Concordia Student Union

Statement on Bills 9 and 21

We are disappointed but not surprised to hear that Quebec’s CAQ government forced through two racist bills over the weekend: Bill 9 and Bill 21. Bill 9 reforms the province’s immigration system by implementing a “values test,” and effectively shreds around 16,000 pending immigration applications. Bill 21 bans certain public servants—including teachers, lawyers, police officers, and judges—from wearing religious symbols, which will disproportionately affect Muslim, Sikh, and Jewish people. Additionally, the Quebec government announced that it will create surveillance and disciplinary bodies to enforce Bill 21, which some are calling a “secularism police force.”

Concordia’s diverse student population is one of its greatest strengths, and we strongly oppose any legislation that infringes on the rights and freedoms of religious and ethnic minorities. We are especially concerned by the ramifications of Bill 21, which will prohibit many current Concordians from completing internships and pursuing careers in Quebec’s public sector based solely on what they choose to wear.

On behalf of the Concordia Student Union, we would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to building an inclusive Quebec where religious and cultural differences are respected and embraced. We will continue to call out and fight discrimination at every level, and encourage the student body to join us.

We want to conclude this statement with comments by Amani Salem, a current Concordia student in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) who wears the hijab:

“Not only am I now forbidden to work in the province I was born and raised in, but am obliged to choose between my hijab and completing my internships without it in order to get my degree. This is real oppression, not my hijab. I will continue being who I am, not only for myself but for my future students, who will see a strong Muslim woman standing in front of them who has fought for what she believes in.”

— 2019–2020 CSU Executive Team