THE National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) have filed an application for leave to appeal Quebec Superior Court Justice Michel Yergeau’s decision in Hak c. Procureure générale du Québec, 2019 QCCS 2989.
The NCCM and CCLA submit that leave should be granted because, in their estimation, the decision contains a number of important errors of law.
The new application asks the Quebec Court of Appeal to take another look at the decision that denied a request to suspend operation of the Act respecting the laicity of the State (Bill 21). The “Laicity” Act bans people who wear religious symbols from holding a variety of public sector jobs, including as teachers, police officers and prosecutors. The law will most seriously curtail the freedoms of Muslim women who wear the hijab, Jews who wear the kippa, and Sikhs who wear turbans.
The NCCM and CCLA filed a constitutional challenge of the Act hours after it was enacted, and with it, asked the court for an urgent interim measure – to suspend the Act’s operation.
“We promised Quebecers and Canadians that we would stand up for their rights, and we intend to do exactly that,” says NCCM’s Executive Director, Mustafa Farooq, “We believe, as we always have, that this piece of legislation has no place being on the books in 2019. This is a historical moment, as Quebecers of all faiths and backgrounds come together to oppose an unjust law, and stand with us in filing our application for leave.”
“It is no longer acceptable to hang signs telling certain people they are not welcome in stores, beaches, parks, or workplaces. A law that excludes people because of who they are and how they dress is both absurd and abhorrent – it has no place in a society that values justice, equality and freedom. This is why we fight.” says Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Equality Program Director at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
The appellants are represented by Catherine McKenzie and Olga Redko of the distinguished litigation firm IMK LLP of Montreal.