BC capital braces for legal challenge to Quebec ban on religious symbols – Cowichan Valley Citizen

Victoria will join a growing number of Canadian municipalities in financially and verbally supporting a legal challenge to Quebec’s Bill 21, following the passage of a motion by city council on Thursday (January 6).

The bill was passed in 2019 and prohibits certain public officials, including teachers, government lawyers and police officers, from wearing religious symbols at work. The secularism law is the result of a long and difficult relationship with the province’s Catholic Church, but has been widely criticized since its implementation for discriminating against minority religious groups. In July 2019, Victoria condemned the bill, but it was not until Thursday’s council meeting that the city decided to back its words with a financial pledge.

Com. Sharmarke Dubow introduced the motion with the open request to commit up to $50,000 to the joint legal challenges against Bill 21 brought by the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the World Sikh Organization of Canada and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Dubow’s motion also called on council members to verbally support the legal challenges and to encourage other BC municipalities and leaders to also support it financially.

During the discussions, Dubow recalled receiving a copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms at his citizenship ceremony in 2017. He said it should remind everyone of what Canadian citizens have and what they could lose.

“In 20, 30 years, what will I say to my children? What will the people of Victoria tell their children? He asked.

Several councilors expressed concern about allocating too much money to an issue outside of Victoria as they considered the city’s needs, but were unanimous in their support for a certain amount.

Using a 10 cents per capita formula, which they hope other BC municipalities will replicate, councilors decided on an allocation of $9,500.

Other municipalities across Canada have also made financial contributions. In Ontario, Brampton, Toronto and London have all pledged $100,000 each, and several other cities are considering pledges of $10,000 to $50,000. Winnipeg and Calgary are also considering amounts in the tens of thousands.

Com. Geoff Young, Stephen Andrew and Charlayne Thornton-Joe voted against the $9,500 amount, after hoping for a lower amount, but joined the rest of council in supporting the legal challenge and advocating for other municipalities to do so. same.

City councilQuebecreligious symbolsQuebec law on secularismVictoria

James V. Hayes