On March 27, the CAQ government finally delivered on its promise to restrict the wearing of religious garb and symbols of any kind  where government business is conducted. This (restriction), known as Bill 21, only applies to the employees of the state: health care professionals, teachers, police, and so on.
At the source of this religious symbol angst and conversation is religion, specifically Muslims, practitioners of the Islamic faith and what’s perceived (by some)as creeping Islamisation of Quebec society – hijab, niqab, etc., and then there’re Jewish religious symbols – Star of David, yarmulke, Kippa…
The only reason why the crucifix (one the dominant and ubiquitous symbols of Christendom) was included in the list of banned religious symbols, and lumped in with all the various  religious symbols is because banning the others and not one would’ve been perceived as anti-Muslim. After all, for many generations Quebec society was in the throes of a sort of religious colonialism imposed on Quebec society by Jesuits, call them a powerful religious colonial force.
What’s confusing to me is the obsession of some segments of Quebec society with other peoples’ religious ‘things’ that are simply a part of some peoples religious adherence and practice, and pose no threat to the daily business of the state, let alone people’s personal lives.
There was a time when the only religious symbols one could see in public was those worn by Christians – a cross, specific vestments, etc. That was way before mass migration of Muslims as well as peoples of other faiths became a norm. As a result of a common language, French, Quebec became a popular destination for Muslims who have gradually made a foothold in non-traditional Muslim countries. And as people are wont to do after migrating to a new place they invariably bring some of them with them: traditional customs of the homeland. That’s only human nature.
The CAQ government’s Bill 21, looming religious neutrality ‘controversy’ is nothing more than a government reacting to the growing Muslim population in the province. Essentially protecting Quebec culture from what some people refer to as “Islamisation…” hence the rise in hatred, “Islamophobia,” towards practitioners of the faith.
What Bill 21 has in a sense done is produce fodder for people like that ville d’Anjou counsellor who allowed her repressed anti-Islam feelings to get the better of her.
But it’s no accident. Like a sleeping volcano hateful lava is bubbling internally, as many have become absolutely consumed by hatred, in a sense fuelled by certain anti-Muslim forces and incidents across the province.
When that counsellor went on a social media rant, castigating a Muslim doctor who had the misfortune of encountering a doctor (Hippocratic Oath notwithstanding, and a woman with a veil) to assist her with some vision problems she couldn’t contain her feelings.
When over ten years ago, a little town called Hérouxville, Quebec grabbed international headlines when citizens let their anti-immigrant feelings flow during a reasonable accommodation discussion…
Clearly, that ville d’Anjou counsellor was still incensed when she was being treated by a woman of Muslim faith, a doctor (wearing her faith garb, a veil) that offended her. She stated after her visit that […] “If it wasn’t an emergency she would’ve refused to be treated by her…”
That borough counsellor’s reaction is in keeping with stories I’ve heard from Black nurses over the years, some of whose white patients took offence (and outwardly refused) to being treated by Black doctors, nurses and other “health care professionals.”
Too bad! It’s the world we live in right now, where hate and hatred (of differences) are in vogue and rising…
Time to breathe…