Edmonton City Councilors condemn Quebec Bill 21

Edmonton City Councilors condemn Quebec Bill 21 CBC News ยท Posted: Oct 17, 2019 at 6:16 pm MT | Last updated: October 18, 2019

Edmonton city councilors in Quebec deplore laws restricting civil servants from wearing religious symbols in a discriminatory and racist manner.

"Bill 21 is a violation of civil rights," Mayor Don Iveson said Thursday at an executive committee meeting. "This is worrying, causing deep concern for all freedom lovers."

Quebec's controversial law prohibits civilian employees in government agencies from wearing religious symbols in public institutions. & Nbsp;

Iveson called it "blatant disregard for multicultural values."

Harman Kandola, vice president of the Alberta World Sikh Organization, said his organization hears people from Quebec who are leaving the province to find work elsewhere.

"Choosing between religion and work is not a choice we should ever make," Kandola told the commission. "Our parents did these in the 1970s and '80s and we are forced to do them again today at the peak of 2020." & Nbsp;

He said he was concerned that similar attitudes could push the provincial boundaries. & Nbsp;
"We are seeing an increase in hate crime in Quebec. We are afraid of what this will mean for the rest of Canada," Kandola said. & Nbsp;

Count. Scott McKeen put this issue on the agenda, asking his colleagues to support "in principle support for the legal challenge against freedom of religion proposed in the Quebec Bill 21". & Nbsp;

Count. Moe & nbsp; Banga, who emigrated to Canada from India in 1978 and has a significant visual minority population in the 12th ward, supported McKeen's proposal.

& nbsp;
"There is freedom of religion and expression in our Charter of Rights," said Banga & nbsp;
He noted that turnout in the Executive Committee showed overwhelming support for multiculturalism. & Nbsp;
"The people I know come from all walks of life - that's how Canada was built and that's how we should support Canada."
Count. Andrew Knack called Bill 21 "an incredibly racist law." & nbsp;

Knack noted that Albertans supported Quebec law more than residents of any other province: four in ten said the law was acceptable.

"It's incredibly worrying," Knack said. "We have work to do even in our own garden." & Nbsp;
Despite the strong sentiment of the Commission, this proposal is largely a symbolic gesture.

McKeen has clearly expressed his disapproval of the fact that federal election candidates have not spoken to the bill. & Nbsp;

"How this has not become a major electoral issue, and the fact that they have not shown real leadership on this issue, is extremely disappointing, if not gruesome," he said.

This proposal will be sent to the October 22 council, where the council will be asked to vote in order to support legal challenges to the bill.

Other Canadian cities, including Calgary, Kitchener and Victoria, have condemned the law.
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