Quebec’s face-covering law heads for constitutional challenge

These violations cannot be justified in Quebec’s free and democratic society,’ plaintiffs say

By Benjamin Shingler
CBC News | November 7, 2017

Civil liberties advocates have launched a legal challenge over the constitutionality of Quebec’s face-covering ban, arguing it “directly infringes on the freedom of religion of individuals.”

The law passed last month requires people to uncover their face to receive public services under certain circumstances.

The legal challenge, filed Tuesday in Quebec Superior Court, contests a section of the province’s religious neutrality law under both Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Such blatant and unjustified violations of freedom of religion, as well as of the quality guarantees of the Quebec and Canadian charters, have no place in Quebec or Canada,” the plaintiffs argue in a court filing.

“These violations cannot be justified in Quebec’s free and democratic society.”

The National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Warda Naili, a Quebec woman who converted to Islam and wears a niqab, are also plaintiffs in the case.

She is referred to in the legal challenge by her birth name, Marie-Michelle Lacoste.

. . .

Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said at the news conference the law was another example of politicians targeting the Muslim community for “electoral gain.” The next provincial election is slated for October 2018.

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