Motion refusing to enforce law’s provisions passed at department meeting
A motion was passed at an Oct. 20 Concordia history department meeting condemning Bill 62, a provincial religious neutrality law adopted by the National Assembly on Oct. 18.
The motion—which was published on the department’s Facebook page—claims that the new law “discriminates specifically against one group, Muslim women who wear face coverings.”
After the law was adopted last week, it was understood that Bill 62 would require people to uncover their faces when receiving public services. However, on Oct. 24, Quebec Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée clarified that women who wear a veil will only have to show their face for identification purposes and when interacting with a public service employee.
In its motion, the history department added that “the real effect of Law 62 will be to restrict women’s access to essential services and public space.”
“Therefore, the Department of History resolves that we will refuse to enforce its provisions in our classrooms and offices,” the motion continued.
The history department is the first Concordia department to officially condemn the bill. The motion also urged the university and major unions, such as the Concordia University Faculty Association (CUFA) and the Concordia University Part-Time Faculty Association (CUPFA), to take a similar stand in refusing to enforce the law’s provisions.
In an interview with The Concordian on Oct. 20, Concordia president Alan Shepard said the university was not provided with guidelines or explanations for how to interpret or implement the law. “So for now, it’s a status-quo—as if the law weren’t there,” Shepard said.
As part of their motion, the history department stated, “the new law not only contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms but also Concordia’s own policies regarding ‘civility, equity, respect, non-discrimination and an appreciation of diversity,’ as well as the right of all members of the university regarding ‘freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.’”
Photo by Alex Hutchins