Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Like the rest of the country, I basked in the euphoria of the Toronto Raptors championship win. It was more than a sports story. It captured the imagination of Canada, and in some ways, the Canada reimagined itself. The panoply of humanity, from the heart of Toronto to the multitude of Jurassic Parks across the land, spoke raucously to the ascendancy of inclusiveness. When trolls launched racist screeds against superfan Nav Bhatia, the chorus on social media essentially responded in unison: “Hell no, he’s my bro”.

It didn’t matter where you were from, what language you spoke, what you wore on your head, the colour of your skin or your politics. The Raptors’ story became our very own.

Fans cheer during the Raptors championship parade on June 17 in Toronto.

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

For those of a certain age, the 1972 Summit Series comes to mind – when this country’s collective identity last melded with the fortunes of a sports team. We were in the throes of the Cold War and smarting from the 1971 FLQ crisis. We placed our hopes in professional hockey players to rise to the challenge and, in the process, discovered the uniting force of hockey.

Story continues below advertisement

On a smaller scale, this is how I felt when the Montreal Canadiens went on their four-year Stanley Cup run in the late 70s. English, French, separatist, federalist, immigrant, Québécois-de-souche – it did not matter. We all cheered as one, soaking in the exuberance of the parades, side-by-side.

The Raptors victory shines a bright, beautiful light on Canada’s ability to come together and celebrate our diversity. That is, of course, until Quebec comes into focus.

This juxtaposition was clear the day after the Raptors’ championship win. With jubilation across the country, Quebec Premier François Legault announced the closure of debate on Bill 21. Over the weekend, plans were being made for a Toronto parade that would include the panoply of humanity. Meanwhile, Quebec politicians passed Bill 21, overriding the Constitution to create a two-tier society where full opportunities for government employment will be denied to some.

The spirit of inclusiveness jostling through the rest of Canada has been stopped dead in its tracks at the Quebec border.

During Friday’s news conference, Mr. Legault insisted that the new law will curb extremism. How will banning religious symbols impede the spread of white supremacism? Oh wait – that’s not what he meant. He wasn’t referring to right-wing extremism, which is a far greater threat to safety and democracy.

Inclusiveness is the best way to prevent people from nursing grudges rooted in exclusion. Quebec Muslim youth who have been radicalized over the past few years pointed to the PQ’s proposed ban of “conspicuous” religious symbols as a clear sign that they were not welcome. Why invest in a society that rejects you for who you are? Instead, we should communicate the following to all young people: bring your talents, your passion, your dreams to help build a vibrant community.

One constant refrain during the Bill 21 debate was that the hijab is a sign of political Islam, a symbol of women’s oppression and the first step toward implementation of sharia. The voices of women who actually wore the hijab were irrelevant. The bill will liberate these women by telling them what they can wear and what profession they can enter, because, after all, they cannot think for themselves. Sounds a lot like the strictures of the Catholic Church that Quebeckers rejected during the Quiet Revolution. Muslim men who sport a beard are free to work wherever they want. Welcome to “poutine feminism” – with its distinct Quebec roots.

Story continues below advertisement

Last week, while visiting Montreal, I witnessed a horrific accident. While crossing a street, an elderly woman was struck by an SUV accelerating into a turn. Thankfully, she was not seriously hurt. Citizens stopped to help and direct traffic until help arrived. I gave a statement to the police.

And then I thought: What if I’m called to testify and denied the opportunity to do so because of my hijab? Will the court be deemed a space laique, where no religious symbols are allowed? Twice, Quebec judges have unsuccessfully tried to bar women with hijabs for that very reason. Will judges be emboldened to try again? In the future, a turbaned Sikh police officer cannot take a witness statement; an observant Jewish lawyer won’t be allowed to prosecute a case on behalf of the province.

As Quebec marches to its own tune of folly (“religious dress” police are on the horizon), Canadians should not remain silent while their fellow citizens are denied basic rights. It would be contrary to inclusiveness.

Keep your opinions sharp and informed. Get the Opinion newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies