Calgary’s mayor wants to pitch in for fight against Bill 21

As criticism grows around the country in response to Quebec’s controversial Bill 21, Calgary’s mayor wants to put some money into a legal fund that will push back against the legislation.

Bill 21, which bars Quebecers in the public service from wearing religious symbols, made headlines again recently when a teacher was removed from the classroom because she wears a hijab.


‘It is very shocking’: Parents react after Quebec teacher removed from position for wearing a hijab

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown announced on Wednesday morning that he will be pledging money towards a legal fight against the bill, and calls on other big-city mayors to follow suit.

“It is my firm belief that we cannot allow the defense of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, defense of religious freedom, to fall on the backs of racialized communities. It’s not a fair fight,” Brown said.

Later on Wednesday, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said she had spoken to Brown and a special notice of motion will come forward next week courtesy of Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra.

“Bill 21 is something that needs to be challenged. What Quebec is doing is absolutely unconscionable. So, together with (Mayor Brown) we are issuing a challenge to other municipalities in this country asking us to contribute to the legal challenge,” said Gondek.

“It is the National Council of Canadian Muslims that’s bringing the challenge forward. So that would be the recipient of the funding as we coalesce the funding together as municipalities.”

Gondek added that back in the summer of 2019, council backed a motion condemning Bill 21 which also called for a nationwide initiative from the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination.

She said they will look into any action that may have been taken as a result of that resolution.

Brown also tweeted in response, thanking Carra for his continued condemnation of the bill.

During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Gondek said Calgary could contribute up to $100,000 in the legal battle.

While municipal leaders are appearing to stand up against the controversial legislation, provincial and federal governments have largely shied away, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying that while he is opposed to the bill he will not step into the legal fight.

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