The FAE is approaching the Supreme Court to challenge the state secularism law

After the English Montreal School Board, it is the turn of the Federation of Autonomous Education (FAE), which has announced that it has filed an application with the Supreme Court of Canada to challenge the Secularism Education Act.

In a press release released Monday, the FAE said it was particularly opposed to the use of the notwithstanding clause, which allowed the Quebec government to pass a law without being able to challenge it under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In February, Quebec’s minister responsible for secularism, Jean-Fran├žois Roberge, introduced a bill to renew for another five years a derogatory provision that was inserted into the law in 2019 to exempt it from attacks under the Bill of Rights. and Freedoms, especially those that claim it is discriminatory.

According to the FAE, we must be wary of “the ease with which parliaments suspend our fundamental rights through the excessive use of derogation clauses”.

He believes that for the use of this provision to be valid, the parliament using it must demonstrate that the objective is “real and urgent” and that the request is made by a citizen.

That’s why a group of teachers unions wants the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, to look into a verdict handed down by an appeals court this winter that upheld Act 21 and affirmed that it does not violate the language rights of the English language. speaking school boards.

The Court of Appeal also confirmed that Quebec had the right to use this provision preemptively, as it did in the case of Act 21.

Law 21 bans civil servants in senior positions – including teachers – from wearing religious symbols such as the Muslim headscarf, Jewish kippah, Sikh turban and Christian crosses.

The federal government has already indicated that it will participate in a possible legal challenge to Bill 21 in the Supreme Court, while in Quebec we have always promised to defend the secularism of the state “to the end”.

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