JUST HOW FAR WILL THEY GO!

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This issue is becoming known worldwide – “Quebec Soccer Federation bans Sikhs from wearing turbans in soccer.”  This ban effectively stops many children and adults from playing soccer in the Province of Quebec.  The Quebec Soccer Federation says that the reason for the ban is a safety issue.  Sikhs are outraged and I don’t blame them, they bloody well should be.  Safety issue, what safety issue?  The safety issue has not really been explained.  Maybe while a player is running the turban will unwrap and fall off the players head temporarily blinding their opponent!  Do you detect sarcasm here?   The whole issue baffles me.  Pauline Marois, Quebec Premier,  has now come out backing the Quebec Soccer Fedration on the turban ban even though the Canadian Soccer Association has come out against the ban.  Pauline says that she supports the QSF ban and doesn’t feel that the QSF should have to answer to any Canadian governing board.  Of course, she is Parti Quebecois and her statement couldn’t be any more separatist in nature.   Sikhs say this goes against their Religious freedom as turbans are part of practicing their faith.  I don’t completely understand the correlation between the turban and the Sikh faith; but it should not be an issue.  The QSF has not given any rational reason as to why they are banning turbans so I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s prejudice based.  I was born in Quebec and what people don’t realize is just how tense that Province can be.  I am not bilingual and I was raised in an English family, living in an English neighbourhood.  Tension between French and English has always been strong evidenced by Referendums, bombs in mailboxes, Separatism and Rene Levesque. A distinct society makes Quebec unique and gives government powers that are not seen elsewhere in Canada.  In 1976 laws were passed (Bill 101) to ensure that French was the official language of Quebec making it unlawful to have English on billboards, in commercial establishments and with this Bill the sign police were established.  If you owned a business and you advertised in English the sign police could administer fines and eventually shut you down if you refused to comply.  I knew of a business that had signs saying “welcome” in all languages, not just French or English and the sign police made the owner take all the signs down except for the bienvenue sign of course.  English education was restricted to  children who were already being schooled in English as well as their siblings.     The writing was on the wall, if you were English there was no future for you in Quebec.  My Step Father got a job transfer out West and my parents moved us out of Quebec.  My mother was born and brought up in Quebec and loved the Province but she loved her children more and wanted us raised in a Province where we had a future.  Once while flying home from back east I had the pleasure of sitting beside a French Canadian.  We had a conversation about the English and French in Quebec and he said to me flat out that he was a manager in the hotel industry in Montreal and when they received resumes of people with English names the resumes were thrown into the waste basket.    So back to the turban ban, is it any wonder that this is happening in Quebec?  I think the Sikhs are erroneous in their assumption that this is about their Religious beliefs; it’s more likely that when one wears a turban they just don’t look French.  Maybe if they wrote bienvenue on their turbaned head the turbans would be welcomed.  All Canadian’s message to the QSF and Parti Quebecois’ Pauline Marois should be – keep your politics out of children’s play and let them play their beloved sport!

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