Four hundred Montrealers attended a public forum Thursday evening to talk about reasonable accommodation, a hot-button issue that prompted Premier Jean Charest to launch a government commission after a Quebec town passed a controversial conduct code for immigrants last month.
Manjit Singh, a member of the Sikh community and the director of McGill University's Chaplaincy Services, said the Montreal public forum sponsored by CBC Radio was important because it helped clear up a lot of misconceptions.
"Just because I wear a turban, it should not be an issue for anyone," he said. "What they need to worry about is what is inside my head and not what's on my head."
Singh said some politicians are using the issue to divide people rather than promote tolerance. He said that might backfire since an election is expected to be called next week.
"If this becomes an election issue, which it seems to be headed for, people have to be able to make their choices, and it's better to be well-informed and then choose, rather than choose out of ignorance," he said.
The issue of reasonable accommodation reached a fever pitch in January after a municipal council in the Mauricie town of Hérouxville adopted a list of rules for immigrants, which was amended earlier this week after much public flak. [Link]
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