October 25, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

Complete Canadian News World

English language school boards are exempt from state secularism law

With this decision, the court effectively created two school regimes in relation to secular law: one for English-speaking schools, where staff can wear religious symbols in the performance of their duties, and the other for schools. Francophones, where it is forbidden to display such signals for staff.

The same is true for officials elected to the National Assembly, who are exempt from the ban on wearing religious symbols while sitting in the National Assembly, Judge Blanchard ruled.

The law in force in Quebec must comply with the requirements of the law for other police, firefighters, judges and correctional officers.

In his decision, Justice Blanchard did not accept other challenges brought to court by groups challenging the state secularism law, which included the validation of the law.

The English Montreal School Board is satisfied

The court ruling was welcomed by EMSB President Joe Ortona. According to him, the law will have a negative impact on the staff he promotes in his school board’s schools and the culture of tolerance.

We had to turn down jobs for eligible candidates, some rejected promotions and some did not apply, Mr. Ortona lamented.

The law forces individuals to choose between a government job and the desire to wear religious symbols.

A quote from:Joe Ortona, President of the English Montreal School Board

Our values ​​requested Joe Ortona to diversify our staff and our student body by respecting their religious rights guaranteed by the Canadian and Quebec Charters. Bill 21 is an attempt to solve a non-existent problem.

EMSB lawyers argue that state secularism law violates Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights (New window). This article specifically protects the right to education in the minority language, in this case Quebec’s English-speaking communities.

According to the complainants’ explanation, this article grants [par extension] Constitutional rights for minorities in the country in the management of their schools. This will allow them to escape the law passed by Quebec. However, Justice Blanchard seems to have given them a reason.

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Quebec is appealing this decision

Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette has announced that his government will immediately appeal the Quebec Superior Court ruling.

Photo: Canadian Press / Jacques Boissinot

As expected, the verdict provoked strong opposition in Quebec, where Simon Jolin-Barrett, Minister of Justice and Father of Secular Law Deep disagreement His government in the wake of exceptions to the judgment given by the court in the application of the law.

The judgment of the Superior Court is to create a division in the application of the law on the basis of the language standard., Explained Simon Jolin-Barrett.

Section 23 of the 1982 Constitution Act was not designed for this, so we will appeal., Continued by Simon Jolin-Barrett.

Quebec laws apply to everyone and throughout Quebec. There are two Quebecs, only one.

A quote from:Simon Jolin-Barrett, Quebec Minister of Justice

For Minister Barrett, the ruling calls into question Quebec law For its uniqueness And the ability of cubers to make their own choices.Quebec does not accept such interference by the Court in relation to our collective decisions., Added.

The role of the courts is not to rewrite the constitution.

A judgment based on Generalizations, Condemns PQ

The ruling of the Superior Court also made the party Cubacos leader Paul Saint-Pierre Plamond‌n, for whom the decision was further relied upon Generalizations On the right.

In this judgment, we are told: “For Anglophones, it is important to give way to religious symbols in their education system, so we understand that escaping from the Quebec’s democratic will is part of their language rights.” […] In the name of generalizations that have no basis in my opinion.

“Religious symbols enhance student success”, “Part of the values ​​of English speakers”, “Religious symbols are an asset” … It is very difficult for me to see how we are in the legal field.

A quote from:Paul Saint-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the party Cubacois

Do not underestimate his words, the PQ leader said that the verdict will be according to him Glowing proof Although Quebec is democratically expressed in its population, it is not in a position to govern its own territory within the Canadian legal framework.

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Disappointment at MLQ

To the Quebec Secular Movement (MLQ), which appealed for the maintenance of the law during the trial, the verdict was greeted with some relief, as it handles the application of the law on secularism, as explained later in the afternoon. Movement president, Lucy Jabin. But we regret that this management is based solely on the mock rule, Added Mrs. Jabin.

According to her, Judge Blanchard We completely ignored the testimonies of the five parents we submitted Who argued in favor of maintaining law. What’s more, the decision to allow professors to teach Even in Nikab Does not go to MLQ in English schools.

Whatever the language of teaching or use, secularism must apply.

A quote from:Lucy Jabin, Vice President of the Movement Lock Cubacois

There is no school for teachers and children must be provided with educational services. They are responsible for the responsibilities of religious neutrality. Teachers are role models for children, The lawyer at Movement Lock Cubacois for his part recalled your Luke Alari.

Controversial law

The law on state secularism – passed by the National Assembly in June 2019 – specifically prohibits certain state employees from wearing religious symbols while performing their duties, including police and Crown lawyers, as well as public elementary and secondary school teachers.

In adopting it, the Legalt government explained its provision and those who argued that it was contrary to the Charter of Rights so as not to challenge its law – often referred to as the provision.

This did not prevent many opponents from challenging it in court, with the goal that it was invalid. They heard various arguments alleging that the law violated the Canadian Constitution. They specifically appealed that it would cause serious harm to religious minorities and the rights of Muslim women, according to which the law would be specifically targeted.

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Opponents of the law include the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, teachers – some of whom wear the hijab – the Autonomous Federation of Teaching (FAE) and the English Montreal School Board.

Without being directly involved in the legal process, The federal government also provided money to the English Montreal School Board As part of the Court Challenges Program (CCP), it allows the state to challenge secular law.

In the case of the attorneys general of Quebec, they defended the legislative action, saying that the state secularism law regulates religious freedom, but did not condemn it. Furthermore, advocates argue that this religious freedom is not absolute.

According to them, banning religious symbols in school is a prohibition in a particular area that does not prohibit citizens from practicing their religion outside of work and everywhere.

The lawsuit was probably funded by the Quebec government’s allies, who argued that the law should be fully protected, including by the Poor Droits des Femmes du Quebec (PDF) and the Movement Lock Cubacois (MLQ). Quebec parents have the right to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in accordance with their beliefs.

The case is being re-assigned to another judge, and a new trial is set for November.