Pro-Bill 21 group wins round in court challenge, Presse Canadienne, Montreal Gazette, 2020-01-09.
A pro-secularism group has obtained leave from Quebec Superior Court to intervene in one of the legal challenges to Bill 21, Quebec’s secularism legislation. The Mouvement laïque québécois (MLQ) wants to defend the validity of the law, which bars certain provincial public servants — including teachers — from wearing religious symbols on the job. The group also wants the law extended more broadly to ensure a right to a secular public service. […]
The group can make its position known to the court, file an assessment of the impact teachers have on children and how those in that profession can be role models. In its request for intervenor status, the group says one of the parties challenging the law — teaching student Ichrak Nourel Hak, who wants to wear a hijab in the classroom — “is not taking into account the interests and rights of children.” […]
“The intervenors strongly oppose one of the objectives sought by (Nourel Hak), that she impose on children and parents a religious practice by wearing a religious symbol while exercising the function of teaching personnel in a secular public school,” says the request for intervenor status. […]
Article 6 of Bill 21 forbids public service employees including police, prosecutors and elementary and high school teachers from wearing religious symbols at work. Those who wore such symbols before Bill 21 was adopted last June are considered to have an acquired right and are not affected by Article 6.
Guillaume Rousseau, a professor of law at the Université de Sherbrooke and the lawyer representing the MLQ and Bouchilaoun, argued that if the article were struck down it would diminish the public’s right to a secular public service.
Excellent news! Bravo to the MLQ! It is very important to defend the rights of school students, and of users of public services, to an environment free from religious advertising which constitutes a form of passive proselytizing.
- Letter to Organizations in RoC about Bill 21.
- RPL Press Release: Alliance for Secularism Welcomes the Decision by the Court of Appeal, 2019-12-12.
- Quebec Formally Declares State Secularism, David Rand, 2019-06-21.
- RPL Press Release: Secularism, Finally!, 2019-06-17.