason to bring this issue up now. I've been wearing a kirpan since 2004 and they have never raised this as a cause of concern.''

    The reaction from the Conservative party, however, was far more muted, with a spokesman for Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney saying questions on the security of the House of Commons should be handled by the sergeant-at-arms.

    The NDP flat out rejected the Bloc proposal.

    "Shame on the Bloc for playing divisive political games,'' said Olivia Chow, an NDP MP and wife of NDP Leader Jack Layton.

    "There have been Sikh MPs in the House for years. This has never been an issue nor should it be.''

    Aside from Bains, there are at least two other practising Sikhs in the Commons, though it's not clear whether the others ever wear kirpans.

    As federal politicians cautiously sought to position themselves on the emerging debate, commentary was exercised in the media and in cyberspace Wednesday.

    An editorial in one national newspaper accused the legislature of "failing to live up to its obligation'' to promote the widest possible participation in the democratic process. But the comments from readers were widely laudatory of the legislature's decision - with many heartily applauding the Bloc.

    Meanwhile, Quebec's chattering class circled the wagons.

    Mario Dumont, who once led the populist Action democratique du Quebec, said on a radio show that such editorials were yet another example of "Quebec-bashing'' from the rest of Canada.

    One of the most popular bloggers in the province, La Presse's Patrick Lagace, accused the critics of unfairly tarring Quebecers as "bigots,'' "closed to other cultures,'' and "slightly backwards.''

    This flare-up over the kirpan rehashes an issue that many thought settled in a 2006 Supreme Court decision.

    The court ruled 8-0 that a total ban of the kirpan in a Quebec school violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it infringed on religious freedoms.

    However, in that same 2006 decision, the court also allowed school boards to impose some restrictions in the name of public safety.

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  3. spnadmin

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    Related story

    Sikh MP 'shocked' over proposal to ban kirpan

    CTV.ca News Staff

    Ontario Liberal MP Navdeep Bains says he can't believe the Bloc Quebecois wants to bar Sikhs from wearing ceremonial daggers in Parliament.

    Bains has been wearing a kirpan under his clothes in the House of Commons since he was elected in the riding of Mississauga-Brampton South in 2004 -- and he said it's never raised eyebrows.

    "I've worn it to the Supreme Court of Canada, even to the U.S. Congress and it's never been an issue," he told CTV News Channel.

    Bains said he's disappointed that it's becoming an issue six years after he first entered Parliament wearing what he calls an article of faith.

    "If there's legitimate concerns around the kirpan I think we should have an open and frank and honest discussion," rather than simply calling for a ban, he said.

    "I expected better from my elected-official federal colleagues," Bains added. "We shouldn't politicize the matter. We should avoid fear-mongering."

    The kirpan is an article of faith that represents a commitment to the fight against injustice and inequality.

    "It's designed to remind me that I have a certain obligations to myself and society, and to look out for others," Bains said. "It really is a symbolic and internal way to focus myself, and hold myself accountable in a public way."

    The Liberal MP's comments follow calls Wednesday from the Bloc Quebecois to pursue a Parliament-wide ban on the ceremonial dagger.

    The Bloc picked up the issue after security guards at the Quebec legislature barred four Sikhs from entering the building on Tuesday because some were carrying kirpans.

    Media commentators in the province reacted to the incident with near universal support. Some also criticized observers outside Quebec who raised questions about the security guard's actions.

    A heated debate over multiculturalism and minority rights has been raging in Quebec for several years, and the proposed kirpan ban appears to have brought it to the corridors of power in Ottawa.

    However, the Bloc's proposed ban may not have much of a chance at becoming reality. An all-party body in the House of Commons will decide by consensus whether to pursue the ban, and both the Liberals and the NDP have sharply criticized the idea.

    "Shame on the Bloc for playing divisive political games," said Olivia Chow, a New Democrat MP and wife of NDP Leader Jack Layton. "There have been Sikh MPs in the House for years. This has never been an issue nor should it be."

    Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said the ceremonial dagger should not be considered a weapon.

    Reaction from the Conservative party was more cautious. A spokesman for Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said that issues pertaining to the security on Parliament Hill should be dealt with by the sergeant-at-arms.

    Meanwhile Claude DeBellefeuille, the Bloc's whip, defended the proposal.

    "It's not a debate about religious symbols or a social debate above and beyond that," she said. "It is really a security question and we have to look again at our practices."

    Apart from Bains, at least two other MPs are practising Sikhs, although it's not clear whether they wear kirpans.

    In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that banning the ceremonial dagger in a Quebec school breached the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, the decision also stipulated that school boards could impose certain restrictions based on public safety concerns.

  4. spnadmin

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    Second related story

    Liberals and NDP side against ban on Sikh kirpan in Parliament, Tories mum

    MONTREAL - A proposal to ban a Sikh ceremonial dagger from Parliament had two of Canada's three main national parties racing to the defence of the religious symbol — while the Conservatives refused to take a public stand.

    The leaders of both the Liberals and the NDP came out strongly against the Bloc Quebecois proposal Thursday, expressing sadness and even anger that anyone would seek to ban a religious accessory from Parliament.

    The Conservative government, however, described the dispute as a private matter.
    "Our Government does not believe parliamentary security should be directed by partisan politics," said an emailed statement from Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

    "Specific questions on the security of the House of Commons should be directed to the (chamber's) Sergeant-at-Arms."

    That leaves the Conservatives as the only party refusing to take a public position on the matter. The Bloc Quebecois, transferring a dispute to Ottawa that originated in Quebec, wants to ask the House of Commons' board of internal economy to ban the article as a security threat.

    The measure appears to have no chance of passing — now that the other major parties have quashed it. The NDP called the move shameful in a statement earlier this week.

    And on Thursday Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff described the matter as one of religious freedom and tolerance — instead of a security issue.

    He made his remarks in French in response to a reporter's question in Quebec, where such a ban has prompted no complaints from any prominent politician or pundit.

    Ignatieff told reporters that he has kirpan-wearing Sikh colleagues who represent their constituents well and who do not deserve to be excluded from Parliament because of their religious beliefs.

    "All Canadians have the right to have access to democratic spaces and legislatures," Ignatieff told reporters in Montreal.

    "I have colleagues in the Liberal party who wear a kirpan and who represent their riding proudly. They have the right to have access to the House of Commons."

    He added: "The kirpan is not a weapon. It's a religious symbol and we have to respect it."
    Liberal MP Navdeep Bains, who has spoken openly about wearing his kirpan in the House of Commons, accused the Bloc of "fear-mongering" earlier this week for portraying the kirpan as a security threat.

    In issuing their own condemnation, the NDP sought to upstage the Liberals.

    A statement issued by the party said New Democrats were the first to propose a parliamentary motion defending Sikhs' five articles of faith, which includes wearing the kirpan at all times.

    The 2001 motion "failed to pass when the Liberals refused to support it," the statement said.

    "We stand with the Sikh community in solidarity," it added.

    Such opposition to the Bloc proposal might kill the attempt to change the security rules at the Commons' board of economy, which require all-party consensus for any modification.

    But any member of Parliament could still, in theory, put a motion before the House seeking to ban an item like the kirpan. Such a move would require the support of at least two parties to win a Commons vote.

    The issue surfaces on the same week that the Conservatives have made a visible display of wooing the Sikh vote in suburban Toronto.

    A party candidate in Brampton-Springdale issued a news release celebrating defections from the riding association of his rival, Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla, and declaring that the Conservative party cared about delivering results for new Canadians.

    At the same time the Conservative party is hoping to gain ground in Quebec — where the kirpan ban has ignited no major opposition and, based on initial reaction, may be quite popular.

    Unlike the Conservatives, Liberal support in the province is mainly concentrated in Montreal's multiethnic areas.

    The Tory support base, meanwhile, is in the province's francophone heartland, mainly around Quebec City.

