Women’s rights groups in Canada are not so sure. “Women’s rights will be protected: premier,” from CP, with thanks to Dag:
TORONTO (CP) – The rights of women “will not be compromised” if Ontario becomes the first Western jurisdiction to allow Muslims to use a set of religious rules known as Shariah law to settle civil and marital disputes, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday.
“Whatever we do will be in keeping with the values of Ontarians and Canadians, I can say that much,” McGuinty said after visiting a local school for the first day of classes. “I’m not going to say any more than that at this point in time. People will just have to be patient.”
A report by former NDP attorney general Marion Boyd recommends Ontario allow Muslims to establish Shariah-based tribunals similar to Jewish and Catholic arbitration bodies already operating in the province.
The government has had Boyd’s controversial report in hand since December, but McGuinty was offering no clues Tuesday about when or even if the province will act on its recommendations.
Attorney General Michael Bryant was still examining the report, he said.
“I know that he’s reviewing it and at some point in time he’s going to come forward with some recommendations for us,” McGuinty said.
“And then we’ll act on it at that point in time.”
Conservative justice critic Bob Runciman said he couldn’t understand why the Liberal government decided to tackle the Shariah issue in the first place when there was little call for it from Muslims in Ontario.
“I’m not sure why they put their toe in the water,” Runciman said. “I don’t know that there was an enormous demand for it to occur.”
Why, Bob, it was the multiculturalist imperative.