Since the Quebec secular Charter was proposed there has been an increase in hateful acts taking place across Quebec. One particular incident that was reported in the news stood out to me. It was the story of two daycare workers from Verdun who wore niqabs, a veil which reveals only one’s eyes.
These two daycare workers were photographed while taking young children for a walk. The picture was then posted on Facebook and a barrage of hateful comments began to appear. Comments such as “2 bullets: it’s hunting season, let’s go!” and “Let’s burn these women and have them raped by pigs first!”
One day after the picture surfaced government inspectors appeared at the doors of the daycare to ensure that the workers were complying with daycare regulations.
One of the daycare workers, who used the pseudonym Julie, spoke to the media about the effect of all of the publicity was having on her. Julie told CBC that she can no longer bring the children outside of the daycare for fear of being taunted and photographed. “We’re zoo animals,” she said.
As a result of this, at least one of the parents has removed her child from the daycare program because she fears for her child’s safety. Julie is worried that other parents will follow suit and she will be forced to close down her daycare.
She also fears that they will be made an example of to promote the Quebec separatist government’s secular charter. If the charter passes it would prevent government subsidized daycare workers from wearing religious symbols, like the niqab.
Since this incident took place the Quebec separatist government has been considering expanding the secular charter to non-subsided daycares like the one Julie runs.
The event highlights the effect that the secular charter is having on minorities in Quebec. Julie told the CBC that she is “starting to feel like a second class citizen.” I know that many other Quebec citizens are beginning to feel the same way.