    That's the same territory where the right-leaning, populist ADQ achieved considerable success in a 2007 provincial election after helping to fan the flames of what has become known as Quebec's "reasonable accommodation" debate on multiculturalism.

    On Thursday, Ignatieff was in Montreal as part of a cross-country tour of ridings the Liberals plan to target when the next writ is dropped.

    Among those is Jeanne-Le Ber, a multiethnic riding near downtown Montreal which they narrowly lost to the Bloc in 2006.

    During a luncheon speech, the Liberal leader confessed he was getting tired of the constant speculation about when the next election might be.

    "I don't know when an election is going to be held," he said.

    "Frankly, I no longer care — although election speculation gets the crowds larger in every room I go to."

  5. Archived_Member16

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    EDITORIAL - The Montreal Gazette
    A shameful violation of religious freedom

    The Gazette - January 21, 2011 6:54 AM

    You have to wonder what the powers that be in Quebec City were thinking when they invited a delegation of Sikhs to make a presentation to a National Assembly committee this week, only to have them turned away at the door because the invitees declined to surrender their kirpans, the ceremonial daggers devout Sikhs are obliged by their faith to wear on their persons at all times.

    If they thought that the Sikhs would leave their kirpans at home or surrender them at the Assembly building door they were simply being ignorant, which is shameful enough in itself. If they were aware that there would be a problem with the kirpans and figured to exploit the incident to send a message, then it was doubly shameful. Particularly since the committee the Sikh delegation was invited to address was holding public hearings on the reasonable accommodation of religious diversity in the province.

    There is certainly no reasonable justification for banning the wearing of kirpans by Sikhs in public venues, including the National Assembly building or the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, as the Bloc Quebecois subsequently proposed in the wake of the Quebec incident. Although it is a knife, the kirpan is not held as a weapon by its wearers but rather as a symbol of their faith, much like a crucifix by Christians or a star of David by Jews. The kirpan has been reasonably accommodated in other provincial legislatures and on Parliament Hill for years without incident.

    The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously ruled that banning the kirpan in schools is a violation of Charter provisions that protect freedom of religious expression. Also, there is no record of any incident in this country of anyone being injured by a kirpanwielding assailant. If the Assembly security service is intent on keeping the premises a weapons-free zone to the extent of banning kirpans, it should logically also seize all the scissors and letter openers from the building's offices, as well as the knives and forks from the Assembly restaurant.

    The only logical explanation for this week's incident at the Assembly and the support for the anti-kirpan policy by the Parti Quebecois and the Bloc is that it is an expression of xenophobia and intolerance toward religious minorities. The sovereignist parties perniciously exploit that spirit of intolerance. Witness the jaw-dropping statement by the PQ's Louise Beaudoin in the aftermath of the kirpan kerfuffle: "Multiculturalism may be a Canadian value. But it is not a Quebec one." Or it could be that they want to provoke a federal ruling against the Assembly kirpan ban that would raise anti-Canadian hackles in Quebec. If so, that would be even more shameful.

    © Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

    source: http://www.canada.com/life/shameful+violation+religious+freedom/4142568/story.html
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  6. khalji

    khalji Canada
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    Jan 23, 2011
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    This outrageous group Canadian Hindu Advocacy has released the following:

  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I appreciate why you would find the press release outrageous. Just how representative of the Hindus in Canada are they really?

    The group behind this press release has as its mission Hindu Advocacy -- which it has clearly indicated right in the banner of the web site. The press release is the kind of statement that is intended to start some kind of firestorm with Sikhs. Ironically - the web site content that I read details how they wish to promote harmonious relations with other faith groups. This group commends BQ and its message of xenophobia.

