Quebec surrenders once more to defend its law on the religious neutrality

Québec renonce une fois de plus à défendre sa loi sur la neutralité religieuse

Photo: Ryan Remiorz, The canadian Press
Marie-Michelle Lacoste, which is now called Warda Naili, has challenged before the courts the quebec law on religious neutrality, less than three weeks after its official sanction.

Quebec surrenders once more to bring to the defence of its law on religious neutrality, including the article hinged on the provision of services “face to face” has been suspended for a month and a half after its entry into force.

The office of the minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée, on Friday confirmed that it interjettera not appeal a superior Court decision invalidating section 10 of the Act to promote the observance of the religious neutrality of the State, which provides that government services are delivered and received ” face to face “.

This judgment was rendered on 28 June, notes that the “irreparable harm” that would ” be caused to muslim women “, and this, in spite of the “guidelines” for the processing of accommodation requests for a pattern for religious, published in may by the minister Valley.

The decision of the superior Court was the second to delay the application of the article 10, until the constitutionality of it, be considered on the merits.

Adopted, suspended

The Act to promote the observance of the religious neutrality of the State was assented to on 18 October 2017. His article on “services” face to face ” has been suspended on the 1st of December following, and the maintenance of that suspension has been confirmed in a judgment in June.

Quebec has contested neither the judgment of December or June. “The government is focused on the case that will be heard on the merits,” said the press officer of Stéphanie Vallée, Isabelle Married St-Onge. “No further comment will be made on this record. “

Less than two months before elections, there is no guarantee that the government will go to the front to defend his bill. A defeat liberal at the election of October would likely be the end of the law on religious neutrality, since all the opposition parties in the national Assembly opposed its adoption.

If the matter is still before a trial could start next spring, ” said Olga Redko. With his colleague Catherine McKenzie, this lawyer has been mandated by the national Council of muslims, the canadian civil liberties Association and the citizen’s Marie-Michelle Lacoste (Warda Naili) in order to suspend the application of the controversial article of the Act to promote the observance of the religious neutrality of the State.

On Friday, she said she was “very happy” to learn that Quebec city will not appeal the decision that temporarily suspends the article the most controversial of his law. “We consider that the judgment of first instance, was very well-reasoned “, she commented. Me Redko did not want to assume the intentions of Québec in the folder. “There are always several reasons why a party decides not to appeal,” she said.

A ” zone of right delicate “

At the end of the month of June, the prime minister Philippe Couillard had said that he would await the “legal analysis” before deciding to bring the judgment of the superior Court in appeal or not. “What this shows is that it is in an area of law very delicate,” he said.

In a first judgment suspending the application of article 10, the Quebec superior Court has put into question the willingness of his government to apply the law on religious neutrality, since the latter came into force before the minister Valley sends guidelines to guide its implementation. In a second judgment, in the superior Court, justice Marc-André Blanchard has written that article 10 of the law on the religious neutrality of the State “appears, at first sight, to violate” freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, which are guaranteed by the canadian Charter of rights and freedoms and by the Charter of rights and freedoms of the person.