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Petition seeks removal of portions of Bill 21

  • By Joel Ceausu The Suburban, May 16, 2022

“The only way Legault and the CAQ were able to pass Bill 21 was using section 33” says Joel DeBellefeuille, founder and executive director of the Red Coalition, which launched a National Assembly petition demanding the Quebec government remove certain elements of Bill 21 that affect the rights and freedoms of marginalized individuals.
“It was a premeditated plan to stop a full-on pushback by the opposition and people of Quebec. It's like using cheat codes in video games to win.”
“The job of a midwife is to deliver a baby whether or not she wears a hijab or a Star of David” the NDG resident told The Suburban. “The same goes for other targeted professions.” The petition calls for the repeal of elements that would exclude teachers, lawyers, physicians, dentists, midwives, and childcare providers, “as well as any individuals whose duties and functions are not mentally or physically impeded by their religious symbols or clothing.”
While marching in solidarity with thousands of other Quebecers against Bill 96 on Saturday, DeBellefeuille – who made national headlines for his decade-long successful battle with the city of Longueuil and its police department after repeatedly being stopped for “driving while black” – says people should keep their eye on the clock which is ticking towards another election and probable invocation of section 33, the notwithstanding clause, to keep Bill 21 alive.
“We have an election coming in October and we might have another CAQ government, and then for sure Legault will use section 33 to enact the bill for another five years, so we really need to see if we can help some of the people caught in this net. If we can't convince them to repeal the entire thing, then perhaps certain sections can be dealt with.”

He says Quebecers alarmed by the bill should be even more so given how the government was solely reliant on suspension of charter rights to do so. “It is legislated discrimination” he says, and gives safe harbor to bigots whose prejudices and biases have never had a safe space. “Until now a person wearing a kippah could apply for a position in a targeted workplace, and if an HR manager told them to their face “You can't work here if you wear symbols or clothing” (identifying you as a Jew), that person and the company would be subject to a discrimination lawsuit, human rights complaints and more. “Now that behaviour has been legalized.”
“Add it to Legault’s call on Justin Trudeau telling him we can't accommodate the migrants coming in, it's probably more like ‘We don't want an influx of people who are not French-speaking’.” Throw in Bill 96 with its search and seizure powers and allowing a minister to suspend municipal funding, he says, “and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see what the end-game is here for the CAQ.”
“Try and get Bill 21 passed without section 33” he said. “Convince Quebecers that it's necessary. But he won't because he can't. So instead of trying with a different version that's more reasonable and acceptable to the people of this province, and respects fundamental rights, he just says ‘too bad, let's first use our ace in the hole so we can do whatever we want.’ That's what is so dangerous here.”
The goal is to collect over 500 signatures by June 10 for it to be heard on the Assembly floor. The e-petition will be tabled by Liberal Jacques-Cartier MNA Greg Kelley.
To sign the e-petition visit:
https://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/exprimez-votre-opinion/petition/Petition-9651/index.html

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