Conservatives should change stance, be prepared to challenge Bill 21 in court: MP


Published December 15, 2021 at 11:31 am

OTTAWA — A Tory MP says Conservatives need to re-examine their stance when it comes to a controversial secularism law in Quebec and be prepared to challenge it in court. 

Mark Strahl, a representative from British Columbia, said the issue will be brought up while Conservatives meet behind closed doors for their national caucus meeting this morning. 

Federal parties and their MPs have been reacting to the Quebec law, known as Bill 21, which bans some public servants from wearing religious symbols on the job. 

The law that passed in 2019 re-entered the headlines last week after a teacher in western Quebec was removed from the classroom because she wears a hijab. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not ruled out federal intervention when it comes to the law, and yesterday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he would support Ottawa stepping into a court challenge. 

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole reacted last week, saying while he personally opposes the law, he believes it’s an issue for Quebecers to deal with. 

He campaigned during the September federal election that he would never challenge a provincial law because he respects their jurisdiction. 

Before entering today’s caucus meeting, Strahl says “some issues transcend jurisdiction. 

“I think Bill 21 is one of them.”

He says it’s unclear what the Conservative position is on the matter, but believes a Tory government should be prepared to challenge it in court. 

“We can’t let laws like that go unchallenged,” he told reporters before entering Wednesday’s caucus meeting. 

“It’s a position that’s shared by many, many of my colleagues.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2021.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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