NCCM Executive Director Calls Green Party of Canada’s Position on Bill 21 “Unacceptable” During Townhall

– For Immediate Release –

Leader Elizabeth May states that she doesn’t “have any powers” to change policies on pro-Bill 21 candidates in the Green Party

(Toronto – September 9, 2019) On Friday night, the National Council of Canadian Muslims hosted Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, in the second in a series of townhalls with the major federal parties. During the townhall, where the discussion ranged from questions about climate change to guaranteed basic income, NCCM Executive Director Mustafa Farooq called the Green Party’s position on Bill 21 “unacceptable”.

An Act Respecting the Laicity of the State (referred to often as Bill 21) was passed by Quebec’s CAQ government earlier this year, and prohibits Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs amongst others from wearing religious symbols and becoming prosecutors, teachers, or police officers (amongst other professions). The Green Party of Canada has taken the position that individual candidates in the Green Party can have pro-Bill 21 stances.

“I’m sorry, Ms. May, but I find that position unacceptable”, said Mustafa Farooq, “There is nothing conscionable about second-class citizenship…When we say that people who work with us can say that some of our colleagues, like a Jewish colleague wearing a kippah…in 2019, couldn’t become a prosecutor, that’s unacceptable”.

Ms. May said that she could not change party policy on being able to stop pro-Bill 21 candidates in her party, further noting that while many Green Party candidates are opposed to Bill 21, “But they’d rather spend the election campaign, frankly, talking about the climate emergency.”

NCCM finds it unacceptable that candidates would shy away from talking about one of the biggest attacks on civil liberties in Canada in a decade.

Other topics canvassed included the Green Party’s support for recognizing January 29th as a National Day of Action in recognition of the Quebec City Mosque attacks, the rise of white supremacy, and Ms. May’s argument that white supremacy arises in part because, “There’s nothing more dangerous than a bunch of young white men with nothing to do”.

At the end of the Q&A section from the crowd, Ms. May also took a question regarding the New Brunswick candidates and allegations of racism.

To watch the full townhall, click here.

NCCM is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit organization that is a leading voice for civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.


EN: Mustafa Farooq, Executive Director, or 613-406-2525
FR: Sarah Abou-Bakr, Quebec Advocacy Coordinator, or 613-254-9704 ext. 236