UNITED SIKHS commends Canada Government on Kirpan Accomodation Policy in Canada Missions

On Monday, April 14, 2014, the government of Canada approved a new policy which allows Sikh visitors to Canadian missions abroad to wear kirpans. The new policy was announced by  Tim Uppal, minister of state (multiculturalism), on behalf of Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird. UNITED SIKHS commends Mr. Tim Uppal and the government of Canada for embracing religious freedom and taking the opportunity to understand the importance of the kirpan to the global Sikh community.

According to the statement, kirpan carriers must be sure to secure the kirpans within a sheath, attached to a fabric belt, and worn under the clothing across the torso. They must also follow the other four Sikh articles of faith: Kesh (uncut long hair), Kangha (wooden comb), Kara (steel or iron bracelet), and a Kaccha (undergarment).

This is a victory for the Sikh community and demonstrates that Canada is one step closer to accepting the significance of the Sikh articles of faith and their deep rooting meaning to followers of the faith.

However, the struggles for kirpan acceptance has not always been universal in Canada. In 2011, the Quebec National Assembly voted unanimously to ban the kirpan from its premises. UNITED SIKHS created a press release and petition (which can be viewed here: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-27-02-2011-00.html and here: http://unitedsikhs.org/petitions/petition.php?id=14) to generate signatures contesting their decision. A report was also made to address the issue (http://unitedsikhs.org/docs/BackgrounderKirpaninCanada.docx.pdf).

Later in 2012, Toronto became the first city in Canada to create a policy allowing Sikhs to allow kirpans into courts.  In 2013, Alberta province  created a similar policy allowing kirpans in their courts. The kirpan has also been permitted at the Parliament of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada.

We at UNITED SIKHS will continue to push for kirpan accommodation policies in Canada and internationally.



One Comment

  1. Sikh Kara says:

    I am with United Sikhs in all ways