How much will it cost to wear a hijab at work?

While I was chatting with PQ Minister Jean-François Lisée this morning, I had an epiphany. It is  still legal, I understand, to have an epiphany in Secular Quebec.

While I was listening to Monsieur Lisée skate around my questions with the skills of Lars Eller, I started to worry. What if Jean-François was jealous that I had written an open letter to Pauline Marois and not extended him the same courtesy?

I know that Jean-François, of course, reads the CJAD blog religiously, so to speak. So please, JFL, consider this an open letter.

It was great hearing that you had a wonderful time in Africa. Glad to have you back, but I noticed that when I asked you about the enforcement of the charter, you suggested you were still working out the details. Exactly. An opportune moment for me then, to offer up a few modest suggestions.

Here is a great way for the Charter to protect Quebec’s secular nature and make a few bucks at the same time in case the PQ proposal to electrify the province doesn’t work out as well as intended.

I asked you what would happen if some of those kippa-keeping, hijab-wearing, turban-sporting employees of Quebec refused to take off their non-secular headgear. Would they have to pay some kind of fine?

You seemed taken aback and said you would not touch that question with an 8-foot pole.

Why not? Surely any law that is passed has to be enforced. I mean it’s supposed to be a law, not Heloise’s Helpful Hints.

Since you are still working out all the details, here are some possible points to ponder next time you get together with Madame Marois and Monsieur Drainville.

You could start modestly. For someone who insists on wearing his kippa, a $50 fine for a small, $60 for a medium and $70 for a large.  Make it a $75 fine if it’s stencilled with the name of a Bar-Mitzvah boy. Add $15 if it’s velvet or handmade. If His Holiness, Pope Francis or some cardinals ever come to visit, their kippas will, of course, be exempt because they are part of a "cultural heritage.”

On to the hijabs -  How about $50 for a plain one. $60 for primary colors and $70 for pastels. Add $15 if the scarf is designed by Hermès. No fine at all if it’s worn during Fashion Week.

Turbans are tough. You could decide that size matters, (see Kippas) or perhaps the fines could be based on the amount of material used, but that would require some tape measures (see OQLF).

These fines would only cover a first offence. Wild-eyed repeat offenders who insist on maintaining their religious beliefs even when they are at work could be subject to doubled fines and perhaps Deuteronomy demerit points (see highway code).

Hope this helps as we all try to unify Quebecers and maybe even make a few shekels while we’re at it.

Devoutly yours, 


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  1. frank posted on 10/07/2013 06:15 PM
    hahaha i listened to that conversation you had with him and this pq gov is a forgot to add crosses and sizes in that mix...
    1. Shawn posted on 10/07/2013 09:58 PM
      @frank They seemed to say that "larger than average" crosses were going to be forbidden.
      What definition of average are they going to use? Mean, mode, or median.
      Either way, if everyone starts wearing larger crosses, than the average will be larger also.
      So how often will the remeasure of crosses happen? With the 5 year census, every six months?
  2. Sean Gillhoolley posted on 10/08/2013 11:35 AM
    Im Agnostic, so does that mean I can wear a kippa and call it a brimless cap? Can I wear a hijab and call it my face warmer? If it has no religious significance to me, does it cease to be a religious symbol? If not, does that mean that certain geometric shapes have been outlawed? No crosses, no crescents, no six-pointed stars. Can we get a list of all the outlawed geometric shapes so that I do not inadvertently offend some bigot?
  3. Michael posted on 10/08/2013 11:55 AM
    Hi Tommy, I saw your blog letter to Jean-Francois Liseé (JFL). And I thought JFL stood for "Just for Laughs". TOO TRUE!
  4. Jeremy Lemaire posted on 10/08/2013 03:23 PM
    If it were not so SAD, this is actually pretty funny stuff Tommy(well written)....sadly the Joke is on all of us! not just Francophone's.

    Clearly JFL does not know history and its amazing ability to virtually ALWAYS repeat itself.

    The way in which the PQ and their sympathizers treat people will be the way in which they are treated somewhere in the future(hopefully near future)....Keep in mind it was not long ago the French were conquered, it was by the grace of one of the Queen's Lords that they were able to keep their language and religion.......I don't think the next generation will be so kind.

    Clearly they haven't learned about KINDNESS and GENEROSITY from their own history here in North America.
  5. Kari posted on 10/08/2013 08:38 PM
    Brilliant Tommy!
    Unfortunately your tongue in cheek will go over the heads of some morons and they might think, hey what great ideas!
    Those are the " ones " we need to fear.
  6. sharron codner posted on 10/08/2013 10:00 PM
    I love it , great reading !! I happen to think a lovely scarf will look great with my crucifix. I think all Quebecers should consider mixing it up a little to show our support for peoples right to dress however they want and express themselves any way they want. So everyone lets pick a day to show our right to free expression and wear scarfs, crucifixes, kippas, turbans and whatever else we want. Join me let's make a date and show up in great numbers !!
  7. Ricardo posted on 10/09/2013 12:01 PM This comment was edited by a moderator at 11:35 AM on 10/11/2013
    And I thought JFL was an acronym for Just For Laughs, not Jean Francois Lisee
  8. TS posted on 10/09/2013 12:23 PM
    Great letter, Tommy!

    I think this is part of a bigger PQ picture. 43,000 jobs promised by Mme Marois' government will most likely be assigned to the OLF or the fashion police.
  9. Janet posted on 10/10/2013 11:25 AM This comment was edited by a moderator at 11:34 AM on 10/11/2013
    What if you're a Christian and wear an ichthys? (like so: Is it ok, as long as the ichthys has a cross on it?
  10. Neal Sherman posted on 10/11/2013 11:12 AM
    If a small cross is allowed, allowances for size for the kpa and hijab must be made as well!
  11. Norman Simon posted on 10/14/2013 05:48 PM
    I love your observations, Tommy! The tongue-in-cheek is superb!
  12. Sheila Copps posted on 10/23/2013 09:44 PM This comment was edited by a moderator at 05:49 PM on 11/01/2013
    Why not ask jean francois to do the right thing and step down as the minister responsible for Montreal. He obviously is not interested in actually representing the people.
    Tommy, you may know my brother Kevin is running for NDG-Cote-des-Neiges borough mayor with Equipe Coderre. Kevin has been a resident and education activist for 24 years. He took the previous PQ government to court on an education issue (and won).
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