The Montreal suburb of Hampstead passed a resolution on Monday refusing to
implement a measure that would ban public sector employees from wearing
“conspicuous” religious symbols.
The resolution – which passed
unanimously, according to Canada’s CTV – comes in response to a proposed Charter
of Quebec Values, which is intended to redefine the meaning of state
Religious minorities and civil rights organizations have
strenuously opposed the bill. However, according to the Center for Israel and
Jewish Affairs – an advocacy group representing a number of Canadian Jewish
federations – the charter is only meant to drum up support for Quebec
David Ouellette, the Jewish umbrella group’s director for
public affairs in Quebec, told The Jerusalem Post last month that the members of
the separatist Parti Quebecois, which is pushing the bill, “do not wish to have
the legislation adopted in this legislative session.” Rather, he said, they want
to “use the proposed legislation in the next elections as a wedge
Several institutions have already indicated their refusal to
comply with the charter if it becomes law, but so far none have gone as far as
Hampstead in codifying their opposition.
Several weeks ago, Montreal’s
Jewish hospital made a highly publicized announcement that it planned on
ignoring the “prejudicial bill.”
“If it becomes a law, we are not going
to tell people that they can’t work for the town because they wear a kippa,
hijab or a turban, or any other religious symbol,” Hampstead Mayor William
Steinberg told CTV.
The town, his resolution asserted, refuses to be
“complicit with hatred, racism and intolerance,” which the mayor described to
the Canadian network as the “tyranny of the majority against the
“People who have strongly- held religious beliefs and who must
wear these symbols... are not going to be able to work, so they’ll be
kept at home, and I don’t think this leads to integration,” he added.
also reported that Cote Saint-Luc, another Montreal suburb, held an interfaith
holiday event featuring the lighting of a Christmas tree and a menorah in front
of the town hall as a show of opposition to the bill.
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