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Québec and reasonable accommodation: Uses and misuses of public consultation

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Chapter Summary

On February 8, 2007, following months of controversy over religion and the "reasonable accommodation" of minority groups, the Premier of Québec, Jean Charest, announced the establishment of the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences. The public consultation organized by the Commission on Accommodation Practices is failing in its task to "pave the way to a more serene, fruitful reflection." In the media, public opinion and among official representatives, religious controversy is being seen as evidence of increased religiosity, even of the social and renewed political salience of religion. Laws pertaining to so-called sects and then implicitly to Islam led to the promulgation of regulations that reflected public anxiety over religion and religious diversity. Public inquiries are places for open mindedness, reflection, accessibility, and a reciprocal exchange of views among equals. Proper and sympathetic appreciation of cultural and religious diversity in view of social integration is crucial.

Keywords: Jean Charest; public consultation; Québec; reasonable accommodation; religious diversity



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