Muslim Council of Montreal slams proposed PQ Charter of Values as discriminatory and ready to challenge in courtAugust 30, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Montreal, Quebec, August 30th, 2013 - The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) strongly condemned the Parti Quebecois government’s plans to introduce a “Charter of Quebec Values” that will prohibit public employees from wearing religious clothing in the workplace, and is ready to challenge any such legislation in court.“This proposed policy is just another example of the xenophobia and religious discrimination that the PQ is trying to spread in Quebec, as it specifically targets religious minority groups,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “There are thousands of workers, such as civil servants, doctors, teachers, police, and nurses, who will be affected by such legislation, because of their personal decisions to wear religious clothing. To deny them the opportunity to work in public sector jobs because of their religious convictions will only serve to prevent their meaningful contribution, participation and integration in society. It is time the PQ government realizes that differences are not a threat and our diversity only enriches our provincial identity.”
MCM further finds such a proposed policy to be unconstitutional, as it contravenes the values of the Canadian and Quebec charter of rights and freedoms and it states it will help any parties affected by such legislation to challenge it in the courts.
“There is no doubt in our mind that such a charter would contravene the rights and freedoms of Quebec citizens and violate their constitutional rights,” Elmenyawi said. “As such, we are ready to defend in court the rights of anyone affected by such legislation. Even if the notwithstanding clause is used, as the PQ is suggesting, we will take this all the way to the highest international court and hold the government of Quebec responsible for religious discrimination.”
MCM further points out that was such legislation to be passed, it could have huge financial ramifications for Quebec’s already struggling economy.
“Already our economy is struggling, as each year more and more businesses and families leave Quebec to move to other provinces,” Elmenyawi said. “Such a racist policy would only serve to drive away more people, in addition to deter skilled immigrants from moving here. It is ironic that a poll conducted during last year’s election campaign revealed that health care was the number one issue that people in Quebec were concerned with. Given we already have a shortage of doctors, the PQ government will only make a bad situation even worse if it tries to pass this legislation, as it will force countless doctors, nurses and technicians to leave their positions in our hospitals and clinics. Clearly the PQ has no feasible idea of how to govern our province in a socially harmonious and prosperous manner; as such legislation will have negative consequences not only for Quebec’s religious communities, but for all citizens as well.”
Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM)
Ph.: (514) 748-8427
The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) is an umbrella organization representing a number of Islamic institutions in the Montreal region. There are over 325,000 Muslims in Montreal, about 1,300,000 in Canada and 1.9 billion worldwide.