Edmonton councillors debate taking public stance against Quebec's Bill 21
Edmonton councillors debated on Thursday, Oct. 17, joining Calgary in publicly opposing Quebec's Bill 21.
Published Thursday, October 17, 2019 3:25PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 17, 2019 7:53PM MDT
EDMONTON -- Dozens made their way to City Hall Thursday in support of Edmonton publicly opposing Quebec's Bill 21, which bans public figures from wearing religious symbols and clothing like turbans and hijabs.
At a City Council meeting on Oct. 8, Ward 6 Coun.Scott McKeen motioned the City "support in principle the legal challenge against the discrimination of freedom of religion proposed in Quebec's Bill 21."
The legislation, passed in June, prevents anyone with a covered face from receiving government services, and punishes those who refuse to comply with the rule.
An amendment to Bill 21 by the Coalition Avenir Québec government also invoked the notwithstanding clause, shielding it from certain court challenges for five years.
Thursday marked the start of debate by Edmonton councillors on taking a stand against Bill 21.
Former UCP Edmonton-Meadows candidate Arundeep Singh Sandhu encouraged Edmontonians to attend the Executive Committee meeting to "show our city council and Quebec where we stand—FOR freedom of religious expression FOR ALL!"
Headway School principal Jagwinder Singh Sidhu spoke at the meeting, later telling CTV News Edmonton he felt betrayed by Bill 21.
"All we want is (for) City Council to just say yes that bill is wrong and we don't stand beside it, because if you just watch, standing on the side, that means you're not opposing it," he said.
"We want to make sure our elected officials who are always nice to us, that they go out and tell the world, 'We object.' That's all. Somebody has to object."
At the beginning of the month, Calgary city council unanimously voted in favour of opposing Bill 21.
And two Winnipeg councillors have asked their city to take similar action; that council will decide later this month whether it takes a public stance against Bill 21.