Quebec has for decades made it clear that, like France, it is seriously secular; and indeed the Superior Court in Montreal just upheld a law giving the “government … the right to restrict the religious symbols worn by public sector employees including teachers, police officers, lawyers and prison guards, while they [are] at work.”

“The law destroyed my career dreams,” said Noor Farhat, a lawyer who wears a head scarf and aspired to be a public prosecutor... [Farhat says she] “can’t believe what’s happening.”

Surprised she’s surprised. Since the 1960s, Quebec has been relentlessly restricting the official civic scope of religion — the Catholic religion, mainly, but other religions as well. No one following the history of Quebec can doubt its radical commitment to the separation of church and state. If your religious belief is such that you cannot take off a head scarf for the duration of your public sector workday, you should probably be in another province.

Naturally, you can try fighting this law; but you are going up against the will of the people: this law and others like it are extremely popular in Quebec. Why not respect the people of the region and let them live – in one public domain – in accordance with the secularity that is just as important to them as your piety is to you?

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