Group fighting Quebec's Bill 21 wants the Supreme Court of Canada to hear its case
MONTREAL -- The group that is fighting Bill 21, Quebec’s controversial secularism law, is asking that the Supreme Court of Canada hear its case on an expedited basis.
The request was made by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), along with plaintiff Ichrak Nourel Hak.
“We told Quebecers and Canadians that we would not stop our work until this unjust law has been defeated,” said Mustafa Farooq, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.
“While teachers and other public sector workers are being forced out of their jobs, we will seek leave from the SCC to halt the serious and irreparable harm that Bill 21 causes.”
This comes after the Quebec Court of Appeal rejected last week, in a 2-1 ruling, the request to suspend central elements of the law.
The group’s lawyers had presented evidence that people are already being denied employment because they wear religious symbols.
All three judges acknowledged the law causes harm that may be serious and irreparable -- one even noted it amounted to an abandonment of Muslim women who wear hijabs.
“A harsh blow was dealt last week to many faith-based and vulnerable communities, particularly Muslim women,” insisted Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, equality director at the CCLA.
“Our unwavering resolve to keep fighting for marginalized people in Canada, and our commitment to justice and equality, are why we urge everyone to stand together against the religious symbols ban. We can and must defeat this law.”
In July, the Quebec Superior Court also ruled the challenge failed to demonstrate the law was creating enough damage to warrant a stay of its central components.
Bill 21 was adopted by the Quebec government last June and prohibits some public sector workers, including teachers, police officers and prison guards, from wearing religious symbols.