Mike Davies

So, about, this whole burka/niqab issue

The hatred that people seem to have for folks who have different values than them astounds me

It seems that what people are talking about right now in terms of the upcoming federal election is whether or not someone should be allowed to wear specific kinds of religious or cultural attire while becoming a citizen of Canada.

At least I think that’s what all this talk of burkas and Muslims and Islamophobia and obsession is based on.

I’m actually not really sure. It’s sort of become a jumbled mess of racism, bigotry and hate that I can’t keep straight anymore.

What I am sure of, however, is that a couple of weeks ago, people were talking about healthcare and senate reform, environmental protections, corporate taxation, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and how each party will pay for everything they want to do. Now, for some reason, the talk seems to surround whether we should keep people who wear burkas out of Canada, or something.

Wait…what?

The hatred that people seem to have for folks who have different values than them astounds me.

And don’t start with the whole, “how can we be sure they’re not terrorists if they won’t uncover their faces?” argument.

How, exactly, do you tell by someone’s face whether or not they’re a terrorist?

If these people took off their headwear, as you are suggesting they should be forced to, will we then somehow know whether they intend to become productive members of our society who add to the fabric of our nation or if they actually just want to murder us?

“But they want to change our way of life and force their beliefs on us!” come the cries from the masses.

Posts are shared on social media saying things like, “You don’t go for dinner at someone’s house and make them change the menu, why should people be allowed to come here and demand we change our culture?”

Well, here’s a newsflash: this “our culture” of which you speak is one of inclusiveness and acceptance of people’s differences.

The Canadian Constitution – which, according to most, sets forth what we stand for as a nation – describes pretty clearly, right at the start of it, the “fundamental freedoms,” of Canadians.

The first of these is “freedom of conscience and religion.”

The second is “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.”

And, as if that wasn’t clear enough, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act was passed into law in the 1980s, and states, “WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes the diversity of Canadians as regards race, national or ethnic origin, colour and religion as a fundamental characteristic of Canadian society and is committed to a policy of multiculturalism designed to preserve and enhance the multicultural heritage of Canadians while working to achieve the equality of all Canadians in the economic, social, cultural and political life of Canada.”

It goes on, but I think the first three declarations make my point.

So what, exactly, is this “menu” that these people are forcing us to change by asking us to allow them to wear what they want?

A more accurate comparison would be, “When you’re invited to someone’s house for dinner, and they’ve told you they’ll make you whatever you want, is it cool if they yell at you and tell you to get out of their house when you ask for pancakes?”

Anyway, that’s how I feel about that.

Can we get back to the issues that matter now, please?