Montreal (Web Desk): Canada’s Quebec provincial legislature on Wednesday barred people who are wearing face coverings from receiving public services or working in government jobs, a move that opponents criticized as unfairly singling out Muslims.
The law will prohibit public workers like doctors and teachers from covering their faces at work, and will effectively bar Muslim women who wear face veils from using public transportation or obtaining public health care services, although it will be possible to apply for exemptions.
“I should see your face, and you should see mine,” Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said of Bill 62. Speaking to reporters, he cited improved “communication, identification and safety” as reasons for the ban. The government insisted that the law applies to all face coverings and does not target Muslim women.
But critics say it will effectively marginalize them by limiting their access to government jobs and services. The National Council of Canadian Muslims said in a statement the law “boils down to ugly identity politics” ahead of a general election in Quebec next year.