South Asian Canadians

Passing of Bill 21 a Sad Day for Quebec & Human Rights: World Sikh Organization

Montreal: The World Sikh Organization of Canada is deeply saddened by the passing of Bill 21- An Act respecting the laity of the State by the Coalition Avenir Quebec government banning the wearing of religious symbols. The Bill was passed in a rare late-night vote on Sunday after the Government of Quebec invoked closure to prematurely end debate. The Government of Quebec has also invoked the notwithstanding clause, allowing it to go beyond the limits of freedom of religion and protection in the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms. 

Closure was also used on Saturday to pass Bill 9, a controversial law throwing out 18,000 pending immigration applications to Quebec. Bill 9 includes the framework for a Quebec city that would have to be immigrants to become permanent residents.

Bill 21 restricts the wearing of ‘religious symbols’ by public servants in positions of authority such as police officers, judges, prosecutors and also school teachers and principals

In a last-minute amendment, the Quebec Government added that ” inspectors” will oversee compliance with the secularism law and impose corrective measures.

Despite the amendment, according to experts, the bill’s definition of religious symbol “clothing, symbol, jewelry, ornament, accessory or head” is considered in connection with a religious belief or belief and can reasonably be considered as affiliation “Makes the bill difficult if not impossible to enforce.

There are approximately 15,000 Sikhs in Quebec who will be disproportionately impacted by the ban on religious clothing and symbols. Practicing Sikhs, both men and women, wear the Sikhs articles of the same day as the day of their lives.    

In May, the United States submitted a bill to the United States of America in which Bill 21 threatens freedoms is protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

WSO President Mukhbir Singh said today:

“This is a very sad day for the people of Quebec and all of Canada. Quebec is the first jurisdiction in North America to impose a religious dress code. The message the CAQ Government has sent to the world is that it has not yet been adopted. Stripping members of minority communities is a shocking move that will have long term repercussions for Quebec and Canada. Bill 21 was a solution to a problem that did not exist and pandered to the xenophobic tendencies of a section of the Quebec electorate.  

The WSO will work with community partners in Quebec to oppose this legislation with every means available to us. The fight against this secularism will be a historic struggle that will have a permanent impact on human rights in Canada. We call to the people of Quebec to reject this discriminatory and divisive law. “

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs, the irrespective of race, religion , gender, ethnicity, social and economic status.