Q: How many Liberals does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Look guys, I know we promised change during the election, but the situation on the ground is such that…
So here’s the Liberal Party in a nutshell. Now, the article refers specifically to the Liberal Party of Quebec, rather than its federal equivalent, but there’s a pretty significant amount of cross-pollination between the two, and the criticism still applies.
For context: A few months ago, the then-governing Parti Québecois entered an election campaign running on its proposed “Quebec Charter of Values.” The values embodied were nominally those of secularism, but in practice, the charter was rightly decried as xenophobic; it banned all public employees from wearing “conspicuous” religious symbols (that is: turbans, hijabs, or kippahs, but not, presumably, crucifix pendants) as well as mandating that everyone have their faces uncovered when receiving any sort of public service. Notably, for a secular charter, it was surprisingly silent on the issue of the giant crucifix in Quebec’s legislature, on the grounds an icon of Jesus Christ been sacrificed in penance for the sins of mankind is somehow not a religious symbol*. In other words, the charter was far more about sticking it to unpopular minorities (Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs) then it was about the (laudable) goal of ensuring the religious neutrality of the Provincial Government.
Anyways, the Parti Quebecois went on to lose the election (for a variety of reasons, mostly unrelated to the Charter), and was replaced in government by the Liberal Party.
But now, of course, the Charter is back. But don’t worry everyone! It’s a moderate version!
Vallee said her legislation would allow all religious symbols but place limits on the burka, and the niqab, which cover a woman’s face, and the chador, a long veil which covers the hair and arms and is seen as a symbol of religious oppression
So in other words, they’re not going to stick it to all unpopular religious minorities anymore; oh no. Now it’s been trimmed down so that it only sticks it to really unpopular religious minorities. And only the women, so it’s OK!**
This is precisely what I hate about the political moderation.
*Considering that fundamentalist Christianity is currently by far the biggest threat to secularism in just about every jurisdiction in North America, this is a profound oversight.
**On a side note, I just love the logic here: these are “symbols of religious oppression” of women, so naturally women will automatically become less oppressed once we start policing what they’re allowed to wear in public. No doubt, denying them government services will help them assimilate into mainstream society too! There’s simply no way of interpreting this policy except as a scrap of red meat being thrown to xenophobes.