October 20, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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State secularism | Judgment on the validity of the law beyond the expected Tuesday

State secularism |  Judgment on the validity of the law beyond the expected Tuesday

(Montreal) We need to know on Tuesday whether it is controversial Law on state secularism, Known as Bill 21 before it is adopted, is either in force or is fully or partially invalid.


Stephanie Marin
The Canadian Press

So Superior Court Judge Mark-Andre Blanchard should give his verdict in the morning.

This sensitive case was taken up against the rights of various groups in Quebec society.

The Law on state secularism – Approved by the National Assembly in June 2019 – Prohibits the wearing of religious symbols by certain state employees, especially police officers and Crown prosecutors, as well as teachers in government primary and secondary schools.

In accepting this, the Quebec legislator questioned the provision and argued that it was contrary to the Charter of Rights so as not to challenge the law – often referred to as the provision.

To make it invalid, many did not prevent it from competing in court. They heard various arguments alleging that the law violated the Canadian Constitution. They argue that this would cause serious harm to religious minorities and the rights of Muslim women, which is specifically targeted by law.

National Council of Canadian Muslims, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, women teachers – some of whom wear the hijab – the Autonomous Teaching Federation (FAE) and the English Montreal School Board. The latter claims that the law violates Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects the right to education in a minority language, in the case of Quebec’s English-speaking communities.

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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.