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Group urges federal candidates to sign anti-Bill 21 pledge

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The logo of the newly formed Canadians United Against Bill 21.

Another grassroots group opposing Quebec’s secularism law has been launched – in Toronto.

Canadians United Against Bill 21 calls the legislation “regressive and unconstitutional” and is disappointed by the tepid response of federal political leaders during the election campaign.

It is asking every federal candidate to sign a pledge saying that they “expressly oppose” any federal or provincial law that violates the charter-protected freedom of religion, and “to defend the freedom of religion of all Canadians.”

“We can’t accept discrimination anywhere in Canada,” said Nita Kang, co-ordinator of the nationwide campaign.

Canadians United Against Bill 21 has sent an email to each candidate asking them to sign the pledge. Kang said the group will publish which candidates sign and which do not on its website.

“The federal leaders had an opportunity to take a stronger position against Bill 21 in (the Oct. 2) French-language debate. We were disappointed to see that none of the leaders are willing to commit to fighting this regressive legislation,” she said.

“We’d like to see all of the federal leaders unanimously oppose Bill 21 and commit to fight against it. Bill 21 legislates discrimination and sets a dangerous precedent. It is un-Canadian.”

Ordinary Canadians are invited to sign the pledge, as well.

Kang describes Canadians United Against Bill 21 as multi-partisan, made up of adherents of many faiths from across the political spectrum who share a common interest in defending the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and multiculturalism.

Now a real estate agent, Kang is a former director of special projects for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

Canadians United Against Bill 21 kicked off its campaign on Oct. 1, the day after Calgary city council unanimously voted its opposition to Bill 21. Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the law is “deliberately targeting Muslim women, baptized Sikhs who wear the turban and Jewish men who wear the kippah.”

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