Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has agreed to a five-year grace period to "accommodate" change to the new so-called "Charter of Quebec Values."
The proposal would "establish a duty of neutrality and reserve for all state personnel," she said. Also, it will "limit the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols."
Reading between the lines and putting aside semantics, all this charter does is try to squash religion and impose secularism.
Perhaps Quebec's history books end when Napoleon last ruled a French empire, and as a result, Quebecers haven't heard about communism and fascism.
Communist states tried to erase religion based on the belief it corrupted people and was full of false truths.
People should give it up for the "greater good" of society, they were told.
The Nazis tried to destroy ethnic minorities to "save the state" and its identity from what it argued were lies that corrupted individuals.
Does Marois think people should not show their faith or religious affiliation for the greater good or to save Quebec's identity? The Soviet Union and the Nazis tried with terrible results.
Pictures released by the Quebec government of what is and isn't permitted, and why, remind me of the images released by Himmler in Nazi Germany of how to recognize a non-Aryan.
How can a supposedly free and democratic society limit the ability of individuals to wear religious symbols? What is a religious symbol any way? I have a T-shirt with a cross and an angel that I think is very cool. Will Quebec law enforcers argue that it breaks the new rules?
After all, I think it is cool and the design wouldn't have the same effect or meaning without the symbols, but I am not a Christian.
If Quebec thinks it can ban conspicuous religious symbols, it should look at pop culture: girls wearing big crosses; the hamsa (five finger hand) is very popular in shirts and jewelry. The famous Mexican sugar skull is becoming popular.
The skull is a religious symbol in Mexico. Will Quebec ban it, too? What about the five-pointed star? It was used by witches in the Middle Ages.
Will they ban wearing an "S" if I declare a new Salomon religion? The idea is as ridiculous as it was under Communism and Nazism.
Squashing people's ability to express themselves only makes people find more subtle ways of doing so. It can have the effect of making individuals actively resist such unfair government impositions.
Consider Capoeria in Brazil, where black slaves hid messages within their martial art dances. The more the government tries to legislate what people can or can't believe or can or can't do, the less effective they will be.
However, I do understand why Marois is doing it. Quebecers are losing their identity, but this is not because Quebec is multicultural.
I am against multiculturalism, too, but I'm not ready to take away people's freedoms - even if I don't like how they express them.
Quebec's connection to France is of no use. France doesn't feel any special connection to Quebec and is itself suffering from its own loss of cultural identity.
Nothing remarkable has come from France for years. After the French Revolution, Pasteur and Voltaire, the French lost their cultural cachet. Contemporary France has significant economic and social problems.
Quebecers have far more to celebrate about being Canadians than French. They are wrong to think that passing a useless (and unenforceable) law will bring back the "glory days" of Quebec-as French-culture.
Salomon Rayek is a Kelowna resident and former executive editor of the Jewish Tribune. Email: