CAQ’s Bill 21 Seeks to Make Discrimination Law, say Muslim Lawyers
For Immediate Release
For French Version click HERE
Montréal, April 8, 2019 - The Quebec Section of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association (CMLA-Quebec) strongly opposes the introduction of Bill 21 by the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government.
In a statement, CLMA-Quebec said:
“If passed, Bill 21 will enshrine discrimination into law, limit employment opportunities of some within Quebec’s religious minorities, and create second class citizens.
“The fact that the notwithstanding clauses in the Quebec and Canadian charters are being used, shows the complete disregard the current government has for protecting the rights of minorities.”
Bill 21 seeks to discriminate in the areas of employment and the provision of government services based upon one’s faith. Individuals who choose certain forms of dress, out of a sincerely held religious belief, are targeted by the legislation. Specifically, the fundamental rights to religious freedom and freedom of expression are seriously limited by the bill.
Professions falling under provincial jurisdiction within Quebec, impacted by Bill 21, include:
Lawyers or notaries employed by a provincial ministry, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions or the National Assembly. Also, public prosecutors, including those in municipal court.
Teachers in the public system.
Members of government commissions, including administrative tribunals.
Furthermore, the bill severely limits the ability of women, who choose to wear a face veil, to access provincial and municipal services, including getting information at government kiosks or boarding busses.
Premier François Legault has said he wants to pass Bill 21 into law before the provincial legislature closes for the summer on June 14.
If passed, Bill 21 will contravene fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in both the Quebec and Canadian charters, and principles of international law. Additionally, it will impact the economic, social and cultural rights, which are also contained in the Quebec charter and recognized in international law.
To read Bill 21 visit: http://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/travaux-parlementaires/projets-loi/projet-loi-21-42-1.html
CLMA-Quebec encourages mindful citizens within Quebec to voice their concerns about Bill 21 with their elected officials, with colleagues and in the media.
CMLA-Quebec is working with several civil society organizations within Quebec, from educational institutions, to the legal community, to advocacy groups, in order to maintain fundamental rights that Bill 21 seeks to erode.
CMLA-Quebec is the Quebec section of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, a national organization founded in 1998.
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