McGill University students strike in protest of Bill 21

Hundreds gathered on Friday at McGill University as education, law faculty and other students protested against Bill 21.

The bill is discriminatory and should be repealed, they said. Bill 21 forbids public servants in positions of power from wearing religious symbols, including teachers.

"One of the fundamental problems with the bill is that it really tells every single religious and racial minority in Quebec that they don't belong here," said Courtney Murdoch, vice-president of the McGill education undergraduate society.

McGill education undergraduate students earlier voted 95 per cent in favour of two strike days--the second of which will be held on Monday.

On Friday, they picketed outside the university's education building, encouraging classmates to take the day off.

Their demonstration came days after Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge admitted Quebec is facing a teacher shortage.

Some teachers, like Amrit Kaur--who wears a turban, have left the province to teach elsewhere.

"[Bill 21] does contribute to the teacher shortage because there's individuals like myself, who are qualified to teach. Who can do the job properly, but we can't just because of institutionalized racism," she said.

A spokesperson for the education minister said Bill 21 doesn't prevent anyone from teaching. Teachers who wear religious symbols are free to do so outside the classroom, the spokesperson added.

The teacher's shortage, the spokesperson continued, was a result of 15 years of Liberal mismanagement.