After Brampton, Toronto mayor asks council to help fight Quebec’s Bill 21 in court

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Published December 16, 2021 at 1:42 pm

Toronto’s mayor says he will ask city council to help fund a legal fight against Quebec’s law restricting religious symbols.

John Tory, the mayor of Canada’s largest city, said in a tweet he’ll put the request to council today, repeating that both he and the city council have repeatedly voiced opposition to Quebec’s secularism law, known as Bill 21.

He encouraged other cities to join the fight to “uphold the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Tory was adding his voice to an initiative from Brampton city council, which voted Wednesday to contribute $100,000 to three organizations challenging the Quebec law and encouraged other cities to donate.

That legal challenge is led by the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the World Sikh Organization of Canada, both Ottawa-based, as well as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, based in Toronto.

Adopted in June 2019, Bill 21 prohibits the wearing of religious symbols such as hijabs, kippas and turbans by teachers and other government employees deemed to be in positions of authority. Debate over the law was revived this month with news that a teacher in Chelsea, Que., had been reassigned because of her hijab.

Brampton calls itself one of the most diverse communities in Canada and says it wants to show its support for what diversity brings to local communities and Canada as a whole. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown calls Bill 21 discriminatory and says freedom of religion is a fundamental principle that must be upheld.

Since Brown called on other cities to get involved, several communities across the country have indicated their support for his initiative and will put requests for funding to their respective councils.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec.16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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