People gesture during a demonstration in Montreal, Sunday, April 7, 2019, in opposition to the Quebec government’s newly tabled Bill 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Kelowna council opposes ‘racist’ Quebec secularism bill

The city joins Calgary, Montreal, Victoria, Kitchener and Brampton in condemning the bill

City of Kelowna councillors passed a symbolic motion on Oct. 21 in opposition to Quebec’s Bill 21.

Bill 21, also known as the secularism law, bans Quebec’s teachers, police officers, judges and other public officials from wearing items like hijabs, turbans, kippas and crucifixes while at work. The law also affirms pre-existing legislation that requires citizens to uncover their faces when accessing public services, such as municipal transit and the legal system.

Councillors voted unanimously in support of the motion presented by Coun. Mohini Singh, following the suit of several Canadian cities that have already opposed the bill.

“When this first became law, I was aghast; I was horrified,” said Singh.

“I didn’t think me, as a little city councillor, could do anything about this. Brampton passed a motion similar to ours and then when Calgary did, I took notice.”

Singh cited a statement Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi made upon his city’s motion against the bill: “It is late, we are making this action late. But it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

“This is a nasty, mean spirited, demeaning, racist law,” said Singh.

“This doesn’t just impact the people of Quebec, this has nationwide implications.

“This creates two classes of Canadians and it absolutely violates the very tenets on which Canadian society was built.”

Singh’s fellow councillors shared similar sentiments regarding the bill.

Despite some community pushback due to this bill being out of council’s jurisdiction, Coun. Loyal Wooldridge said “all leaders need to speak to injustice.”

“Division methodically happens over time with the silence of good people and I truly believe no one has the right to take away someone’s right to practice their religion,” he said.

“Diversity and inclusion make us stronger.”

Coun. Charlie Hodge said he was “surprised” this issue is still coming up.

“It’s very important for all elected officials, no matter what level they’re at, to say that Bill 21 is wrong,” he said.

While Coun. Luke Stack said he normally doesn’t like weighing in on issues outside of the city’s jurisdiction but this caught his attention.

“We have worked so tirelessly and diligently towards becoming an inclusive society where all can feel the freedom to believe what they want and wear what they want,” he said.

“As long as you’re a responsible citizen, you have the freedom to live your life the way you want.”

READ MORE: Opinion polls indicate Conservative candidate Tracy Gray could win Kelowna-Lake Country

READ MORE: Gotham Nightclub pumps up the jams for the first time this weekend


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Women remembered at candlelight vigil in Vernon

Polytechnique film shown at Okanagan College Dec. 4

Power outage leaves 1,500 Vernon residents in the dark

BC Hydro restores Westside Road outage within an hour

Vernon woman collecting socks for less fortunate

Jennylee Cowie hopes to collect 100 pairs of socks to give to the Gospel Mission in Kelowna

UPDATE: Water back on for Vernon residents

Water main break shut water off temporarily to Okanagan Avenue homes; repaired Tuesday evening

Syilx language program comes to West Kelowna

The course was first offered in Penticton

BC Ferries’ two new hybrid vessels set sail for B.C. from Romania

Two Island Class ferries to be in use by 2020

Penticton council fed up with non-compliant property owner

“I’m deeply offended, as I think all of Penticton is, and especially the neighbours.”

Distracted driving tickets not for ICBC revenue, B.C. minister says

Minister Mike Farnworth calls SenseBC analysis ‘nonsense’

CN Rail strike and lack of trucking alternatives stoke forest industry fears

Companies calling on the federal government to ‘do everything in its power’ to end the strike

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils new Liberal cabinet

Pivotal role in his new cabinet for a minority-government era goes to Chrystia Freeland

Osoyoos driver admits being ‘drunk’ after crashing into pole

A 52-year-old Osoyoos man admits being drunk after hitting power pole

Penticton council to hear case for declaring a climate emergency in the new year

The newly formed Sustainability Committee has been directed to look at the idea

Vigilantes sentenced to two years jail after invading alleged Hedley drug house

Two men were sentenced to two years in federal prison November 12,… Continue reading

Most Read