Is the Charter of Quebec Values Just?

For Lon Fuller, the Charter of Quebec Values is not valid because it does not reflect the internal morality that is required for the valid law. He would argue that this law is morally wrong because it coercively prohibiting visible minorities from practicing religion in public services. According to Fuller’s perspectives, this law may not have the basic requirement for creating an ordered society (morality of duty), and it may have the lack of “morality of aspiration” (p. 32). In his argument, he may consider if the person who made this law has “the morality of the Good Life, of excellence, of the fullest realisation of human powers” (p.32). For him, it is morally wrong because it contradicts the Charter of Quebec Values, and it discriminates against certain people in the society. According to Fuller, “law can be used as both coercive instrument of social control and to facilitate human interaction” (p.30). In this case, he would say that this law is not enacted to have social control over the social disorders; instead, this law is created to prohibit people from their religious practices, and it would harm the society as whole. For example, people who have been working in the public sector for years and have established their careers as public servants, but now they have to sacrifice their careers over their religion values, because they have been banned to express their religious values in the public.

Finnis would argue that the Charter of Quebec Values is not a valid law because it is not human flourishing. He would say that the Charter of Quebec Values harm many people in the society because this law restrict people from practicing and expressing their religion values. For Finnis, this law is not based on universal values that give people freedom of religious practices as a whole. In his points of view, this law is not valid because visible minority groups will suffer the consequences of the Charter of Quebec Values, whether it is financial or emotional. In accordance, many people may leave their jobs in order to protect their religious values and may change their careers or move out of the province. However, the fact is that they will struggle, whether they leave the job or stay and face the consequences of the new law. In Finnis’s argument, the Charter of Quebec Values is not securing and is not nurturing the common goods of the society, because the Quebec government is trying to create a secular society by using the coercive power over visible minorities and infringing the fundamental right of Canadians. According to his argument, this law has the lack of practical reasonableness because the Quebec government ignores the basic values of religion in human life and also disregards “the basic principle of all moral reasoning” (Pavlich, p.34). Finnis would also say that the Charter of Quebec Value is unjust because it does not serve the common goods as a whole community and suppress the sociability; in other words, the enactment of invalid law would create more problems for the society and would restrict the human flourishing.

I think the Finnis argument is stronger than the Fuller’s arguments because his seven basic aspects of human flourishing are the basic goods, and a common person can identify through an introspective and intuitive analysis. The other reason is that Finnis recognizes the religion or the value of spiritual experience in his seven aspects of human flourishing.

The Charter of Quebec values is unjust because it is a coercive attempt to forbid people from their religious values and beliefs in the public sector. I do not think this is a right way to bring equality within the public sector, and according to my considerations, Quebec government would not be able to establish secularism through such forcible action which gives a reflection of prejudice. In other words, I think Quebec government is looking at one side of the coin and ignoring to see the other side of the same coin; where their attempt is to have a secularism society has negative impacts on the minorities, this attempt does not only harm people spiritually but also financially and emotionally. I agree that they want to bring secularism in their province, but their attempt to bring secularism in Quebec is wrong, because they are being unfair to the minorities and infringing the fundamental right of freedom and the right of practicing and expressing religion. The Quebec government should not ignore the fact that these people, who they are forbidding from their religious practices in the public sector, are also the part of the same community and have been helping to flourish the community. I am surprised to see that people are supporting the idea of secularism even though they are forcing their perspectives on those who do not want to be the part of secularism, because they have their own base of living. It is very shocking that how people are supporting the Charter of Quebec Values by saying that this is the only way to have equality in the society. For example, retired Supreme Court Judge Claire L’Heureux-Dub said that equality is a fundamental right but freedom of religion as a civil liberty that can be reduced (www.huffingtonpost.ca ). I think it is morally wrong because it is not only violating the fundamental right of freedom, but it also resists to accept the concept of Canadian Charter of rights and freedom.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/24/quebec-values-charter-supreme-court-judge_n_3983466.html

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2 responses to “Is the Charter of Quebec Values Just?

  1. You propose that Fuller would oppose the Charter of Quebec Values “because it [would] coercively prohibit[…] visible minorities from practicing religion in public services”. I’m not sure that this accurately reflects Fuller’s theory of procedural morality, which is concerned with the moral aspects of the ‘craft of lawmaking’, as opposed to the moral implications of the content of legal statutes. The Charter of Quebec Values does not immediately stand out as a clear violation of Fuller’s procedural ‘desiderata’. Imposing an unjust prohibition on religious symbols in public would not necessarily cause a statute to fail to meet the minimum ‘morality of duty’ required for it to be considered valid law. Fuller might agree that the Charter does not meet the higher standard of a ‘morality of aspiration’.

    Can you identify any of ‘King Rex’s failures’ that correspond to the Charter of Quebec Values?

    Your application of Finnis is clear and effective.

    Thanks for sharing your personal perspective on this.

  2. Fuller uses the opposite of king Rex’s 8 failures to specify positive ‘desiderata’ for successful lawmaking. According to him opposite of king Rex’s 8 failures are minimally required for the craft of law and to achieve internal coherence (Pavlich, p.31). For him, if we follow all the opposites of king Rex’s 8 failures during the craft of lawmaking, then it would be considered as a valid law. The problem with the Charter of Quebec Values is that it is failed to follow all of the opposites of king Rex’s 8 failures, which is minimally required for the valid law. The one opposite of king Rex’s 8 failures is the “non-contradictory rules” that the Quebec government failed to consider for the craft of lawmaking. The Charter of Quebec Values is contradictory because it divides the Quebec public in two groups, one that wants to have a secular society and the other group wants to have freedom to practice their religion in the public, which is their fundamental right. Nonetheless, this “contradictory statue” became an issue at the international level. People all over the world are contradicting against the Charter of Quebec Values. In this matter, the Quebec government is forcing the minorities to comply with the Charter of Quebec Values if they still want to work in the public sector. However, it would be impossible to enforce such law that jeopardize the integrity of minority groups towards their employers. For Fuller, when legislators use such awful ruling practices, the state could not expect compliance from the public.