City webpage launched to help fundraise for legal fight against Bill 21

District 3 Com. Jasmine Mian outside Calgary City Hall during a press conference announcing a Bill 21 webpage, June 16, 2022. DARREN KRAUSE/LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Calgarians can now donate to the Bill 21 legal fund thanks to the launch of a City of Calgary webpage directing people to the fundraising campaign.

The the webpage has been launched at 9 a.m. Thursday, the third anniversary of the passage of Bill 21 in Quebec, and directs people to a GoFundMe campaign. The campaign has a goal of $100,000.

In March, Calgary’s Bill 21 task force recommended not using $100,000 from the city’s coffers. Instead, he advised a city webpage that shows Calgary’s opposition to Bill 21 and links to a private fundraiser for a joint legal challenge led by the World Organization of Sikhs, the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Com. Jasmine Mian, with Couns. Raj Dhaliwal and Evan Spencer served on the task force.

“If someone had told me 10 years ago that such a law would exist in Canada, I would never have believed them,” Mian said in a media announcement Thursday.

“After the math we’ve had on equity, diversity and inclusion, it’s deeply disturbing to see laws like this persist in Canada.

Com. Mian said the webpage gives everyday Calgarians a chance to show their support.

Com. Dhaliwal hopes a steady stream of donations will show how much this issue matters to Calgarians.

“Let’s send a pretty strong message to the Government of Quebec that this is not acceptable in Canada, and especially in the world we live in today,” Dhaliwal said.

Bill 21, signed into law in 2019, prohibits public servants from wearing religious symbols at work. The issue gained national attention late last year after a teacher in Quebec was told she could not wear the hijab to work and was fired .

Remembering past trauma

Terjinder Singh Sidhu, president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, said they have been fighting growing intolerance in Quebec for 10 years.

“When our community first heard about this bill, our parents and grandparents began to remember the trauma they went through when faced with what they had to face. when they arrive in Canada,” he said.

“How many of our fathers and brothers have been told to cut their hair and take off their turbans to get a job? How could we go back now? »

The case was heard by the Quebec Superior Court and is now being referred to the Quebec Court of Appeal. Sidhu expects this to go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

This is why the fundraising effort is in place.

“This is our chance as Calgarians to take a strong stand against laws that create space for intolerance,” he said.

“We must mobilize and stand together with those who are marginalized.

The bottom currently sits at $5,610 (4 p.m. Thursday) with a $5,000 seed donation made by local businessman Usman Jutt.

Com. Mian said the webpage and fundraising were a combined effort of the entire organization. But it was a simple request to get together. Although there were a few hours in town to put the page together, she called it “very negligible time.”

“I think the city has a commitment to make in terms of anti-racism and (diversity, equity, inclusion), and saying, you know what, we’re going to put this on our site, those are our values,” says- she.

“So a small investment for a big impact.”

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