Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.
More proof we're having a banner year for hate in Canada: Mochama
Poll finds a majority of Canadians would support something similar to Quebec's Bill 62 face-covering legislation in their home province.
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If we allowed polls to justify which human rights Canadians are restricted from, the Charter of Rights would just be some fancy penmanship.
Which is why I'm not surprised that a recent poll by Ipsos found 68 per cent of 1,001 Canadians asked are in favour of legislation similar to Quebec's Bill 62 in their own provinces. Under the guise of religious neutrality, Bill 62 bars anyone from working in or accessing government services while their faces are covered. Despite what proponents claim, the law clearly targets Muslim women and not, say, masked cosplayers.
And while Quebec's Islamophobia is unique in some ways — partially to do with Quebec's specific religious history and corresponding secularism — it isn't spectacularly different from the ways in which Islamophobia is expressed in the rest of the country.
There is nothing essentially new about this poll or, indeed, many others showing that a majority of Canadians are uncomfortable with diversity or that the federal government should not make Indigenous communities a priority.
Whether you actively believe in it or not, the white supremacist origins of Canada as a country continue to have their impact, and it does not come as a shock to see that reflected in the attitudes of our fellow countrymen.
Moreover, there is no time in history when radical change and civil rights for minorities has ever polled highly. During the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, white Americans polled unfavourably against almost every tactic by civil rights protesters. From sit-ins to freedom rides to the March on Washington, those moments that we celebrate now were neither popular nor beloved.
When the opinion of the majority is brought to bear on the lives of people in the minority, polls like this should be taken not as instruction but rather as a measure of how attitudes and biases reflect the current moment. Consider that another poll in 2013 from the same firm found that 62 per cent of Quebecers didn't think that a public servant should be fired for wearing religious symbols at work. There has evidently been a change now that the racism is less explicit and affects mostly Muslim women.
The poll is only further proof of the Islamophobia we've seen.