A motion to support religious freedom
In light of Quebec’s Bill 21 which prevents public servants from wearing religious symbols, I worked with key City of Waterloo leaders, local residents, and community groups including the Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener-Waterloo and Interfaith Grand River to put forward a motion to reaffirm our commitment to religious freedom. This motion, amended after thoughtful discussion by council, was supported unanimously and sent to the province as the following resolution:
WHEREAS, according to a Statistics Canada report there has been a 207% increase in hate crimes reported by Muslims in Ontario.
WHEREAS, Islamophobia and religious intolerance are prevalent and longstanding problems in Waterloo Region.
WHEREAS, the Province of Quebec has recently passed Bill 21 which prohibits public servants in influential positions from wearing religious symbols.
WHEREAS, this bill directly affects the health, well-being, and sense of belonging of members of the growing Muslim Community in Waterloo Region, and disproportionately Muslim Women, who fear this bill might incite similar systemic policies, legislation, and practices in other provinces and communities, such as the province of Ontario and the City of Waterloo.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the City of Waterloo denounces Bill 21’s intent and substance, and reaffirms its commitment to its strategic plan’s priorities of equity, inclusion, and belonging, healthy community and resilient neighbourhoods, and a healthy and safe workplace, which includes religious freedom practiced with sincerity, compassion, and love.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the City of Waterloo is urging the province and provincial advocacy bodies to affirm their commitment to policies, legislation, and practices that promote religious freedom, anti-racism, as well as promote equity, inclusion, and belonging in neighbourhoods, communities and workplaces.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution be forwarded to the Honourable Premier of Ontario, local Members of Provincial Parliament, the Region of Waterloo, local municipalities, and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.