Second Montreal institution to defy Bill 60’s ban on the wearing of religious symbols by public-sector workers
By Michelle Lalonde | Published November 28, 2013 by The Montreal Gazette
MONTREAL – The English Montreal School Board became the second major institution to signal it will stand against the Parti Québécois’ proposed charter of values when it passed a motion Wednesday stating it has no intention of implementing a ban on the wearing of religious symbols by public-sector workers.
Following the lead of the Jewish General Hospital, which announced its intention to ignore that part of the charter two weeks ago, the EMSB passed a motion to defy certain provisions of the charter at a regular board meeting Wednesday night.
“The English Montreal School Board wishes to make it clear that it cannot accept the provisions of Bill 60 which relate to the wearing of objects such as headgear, clothing, jewelry or other adornments which, by their conspicuous nature, overly indicate a religious affiliation, and shall not implement any of the religious elements of Bill 60, should it be passed by the National Assembly,” reads the resolution, which passed with one abstention and no opposing votes.
EMSB commissioner Syd Wise, who moved the motion Wednesday, told other board members that the prospect of a government asking the board members for lists of employees whose garb contravenes the charter makes him shudder.
“The EMSB is one of the more important English institutions in Quebec. We are in the business of education. Our teachers teach tolerance to others and respect of individual rights, which includes freedom to adhere to one’s religious convictions. The essence of Bill 60 runs contrary to what this board stands for and what we teach our kids.”