Last month, a heated debate over the Quebec Soccer Foundation banning players from wearing head coverings made international headlines. The new regulation would have prevented turban-wearing Sikhs from playing in Quebec but the decision was reversed when FIFA declared that head-coverings were acceptable.
Until recently, La Ronde, a Six-Flags amusement park based in Montreal, has been very accommodating to religious groups with dietary restrictions. As the park does not have any Kosher or Halal food options, Jewish and Muslim visitors with these religious dietary restrictions have been exempt from the park’s “no external food rule” by being granted the agency to bring their own food to La Ronde.
An online petition hosted by Le Journal collected 20,000 signatures against allowing this religious exception. La Ronde has responded by stating it that the park will no longer be making allowances for religious dietary restrictions and will only allow individuals with allergies and medical reasons to bring food of their own to the park.
Individuals with religious dietary restrictions are now compelled to either eat outside of the park or to not visit La Ronde altogether. This change in policy will directly affect many Jewish camps that bring throngs of children to enjoy the park every summer. Directors of Camp Gan Israel in La Minerve, Quebec explained that breaking Kosher is not an option for majority of their kids, and if the park prohibits Kosher food they will not be able to eat for the time that they remain inside the park. The children will instead be obligated to eat their Kosher lunches in a park area outside of La Ronde.
Le Journal discussed the discontent throughout the Quebec population towards multiculturalism and consider it to be newcomer’s inversion to integrate. The Parti Quebecois is currently preparing a new charter with an aim to protect “Quebec values” against minority religious groups who may alter them.
Ultimately, La Ronde is a privately-owned American company and has the power to decide whether or not it will serve certain foods or allow for religious, cultural, and dietary exceptions. The amusement park should nevertheless be cautious of proceeding with such a divisive policy change and should be careful with how their message will be received by minority groups across North America.
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