Hearings on Bill 94 begin in Quebec

Hearings on Bill 94, which would restrict women from receiving public services if wearing a veil, have begun in Quebec City.

If passed, this bill would deny women access to essential services. It will deny women the freedom to practice their religion. It will limit their options and therefore their lives.

Dana Olwan has some excellent analysis at Rabble.ca

The rationalizations given for Bill 94 have broad consequences for Canadian women today. This bill strengthens the already choking grip of the state over public funds and facilities. It restricts who may and may not have access to universal medical care and education — services guaranteed to Canadian citizens through the Canadian Health Act and both the Quebec and Canadian Charter of Rights. The bill also permits state officials in Quebec to declare in what manner citizens may deliver and receive state services or what face they may put forward when interacting with or on behalf of the state.

As Quebec’s Premier Jean Charest reminds us, “If you are someone employed by the state and you deliver a service, you will deliver it with your face uncovered… If you are a citizen who receives services, you will receive them with your face uncovered.” The neutral language used here conceals that it is predominantly women who wear face coverings. Therefore, it is women whose faces this bill seeks to uncover and whose rights it abrogates. By extending the Canadian state an unauthorized invitation into Muslim women’s closets, the proponents of Bill 94 maximize state control over women’s bodies and day-to-day choices of dress and religious practice.

Read the whole thing.

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