Religious minorities feel less safe, welcome in Quebec since Bill 21 was adopted: survey
A new study shows that religious minorities in Quebec, particularly women, feel less safe and less welcome in the social fabric of society since the adoption of the province's secularism law, commonly known as Bill 21.
The study, described as "the most extensive" research into how the law affects non-Christian Quebecers, found that "the hospitability of the climate in Quebec for those who identify as Muslim, Jewish and Sikh reveals negative impacts that are broad-ranging, disruptive and profound."
"The testimonies of hate incidents and hate crimes were very disturbing," said lead researcher Miriam Taylor from the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS), which partnered with Léger Marketing for the study.
"People having their hijab ripped off, being spat upon, being spoken to in a way that shows absolutely no respect, no sense of the normal civility that people show each other when they're strangers."
The study combined a survey of Quebec as a whole from Léger and an ACS survey of religious minorities, including 632 Muslims, 165 Jews, and 56 Sikhs. Both were weighted to ensure the study was representative of the province as a whole. A total of 1,828 Quebecers responded to measure the perceptions and experiences of the law since it was adopted three years ago.
73 PER CENT OF MUSLIM WOMEN FEEL LESS SAFE: SURVEY
The bill prohibits the wearing of religious symbols by public servants in positions of authority while on duty, including teachers, police officers, prison guards, and judges. Critics of the law argue that it disproportionately affects Muslim women who wear head coverings, among other groups.
"I was walking home from daycare with my 3 year old daughter. A young man tried deliberately to run us over with a large pickup truck," wrote one survey respondent in a testimonial.
Overall, 73 per cent of Muslim women, 46 per cent of Jewish women, and 85.7 per cent of Sikh women reported a decline in their sense of safety in public over the last three years, the study revealed. Similar declines were also noted in their sense of belonging and hope for their children's future.
They tie those declines to "prejudicial remarks, aggressive actions that they have encountered in the streets of our cities and towns," Taylor said.
The study is filled with other testimonials from people sharing their experiences since Bill 21 was adopted.
"A policewoman in Quebec City called me a dirty immigrant," wrote one respondent. Another one wrote, "When Law 21 was announced, a man on the bus told me I would have to take off my headscarf."
The exposure to hate incidents/crimes among Muslim men (52 per cent) and Muslim women (66 per cent) "are almost triple those found in the population in general," which was 21 per cent for men and 18 per cent for women.
Based on her research, Taylor said she's able to conclude that the secularism law has created a climate that welcomes these kinds of responses.
"We know that laws have a normative impact. When seatbelts became law, people became more in favour of seatbelts. When same-sex marriage became law, the popularity of same-sex marriage increased. When laws come into place, they become the norm, they normalize behaviour. And negative opinions of non-Christian religious symbols are directly tied into Bill 21," Taylor said.
EVERYBODY IS WELCOME IN QUEBEC, PREMIER SAYS
Support for the law stands at 63.7 per cent, according to the survey, although nearly 10 per cent fewer women (59 per cent) are in favour of it than men (68.5 per cent).
Asked by a journalist for his reaction to the results of the survey on Wednesday, Premier François Legault defended the bill, saying it's a "very reasonable" law that is less restrictive than secularism laws in other countries.
"We're a place where we decided for all kinds of reasons secularism is important," Legault said at a news conference introducing a new candidate for the fall election. "I think it's fair, reasonable, and it's important also to make sure that we don't have what happened in U.S. with Trump or in France with Le Pen. I think that Quebec is a good place to stay for everybody and they are welcome."
The study also showed that a slim majority (55.9 per cent) of the population believes Bill 21 is dividing Quebecers. Even strong supporters of the law admit it is divisive.
Asked if a public servant should lose their job for not complying with Bill 21, the survey said 39 per cent said they agreed, with a higher proportion of men who said yes.
