Professor Richard Moon comments on religious symbol bans in Quebec and Europe

Richard Moon

In a recent The Analyst article, Professor Richard Moon commented on religious symbol bans in Quebec and Europe. Just weeks after France restricted the hijab, Quebec upheld its own law that banned certain professions, including teachers, police officers, and government lawyers, from wearing religious symbols at work.

The law is clearly at odds with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees freedom of religion, said Professor Moon. 

"The challenge comes from a legal provision that allows the country or provinces to override certain Charter sections," he added.

He continues to say that is exactly what Quebec did in 2019, invoking the notwithstanding clause to prevent Charter challenges to the bill.

In the absence of the notwithstanding clause, there would be “no question” that the law would be struck down, Professor Moon said. "The legal question now becomes whether in face of the clause there are still ways the law would be considered unconstitutional."

Professor Moon agrees that the underlying problem is prejudice against religion.

“The best remedy to bigotry is for people to actually come into direct contact and come to know people from different communities,” he said. “It’s transformative when that happens.”

Read the article on The Analyst website.