Allow me to express my opinion now that the legislature of my province has passed a controversial law. Known as Bill 62, it bans the wearing of face covers when providing or receiving any public service. This means that here in Quebec, should you be on your way to a protest march you must remove that very popular Anonymous mask while on the bus or metro.
That’s the simple part of the law. Where it becomes contentious is when niqab and burqa wearers enter the equation. Muslim women are required to wear some form head covering. The most common garment here is the hijab, a headscarf that does not cover the face. Niqabs and burqas cover the entire face of the wearer and then some.
While I disagree with the whole concept of making women cover their faces in principle, the enforcement of the law will make things worse. When I was young bus drivers not only drove the bus, they also sold tickets and made change. This not only interfered with their concentration while driving but made them easy targets for robbers.
Now it seems bus drivers will have to act as ‘scarf police’, telling niqab and burqa-wearing women that they cannot ride the bus unless they remove their face covering. I have not heard the drivers’ union reaction yet, but I can’t imagine they will be in favour of this new task.
Exam invigilators at colleges and universities, if public, will also be required to ask that face coverings be removed if the person is to be allowed to write the exam. I agree with this fully as it eliminates the possibility of having someone else write the exam, say someone who is much better at physics that the actual student.
It seems to me that the potential for conflict far outweighs the usefulness of this law. I feel for the bus drivers who may not be comfortable with their new role, but I fear more for the Muslim women who may meet up with a driver who has no problem at all and takes advantage of the situation to enforce his or her bias.
5 thoughts on “Quebec Law Banning Face Covering Passed”
I’m not sure why you focused on bus drivers specifically but I don’t live in Quebec so I’ll trust your point (any store, restaurant, pharmacy, etc. is a public service, right?) Anyway…my first concern is this: if women with face coverings, due to their culture, religion, whathaveyou, are going to be prohibited from public service if they don’t comply, they (or their men) will then limit what they are then allowed to do such as go to the store. Their lives will become more oppressed instead of more ‘free’. Am I wrong?
You are correct. I believe by public the law refers to those services provided by the government. But I’m no legal expert.
umm…that’ll be interesting to see how this all works itself out. I hope you post your observations, I’m interesting in reading.
Personally, I think it’s an anti-Muslim law, no matter how you phrase it.