Sign up FAST! Login

Get a backbone, Canada: The country needs to regain its cultural confidence

Get a backbone, Canada: The country needs to regain its cultural confidence | Columnists | Opinion | Calgary Sun

Stashed in: Canada, Gender, Religion

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Sonja Power is a 17-year-old girl who was told her Aikido class would be divided by gender, men on one side, women on the other, in order to accommodate a Muslim man who enrolled in the class.

The class was run out of the Lakeside Community Centre, owned by the city of Halifax. The city and the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission both supported this gender segregation.

All of that bugs me, but it was what Sonja and her mother, Michele Walsh, told Sun News was the reaction of the sensei when they complained.

“You better get used to it because this is going to happen more and more in Canada,” is how Walsh remembers sensei Steve Nickerson responding.

My initial reaction was, “I bloody well won’t get used to it,” but now I realize I may not have a choice.

This is a tricky ethical dilemma.  On one side you want to be respectful of someones beliefs, and thus allow them to participate, but on the other, are you suppose to change the social fabric of your country for a minority of your citizens?

Another thought is we have historically gender separated in North America.  We don't share the same bathrooms (unlike Battlestar Galactica), we often prefer same gender doctors, our sports teams are mostly like gender, it goes on and on.  I think though, we have been trying to break down gender barriers, and become more inclusive, so this feels a bit like backsliding.

You've articulated the tradeoffs, and I agree with you.

You May Also Like: