Quebec assembly to debate bill banning face coverings in public service

By Sonja Puzic
CTV News | October 17, 2017

The Quebec National Assembly will begin debating a controversial bill on Tuesday, that would ban face coverings for public servants and anyone who receives public services.

If passed, Bill 62 would prohibit public workers, including doctors and teachers, from wearing niqabs, burkas or any other face coverings.

Amendments to the bill introduced last summer also extend the ban to people receiving municipal services, including public transit. That could mean a woman wearing a niqab, for example, would not be able to ride a city bus or enter a library with her face covered.

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Ihsaan Gardee, the executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said the proposed legislation “further stigmatizes and marginalizes and vilifies” the Muslim community, which has been a target of hate crimes in Quebec.

He said the provincial government is simply playing with “identity politics.”

“Is this really the most pressing issue before the Quebec electorate in the lead up to the Quebec election (next year)?” he said in an interview with CTV News Channel on Tuesday.

“It seems like it’s a made-up solution to an invented problem. We don’t have a big issue right now with hordes of Muslim women in niqab trying to work in public service or access public service with difficulty,” he said.

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