SUPREME COURT RULING COULD SWAY PEOPLE'S OPINIONS
The survey also revealed that support for Bill 21 would drop significantly if the Supreme Court of Canada intervenes and determines the law is discriminatory.
A majority of the population (64.5 per cent) wants the country's highest court to decide if the law violates people's Charter rights instead of leaving it up to the National Assembly to be the "sole arbiter of the law’s validity and legitimacy."
And if the Supreme Court makes such a ruling, support for the law would drop by 18 per cent, below the mark of the majority, to 47 per cent, according to the study.
The study and others like it give further weight to the argument that the passing of Bill 21 can be perceived as normalizing "blunt discrimination" against religious minorities in Quebec and "creating second, third…class citizens in the province," the Canadian Muslim Forum/Forum Musulman Canadien (FMC-CMF) said in a statement Wednesday in response to the survey.
"Jewish, Sikh, and Muslim Quebecers amongst others have felt the heavy burden of Bill 21 on their daily lives, have their future hopes dim and uncertain, feeling of insecurity, and have been the target of continuous prejudice," the statement read.
"FMC-CMF calls on the provincial Quebec government for an honest and open review of the implications of bill 21 on young Quebec women and Quebecers of all backgrounds."
With files from CTV Montreal's Matt Grillo
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
As Hurricane Ian rips through Florida, the immense destruction is also being felt by Canadian property owners, also known as snowbirds. For those who rode out the storm, it may be a long wait until they can book a flight home.
Team-based care is more efficient and benefits both patients and surgeons, so it should be widely adopted across surgical specialties, some surgeons say.
'Street shark': Video captured as Hurricane Ian struck Florida shows mystery fish in flooded backyard
Photos and videos of sharks and other marine life swimming in suburban floodwaters make for popular hoaxes during massive storms. But a cellphone video filmed during Hurricane Ian's assault on southwest Florida isn't just another fish story.
Climate change added at least 10 per cent more rain to Hurricane Ian, a study prepared immediately after the storm shows.
Rescue crews piloted boats and waded through inundated streets Thursday to save thousands of Floridians trapped amid flooded homes and shattered buildings left by Hurricane Ian, which crossed into the Atlantic Ocean and churned toward South Carolina.
A Russian oligarch indicted in the United States Thursday for conspiring to circumvent its sanctions regime stands accused of, among other things, having flowers delivered to a former member of Parliament in Canada.
While social workers and psychologists can offer tax-free services, bureaucratic confusion over the titles of counselling therapists and psychotherapists means they are the only mental health professionals who have to charge GST/HST, something a new campaign is looking to change.
Authorities say they are investigating how a convicted bombmaker was able to easily escape from a Nevada prison without anyone noticing for four days, before a tip led to his capture at a transit centre in Las Vegas Wednesday night as he prepared to board a bus out of town.
Why home insurance will get more expensive for all of us and unaffordable for some, according to experts
As extreme weather events such as Hurricane Fiona become more severe and common, experts say that could result in more expensive home insurance in the long term and are calling for a national flood insurance program.
Sunwing flight attendant says she saved passenger's life mid-air as pilot made emergency landing in Toronto
A Sunwing flight attendant saved a passenger's life who went into cardiac arrest as a pilot made an emergency landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport this week.
Toronto city councillor Michael Thompson has been charged with sexual assault, his lawyer has told CP24.
One person has died after a motorcycle and another vehicle collided in Etobicoke.
Some Maritimers who lost power for days after post-tropical storm Fiona are questioning whether power utilities have properly prepared their grids for the powerful storms that are increasingly battering the region.
'This is our top priority': Nova Scotia Power continues efforts to get the province back online following Fiona
As Nova Scotia continues its clean up and restoration efforts after post-tropical storm Fiona left damage throughout the province, the focus remains on clearing trees and debris and getting the province back online.
Nova Scotians in need of financial aid following post-tropical storm Fiona can now apply for assistance from the provincial government.