    How pleased they are with themselves
    p/s I have come back to add some thoughts. The press release underestimates our intelligence. Bloc Quebecois is a separatist political party, i.e., they support or have in the past supported secession from Canada. The Canadian Hindu Advocacy group claims in its statement to support Canada and Canadian values (as they define them). So where is the logic in that? If you support Canada, why would you align with a Canadian separatist party. Basic logic is being defied. Just how seriously should anyone take this press release?
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    #6 spnadmin, Jan 23, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  8. spnadmin

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    Food for thought

    Anti-Racist Canada: The ARC Collective
    23 January, 2011

    Strange Bedfellows: Canadian Hindu Advocacy's Relationship with Social Conservative Christians, the JDL and the EDL

    When were were reading other blogs, and writing our own article, concerning the JDL/EDL meet and greet that occurred last week, we came across another group touted by the Jewish Defence League (JDL) as also supporting the efforts of the English Defence League (EDL). The group, Canadian Hindu Advocacy (CHA), appears to be very small though it's chairman and spokesperson has claimed it is the only organization in Canada lobbying for Hindu concerns. In a CBC interview a few years ago, Ron Banerjee (who then lead the equally small and now apparently defunct Hindu Conference of Canada) affirmed his commitment to a tolerant and multicultural Canada:

    We would agree with this sentiment, and we can point to numerous examples of Hindu tolerance throughout history, however we are left wondering if Banerjee believes his own rhetoric based upon his own and other's statements concerning Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.

    The presence of the CHA at the JDL sponsored event promoting the efforts of the EDL has been used to combat claims that the EDL is a racist organization (they have also contested the claim of racism based on existence of a Sikh EDL leader in the UK, though given his rhetoric concerning Muslims it may be a stretch to include him as an example of ethnic tolerance). In fact this isn't the first time the JDL and CHA have worked together. For example, in 2007 the JDL and CHA worked together in Newmarkert, Ontario regarding a mosque in the community. In recent years Banerjee has been a featured speaker at JDL events, some of which have been promoted by social conservative Christians like Mr. Kathy Shaidle:

    Later, BCF uploaded videos to his blog featuring his wife, Meir Weinstein, and Ron Banerjee among others speaking at the event promoted above.

    A few days ago, CHA has started advocating for the banning of the kirpan (claiming it has been used as a weapon in Canada, though there is no evidence to support the claim), the Sikh turban, and "Islamic attire" in Canada as well as, "exclusion of [the] World Sikh Organization of Canada from public discourse."

    In fact, Banerjee and CHA seem to have a hate on for the Sikh community that equals their apparent hatred of Muslims. While commenting on a Jonathan Kay editorial concerning Sikh extremism, someone claiming to be Banerjee (posing as hinduconf) posted the following comments:

    The event that Banerjee is referring to was the assault on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India in 1984 that targeted Sikh separatists occupying the building. The assault on the temple resulted in the deaths of not only the extremists, but also at least 492 civilians, though this number is contested by some who claim 1500 civilians died, or by Banerjee who claims above that all who were killed were legitimate military targets. The assault on the Golden Temple was seen as a sacrilege by Sikhs in India and beyond and resulted in the assassination of them Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. The reprisals against Sikhs in India resulted in mass expulsion and murder. Government estimated the numbers murdered in the reprisal killings at 2700, though independent human rights agencies place the number as high as 17,000. While Banerjee might claim the original assault on the Golden Temple was a legitimate means of dealing with Sikh extremists, it is very hard to justify the reprisal killings of Sikh men, women and children that occurred as a result of the later assassination of the Indian Prime Minister, yet he does claim this. In fact, in a letter originally published in the "National Post" he states the events of 1984 should be celebrated:


    Others who claim membership in the Hindu Conference of Canada or it's successor the CHA are even more blunt in their view of Sikhs and Muslims:

    To their credit, the other posters on Free Dominion called out this member for his overt bigotry:

    Oh, not the bigotry he expressed towards Muslims and Sikhs. It was his hatred of Christians that crossed the line.

