Québec’s bill 94 hearings closing for now

Hearings on Bill 94, the Quebec government’s proposal to set guidelines on the reasonable accommodation of religious differences — including banning Islamic face coverings in some circumstances – are closing. Several critics have underscored the brevity of the hearings. Louise Beaudoin, the Parti Quebecois immigration critic, noted that in the hearings, no one has offered a ringing endorsement of Bill 94, with the first Islamic group to testify describing as “Islamophobic.”
Ms. Beaudoin also noted that Bill 16, an earlier attempt by the Jean Charest government to deal with so-called “reasonable accommodation,” was abandoned by the government in the face of opposition. It was also confirmed that hearings would resume in August. An aide to Jacques Dupuis, the government house leader, said this was for “scheduling reasons.”
Salam Elmenyawi, chairman of the Muslim Council of Montreal, said that if the move indicates the government intends to back down on Bill 94, he welcomes suspension of public hearings. “It’s clear this law is made against the Muslim community,” he said. Bill 94 was presented after two Muslim women wearing niqabs were expelled from French courses for immigrants because they refused to remove their face veils.

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