Religious Freedom Case Study

In February 2015, a woman in Quebec had her car seized by the automobile insurance board, and when she went to court to reclaim her vehicle, the judge refused to hear her case. The woman in question was Muslim, and was wearing her hijab. The judge stated he would not hear her case unless she removed her hijab. During the hearing, the judge asserted, “The same rules need to be applied to everyone. I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing a scarf on your head, just as I would not allow a person to appear before me wearing a hat or sunglasses on his or her head, or any other garment not suitable for a court proceeding.” Bringing in examples from course materials and case law, as well as your own research, please answer the following questions:

1. Is freedom of religion reflected in this case?

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2. Does the judicial system have the authority to refuse hearing a case because of the religion of the individual concerned? Does a judge have the power to enforce institutional rules that directly conflict with an individuals fundamental freedoms?

3. Do the courts have the authority to limit when an individual can express their beliefs or religion (think here about judicial activism vs. deference)? 4. What are the policy implication s arising from this case? Does this impact Canadas status as a multicultural country? Sources: https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/sikhs-and-hard-hats-let-freedom-reign/ https://www.thecourt.ca/face-coverings-and-the-canadian-citizenship-oath-the-federal-court-of-appeal-decides-ishaq-v-canada/ https://www.oktlaw.com/indigenous-religious-freedom-case-heads-supreme-court/ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/supreme-court-rules-quebec-infringed-on-loyola-high-school-s-religious-freedom-1.3000724

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