Brampton City Council Takes A Stand Against Quebec Due To Controversial Ban

 

The Brampton Council just unanimously passed a motion to support the legal challenge against Quebec’s Bill 21.

The motion was moved by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and seconded by City Councillor Harkirat Singh.

Bill 21, also known as ‘An Act Respecting the Laicity of the State,” designed to secularize the civil service in Quebec by banning the wearing of all religious symbols for most public sector workers. The bill prohibits teachers, police officers, judges and others from wearing items like hijabs, turbans, kippas, and crucifixes in the course of their duties.

Quebec has had a history over the thorny issue of “reasonable accommodation” when it comes to respecting the rights of minority groups over the freedom of religious expression. The proposal to ban religious symbols within at least the realm of the provincial government dates back to the days of the former Parti Quebecois government. The CAQ, a right-leaning political party, promised to bring in this law during the Quebec provincial campaign in 2018. Bill 21 is seen as a very unpopular and Islamophobic bill.

Recently, the Peel Police Services Board passed a motion to invite anyone affected by Bill 21 to apply for the same roles in the Peel Regional Police.

In a statement, Mayor Brown said city council will debate the motion to extend the same courtesy to those applying to be a firefighter in Quebec to come to Brampton.

If we don’t stand up for religious freedom in Brampton which is the most culturally and religiously diverse city in Canada than who will? The values of diversity and inclusion are important to our city. I was pleased to second the motion at today’s Peel Police Services Board encouraging those Quebec residents interested in a career in policing to apply to Peel Regional Police. We are ground zero for multiculturalism. I will continue to speak out for Canada’s multicultural mosaic and religious freedoms,” says Brown.

Bill 21 also invoked the notwithstanding clause from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, which allowed the Quebec government to override Charter rights for a period of five years.

This discriminatory bill Bill 21 particularly affects members of the Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faith who tend to wear very visible ‘religious symbols’,” says Councillor Singh in a press release. “The motion recognizes that the City of Brampton is one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in Canada where many residents wear religious symbols including, but not limited to, Turbans, Hijabs, and Kippa.”

According to the press release, the city will stand in solidarity with the communities impacted by the recent legislation and support the legal challenge by the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).

Here in Brampton, we see our diversity and inclusion as our source of pride. It is our strength and an asset. So, when our fellow Canadians whether here in Ontario or anywhere in Canada face discrimination - we as Bramptonians should and do need to stand up,” says Councillor Singh.

The city council states that they will take action to join the legal challenge against Quebec’s ban.

We’re ground zero for diversity. We’re ground zero for multiculturalism, We’re the most diverse big city in Canada and if the most diverse big city in Canada isn’t going to stand up for diversity and multiculturalism then who’s going to,” says Mayor Brown at the council meeting.

The council also passed a second motion to invite all affected individuals, either pursuing or training for a career in firefighting in Quebec, to apply for a career with the Brampton Fire and Emergency Services. City council voted 11-0 in favour of the motion.

The Brampton Fire and Emergency Services intend to place select advertising within Quebec to promote applying for a career with the service.

We will not be quiet, even though those in the political arena are unfortunately being silent on this injustice,” says Councillor Singh.

Many organizations have commended the council’s decision to pass both motions.

One of the things we always celebrate about Canada is that we are mosaic. It doesn’t matter where you’re born. It doesn’t matter the colour of your skin. It doesn’t matter what God you worship. It doesn’t matter who you love. Everyone has equal opportunity in this country and everyone has equal opportunity in our city,” says Mayor Brown.

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