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The views expressed by speakers in Humanist Canada webinars are their own and are not endorsed by Humanist Canada. We aim to provide a platform for a wide range of topics and perspectives, including those of scholars, activists, industry experts, civil servants, and journalists.

Webinar Series 2020: Bill 21 – Part 2 of 4

Behind the numbers: what is the primary motivation behind support for Bill 21?

In March of 2019, the government of Quebec premier François Legault, the founding leader of the centre-right Coalition Action Démocratique (CAQ), passed “An Act Respecting the Laicity of the State”, also known as Bill 21.

Bill 21 prohibits certain public servants in positions of authority, including judges, police officers, government lawyers, principals and vice-principals, as well as elementary and high school teachers, from wearing religious symbols such as a hijab, crucifix, turban or kippah while on the job.

Dr. Jack JedwabThis contentious law has polarized public opinion. The detractors of Bill 21 claim that it fuels anti-religious sentiment, disproportionately affects Muslim women, and restricts the freedom of conscience and is, therefore, unconstitutional. The supporters of Bill 21 argue that it enforces the healthy separation of state and religion, prevents passive proselytism, and enhances gender equality by “freeing women from the constraints of oppressive religions”.

Dr. Jack Jedwab will join us for our second webinar in the four-part series on Bill 21.

Dr. Jack Jedwab is President and CEO of the Association for Canadian Studies and Metropolis Canada, which holds the largest gathering of immigration policy-makers, researchers and service providers.

He was formerly Executive Director of the Quebec Region of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He holds a Phd in Quebec History from Concordia University.
To learn more about his publications, visit:

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