Quebec's Secularism Law is a Gross Violation of Human Rights


Cardus encourages Hamilton City Council to publicly commit to religious freedom and religious pluralism


January 13, 2022

HAMILTON, ON – Local think tank Cardus is weighing in on Hamilton City Council’s debate on joining other Canadian municipalities in a legal challenge of Quebec’s Bill 21 – a law that prohibits certain Quebec public servants from wearing visible religious symbols. Brian Dijkema, Vice President of External Affairs at Cardus, has made a written submission to council on the issue.

“As we have stated elsewhere, a democratic State facilitates open expression of both religious and non-religious belief in the public square,” Dijkema wrote in the submission. “Cardus supports the City of Hamilton’s recognition of public religious expression as central to a robust exercise of religious freedom, and that this is the foundation of an authentically pluralist society.”

The Cardus submission notes that Quebec’s Bill 21 violates the constitutionally recognized human right to free religious expression of multiple faith communities. The law affects Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Christians, and others who may wear clothing or symbols of religious significance. Dijkema adds that the motion before Hamilton City Council sends an important signal.

“Whether a legal challenge of Bill 21 from cities outside Quebec will be effective is an open question,” Dijkema says. “Regardless, it’s important for councillors to make a public commitment to affirming religious pluralism and to promoting freedom of religion in Hamilton and across Canada.”

The Cardus submission to Hamilton City Council is freely available online.


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.