Quebec separatists score points with ban on turbans in youth soccer

Quebec’s soccer federation is digging in its heels after being reprimanded for refusing to allow turban-wearing youths to play with the rest of the children, and slimy politicians bent on separatism couldn’t be happier.

After refusing to allow religious headgear in youth soccer and being banned from national play by the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA), the Quebec Soccer Federation thumbed its nose at the issue and says it will stand alone. Well, not alone. Because when it comes to the question of limiting religious accommodations in Quebec, there are a cadre of politicians who smell points to score.

There is something rotten in the province of Quebec, with the ridiculous and embarrassing decision to ban children wearing turbans from playing in provincial soccer leagues.

But the province has doubled-down on the issue, changing it from a secret sovereigntist gauntlet-dropping into an open and transparent one.

The Canadian Press reports the federation has declared it will maintain its controversial ban on turbans, patkas and keskis despite being suspended from the CSA.

[ Related: Quebec soccer federation says it will maintain ban on turbans ]

The Canadian body has called for every provincial association to allow religious headgear in league play and all but Quebec agreed. Some have expressed their disgust and Quebec’s refusal.

The Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) said it will not bend based on safety reasons, arguing that soccer's world body, FIFA, has not fully-approved the wearing of turbans. However, FIFA says Quebec should take its cues from the national body. So that argument has become total bunk. What is left is only pride and dirty politics.

The CSA says it will maintain the ban until Quebec lifts its ban. Quebec says it will happily remain outside of Canadian jurisdiction.

Doesn't this sound more than a little like how separatists would love the war to be waged on a much larger scale?

"I believe that the Quebec federation had the right to establish their own regulations," Premier Pauline Marois said on Tuesday. "They are autonomous and they are not liable to the Canadian federation."

So there it is; the Parti Quebecois' grand motto and overarching separatist intentions being shoehorned into a debate on youth soccer.

[ Pulse of Canada: Should soccer kids be allowed to wear turbans? ]

The National Post's Chris Selley concludes similarly, writing that Quebec politicians believe points can be scored by opposing religious accommodation.

This strategy of inventing or cultivating grievances with Ottawa and the Rest of Canada, then hawking them to Quebecers as proof of their own unrealized misery, is so dreary, negative and insultingly transparent as to make one pine for the finger tenting scheming of Jacques Parizeau.

Separatists are free to push and rally for an independent Quebec. It comes at the cost of national unity and it distracts the House of Commons from more important issues, but that's the price tag we have been stuck paying in Canada.

But what is rotten is when that battle is forced upon children who want to play soccer. When members of a youth sport federation receive their talking points from politicians will slick, unwavering ambitions.

The Parti Quebecois thinks it is winning political points by creating divisions on the youth soccer field. It is politics at its worst and it is sickening.