Lawyer argues for temporary suspension of Quebec’s face-covering law

A woman wears a niqab. Getty Images

Quebec’s controversial face-covering law is being tested for the first time before the courts as opponents argue for a temporary suspension of a key section.

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A Quebec woman who wears the veil, the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association launched the challenge last week.

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Lawyer Catherine McKenzie asked the court Friday for a temporary suspension of the section of the law that forces public sector employees and private citizens to have their face uncovered when giving or receiving public services.

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McKenzie argued the article in question violates the right to equality and freedom of religion, which are guaranteed by the Quebec and Canadian charters, and should be declared invalid.

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McKenzie told Quebec Superior Court Justice Babak Barin the matter is urgent, given the significant impact on Muslim women who wear the veil on a daily basis.

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She added the damages to those women would be irreparable.

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