    Now, this could very well be the view of one individual who claims to be a member of the CHA and it's predecessor but who is a troll trying to discredit the organization. Sure, his posts are so over the top that we could buy that argument. So we did what some others haven't done and went right to the source. We sent an email to CHA asking, among other things, what for the position of the CHA on the persecution of the Christian minority in Orissa by Hindu extremists. The response we received from Naresh Patel mirrored the views of the above Free Dominion poster quite closely:

    This is view that can also be found on the official Youtube channel of the CHA, the link to which is found at the top of the CHA's own website:

    If you scroll down to the comments, you'll find this brief exchange:

    Hindutuva is a form of Hindu nationalism that it's critics have accused of being extremist, even fascist, in nature. And the two examples cited as "heroic" are amongst the most bloody in recent Indian history. The first refers to the 2002 Gujarat Riots. On February 27, 2002, 58 Hindus died when Muslim extremists were accused of setting fire to a rail coach, although a government report indicated the possibility the fire may have been the result of an accident inside the train. This horrific incident was used as a pretext by Hindu extremists to target the Muslim community of Gujarat. When the riots finally ended, at least 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were left dead. The second example of heroism cited by "canhindadv" and alluded to by both the Free Dominion poster and Naresh Patel in his email is the targeting of the Christian minority in the state of Orissa which include assaults, murders, burning of churches, and rapes.

    When it was suggested that he might not wish to put too much stock in Ron Banerjee based on his bigotry towards Christians, BCF (who doesn't appear to miss an opportunity to point out persecution of Christians in Muslim countries and claim it is indicative of the general attitude Muslims have towards religious minorities), didn't seem all that concerned:

    Isn't it deliciously ironic that we have a social conservative Christian who condemns the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries promoting an individual who calls the persecutors of Christians in India, "heroic"?

    So, we have the JDL who's members have been involved in terrorist attacks in the United States and who's Canadian members once took a swing at "free speech hero" Paul Fromm. Then there is the EDL, a group who's members have attacked South Asians in Britain as well as at least one Hindu temple and which has been linked to anti-immigrant extremists and neo-Nazis. Now we have the Canadian Hindu Advocacy, a small group put forth as an indicator of how the EDL really isn't intolerant after all but which itself expresses vitriolic hatred directed towards Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. All of them promoted by the "speechies" and people who claim to be social conservative, in some cases evangelical, Christians, as bravely standing before the Gates of Vienna to prevent the savage beasts from changing our way of life.

    Hatred of Muslims really does make for strange bedfellows.

  9. khalji

    khalji Canada
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    Jan 23, 2011
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  10. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I actually think that one of the most constructive strategies we could take is to align with one well-organized and broad-based group, such as World Sikh Organization, and devote our energies to supporting them in any way we can so there can be a well-resourced and unified strategy. The goals have to be speaking with a single voice to the press on a regular basis, and educating without losing a beat.

    Many voices, many organizations, many different messages dilute our strength and makes us appear disorganized. Even splintered and argumentative.

    And one more thing. I do not believe that Ron Banerjee or Canadian Hindu represent many Hindus at all. The time really has come for constructive efforts to find a way to make Hindus our allies in this matter. Certainly we should be finding ways to counteract the perception put forth by Banerjee that Hindus and Sikhs are enemies.

    We can spend too much time on Banerjee and his like. Now that we have voiced outrage it really is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

    It is better to plan wisely than be angry.
  11. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Local MPs take stab at Bloc's proposal to ban Sikh kirpans

    Read more: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/life...Sikh+kirpans/4163277/story.html#ixzz1C5accDOk

    SURREY - Local Members of Parliament think the Bloc Quebecois' call to ban Sikh religious knives from Canada's House of Commons is a pretty dull idea.

    The separatist party suggested last week that Kirpans should not be allowed in the Parliament buildings in Ottawa after security guards denied a representative of the World Sikh Organization and three other Sikhs entry into Quebec's national assembly because they were wearing Kirpans.

    The small ceremonial daggers are religious symbols all baptized Sikhs are required to wear. They represent the power truth has to cut through falsehood.

