Bill 62 has 'no place in Canada': Wynne, MPPs speak out against Quebec's religious neutrality law

Quebec's Bill 62 on religious neutrality was passed on Wednesday. It prohibits public workers such as doctors, teachers and daycare employees — as well as those receiving a service from the government — from covering their faces.

Representatives for Liberal, PC, and NDP parties slammed Bill 62 at Queen's Park

Premier Kathleen Wynne was among those speaking out against Quebec's controversial religious neutrality law at Queen's Park on Thursday morning. "This is the kind of action that drives wedges in communities," said Wynne. (Christopher Katsarov/Canadian Press)

Premier Kathleen Wynne was among those speaking out against Quebec's controversial religious neutrality law at Queen's Park on Thursday morning.

"This is the kind of action that drives wedges in communities," said Wynne.

The law, which would effectively force Muslim women who wear a niqab or burka to uncover their faces to use public services, will push women already at the margins "further into isolation," Wynne continued.

The Liberal government's Bill 62 on religious neutrality was passed Wednesday in Quebec's National Assembly. It prohibits public workers such as doctors, teachers and daycare employees — as well as those receiving a service from the government — from covering their faces. 

Nepean—Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, speaking for the Progressive Conservatives on Thursday, said the legislation "has no place in Canada."

Whether someone wears a cross, turban, or niqab, they should "never be denied a public service," she said.

Zayneb Binruchd says she would rather stay home than be forced to take off her niqab to ride a bus in Quebec, after the province passed a law obliging citizens to uncover their faces when giving and receiving public services. 0:53

London West MPP Peggy Sattler echoed that sentiment, calling Bill 62's adoption "an unprecedented action in Canada."

Speaking for the New Democrats, she said the party supports women's rights to autonomy over their own bodies. "This bill has nothing to do with secularism or public safety," she added.

In Quebec, the Liberals — who hold a majority — voted in favour of the bill, while all the other parties voted against it.

The two main opposition parties, the Parti Québécois and Coalition Avenir Québec, say the legislation doesn't go far enough, while civil rights advocates and Muslim groups have called it discriminatory.

With files from Benjamin Shingler