City of Calgary launches fundraising page for legal challenge 3 years after Quebec’s Bill 21

In an effort to condemn Quebec’s controversial Bill 21, the City of Calgary hopes to encourage Calgarians to help fight the law some consider racist. Bill 21 prohibits all civil servants from wearing religious symbols like hijabs, turbans and crosses while at work.

Ward 3 Coun. Jasmine Mian said the city has helped launch an online fundraiser to help support the legal fight.

“If someone had told me 10 years ago that such a law would exist in Canada, I never would have believed it,” Mian said Thursday afternoon. “After the reckonings we’ve had on equity diversity and inclusion, it’s deeply troubling to see laws like this persist in Canada.

Read more: Calgary’s support for Bill 21 legal challenge won’t include taxpayer money for now

“No young Canadian should be prevented from serving the public as a teacher, police officer or lawyer because of their faith.

Story continues below advertisement

“It doesn’t matter if Quebec is 3,700 kilometers away — they should know Calgary is with them.”

Quebec’s premier has defended the law as a legitimate way to ensure secularism in the public sector.

Click to play video: 'Rally to Protest Law 21' Rally to Protest Law 21

Rally to Protest Law 21 – Jun 9, 2022

Ward 5 Coun. Raj Dhaliwal said Bill 21 disproportionately affects already marginalized people.

“That’s not Canada to me. The Canada I came to 25 years ago was one that welcomed all walks of life. It didn’t matter what you wore on your head, but what mattered was in your head,” Dhaliwal said.

Ward 12 Coun. Evan Spencer said this may not seem like a priority given the municipal priorities, but insists it has value.

“Responding to a legal challenge in another province doesn’t immediately present itself as a worthwhile endeavor but I can assure you this is a worthy cause. The fight against bill 21 is about protecting our collective right to freedom of expression and religion,” Spencer said.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: ‘Discrimination has no jurisdiction’: Calgary council passes motion opposing Quebec’s Bill 21

Spencer said his cultural and religious background is part of his identity, and he will fight for that identity of all others.

“Bill 21 harms immigrants and racialized communities far more directly and I fear the response we heard in the community mirrors this reality,” Spencer said. “As a white settler, former pastor and committed Christian this is uncomfortable to confront.”

The city won’t be directly collecting the funds, it will go to organizations fighting it in court. Tejinder Singh Sidhu is with the World Sikh Organization of Canada and said the funds will help them take their legal battle to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Click to play video: 'Global News Morning Peterborough: Northcrest Ward councillor Stephen Wright seeks support for Canadian Civil Liberties Association' Global News Morning Peterborough: Northcrest Ward councillor Stephen Wright seeks support for Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Global News Morning Peterborough: Northcrest Ward councillor Stephen Wright seeks support for Canadian Civil Liberties Association – Feb 2, 2022

“When our community first heard about this bill, our parents and grandparents started to recall trauma of what they faced when they first arrived in Canada,” Singh Sidhu said. “How many of our brothers and fathers were told to cut their hair and remove their turbans in order to gain employment.

Story continues below advertisement

“How could we possibly be turning the clock back now.”

Initially, the city considered donating taxpayer dollars but decided to help launch the fundraiser instead.

“That seems to be right approach, to allow Calgarians, if they’re passionate, to make voluntary donation to the website,” Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said.

The city and the partners have set a goal of raising $100,000.

Said Omar with the National Canadian Council of Muslims said they must work together to defeat this law.

“Bill 21 is form of second-class citizenship in Quebec, which is directly affecting religious minorities,” Omar said. “It is forcing people to choose between their job and their religious identity.”

Story continues below advertisement

This fundraising page launch coincides with the third anniversary of Bill 21.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

View original article here Source