Ontario Passes Religious Freedom Motion

Decision Comes as Quebec Debates Kippah Ban

Canada’s Kippah Debate: Ontario passes a law of religious freedom as Quebec debates banning religious attire on state workers.
thinkstock
Canada’s Kippah Debate: Ontario passes a law of religious freedom as Quebec debates banning religious attire on state workers.

By JTA

Published September 22, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A motion introduced by a Jewish legislator in Ontario to reaffirm the Canadian province’s commitment to religious freedom passed unanimously.

The motion introduced by Monte Kwinter, a veteran Liberal Member of the Provincial Parliament was specifically meant to distinguish Ontario from neighboring Quebec’s proposed ban on religious symbols in the workplace.

The proposed Charter of Quebec Values is roiling that province with talk of banning religious headwear – including yarmulkes, hijabs and turbans, and visible crucifixes among public and para-public employees. Critics charge the plan is xenophobic and racist.

Kwinter’s motion, which passed Sept. 19, was in direct response to the Quebec proposal, he said, and was meant to show potential immigrants to Canada that not everyone agrees with it.

“When they hear that one province is doing something, they assume that Canada is doing it and it creates a negative image,” Kwinter told the Globe and Mail. “People are saying, ‘Is that going to happen in Ontario?’ And all we’re trying to do is reassure them that we would not support anything that would in any way put our ethnic communities, our cultural communities at risk in the way they’re being put at risk in Quebec.”

The motion, adopted unanimously Sept. 19, said Ontario “should oppose any legislation that would restrict or prohibit people’s freedom of expression and religion in public places and affirms that Ontario greatly values our diverse population and the social, cultural and economic contributions they make to help our society thrive.”

Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak said governments have no right to dictate to people how and when they can express their religious beliefs.”

“The government has no right to tell you that you can’t wear a cross around your neck or a Star of David…it is not the place of government to restrict those things. That runs against the great values we have as Canadians that attracted here in the first place, including my family,” he told reporters.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.