    "Wearing the Kirpan represents one of the fundamental commandments of baptized Sikhs, who must wear one at all times," said Sukh Dhaliwal, Liberal MP for Newton-North Delta.

    "The ironic part of this whole debate is the fact that the Kirpan is considered an instrument of 'ahimsa' or non-violence. The principle of ahimsa is to actively prevent conflict.

    "The Parti Quebecois and Bloc Quebecois have little respect for the religious freedoms guaranteed to all Canadians by the Charter, and what is worse is the manner in which they have politicized such an intrinsic right.

    "I am also very disappointed," Dhaliwal said, "by the lack of a response that has been offered on the issue by the Conservative government. For a party that has supposedly tried to reach out to minority communities across the country, their silence has demonstrated the calculated politics behind such engagement."

    The Now sought comment from Russ Hiebert, Conservative MP for South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, on the issue but he did not return our phone calls.

    See LETTERS, page 9

    Dona Cadman, Conservative MP for Surrey North, had this to say: "If a man was dressed in a kilt and had his knife in his sock, we would not think anything of it. Why is a Kirpan different?"

    Her Conservative colleague Nina Grewal, MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells, said the Bloc is being hypocritical because its members joined MPs of other stripes in passing a resolution the New Democrats presented in April 2006 to officially recognize the five articles of Sikh faith, with the Kirpan being one of them.

    "They're making a lot of huff-and-puff about this thing," Grewal said of the Bloc. "I have always supported religious freedom."

    Read more: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/life...Sikh+kirpans/4163277/story.html#ixzz1C5aJZO3k
  12. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Dec 21, 2010
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    Some background for non-Canadians and others if it helps
    Issues: Main
    · It is nearly election time in Canada in early 2011
    · Parti Quebecois: http://pq.org/
    o French Language and French Culture Centric Party in Quebec, Canada’s 2nd largest Province
    o Montreal in Province of Quebec
    § Largest French Speaking City in the world after Paris, France
    § Held the 1976 Olympics
    § Was the largest city in Canada but now Toronto is
    oHighly intolerant of English
    oWants the Province of Quebec to separate from Canada into an own entity, the country of Quebec
    § No different than Punjabi Subah and other Sikh attempts at Nationhood
    o Most Importantly, Like all Political Parties it is Opportunistic
    § It likes to associate itself with common popular issues in France
    · Current wave of say Head (niqab, Turban, etc.) gear in France
    o Invisibly it might resonate very well the French speaking voters in Quebec

    Issues: Other

    ·Liberal Party of Canada has taken Sikhs for granted
    o Has suffered from infighting and poor leadership and arrogance
    ·Conservative Party of Canada has more recently started to attract greater Sikh population participation
    o Our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar
    · Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan is alive and well in Canada through many organizations
    o Hard core
    o Soft Sell
    o Hindus in Canada are always trying to do one up-manship in Canada, which is their right and Sikhs need to do the same

    Solution: Participation
    · Sikhs in Quebec need to develop liaison with Parti Quebecois
    o Dialog
    oPolitics is a dirty game, don’t get all riled up by the Liberals and Conservative MPs who are trying to save their hide (including the Sikh MPs)
    · French and Germans supplied Maharaja Ranjit Singh with armaments
    · Sikhs fought in Europe to save France as much as to defeat Germany in Second World War

    Just some thought if it helps the dialog.

    Sat Sri Akal.
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  13. Mai Harinder Kaur

    Mai Harinder Kaur
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    Oct 6, 2006
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    Where have my brains been hiding? Why didn't I see this immediately? :whatzpointkudi: This whole thing was a set-up by Bloc Quebecois.

    I was reading this editorial (I'll copy/paste it below) when I realised what a dolt I've been. Quebec has been fuming ever since the Montreal public schools were ordered to let that kid keep his kirpan in school. This accommodation (or not) for the niqab was the perfect opportunity to get even with us and take it even a bit farther.

