The Quebec Legislature Debates Bill 21

A law (Bill 21) proposed by Quebec Premier François Legault would restrict the wearing of religious symbols by public employees. Among the symbols to be prohibited is the hijab, which has predictably caused a fierce controversy about Bill 21.

The video below shows excerpts from a hearing in the Quebec legislature about Bill 21. It features retired Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, who angered the Gutmenschen by linking the Islamic veil with female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and honor killing.

Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen for being here
00:04   this morning. My first question
00:08   is addressed to Madame Hervieux-Payette: we have always said and
00:12   accepted in this debate that we have to show restraint. Do you think it
00:16   “restrained’ to affirm that the headscarf is a “detail” and “after that
00:20   it’s FGM”? “The headscarf is a detail, and after that it’s the FGM”?
00:25   Do you REALLY think what you’re saying? — Listen,
00:29   if I didn’t read and didn’t inform myself FOR YEARS,
00:33   decades, this lady who lived through this tragedy with all those
00:37   those classmates and so on, is living proof;
00:41   she will come bring her testimony on that thing. And: the headscarf
00:45   isn’t a simple veil, like [when] my grandmother put a hat on
00:50   to go to Mass. The fact of NOT wearing the headscarf in most
00:54   countries where it is strictly applied
00:58   implies sanctions which go all the way up to death. So you shouldn’t think that it’s
01:02   something trivial and of no consequence.
01:06   Then in Canada, of course, we aren’t in this culture, but still
01:10   we have the duty, the MPs have the duty to inform themselves
01:14   on the origins and application of this measure
01:19   in the countries which, fundamentally, are
01:23   religious fundamentalists. —So in Quebec, what
01:27   would be the meaning of wearing a headscarf? —You will have to ask.
01:31   I’m only telling you that there’s an interpretation which was made,
01:35   by someone who lives it, and that entire countries
01:39   are under this domination. So forced marriage isn’t a joke;
01:43   the FGM, the mutilation, isn’t a joke;
01:47   and the violence that is inflicted and the absolute control.
01:52   So if you call this equality, I don’t call it equality.
01:56   One does have to answer the questions with
02:00   the experience of those who lived this situation. —Thank you, madam MP, please —
02:04   If I can listen simply what you are saying, senator Hervieux-Payette.
02:08   The floor is for the deputy of [unintelligible]. Madame representative, it’s your floor.
02:12   Barrister Latour, please. —My exchange was with Madame Hervieux-Payette.
02:16   Those are, in fact, words of importance and here they have,
02:20   at this moment, a huge importance: you make the link,
02:25   really, between the headscarf, FGM, you make the link
02:29   with forced marriage, and you say it’s in other countries, but that, precisely,
02:33   is what is motivating you to come here to defend secularism. Therefore
02:37   it’s obvious that you make the link between the headscarf, FGM — genital mutilation,
02:41   forced marriage, here in Quebec. —Listen,
02:45   you don’t have to be very naïve to know that even people
02:49   who live here, send their children to some countries,
02:53   where FGM is commonplace, in order to do it outside [of Canada],
02:58   because it’s illegal, doctors have no right to do it, but it’s also being done by
03:02   female neighbors and other people, so it’s obvious… —Be very careful
03:06   not to get out of control here, please. Mme representative Marguerite-Bourgeoys, please.
03:10   So the women who are here, who are teachers, who are nurses
03:14   who are specialized doctors, are allegedly, all wearers of… are supporting
03:18   by the mere fact wearing the headscarf — of all those practices you are talking about?
03:23   No, I didn’t say that. I simply told you that I was unveiling [pun intended]
03:27   the meaning where this directive on wearing the headscarf
03:31   was coming from, by the, the… as a religious symbol.
03:35   Quickly, Madame Latour. —Perhaps to situate the debate
03:39   what the senator Hervieux-Payette is telling you, it’s that
03:43   under the heading of “individual rights” you cannot make an abstraction
03:48   of the geo-political scope of the religious fact.
03:52   And the big debate to which they were invited with the law 21 project
03:56   is as follows: it’s yes, there are religious aspirations,
04:00   but there are conflicts between
04:04   religious dogmas and rights and liberties that have been foreseen in the charters
04:08   of rights. And [so] the State, in order to protect the equality
04:13   of all citizens, cannot become vulnerable [to attacks eroding rights].
04:17   Because to have a teacher who is wearing a religious symbol…
04:21   since, we… most religious dogmas forbid abortion,
04:25   euthanasia, a number of subjects, but which, on the societal level,
04:29   are rights and liberties that we allow.
04:33   So it’s precisely this clarity that is necessary. —Thank you.
04:38   Mme Latour, madam representative, please. —I’ll go back to the declarations of Mme Hervieux-Payette
04:42   because it seems to me capital in the current debate and in
04:46   what is being spread as the “image of women who wear the headscarf”.
04:50   I repeat, you’re saying the headscarf is a detail;
04:54   in other words, it’s only the beginning and behind it FGM,
04:58   mutilation, forced marriage are hiding, and therefore
05:02   in Quebec there are allegedly supporters of that, and you are sending the message that women
05:05   who wear the headscarf, it’s only appearances, and behind that
05:11   there is all the rest that could follow. —Madame senator. I would ask you
05:15   for great prudence, the debate is going extremely well, prudence in your declarations, please.
05:19   Thank you. —My only answer is to go and see the Shafia family case [1st honor killing in Canada, 2012]
05:23   That’s the case we have in Canada, we have people who got life in prison: the father
05:27   the mother and the son. So I think that we have a very, very concrete example.
 

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