Everybody legislate now

What’s going on, Quebec? When did you decide to become a police state?

Carolyn Grant

What’s going on, Quebec? When did you decide to become a police state?

You already have an extremely stringent French language law, Bill 101, which as been around for some 40 years. Under Bill 101, French is the official language of business, government, commerce and the courts. All business names must be French. All children of immigrants must be educated in French, including those immigrating from other parts of Canada. And the Parti Quebecois, just this year, is pushing for more. They want all immigrants to prove knowledge of French or they will not be allowed to move to Quebec.

And now, Quebec, you pass a law forbidding people from wearing face coverings if they are going to use any public institutions. It is framed as a fundamental value that the state should not promote religion of any kind, but it’s same seems a tad pointed, to say the least.

Now, when you go to legislative extremes like this, it’s usually to solve a huge problem. One taking a first look would believe there were hordes of niqab-wearing women running amok in Quebec cities. Don’t think that’s the case.

I guess this means, religious beliefs aside, that if it’s 25 below and pelting Montreal’s special blend of ice and sleet, you can’t get on a bus wearing a balaclava. How about a scarf over your nose and mouth? Non? How about if you’re a surgeon and prefer to wear a mask while you work?

This week, Quebec’s Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée clarified a bit, saying the law will only apply when it’s required for communication, identification or security reasons. so if the bus driver asks you for ID you must uncover your face.

If you go to a hospital emergency room, you will not be turned away, but people will have to have their face uncovered when they are in direct contact with an employee. When they return to the waiting room, they will not be obliged to have their face uncovered.

Lots of tweaking to be done, she said.

It all seems needlessly complicated, and as some opponents argue, puts a lot of onus on these public employees to police/enforce it. What if someone refuses to uncover their face? Do they have to call the police?

And if you enact a law that requires this much legislation, explanation and tweaking, should you have passed it in the first place?

But lest you think as long as you keep your face uncovered, you may proceed as usual in La Belle Province, think again.

You must not sing too loud.

From the Canadian Press this week, “A Quebec man’s enthusiastic singing in the confines of his own car has earned him a $149 ticket for yelling.

Taoufik Moalla tells CTV Montreal he was shocked and surprised after Montreal police officers stopped him on Sept. 27 not far from his home in the St-Laurent borough.

Moalla says officers asked him if he was screaming and he says he told police he was only singing along to C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” a dance staple and chartbuster from 1990.

The officer walked away and returned with a hefty fine for screaming in a public place.

Moalla says he’ll contest the fine in court.”

Yes, Everybody Dance Now is a song that could be considered a crime by many, but fined for singing? And who knew that in Quebec you are not allowed to yell?

So, to sum up, in Quebec, you may not wear a face cover of any kind. You may not sing. Or yell. Mind you, Everybody Dance Now is an English song so perhaps, Mr. Moalla was offending Bill 101.

So much legislation. Hard to keep up.

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