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Monday, October 22, 2007

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?

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 22, 2007 | Permalink


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Like your unbiased observation that Islam is a race? Pity you.
I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Your question, apart from your hollow assertions, was what exactly, GBM?

Posted by: Speller | 2007-10-25 11:18:15 AM

So, GBM, what is the name of the bus driver?

The name of the deceased child is out in the public. Any reason why the perpetrator of the accident is being shielded?

Is that not a valid question?

Posted by: obc | 2007-10-25 11:40:00 AM


BTW, only racists, sexists, homophobes, and xenophobes are welcome on this web page.

There! Do you feel better, now that we have admitted what you already "knew"?

Posted by: obc | 2007-10-25 11:48:26 AM

You missed Islamophobes, KKK members, rednecks, gun nuts, Global Warming deniers, Zionists, NeoCons, Capitalist exploiters, and seal clubbers.

Tch, tch, you're too exclusive.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-10-25 12:02:18 PM

no question there obc. The driver (and the training that goes into being a school bus driver) has to be held to account and be punished whether she was on a phone, drunk or impaired in any manner. I trust that police force has this process under control and when the investigation is finished the public will know more.

That said, the anti-Muslim reaction because of a two second tv clip has to be confronted. This was, as you said, an accident ... an accident, not on purpose. Therefore I truly empathise with the driver regardless of what religion she represents in our world ... her life must now be ruined with torment, nothing I would wish on a person whose torment is the result of an accident. This does not diminish the emotional distraught I feel toward Kathelynn's family as they live out the biggest tragedy of this accident. This type of event is cause for pause and to hold the ones we love closer, so it is disturbing when an event as this is used to perpetuate anger and bigotry as if all the problems in the world are external to us.

Posted by: GBM | 2007-10-25 12:08:32 PM

"so it is disturbing when an event as this is used to perpetuate anger and bigotry"

. . . only in the minds of folks like you. Her name should be made public - period.

Posted by: obc | 2007-10-25 12:20:45 PM

>"This was, as you said, an accident ... an accident, not on purpose."

That's for the police to decide, the investigation is ongoing.
I think there will be criminal negligence charges at least.

The point of this thread centers on the observation that misplaced cultural tolerance could be responsible for creating a factor in the crash and whether or not this blindly pursued PC attitude should be amended to prevent future tragedies.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-10-25 12:30:57 PM

>"Muslim culture is about strapping bomb belts on kiddies and leaving live grenades around for them to play catch with."
Posted by: Speller | 25-Oct-07 10:36:50 AM

I consider this type of language to perpetuate anger and bigotry. It is in my mind yes, but it is through my mind that I perceive the world. The same way your mind perceives a problem with what you term 'political correctness'. And yes we have to be critical of contradcitons with PC attitutdes, but let's do it with out digressing into name calling and malicious generalities.

And to continue the initial thread, I am saying that efforts to thrwart a PC attitued should not create facts. We do not know the driver's religion, or if she was wearing a headdress ... so it is unfair to attack an acceptance of Muslim culture as a possible cause of this accident. Levant was too qucik to comment on this issue from this angle, especially becasue of his criticism of the media of being lax in their reporting. He committed the same error, and what I am saying caused this error is his distaste for the Muslim influence in the Canadian diaspora ... or that is what his actions have led many people to think. It is up to him to be more judicious in his choice of topics and the language he uses to jusify his arguements.

Posted by: GBM | 2007-10-25 12:56:35 PM

Hijab or not, Muslim or not. There was a really big truck sitting in plain view, a big yellow bus hit it. Somebody has some real explaining to do. There has been many investigative reports over the years from many, many places regarding the safety and training of school bus drivers. In many areas, the bussing of children is usually done by a private company. As is expected in any for-profit enterprise, there is plenty of ways to cut costs and increase profits. Was this driver in Calgary properly trained? Was her actual driving skill up to the task? Big school busses are not always the easiest things to control, or always in good working order either.

All that said, Ezra is not being a biggot to ask a few simple question such as why nobdy asked the obvious questions. Or, refused to publish the answers to those questions. They often withhold the names of the deceased until next of kin is notified, or the person in question is a minor. After those two things are ruled out, why was the name of the driver withheld? It is legal to publish the names of an accused in a criminal matter long before being convicted. It's called news gathering.

The name and details of this woman are open season to the media. So Ezra is 100% right to bring this matter to light, even if he, as some claim, is being biased. Being biased doesn't seem to be an issue for other journalists, so why pick on him then?

BTW, if I said: "cause of accident is because she was just another bad woman driver" Would that make me racist? Islamophobe? or Xenophobe? Just asking.

Posted by: arctic_front | 2007-10-25 1:01:55 PM

>"We do not know the driver's religion, or if she was wearing a headdress ..."

You mean you don't know.

WE do IN FACT KNOW she was wearing a headscarf.


You're just assuming we're talking out of our a$$ like you are.

Objective? Yeah, sure.
What's that object in your butt?
Why, it's your head!

Posted by: Speller | 2007-10-25 1:09:10 PM

"the bussing of children is usually done by a private company"

. . . run by perverts.

"bussing" with 2 esses means "kissing". :)

Posted by: obc | 2007-10-25 1:10:52 PM

This photo was taken after the fact. There is the possibility that she put the scarf on to shield the cameras. So we need to come to this truth before we start going off on what caused the accident and should certainly curtail discussion about how Muslim's usurp some idealised Canadian identity.

Posted by: GBM | 2007-10-25 1:15:12 PM

>"This photo was taken after the fact. There is the possibility that she put the scarf on to shield the cameras. So we need to come to this truth before we start going off on what caused the accident and should certainly curtail discussion about how Muslim's usurp some idealised Canadian identity."
Posted by: GBM | 25-Oct-07 1:15:12 PM

You are spinning like a Dremel.
Don't even pretend you are interested in 'coming to the truth'.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-10-25 1:20:55 PM

Right - she put the hijab on after the accident. That's what I would do to hide my identity from the cameras. In fact, I'm surprised more non-Muslim women don't do that more often. SHEEEESH!

Posted by: obc | 2007-10-25 1:21:58 PM


Notice that Great Bowel Movement is pretending to be 'coming to the truth' while sprinting the 100 yard dash in the opposite direction with their hair on fire.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-10-25 1:25:16 PM

Are you saying that when she drives her own car everyday or anybody's car she gets into accidents because of a veil? Do you have statistics of muslims countries or other European, Asian and American people on the number of veiled women driving with their veil that has caused accident? You people really live your lives in a bubble, you think with your feet...and you have the nerve to tell other people of other culture that they are the one living in a another age. Please think before you talk, start a blog or any of these idiocy you people are so good at. It's always a question of immigrant taking advantage of the great Canadian freedom...what about your people, what about Canadians when they go to these people's country? You think they just follow the rules??? Oh yeah well actually you are right they do so by buying the biggest lot, or land build a huge mansion on it, fence it all around and then get maids and gardeners from these countries, they come out of their castle to look for little boys or littles girls. If it ever comes to anybody's ears they call their embassy and are shipped out these countries within a matter of days and nothing is done to them back home...yeah that's their "reasonable accommodation".

Posted by: mani | 2008-04-13 11:45:29 AM

May the family who lost their daughter put behind them the tragedy they so terribly suffered. May the people of humanity put away their hatered, pray for the soul lost, for the children who still suffer in silence from this accident and the parents of these children who suffer along side them. Please pray for the driver of this vehicle who must live everyday with this.

Posted by: G.O.D. | 2008-08-05 8:13:49 PM

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