Sikhs would not be exempted from wearing helmets while riding motorcycles in Canada’s east-central Ontario province, premier Kathleen Wynne has said, citing safety reasons.
“After careful deliberation, we have determined we will not grant this type of exemption as it will pose a road safety risk,” Wynne was quoted as saying in a letter. “Ultimately, the safety of Ontarians is my utmost priority, and I cannot justify setting that concern aside on this issue,” Wynne said.
The Canadian Sikh Association said it received a letter last week from Wynne stating that the Liberal government, for safety reasons, will not allow Sikh motorcycle riders to wear only turbans.
Wynne said safety trumped religious freedom in this case. There are nearly 2 lakh Sikhs living in Ontario.
Jagmeet Singh, member of the Provincial Parliament of the New Democratic Party, said he was “deeply disappointed by Wynne’s decision not to grant exemption to motorcycle helmet laws for turbaned Sikhs.”