Quebec passes controversial face veil ban in public sector

QUEBEC TRANSPORT AUDITOR 20170616

Quebec to vote on law forcing Muslim women to remove face veils on public transport

On Wednesday, the Canadian province of Quebec's assembly passed a ban on face coverings by public workers and people riding receiving government services.

The Quebec Liberal government's religious neutrality law, also known as Bill 62, passed Quebec's National Assembly on Wednesday. The law on religious neutrality stipulates that people working in or using public services, or on public transport, must not have their faces covered, for purposes of "security, identification and communication".

"There is always in every piece of legislation a risk of it being contested by those that don't agree with it".

Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada's New Democratic Party, told the Huffington Post in August that Bill 62 "contravenes individuals freedoms" and would "disproportionately impact Muslims".

The law was originally meant to ban face coverings for those offering or receiving services from government departments and provincially funded institutions, such as universities.

As a new Quebec law that will force Muslim women to uncover their faces before they can ride the bus is being denounced by human rights groups and politicians, a handful of Canadian women are posting pointed selfies to show their own condemnation. You speak to me, I should see your face, and you should see mine.

"As long as the service is being rendered, the face should be uncovered", said Quebec Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée.

"I think friends can disagree", Naqvi said.

"We're all speaking about countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran and how they mistreat women, and here we are telling women what they should or should not cover", she said.

Some commentators on social media said that the ban is counter-productive, because it will "further oppress" women who wear face coverings by preventing them from accessing public services.

The niqab and burka are not mentioned in the legislation, according to CBC.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims slammed the bill's passage, saying it "boils down to ugly identity politics" before the provincial election next year.

This is not the first time Muslim women have been banned from wearing veils, such as burqas and niqabs.

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