Region of Peel will formally condemn Quebec’s Bill 21

The Region of Peel will formally oppose Bill 21, Quebec’s contentious secularism bill banning public sector employees in the province from wearing religious symbols at work.

Peel Regional Council approved a motion from Brampton Wards 9 & 10 Coun. Gurpreet Singh Dhillon on Thursday (Oct. 10), asking the region to formally denounce Bill 21 — An Act respecting the laicity of the State.

The motion passed unanimously, with an amendment by Caledon mayor Allan Thompson to forward the motion to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

“This bill legalizes discrimination and creates second-class citizenship in this country,” Dhillon said. “This decision not only puts the region’s position in writing but will make Peel a leader and part of a growing voice of municipalities across the nation standing against this bill.”

When I asked Councilor Dhillon on Oct.15th that how will peel approach and tackle this issue, “Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon Told the Peel Weekly reporter that, they brought this bill up to bring the awareness for the federal leaders and Candidates as election in loam.

Also, councilor Dhillon said that people come to Canada for a better life, better future, and make Canada their home, then Quebec Bill 21 it’s letting them feel such as second-class citizens. And they do not have the same rights as normal Canadians. 

When I ask Councilor Dhillon, what you think Trudeau and any other Leader never denounce Quebec Bill 21, and he said might be because of the election, it’s vote bank. 

 Introduced by Simon Jolin-Barette, Quebec’s Minister of Immigration, Diversity, and Inclusiveness, the bill prohibits public sector employees from wearing religious symbols at work.

The bill has become a contentious election issue, and federal leaders have been questioned on the campaign trail about whether they’d challenge the bill in court.

Along with condemning Bill 21, the motion urges federal parties to commit to challenging the bill if they form the government, and endorses the City of Calgary’s recent motion to work with the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CCMARD) to “address the harms of Bill 21 worldwide.”

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie told the council the region had “no tolerance for intolerance,” and Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson called the bill unconstitutional.

Members of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the World Sikh Organization delegated to the council in support of the motion. 

The NCCM and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association are currently leading a legal challenge against Bill 21.

The Region of Peel is currently a member of UNESCO’s Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities and a signatory of the Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination.

In June, The Peel Police Services Board passed a motion condemning Bill 21, while directing Peel police to run targeted employment ads in Quebec.

Brampton Council passed a similar motion encouraging Quebec residents to apply for municipal jobs in Brampton. City councillors also unanimously voted to have the municipality support the legal challenge “in principle.” Dhillon, a Sikh who wears a turban, favoured the motion but tried to add an amendment directing the city to audit Brampton’s staffing and hiring processes.

In September, Calgary city council voted unanimously to oppose the bill.

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora

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