Supreme Court Ruling Looks Foolish As Sikh Student Uses Kirpan as a Weapon
“The controversy over the kirpan is back. Police
say a 13-year-old Sikh boy last week used a religious dagger to threaten
another student outside a school in
But, then, when do politicians or the courts pay any attention to the views of Canadians when it comes to sucking up to privileged minorities?
I might say: “We told you so.” The dreamers on
the Supreme Court have ruled that the moon is made of green cheese. Of course,
a kirpan is a weapon. It’s
a dagger and not a rubber or plastic imitation blade. This is not the first
time Sikhs have hit the news wielding kirpans
or “ceremonial swords.” Several disputes at Sikh gurdwaras or temples, in Toronto And
Vancouver, have seen violence as combatants menace each other with their kirpans or longer swords. Sikhs are a
militant group. The kirpan is
carried as a symbol of their readiness to fight. The British enlisted large
numbers of Sikhs for their military and police units precisely because of their
Parents of students attending a high school in LaSalle are, therefore, rightly outraged after a 13year-old Sikh boy pulled his kirpan on another student this week. In their decision, “the Supreme Court acknowledged three violent incidents involving kirpans in metropolitan
How stupid do you have to be!
Kirpan incident raises questions about court ruling
Teen accused of using it as weapon could rekindle kirpan-in-school debate
(The Gazette, September 16, 2008)
The controversy over the kirpan is back. Police say a 13-year-old Sikh boy last week used a religious dagger to threaten another student outside a school in
What was hurt, however, was the case for allowing Sikhs to take the symbolic weapon to school. The Supreme Court of Canada upheld that right in 2006.
The kirpan was hugely influential in the whole debate over the accommodation of cultural differences. In its report last May, the Bouchard-Taylor commission on reasonable accommodations noted that the Supreme Court's decision had "contaminated" that debate and also "discredited the courts." Indeed, an SOM poll in La Presse a year ago suggested that an overwhelming 91 per cent of Quebecers opposed the court-sanctioned right of young Sikhs to wear the bladed object to class.
Does the wearing of the ceremonial dagger, seen by many Sikhs as a purely symbolic weapon in the fight against evil, compromise public security? That question has dominated each of the many deliberations on the kirpan.
Administrators at L'École Ste. Catherine Labouré
reached an agreement in 2001 with the parents of a 12-year-old boy, Gurbaj
Singh Multani, to let him wear the dagger if it were sewn into his
underclothing to impede impulsive removal. The school's governing board then
reversed the decision, banning the object. When the Marguerite Bourgeoys School
Board upheld that ruling, the parents went to Quebec Superior Court: That court
said the boy could wear the knife so long as he kept it in a cloth envelope
under his shirt.
The Quebec Court of Appeal overturned that. It said
that barring the kirpan contravened the Charter of Rights' guarantee of
religious freedom, but it said the question of safety made the ban reasonable.
What's significant in light of last Thursday's incident is the Supreme Court's logic in overturning the Court of Appeal and dismissing safety as a problem.
The court said that the evidence "reveals that not a single violent incident related to the presence of kirpans in schools has been reported." Now we have a report of such an incident in LaSalle. Granted, according to police it did not take place "in" a school but on the street just outside of one, the Cavalier-de-LaSalle school, during lunch break.
The Quebec Court of Appeal had said it was "not hypothetical" to suppose that in a tight situation a Sikh youth might make use of his kirpan. If the police are to be believed, that court was right.
The Supreme Court acknowledges three violent incidents involving kirpans in metropolitan
You might think this would discredit Sikh authorities' claim that a kirpan would never be used as actual weapon. But, no, the high court split hairs. It indicated that these incidents were not relevant to the Multani case because none of them took place in or near a school.
The Supremes were quite impressed by Gurbaj Singh Multani's character. "The risk that this particular student would use his kirpan for violent purposes seems highly unlikely to me," said the writer of the judgment, Justice Louise Charron.