Articles on Bill 21

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The media and politicians with a vested interest pit provinces against each other. But a study shows there are lots of differences of opinion within provinces, and geography doesn’t matter much. Here Quebec residents protest against the government’s Bill 21, which bans religious headgear, in April 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Canada: Is it really a country divided?

Despite decades of bickering and hand-wringing, Canada continues on. National tensions, in and of themselves, are not leading us to poor policy outcomes.
People hold up signs as they march during a demonstration in Montreal, April 7, 2019, in opposition to the Quebec government’s newly tabled Bill 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Clashing rights: Behind the Québec hijab debate

The proposed secular law (Bill 21) in the province of Québec appears to be directed primarily against Montreal and Québec City, and reflects a fear of strangers in Québec’s more homogeneous regions.
Honouring religious freedom and behaving faithfully in public not only protect the rights of individuals but also safeguard the integrity of democratic governments. Peter Hershey/Unsplash

A cautionary tale: The unintended consequences of Québec’s Bill 21

Respecting religious freedom not only protects the rights of individuals, it safeguards the integrity and accountability of democratic governments.
Quebec Premier François Legault stands in front of the crucifix in the provincial legislature where he announced the religious symbol will be removed. Québec is both the most homogeneous province from a religious point of view and the most detached from its religious culture. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Secularism: Québecers are religious about it

Many Canadians are puzzled by Québec's law banning some civil servants from wearing religious symbols. A Québec sociologist explains the law is rooted in the province's troubled history with religion.
Premier François Legault, left, and Simon Jolin-Barrette, minister of immigration, diversity and inclusiveness, are seen at the provincial legislature in late March 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

The supposed benefits of Québec secularism bill don’t outweigh the costs

While few would deny secularism and religious neutrality are legitimate goals, they don’t justify Bill 21's undue restriction of minority rights.
Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault on the campaign trail last September before the election that saw his party form a majority government.

In Québec, Christian liberalism becomes the religious authority

The language of the neutral and secular state in Bill 21, like its precursors, presumes an invisible Christian default for the rules around public expressions of religiosity.

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