Press Release: CIJA Deplores Adoption of Bill 21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 17, 2019

Press Release: CIJA Deplores Adoption of Bill 21

Montreal, QC— Last night, the National Assembly of Québec adopted Bill 21: An Act Respecting the Laicity of the State.

In response, Brenda Gewurz, Chair, CIJA-Québec, the advocacy agent of Federation CJA, issued the following:

“The Jewish community of Quebec is profoundly disappointed with the adoption of Bill 21. As CIJA argued during consultations at the National Assembly, Quebec’s secularity is not facing a threat that justifies the use of extraordinary measures such as invoking the notwithstanding clause. This bill is reckless. It undermines religious freedom and equal access to employment in the public and parapublic sectors. Furthermore, we are troubled by the last-minute amendments tightening the provisions of the law and its implementation, which were not discussed in depth or subject to public consultation

“While CIJA and the Jewish community firmly support the religious neutrality of the state, this legislation is incoherent and in too many regards arbitrary. It grants excessive discretionary powers which will allow for erratic and unequal interpretations of the law.

“CIJA will continue to engage on the issue and will closely monitor and document its implementation. We will also call for a thorough review of the law at the expiry of the notwithstanding clause.”

Additional Background

  • Full text of Bill 21 available here.
  • CIJA’s testimony delivered during consultations at the National Assembly available here.
  • Other CIJA statements on Bill 21 available here and here.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA including Montreal’s Federation CJA.

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