MONTREAL – Another Montreal Island municipality has come out against Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values.
Hampstead unanimously passed a resolution calling Bill 60 “racist and immoral” at a council meeting on Monday night.
“The Town of Hampstead holds the right of religious freedom as a fundamental right for all human beings,” said Mayor William Steinberg in a statement.
“In the event that the Quebec government passes this odious Bill, which will force people to choose between their religious beliefs and their jobs, it will not be enforced in Hampstead. We will not comply with a racist and immoral law.”
The announcement came on the heels of a rally held in Cote St-Luc on Monday night, where the mayors of Cote St-Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West spoke out against the charter.
Read resolution 2013-265 in full here:
WHEREAS the Quebec Government has tabled Bill 60, the Charter afﬁrming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests (Charter);
WHEREAS the Charter violates the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
WHEREAS the Charter bans the wearing of religious symbols that do not harm anyone and do not interfere with the ability of employees to do their jobs;
WHEREAS the Charter would force men and women who wish to observe their religion or culture to choose between their beliefs and obtaining or keeping a job;
WHEREAS the Charter dramatically restricts the fundamental freedoms of expression and religion;
WHEREAS the Charter has already fanned the flames of intolerance and racism and led to attacks on minorities and this will only get worse if the Charter becomes law;
WHEREAS all men and women, whether they believe in a deity or not, have a moral obligation to oppose any infringements on the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed in a liberal democracy;
WHEREAS the elected officials of the Town of Hampstead, both individually and collectively, wish to stand up for the rights of minorities against the tyranny of an unjust law;
It was proposed by Mayor William Steinberg, seconded by Councillor Jack Edery and UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED:
- THAT we believe in the fundamental right of freedom of religion and expression;
- THAT we believe that in a liberal democracy there is a very real place for the separation of church and state and that the state has no right to impose religious beliefs on its citizens. The separation of church and state should not, however, be confused with the persecution of religion by the state. It is the basic right of every citizen to be free to believe as he will and practice his religion free of state intervention, so long as the practicing of his religion does not interfere with the basic rights of other citizens to freely enjoy their own civil rights;
- THAT we believe the wearing of a Kipah, Sikh turban, or Hijab, is not an impediment to carrying out ones’ duties as employees of the State. These symbols do not diminish the wearer, they do not impede the wearer and they are not prejudicial to those with whom the wearer of a religious symbol interacts;
- THAT we reject the notion that people who believe in a deity are somehow lesser citizens. We reject the notion that wearing an identifiable religious symbol that does not physically impede a person from performing his/her duties, is a basis for discrimination;
- THAT we believe in a Liberal Democracy the majority does not have the right to pass racist and discriminatory laws against any minority.
- THAT the strength of a society is not evidenced by its ability to subjugate its minorities but by its ability to protect them.
- THAT should this Charter, or any variation which violates the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. be passed by the National Assembly, the Town of Hampstead will not recognize it as a valid law. We will not comply. We will not be complicit with hatred, racism and intolerance.