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Ontario Police to Recruit Officers Affected by Quebec Religious Symbols Ban

Ontario Police to Recruit Officers Affected by Quebec Religious Symbols Ban
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, shown at a city council meeting, says the city needs to 'stand up in defence of the Canadian multicultural mosaic.' (John Lesavage/CBC)

The mayor of Brampton, Ontario, will launch a recruiting campaign targeting Quebec residents affected by the province’s new law on religious symbols, CBC reported.

“We need to send a strong message to proponents of [the secularism law] in Quebec,” Patrick Brown, Brampton’s mayor and the former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, said in a statement.

“This law is an affront to freedom of religion and an infringement of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Last week, Quebec’s Bill 21 banning public-school teachers, government lawyers, judges, and police officers from wearing hijab and religious symbols, got passed after a marathon weekend of deliberations at Quebec’s National Assembly.

The bill was introduced by the Coalition Avenir Québec government.

The Peel Regional Police, which covers territory including the cities of Mississauga and Brampton, will conduct a campaign in Quebec after a motion was passed unanimously by the region’s police services board on Friday.

The police force “believes in the values of diversity and inclusion, including the accommodation of religious symbols,” the motion states. It goes on to say that the police board “invites all affected individuals either pursuing or training for a career in policing in Quebec to apply for a career with the Peel Regional Police.”

The motion calls for the police force to place advertising “within Quebec.”

Brown’s statement says the law on religious symbols will prohibit Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and others who wear religious symbols from pursuing careers in many public sector jobs.

The Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec thanked the Peel police force for its action.

“Thanks to the Peel Regional Police for applying the values of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” the organization said on Facebook.

Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey estimated Muslims in Canada to be around 1,053,945, or about 3.2% of the population, making Islam the second largest religion in the country after Christianity.

The new bill was already affecting the Muslim community negatively after a Montreal Muslim women’s organization report in May said there had been a sharp increase in Islamophobic incidents after the bill was tabled.

Several Muslim women have told CBC Montreal about being spat upon, harassed or denied public services in recent weeks.


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