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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