Other parts of the country watch with varying opinions as the Quebec government proposes legislation to ban clothing or symbols of religious meaning in the public sector workplace. Suddenly the prospect reverberates outside that province, as a health group in Ontario tries to take advantage.
Lakeridge Health, which runs four hospitals near Toronto, is advertising on social media and also in McGill University’s student newspaper. It wants Quebec doctors and nurses to know if the hijab or turban, crucifix or yarmulke people want to wear are forbidden where they work, they should feel free to apply at Lakeridge.
How’s that for a new spin on raiding other regions in Canada for health professionals.
The proposed law by Quebec’s PQ government is causing a storm of controversy.
In a nation where multiculturalism is celebrated, critics are accusing the Quebec government of xenophobia – with some claiming such intolerance is engrained through much of the populace.
In one way, looking at the province’s history, such a development isn’t all that surprising. Before the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, society in Quebec was dominated by the Catholic Church. Some went so far as to describe it as “priest-ridden.” The move to secularization that began then, it appears, is being continued by some of those now in political office.
Giving it context, however, won’t excuse the move for those who cherish basic freedoms, such as being able to wear items of apparel associated with culture or religion.
Opinions on this issue aside, it’s not hard to see how such a rule would appear to someone from one of those traditions – or someone moving to Canada.
The pitch from the Ontario health group is just one illustration of a potential outcome. Other provinces, Nova Scotia included, are lacking in numbers and also facing future shortages in certain professions.
Loss by one is another’s gain. There’s really no region in Canada that can afford to appear unwelcoming.