    The Quebec government is well aware of the importance of the kirpan to Sikhs because of the above case. When they invited the Sikhs to testify, they knew very well they would be carrying kirpans. They purposely made no arrangements with security to permit the Sikhs in, knowing that they Sikhs would refuse to surrender their kirpans. They knew the Sikhs would rightfully raise a huge stink at being treated so unfairly.

    This publicity give the Bloc the chance to up the ante and get kirpans banned not only from the Quebec Legislature but to also try to get them banned from the Canadian Parliament where Navdeep Singh has been attending with his kirpan for more than six years and, I might add, has made no attempt to stab any opposition MP.

    So we've been seriously punked! What are we going to do about it?:swordfight-kudiyan:

    I realise that probably everybody else saw this from the beginning, it's so obvious. Thanks for letting me blow off steam! (And use a couple of the new smileys)

    The article that brought about this much belated epiphany (italics mine):

    Only in Quebec you say?

    Other provinces have long tolerated minority rights. Not us

    The Gazette
    January 27, 2011

    What is it about Quebec that makes it more dangerous for orthodox Sikhs to wear the kirpan here than elsewhere in Canada?

    After Sikh boys in other provinces had been allowed to wear the dagger-like religious symbol to school for a hundred years, why was it still considered unsafe in 2002 for a Sikh boy to do the same here, even under severe restrictions?

    And in the latest incident involving the kirpan, why was a Sikh delegation barred from the National Assembly last week after refusing to surrender their kirpans, when a Sikh member of Parliament is allowed to wear his in the House of Commons?

    (And why, after Liberal Navdeep Singh had been doing so for more than six years, did the Bloc Quebecois only get around to objecting after the incident at the Assembly?)

    Safety was the official reason given by the Assembly's security service for forbidding the Sikhs to wear their kirpans. But, as ruefrontenac.comblogger Marco Fortier pointed out, the kirpan is no more dangerous a weapon than the table knives in the Assembly's restaurants.

    And it's not as if the Sikhs just showed up unannounced on a bus tour, catching everybody at the Assembly by surprise. They had been invited to appear before an Assembly committee examining a bill on, ironically, religious accommodations.

    But since the committee had neglected to make prior arrangements for them to be admitted while wearing their kirpans, the Sikh delegation wasn't heard.

    More than one made-in-Quebec compromise between the Sikhs' religious beliefs and the need for security at the Assembly was available.

    The delegation could have been escorted by Assembly constables, as was a Sikh leader invited to a ceremony at the legislature last year.
    Or they could have been allowed to wear their kirpans sealed inside their clothing. That was the solution suggested by the Supreme Court of Canada in its 2006 "reasonable accommodation" decision in the case of the Sikh boy forbidden from wearing his kirpan to school.

    In applauding the exclusion of the Sikh delegation, Louise Beaudoin of the Parti Quebecois expressed disagreement with the Supreme Court's decision. "Multiculturalism might be a Canadian value," she said. "But it is not a Quebec one."

    The conditions under which the boy could wear his kirpan to school originated not with the Supreme Court, however, but with the boy's French-language school board. They were expanded in a decision by a Frenchspeaking judge of Quebec Superior Court.

    And contrary to what Beaudoin implied, the Supreme Court's decision was not based on multiculturalism.

    Rather, the court ruled that forbidding the boy to wear his kirpan to school violated his freedom of religion under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    And that freedom is protected not only by the Canadian Charter but also by Quebec's own Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms -adopted seven years before the Canadian Charter.

    (Beaudoin's position is wrong, but at least she took one. Liberal Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil, the sponsor of the accommodation bill, refused to say whether the Sikh delegation should have been admitted.)

    So "reasonable accommodation" reflects Quebec values as well as so-called Canadian ones.

    Or at least it reflects what used to be Quebec values, before the backlash against the Supreme Court's decision on the kirpan.

    Since then, the parties have been competing over the identity question for the votes of the majority, at the expense of the Quebec Charter and the rights of minorities, and not only religious ones.

    © Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette
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