Colby Cosh: Isn't it a Quebec platform? The subtle relationship between transgender fracasides and Bill 21

Colby Cosh: Isn't it a Quebec platform? The subtle relationship between transgender fracasides and Bill 21

Protesters are demonstrating against Bill 21 in Montreal on October 6, 2019. Controversial Quebec secular law prohibits some public employees from wearing religious symbols or clothing at work.Graham Hughes / CP

The Toronto Public Library is involved in one of these platform scrambling contradictions - you know this one: one that is leased, leased, or used by someone with a fashionable opinion, and a small number of determined opponents cause hell to attract media attention. (Jon Kay wrote about TPL's problems in this regard on Friday.) The library has booked a lecture for traditional feminist Meghan Murphy, who believes there are difficult cases, such as women's shelters and women's prisons, where transgender women may be at risk when applying new social doctrine unconditionally treated as women.

For some, this is a hateful opinion that the library should leave out of its premises. They say that transgender women are women, and discussions about the period and its principle should be punished. I think both sides agree that "trans women are women" is a good rule we should follow for ourselves, set up in the workplace and expand as much as possible. The problem arises in the last four words - "as much as possible" - just as most of the case law in the Charter of Rights in our courts includes a little section in Section 1 that "reasonable boundaries can be proved free of charge by a democratic society. "

For those who try to decide war between TERFs (trans-exclusive radical feminists) and pro-trans ultra, this Charter language can be instructive. Even when it comes to our common fundamental right that a policeman should not kiss, search for a cavity and enter prison without trial, hypothetically existing "reasonable boundaries" are very widely accepted. The principle of social behavior alone certainly cannot be more categorical or unrestricted than our basic personal freedoms - but if you are against the TERF, you could and would like to make the word "demonstrable" the hill to die.

I am not going to intervene in this litigation and TPL is trying not to do so specifically. The problem with the library is to define its nature as a public service. Libraries are increasingly seen as practical rejections of freedom: for a hundred or more years they have encouraged us and supported liberals, bearing in mind that they represent the end of the business of freedom of expression.

The Toronto Public Library exists, according to its own values, to protect intellectual freedom. But critics point to its mission, which also promises an inviting and supportive environment, and emphasize that the presence of certain intellectual or expressive content on library premises may even occur at the level of filth or impurity. which makes the whole darn thing welcome and unsupportive.

Is TPL in the position of publisher or is it known in telecommunications law as an "agnostic" ordinary carrier in substance? Librarians' liberal traditions force them to strive for the latest view - but perhaps here comes another disturbing "as much as possible." After all, librarians would also be the first to tell you that when buying inventory or answering directory inquiries, they use a conscious professional judgment and sort treasure trash according to their own understanding.

A platform remover is someone who believes that there is no ordinary carrier: if you deliberately sell ink or install a phone for a fascist glory, it will accuse you of fascism everywhere. Without thinking about this proposal, I notice that when you start looking for them, you can see the differences between publishers and regular carriers everywhere. What struck me during the election observation this week and the debate on national unity that will take place in Quebec is that the 21st bill, which prohibits the wearing of religious symbols by certain classes of Québécois public employees, has similar characteristics.

The dialogue between English and French Canada on Bill 21 has completely collapsed and is now making a significant contribution to the revitalization of Bloc Québécoise. Our R.O.C. (this abbreviation also causes a comeback) could not handle the bill. The polite opinion is unanimously opposed. But in Quebec, the bill is very popular, even among people we would otherwise recognize as liberals.

The basic principles set out in the bill are not particularly controversial: they include "religious neutrality of the state" and the right to public or secular public services. That in itself cannot be the reason that the R.O.C. resent in Quebec or federalist parties facing Dégringola. Also, we certainly do not believe that the government can ever impose dress rules on workers.

The reason for the schism seems to be that Quebec has taken the view of its public authorities as a "publisher" rather than a more "common carrier" for the English-speaking world. Quebec requires government employees (in forced or power-related situations, including schools) to actively respond to the secular nature of their business: they should not display signs at work that violate state messages and promises. secularity. If we complain that Quebec is full of racists, this argument does not really resolve, although it seems that we are using this strategy.

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