A coalition of mayors, city councillors, school board commissioners, and representatives at the provincial and federal level announced today their intention to oppose Bill 21, An Act respecting the laicity of the State, which was recently tabled by the Quebec government.
The coalition of elected officials announced the Rally for Religious Freedom will take place on Sunday, April 14, 2019, from 11:30am to 1pm in front of the Bernard Lang Civic Centre at 5801 Cavendish Blvd. in Côte Saint-Luc. The public is invited to attend to show their opposition to Bill 21.
“Yes, ensuring the neutrality of the state is vitally important. That ensures the equality of all but this awful bill will do exactly the opposite. It will tell some Quebecers that they are not as equal as others. What a terrible message! This bill is unfair, it is unworthy of the Quebec that I love and is effectively illegal when applied to the Quebec and Canadian Charters of Rights. Together, we will use all means legitimately available to oppose it.”
– David Birnbaum, Member of Parliament for D’Arcy-McGee and Official Opposition Critic for Indigenous Affairs
“We intend to work together across jurisdictions to oppose Bill 21. The proposed law discriminates against a number of those people we represent and seeks to treat those who wear a cross, kippa, hijab or turban as second class citizens.”
– Anthony Housefather, Member of Parliament for Mount Royal
“We intend to speak out and defend a value we hold dear–that of ensuring all Quebecers can excel in the professions of their choice, irrespective of their religious beliefs.”
– Mitchell Brownstein, Mayor of the City of Côte Saint-Luc
“Bill 21 will institutionalize discrimination for certain jobs in the public service making Quebec the only jurisdiction in North America where candidates who might be entirely qualified, indeed the best candidate, will be barred on the basis of their deeply held religious believes. Quebec’s civil service already lacks diversity and the message this Bill sends is that minorities are unwelcome. It flies in the face of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and what most Quebecers believe that we are a welcoming society where people can be proud of their descent and heritage while being proud of being Quebecers. Clearly this Bill targets Jews, Sikhs and Muslims and as more Quebecers realize it, support for this odious legislation will collapse.”
– Marvin Rotrand, Councillor for Snowdon district of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Montreal)
“We must speak out against this legislation together. We stood united against the former PQ government’s Charter of Values in 2014 and I am comforted to see we will do so again. What the government is asking us to do goes against all of the values we teach our children.”
– Angela Mancini, Chair of the English Montreal School Board
- The Quebec government tabled Bill 21 in the National Assembly on March 28, 2019
- The bill is available to read at http://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/travaux-parlementaires/projets-loi/projet-loi-21-42-1.html
- A coalition of elected officials spoke out against the proposed Bill 60 (Charter of Values) tabled by the Parti Québécois government in 2013.
- A rally in support of religious freedom was held on Monday, December 2, 2013 in Côte Saint-Luc (view at https://youtu.be/hskyILOfDzs)