Bill 21 appeal: English school board says law is 'affront' to values of Quebec anglos

MONTREAL — A lawyer for Quebec's largest English-language school board says the province's secularism law is an affront to the dignity and values of the anglophone community.

Perri Ravon, lawyer for the English Montreal School Board, told a Court of Appeal hearing today that religious diversity is a way of life in Quebec's English schools.

Ravon told the court that it doesn't matter whether Bill 21 — which prohibits some public sector workers from wearing religious symbols on the job — is supported by a majority of Quebecers.

What matters, she says, is that the law is incompatible with the culture of the minority.

Both the Quebec government and groups opposing the law are challenging an April 2021 court decision that largely upheld Bill 21 but struck down provisions relating to English school boards, because official language minority rights are protected under the Constitution.

Manuel Klein, who is representing the Quebec government, told the Appeal Court Tuesday that the law does nothing to erode the culture of Quebec's anglophones, adding that Bill 21 should apply equally to all students in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 9, 2022.

The Canadian Press