Boreal

KIRPAN I

Court Okays Children Bringing Concealed Weapons to School

The Court has once again raised religious sacrament to the level of secular right. It is ... a submission and surrender to the screech of special interests which can now hardly be denied to others ...

The Kirpan decision now re-opens the floodgates to everything from the settled provincial debates against religious tribunals having status in family law issues to the state funding, and teaching, of religious schools and studies ... Sharia court supporters are starting their clamour again even after rejection of the idea in Quebec and Ontario ...

The Kirpan Decision: The Supremes fail again (CFP); Beryl Wajsman, Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal; March 6, 2006

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Thursday March 2, 2006 that children could bring weapons to school. In doing so, it overturned a Quebec Court of Appeal ruling that had barred the kirpan from schools in the province.

If ceremonial daggers are okay, can ceremonial swords be far behind?

This decision brings a whole new unwelcome dynamics to school-yard bullying. A bully may think twice about bullying someone with a concealed weapon unless it’s the bully who is legally allowed a concealed weapon. If that’s the case, don’t argue when you are asked for your lunch money or anything else for that matter.

For non-Sikh parents who are worried about the weapons gap in schools and playgrounds and want to legally provide their children with lethal defensive capabilities there are a number of options. For Christian children, there is always the concealed dagger in the shape of a cross; for Jewish children the Star of David with really pointed ends; for Muslim children, just about any weapon can be justified if you only intend to use it to defend your faith.

If the rest of Canada doesn’t see the wisdom of the Québec Court of Appeals decision restricting offensive weapons on school property they will when the first child is stabbed.

Québec is the most secular society in Canada. During the debate in Ontario about allowing Sharia tribunals to operate in that province, the Québec National Assembly passed a resolution that rejected the introduction of religious law into the legal system of the province of Québec and reasserted that all citizens of the province are equal before the law and asked the Canadian Parliament to do the same. Canada's Parliament declined to do so.

The Supreme Court of Canada's decision on concealed weapons in schools is not only an affront to the Québec Legislature but also creates a new class of citizens who are allowed to carry concealed weapons if it's a matter of faith.

This decision is wrong-headed not only because it creates further divisions in Canadian society, but because it will encourage children to act out the religious conflicts of the adult world in the classroom.

To avoid bringing the administration of justice into further disrepute, to avoid religious chaos in the classroom and to diffuse an additional bomb thrown into the national unity debate, Parliament should pass a law declaring that religions artifacts have no place in the public classroom and ask the Supreme Court to revisit its decision.

The Two Solitudes Offer Their Opinion and the Chasm Deepens

Montreal Gazette

"We've taken down all the crucifixes in our schools," parent Serge Bourgon said. "We got rid of one religion. We're not about to let another one come in."

Inspired by the Court Ruling ... Quebec Muslims say it's high time they be allowed to wear hjabs [Islamic clothing such as chadors]... and have prayer rooms set aside for Muslim students ...

But the Muslims are in for a fight in Quebec, where radio-talk show [callers] and writers of letters to the editors suggest some French-Canadians are fed up.

As well, some see the kirpan controversy as an excuse for Anglophones to engage in "French bashing," attacking Quebec's secular values ...

La Presse, a French-language Montreal daily got more than 500 e-mails on the Sikh case -- almost all of them denouncing it (the Supreme Court's decision allowing children to carry concealed weapons to school)

Le Devoir (my translation)

"This decision which overturns a decision of the Quebec Court of Appeals is another triumph for multiculturalism while creating even more opportunities for the expression of religious differences in [public] schools."

The Globe and Mail in an editorial is relieved that children will be able to carry concealed weapons to school.

“… it was a relief yesterday when the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the right of a Sikh student to carry a ceremonial dagger to school …

For The Ottawa Citizen, in its own editorial, it's a laughing matter.

"… the court rightly laughed off … the argument that letting Sikh students carry kirpans (daggers) … would be endorsing violence as a way to solve problems."

Lawyer Palbinder Shergill of the World Sikh Organization encourages Muslims to follow the Sikh's lead.

"According to Palbinder Shergill, nothing now stands in the way for Muslim to use this judgment to demand that schools allow the wearing of the chador (a loose, usually black tent like robe worn by Muslim women that covers the body from head to toe and most of the face except for a slit for the eyes) in class."

An Argument made by a father to a Muslim cleric who supported the Supreme Court decision during a French TV current affairs program (my recollection and translation).

“Kids play rough sometimes. What happens if the child with the concealed knife accidentally get cut by his own knife. What if the knife gets loose and falls on the ground and another child picks it up and while playing stabs his classmate. Who do we blame then for this stupid decision to allow children to carry knives hidden in their clothing to school.”


In an online poll conducted by the Globe and Mail the day after the decision, 75% of the more then 18,000 who responded said they did not “agree with the Supreme Court decision permitting Sikh students to carry ceremonial daggers in schools.”

The Supreme Court by this decision is setting up a confrontation between the Federal Government and Quebec that may rival the language issue in polarizing Canadians and making violent confrontations, in the province of Quebec in particular, a foregone conclusion.

It took Quebecquers decades of hard, selfless work to get the Catholic Church out of their school system. They are not, as that Quebec father warned, "about to let another one come in", Supreme Court decision or no Supreme Court decision.

When I wrote The Fractured Nation Interviews more than a year ago I never expected truth to catch up with fiction so quickly. The Interviews’ scenario that leads to Quebec finally achieving independence involves the Federal Government siding with religious fundamentalists against the wishes of the Quebec National Assembly

March 6, 2006, Bernard Payeur

Daggers are In, Flutes are Out!