Kelowna city councillor calls on B.C. cities to oppose Quebec's religious symbols law | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna city councillor calls on B.C. cities to oppose Quebec's religious symbols law

Kelowna city councillor Mohini Singh is pictured in this undated file photo.
October 22, 2019 - 11:00 AM

Kelowna has joined the ranks of only a tiny collection of Canadian cities that oppose Quebec’s Bill C-21 that prohibits some of its employees from wearing religious symbols at work.

“This is a nasty, mean spirited, racist piece of law, it’s so un-Canadian,” Councillor Mohini Singh said after Kelowna city council unanimously supported her motion yesterday, Oct. 21.

“This creates two classes of Canadians and absolutely violates the very tenets on which Canadian society is built,” she added. “It goes right against the basic grain of our rights and freedoms. And it goes against our very core principle of inclusiveness and building an inclusive city.”

When the bill was passed in June, Singh felt “aghast” and “horrified” but didn’t feel, as a “little” city councillor, there was anything she could do about it but after Brampton, Ontario passed a motion against it and then more recently Calgary, she felt the need for Kelowna to do the same.

While it’s a symbolic gesture only and it’s somewhat late in the process, she called on all other B.C. cities to follow suit.

Councillor Luke Stack supported the motion.

“Normally I don’t like council to support motions that don’t really fit within our jurisdiction,” he said. “We have worked so tirelessly and diligently towards becoming an inclusive society where all can feel the freedom to believe what they want, wear what they want – as long as you are a responsible citizen, you are free to live your life the way you want.

"I do think we all need to stand up. We all need to take a stand continually to not only hold the line where we are today but to continue to advance it into the future to be a more inclusive society," Coun. Stack said.

The motion read: “THAT City of Kelowna Council continue to identify Kelowna as a multicultural, socially diverse, and inclusive City, and therefore oppose Bill 21 as enacted by the Province of Quebec.”

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