UPDATED: Kelowna Council voices opposition to Quebec's Bill 21


UPDATED: Kelowna city council unanimously stood behind Councillor Mohini Singh in passing a motion to publicly oppose Quebec’s Bill 21.

Singh detailed her opinion, stating the bill doesn’t just impact the people of Quebec but has nationwide implications.

 “This is a nasty, mean spirited, demeaning, racist law and it’s so un-Canadian.

 “It goes against the basic grain of our rights and freedoms and it goes against our very core principle of inclusiveness and being an inclusive city. I just felt we had to say something. We’re small in numbers in terms of minority groups but it only takes a strong stance and I’m hoping other municipalities in BC will pick up from us,” said Singh.

Singh thanked her colleagues for supporting her and all Canadians with the symbolic gesture.

Kelowna's City Council is being asked to voice its opposition to Quebec's controversial Bill 21 on Monday.

Councillor Mohini Singh is bringing forth the motion to show the community that Kelowna stands for multi-culturalism and inclusivity.

Councillor Ryan Donn supports the motion.

“There's different various steps we've taken as a culture to be more inclusive of people's beliefs and religions and I just think this isn't that step forward, it's a step backwards.”

He said the reality is that their decision won’t reverse Quebec’s resolution and that the only way it will change is if their current or future provincial government chooses to change the law.

Councillor Loyal Wooldridge will also vote in support of the motion.

He stressed the importance that, as a municipality, they stand up for what's right and represent everyone in the community.

“It's really creating an 'us and them' mentality and we just don’t have room for that within our society and our culture. Canada is known for being welcoming and being inclusive and legislations like this just create more division and create more divisive behaviour,” said Wooldridge.

The bill bans most government workers in the province of Quebec, including teachers, police officers, judges and others from wearing many religious symbols, while on the job.

Wooldridge said some religious members in the Okanagan feel oppressed by this ban, although they are not a part of Quebec.

He wants to show everyone in the community that their leaders are standing behind minorities who may feel oppressed in Canada.

“To me, silence equals acceptance. So I believe, as leaders in our community, it is our responsibility to stand up for everyone and to say that it’s not okay to take away a person’s basic right to practice their religion.”