OPP are on the scene of a serious crash involving four vehicles in the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 just south of London, Ont. that sent six people to hospital, one with suspected life-threatening injuries.
Law students at Western University are demanding change after a professor used a racial slur during a lecture earlier this week. During a first-year law lecture on Tuesday, a professor was explaining the specifics of a legal case that used the N word, and while explaining the case to her students, the professor read the word aloud in its entirety.
Beagle cross Feldman plays in his backyard oasis in London, Ont.’s Old South neighbourhood, and is doing much better on Thursday. Just a few days earlier, the two-year-old had a brush with death.
A protest planned Saturday in Sudbury is related to the situation in Iran, where a young woman died in custody after being arrested by that country's morality police.
Ontario Provincial Police are looking for a suspect who tried to get a student to get in his car this week in East Ferris.
Sault Area Hospital’s cardiac care unit is getting a financial boost from the province.
Calgary's own Tegan and Sara call their upcoming Amazon series a "love letter to the '90s."
The number of people moving to Alberta is outpacing those who are leaving by a margin not seen in nearly eight years and some new residents are celebrating their choice to move.
An investigation is underway into the suspected Thursday morning homicide of a little girl in a southeast Calgary neighbourhood.
The Kitchener GO line is being held after a pedestrian was reportedly struck by a train Thursday night.
The trial of former Kitchener neurologist, Jeffrey Sloka, who is facing dozens of sexual assault charges, continued in court Thursday.
A collision on Highway 401 has closed the two left lanes, according to Ontario Provincial Police.
An annual event that hopes to inspire young girls to take an interest in aviation has been postponed indefinitely.
An Indigenous mother in B.C. is speaking out after her son’s preschool sent students home with a culturally insensitive craft ahead of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, being marked Friday.
Creative or unrealistic? Ken Sim's ABC party releases full platform, promises to 'rethink the way City Hall is run'
On Thursday, Ken Sim and his ABC party slate of candidates released their full, 94-point platform, saying they will "rethink the way City Hall is run."
A resident of south Edmonton fought back tears Thursday as he described how he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on a cryptocurrency investment that he is now certain was a scam.
After several years of negotiations, Alberta doctors and the province have reached an agreement.
A group of downtown Edmonton business owners and neighbourhood leaders says the core desperately requires safety solutions, or the area is at risk of permanently losing investment.
Most of the year, Joe Di Ponio calls the Windsor area home, but in the winters can usually be reached at his second home in Bonita Springs, FL. The past day or so has been an anxious time for him as he struggles to reach his friends or neighbours who were down there when Ian tore through the state as a Category 4 hurricane.
A group of five coworkers in southern Ontario are sharing a $1-million lottery prize.
Four individuals seeking the city's top political post squared off in a debate, discussing topics such as homelessness, health care, community safety and public transit.
Some former Saskatchewan residents experienced hurricane conditions for the first time in Florida this week.
Effects of residential schools, truth and reconciliation discussed at Miyo-wîcîwitowin Day in Regina
Thousands of students, local leaders and members of the public are packed into Mosaic Stadium for Miyo-wîcîwitowin Day, an event discussing residential schools and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders unveiled new orange jerseys the team will wear pre-game to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at events happening in Ottawa on Friday to mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Native Women's Association of Canada hosts special exhibit on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
The Native Women’s Association of Canada will host an open house on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to showcase Indigenous culture and arts.
A number of Ottawa homeowners want swift action after they allege a man they hired to perform major heating and cooling work took their money months ago without completing or—in some cases—even starting the jobs.
Saskatoon police may have located the remains of a Saskatoon woman who has been missing since September 2020.
A 26-year-old woman injured in a stabbing rampage on James Smith Cree Nation says she doesn’t know why she was attacked.
Woman found dead in Warman home had tape covering her mouth with accused’s finger prints: RCMP witness
Pictures of a woman’s body were projected on a screen at Saskatoon’s Court of King’s Bench on the fourth day of a murder trial.