Commentary

Judge's Headscarf Decision Does Not Reflect Canadian Values

I could not believe that in a country with our advanced Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a local judge can use their position to make such a foul statement to the world.

By Jeff Reid
Published March 03, 2015

I am writing this as both an unhappy constituent and a professional in the business of importing and exporting Canadian goods from here in Hamilton.

As I'm sure you have heard, on February 24, Montreal Judge Eliana Marengo determined she would not hear a case, based solely on a woman wearing her hijab in the courtroom.

Simply stated: I could not believe that in a country with our advanced Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a local judge can use their position to make such a foul statement to the world: In Canada, a woman is not permitted to wear certain clothing when that should be well ithin her rights to free expression.

Of course I understand that a single Quebec judge doesn't speak for our Government or our nation, but that's not how it was interpreted.

To Canadian Muslims and to our trading partners, this sent the message that we have legally determined a hijab to be no more than a fashion statement, like "a hat or sunglasses", as Judge Marengo so ignorantly and falsely equated it.

In reality, Judge Marengo is completely inconsistent. She claims her decision is based on our Courthouse being "a secular space" and then asserts the head-scarf is akin to a simple hat.

Likewise, she cannot be viewed as defending any women's rights by limiting their right to freely practice a deeply-held faith.

I urge our local politicians to denounce this conduct in any way they can, as our representatives and supporters of people's rights.

Jeff Reid attended Humber College for journalism before starting an internet development firm in the 90s. As a proud Ward 3 homeowner, Jeff lives, works and has three children in school on Wentworth St with his wife Heather, in the city of Hamilton, ON, Canada. In 2010, launched Hamilton-ON.ca to expand mobile news coverage.

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By Harmeet (anonymous) | Posted March 03, 2015 at 08:54:03

Disgusted by this judge.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted March 03, 2015 at 09:35:27

"a secular space" is sister madeliene or mother mary goin to have to remove her hijab during court?

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted March 04, 2015 at 22:08:19

A judge asking to see a person's face is, in my opinion, well within their rights. In this country we have certain things we take for granted, that a person in court take off there hat and show there face is well within that set of assumptions. We immigrated to this country and knew that we would need to make certain changes in our lives and customs to live here. That is part of the price of living in this country. If that is not to your liking, or hers, than feel free to find a different country to live in. If your religious and or ethnic values are such that they cannot be changed to abide by Canadian laws, practices and traditions then you are in the wrong country. There are hundreds of other countries find one that you like better.

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By LOL@LOL (anonymous) | Posted March 05, 2015 at 08:08:23 in reply to Comment 109955

The judge didn't ask to see the person's face since the person's face was not covered.

Canada is a free country where people can choose their faith, lifestyle and dress. If you don't like the fact that not everyone in Canada lives and dresses the same way as you then it is you who are in the wrong country.

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By Crispy (registered) | Posted March 05, 2015 at 07:24:12 in reply to Comment 109955

A hijab doesn't cover a person's face.

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