Sunday, September 11, 2005

No Religious Arbitration for Ontario!

No Shariah family tribunals in Ontario: McGuinty

TORONTO — Ontario will not become the first Western jurisdiction to allow the use of a set of centuries' old religious rules called Shariah law to settle Muslim family disputes, and will ban all religious arbitrations in the province, Premier Dalton McGuinty told The Canadian Press on Sunday.

In a telephone interview with the national news agency, McGuinty announced his government would move quickly to outlaw existing religious tribunals used for years by Christians and Jews under Ontario's Arbitration Act.

"I've come to the conclusion that the debate has gone on long enough," he said.

"There will be no Shariah law in Ontario. There will be no religious arbitration in Ontario. There will be one law for all Ontarians."

(Read entire article here)

Until now, Catholics, Mennonites, Jews, Aboriginals and Jehovah's Witnesses have had recourse to their own religious and cultural traditions to settle certain disputes among themselves, so long as all parties agree. This is no longer going to be allowed, under McGinty's decision, and I can't help but think that's a good thing.

No question that Shariah was a bad idea that never should have gotten as far as if did. Its focus on the utter and complete subjugation of women is anathema in a Western society.

The other cultures mentioned here, who will now lose their own ability to arbitrate disputes within their own laws, were probably never the threat to half their population that Shariah was. Still, when each group gets to handle situations in its own way, things can get very confused very quickly.

It's one thing for people within a group to go along with a cultural tradition because it's just that -- a tradition. It's another thing entirely when they have to go along with it because it's the law within their culture.

There will now be only one law by which everyone in Ontario must abide.

It's about time.

And to The Canadian Islamic Congress I say this: You've tried now in two provinces and been turned down both times. Don't you think it's about time you started learning how to adapt and live under Canada's laws?

2 Comments:

Blogger angela said...

"Don't you think it's about time you started learning how to adapt and live under Canada's laws?"

whoa there! i dont think this is about resisting assimilation. its about hierarchies within societal groups trying to assert power.

its great that religious law has been abolished, but i think there should be some readjustment/reframing for traditional aboriginal justice. aboriginals cannot be treated the same way as immigrants on their own land.

Monday, September 12, 2005 3:09:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

"whoa there! i dont think this is about resisting assimilation. its about hierarchies within societal groups trying to assert power."

Isn't that what I said?

Being of Aboriginal (and I prefer the term "Indian," but that makes PC people quiver uncontrollably, for some reason) background, I'm well aware that my forebears were treated worse than immigrants -- they were not even citizens.

But this is not a rant or thread on the individual cultures and how they've been treated. This is about bringing everyone back to even ground.

No more special treatment, no matter what your ethnicity.

No more separate laws, no matter what your culture.

By all means, celebrate different cultures, traditions, and religions. But when it comes to the law, everyone should be treated the same.

Monday, September 12, 2005 5:54:00 PM  

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