An Ontario politician denounced Quebec's controversial Charter of Values Thursday with a poem he called "an ode to freedom and diversity."
Progressive Conservative MPP Ted Chudleigh, who represents Halton and is the grandson of former Tory premier Thomas Laird Kennedy, read his rhymes during member's statements.
Chudleigh celebrated that Ontario is free of "such hateful laws or divisive hot air" and commended all three provincial parties for not courting voters who "hate those who dress differently."
"Show us your faith, it’s not a disease," he said. "And wear whatever you damn well please."
Here are the words of his poem:
In la belle province, they may dare
To tell you what you may not wear.
What symbols you may never bare,
Or what you can’t put on your hair.
Muslims, Christians, Jews beware,
You give the separatists quite a scare.
Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs take care,
You’re not welcome over there.
Ontario, thank God, need not despair,
Of such hateful laws or divisive hot air.
We are free in thoughts, free in prayers,
Free in expression and all private affairs.
We value our rights over laws doctrinaire,
Our diversity gives us such richness and flair.
When it comes to faith we say 'laissez-faire,'
And follow the words of the wise man Voltaire.
Voltaire said once that man is free,
The moment that he wants to be.
In Ontario, I’m glad to see,
We don’t forfeit rights so easily.
PC, Liberal and NDP,
I commend all three parties here before me.
We may fight over details but never shall we,
Court voters who hate those who dress differently.
So say what you want, say it with ease,
In English, Arabic, Greek or Chinese.
Show us your faith, it’s not a disease,
And wear whatever you damn well please.
The Parti Quebecois government of Pauline Marois seeks to prohibit civil servants — including teachers, doctors and public daycare workers — from wearing turbans, hijabs, yarmulkes, large crucifixes and other "ostentatious" religious symbols.
In response, Liberal MPP Monte Kwinter brought forward a motion Tuesday praising diversity.
Kwinter called on members to "oppose any legislation that would restrict or prohibit people’s freedom of expression and religion in public places and affirm that Ontario greatly values our diverse population and the social, cultural and economic contributions they make to help our society thrive."
After, Kwinter explained to reporters at Queen's Park why he felt motivated to take a stand.
"What is happening in Quebec will get worldwide attention and I don’t want people to think this is Canada-wide. . . . It does send a negative message," he said, according to The Toronto Star.
"I’m not trying to meddle in what Quebec is doing," Kwinter said. I just want to make sure people understand this is Ontario’s position."
Chudleigh said he hoped the Liberal MPP's motion would pass unanimously.