Sarnia council asked to join fight against Bill 21

Sarnia city councillor Bill Dennis. Blackburn News file photo by Melanie Irwin.

The City of Sarnia is being asked to join a growing list of cities unifying against Quebec’s Bill 21.

City Councillor Bill Dennis said the law is discriminatory.

“Bill 21 basically prohibits the display of any religious symbols, by people in positions of authority, like teachers, government officials, police officers,” said Dennis. “Whether it’s Christian crosses, hijabs or turbans. It’s clearly a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Dennis said municipal opposition toward the bill was initiated by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown.

“He figures if the federal government and federal opposition parties aren’t going to show leadership on the issue, then he believes that municipalities should show some leadership and they’ve stepped up. Brampton, Toronto, London, Calgary… and there’s a litany of others that are joining the cause.”

Brown has called on 100 mayors and cities across Canada to join his city in making sure the legal challenge is fully funded.

Dennis said he’s not expecting the city to commit funds, but he does think the community should show its values and stand in solidarity with those who are being discriminated against.

“I know some people may think this is a Quebec issue, but this is really a Canadian issue. We can’t let this stand. If they can get away with something like this, who knows where this could lead.”

Sarnia council will consider Dennis’ motion at the January 17 regular meeting.