On June 16, the Quebec government passed Bill 21, reprehensible legislation that prohibits provincial public servants, including police officers, judges and public-school teachers, from wearing religious symbols at their places of employment.
This prohibition violates fundamental values all Canadians hold dear. Like many Canadians, my parents immigrated to seek a better life in Canada, a country they believed strived to treat everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of religious belief.
I was raised to believe that everyone must have the opportunity to go as far in life as their talents and commitment will take them. Nobody in this country should be denied a job because they choose to wear a hijab, turban or kippah. That’s not the Canada I grew up in and it’s not the Canada I want my daughters to grow up in.
That’s why last week I was pleased to see Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister take a strong stand on this matter and criticize this discriminatory legislation. Premier, it’s time for you to do the same.
But as Premier of Canada’s most diverse province, you must do more than just speak out.
You must take decisive action to protect the human rights of observant Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and all other religious minorities impacted by Bill 21 in Quebec, as well as those here in Ontario who continue to face workplace discrimination.
I ask you to take the following five steps immediately:
Serving as Premier of Ontario requires bold leadership. I’m asking that you immediately show Ontario and Canada’s religious minorities that your government won’t stand for legislated discrimination.
It’s what Ontarians expect.
Steven Del Duca
Ontario Liberal Party Leadership Candidate