Like anyone I can be prone to knee jerk reactions, its normal. When Québec proposed values charter was first put forth I was opposed. I cheered when I saw an Ontario ad seeking to attract employees of the Islamic faith to Lakeridge health centre in Oshawa with the tag line:
"We don't care about what's on your head, but with what's in your head"...or words very close to that effect.
The charter struck me as xenophobic and intolerant. My view however is changing.
Religious extremists are anything but tolerant. Men who insist their wives cover their faces, and in some cases their entire bodies, are not viewed as models of inclusion and open mindedness...quite the contrary. Religious extremists of any faith seek to subjugate anyone who doesn't adhere to their interpretation of the almighty's will.
I still can foresee a myriad of problems with enforcing such a charter, but the debate it has created is very much worth while. Bravo to my home province and to the Parti Québecois for having the cajones to put something like this out there for public discourse. Other parts of Canada I think would be too timid for fear of offending.
Debate is a positive thing, and only cowards run from controversy.
For those who can read French here's an excellent article from LaPresse, wondering what is the opinion of Liberal MNA Fatima Houda-Pépin, the only Muslim member of the Québec National Assembly. Unfortunately while she has spoken out against extremism in the past, on the charter she is silent.