Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The veil and the school bus crash

The veil and the school bus crash

The driver of the Calgary school bus that crashed and killed a kid was wearing some sort of veil. I don't know if it was a Muslim hijab, an Eastern European baboushka, or just a hoodie. I don't know because not a single one of the news reporters on the scene bothered to ask.

To me, it's obvious why: because the subject matter clearly touches on the debate about "reasonable accommodation" and how far we're willing to let Muslim culture trump Canadian culture, when the two clash. I submit to you that they clash when it comes to wearing something that blocks a school bus driver's peripheral vision. I would say the same thing about any other religious appurtenance that interfered with driving

Here's my Sun column on the subject.

I've had a few responses so far, split between those who are appalled that I would even ask such questions, and those who are appalled that the rest of the media hasn't asked them.

It seems obvious to me that unimpaired vision is a "bona fide occupation requirement" -- legal jargon for an important job criterion that trumps political correctness. It's the same reason we "discriminate" against blind people by not letting them drive, either.

For those who say we should eliminate clear vision as a criterion for school bus driving, and allow hijabs, I'd ask:
1. Are there any limits at all? Such as the full niqab -- the one-woman-prison, often with the mesh in front of the eyes? and...

2. Do you mind if we try out such one-way multicultural experiments on your kids, and no-one else's?