British Columbia

Victoria councillor tables motion to support challenge of Quebec's religious symbols law

The motion from Sharmarke Dubow asks that the City of Victoria supports in principle the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in their legal challenge against Bill 21 in Quebec. 

If passed, Victoria will join Brampton, Ont., in condemning Quebec's ban of religious symbols at work

City of Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow hopes a motion he has tabled to support the legal challenge to Quebec's religious symbols law will be passed on July 11. (CHEK News)

A Victoria councillor has tabled a motion that will ask the city to support a legal challenge of a Quebec law that bans employees from wearing religious symbols at work.

The motion from Sharmarke Dubow asks that the City of Victoria supports in principle the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) in their legal challenge against Bill 21 in Quebec. 

"It came from communities members asking me and the City of Victoria to take a stand and show that council is sending a strong message that we are against discrimination," Dubow said Sunday.

Quebec's Bill 21 became law in mid-June and bars public school teachers, police officers, government lawyers and other civil servants from wearing religious symbols while at work.

Advocates of the bill say it will safeguard Quebec's secular society.

'Contrary to Canadian values'

But the day after the legislation was passed, the NCCM and the CCLA filed a motion in Quebec Superior Court seeking an injunction and asking that the law be declared invalid, arguing that the bill legalizes religious discrimination.

The court challenge is being filed on behalf of an education student and a Muslim who will be unable to work in Quebec's public school system unless she removes her hijab.

"This legislation, although presented as promoting religious neutrality of the state, is a thinly veiled attack on religious and cultural traditions of religious minorities," says Dubow's motion in Victoria.

"It is contrary to Canadian values, which include freedom of religion and acceptance of diversity."

 

Brampton motion

In late June, the City of Brampton, Ont., passed a similar motion supporting the legal challenge.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said at the time that he would like to see other municipalities oppose the bill and support legal action against it.

Councillors in Victoria will vote on the motion on Thursday, July 11.

With files from CHEK News

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.