Last week, Ontario introduced a motion to emphasize the province’s belief in multiculturalism and freedom of religion.
The motion has been strategically timed in order to demonstrate the differences between the neighboring Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The latter has recently released its Charter of Quebec Values, which proposes bans on religious symbols in government workplaces. The proposed bans would include religious headwear including yarmulkes, hijabs and turbans, as well as visible crucifixes.
The Ontario motion was introduced by Monte Kwinter, a Liberal member of Provincial Parliament, and is hoped to show potential future immigrants to Canada that not all Canadians agree with the Quebec Charter of Values.
“When they hear that one province is doing something, they assume that Canada is doing it and it creates a negative image,” Kwinter told the Globe and Mail. “People are saying, ‘Is that going to happen in Ontario?’ And all we’re trying to do is reassure them that we would not support anything that would in any way put our ethnic communities, our cultural communities at risk in the way they’re being put at risk in Quebec.”
The Ontario motion explains that Ontario will oppose restrictions to people’s freedom of expression and religion. Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak agrees that governments should not have the right to decide how citizens choose to express their religious beliefs.
As a result of recent Canadian provincial government decisions, the country may experience some interprovincial immigration as citizens try to protect their religious freedoms.