The Supreme Court of Canada issued a judgment recently over the issue of the secular courts being able to intervene in situations where a divorcing husband refuses to cooperate in the process of granting a proper Jewish religious divorce. The Court held that the courts could intervene and could actually grant damages against a husband who refused to cooperate in such a process after promising to do so in the context of a secular divorce settlement.
To my mind this presents another side to the issue of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is often presented as a pernicious surrendering of authority over the affairs of persons who should be protected by the state. The recent murder of a young woman at the hands of her father over the issue of wearing the hijab (or, I think, really over the failure to submit to traditional fatherly control) has certainly brought this debate back to the fore in Canada. What the Supreme Court of Canada's decision shows, however, that what comes with decision to pursue one's beliefs in a multi-cultural society is ultimately a submission to the rule of law and civil authority. That authority has to shape its processes to allow different cultures to operate but there ultimately is a limit and that limit is the price of admission.