In its recent ruling in Multani v. Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, the Supreme Court of Canada stressed the important role of public education in establishing respect for pluralism.
Justice Louise Charron rejected a Quebec school board's ban, supported by the provincial attorney general, which prohibited a Sikh student from taking his kirpan to public school. Unable to accede to the ban, the student enrolled in a private school.
The court affirmed a set of conditions designed to meet the board's safety concerns. It rejected other arguments, however, that characterized the kirpan as a violent symbol and said it was an impermissable special privilege to accommodate his religious practice of wearing the dagger-like object.
This judgment connects some important dots. It linked religious symbolism to the Charter's commitment to multiculturalism and then linked both to public education, which instills necessary practices for living in a diverse society. [Link]
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