Quebec Minister criticizes relaxation of parking restrictions for Jews during Shavuot

May 20, 2013
parking restrictions sign

View this sign here.

For almost thirty years, municipal authorities in a west-end Montreal borough Côte-des-Neiges-Notre—Dame-de-Grace have accommodated the Jewish holiday of Shauvot. During this time, they remove parking restrictions so that Jews observing the festival do not have to move their vehicles. Now, for the first time, Quebec Citizenship Minister Bernard Drainville has opposed this tradition.

CBC News Montreal reports, the issue was raised “by some municipal blue collar workers, who complained they’d been taken off pothole-filling and other duties in order to cover up parking signs for the Shavuot holiday.” This is done to ensure cars owned by Jews are not ticketed. Others still have to move their cars across the street to enable street sweeping.

Drainville said, “You cannot start having parking rules that are different according to your religion. There will be no end to it. How can we live together in the same society, if we start having different parking regulations according to different religions?”

“The minister said the issue underscores a need to establish “clear rules” around religious accommodation. The PQ promised during last year’s election campaign to bring in a so-called “secularism charter,” although Drainville said that will not happen until Quebecers are consulted on the subject.”

The Parti Québécois’s secular charter aims to ensure that public institutions are free of religious bias. Critics have argued that this proposal could go against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This charter entitles Canadians to freedom of religion and encourages multiculturalism in the nation.

parking on quebec street

Cars outside a synagogue in Montreal. Image by Philippe Du Berger.

Marvin Rotrand, councilor for the Snowdon district in Montreal, said, “The idea of meeting requests from major ethnic and religious organizations on our territory, when it causes no prejudice to other citizens or to the city, is something that is natural for us and has been for nearly 30 years, without incident.”

The National Post has proposed a solution to this outburst surrounding parking restrictions. It proposes that synagogues in the concerned areas hire non-Jews who can move cars for Jews across the street, for a fee, on Shavuot. It remains to be seen what Drainville has to say about this idea.

Tags: , , ,

Category: News, No Parking

; ;