No decision on appeal of overturned face covering law: Couillard
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said he isn't sure if the government will appeal a judge's ruling overturning a controversial law banning Muslim women from wearing face covering while receiving city services.
A Quebec Superior Court ruled on Thursday that the portion of Bill 62 violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, just days before the law was to come into effect.
Justice Marc-Andre Blanchard specifically cited Section 10 of the legislation, saying it violated the charter’s principles for freedom of conscience and religion.
He said that the harm to Muslim women would be irrepairable.
Couillard, who is on a trip to New York, said he would wait for legal opinions before deciding whether to appeal.
"It's not a political decision, it's a decision that must follow legal analysis," he said. "This shows that we're in a very delicate area of the law."
In the ruling, Blanchard said the conditions set forth in Section 10 are confusing, but Couillard said he didn't agree. He attacked his political opponents, saying their proposals also would fail before the courts.
"I would like the opposition parties, the Coalition Avenir Quebec and Parti Quebecois, to explain how their proposals could pass the test of the courts, because their proposals go much further than ours did," he said.
Following the ruling, reaction from the Muslim community was positive.
“I was really pleased that at least the women who wear the niqab will not feel guilty that they’re breaking the law of Canada,” said Shaheen Ashraf of the Canadian Muslim Council. “ They’re going to be at ease because that’s their belief system.”
It’s the second time where that specific portion of the law has been suspended.
Back in December, the Quebec Superior Court told the province to come up with guidelines for how the ban would work in practice.
Those guidelines were released in May, to little fanfare.
The opposition leaders said the rules didn’t go far enough, while Muslims said they felt unfairly targeted by the new restrictions.
Other guidelines in the bill will still go into effect on July 1.
- With files from The Canadian Press