RPL petition against religious symbols worn by Canadian cabinet ministers

Petition of the Rassemblement pour la laïcité (Alliance for Secularism) against the wearing of the turban by the Minister of National Defence of Canada, The Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, as well as the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, The Honourable Navdeep Bains.

In the judgment rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015 where the Mouvement laïque québécois and Alain Simoneau opposed the city of Saguenay and its mayor Jean Tremblay (Mouvement laïque québécois c. Saguenay (Ville)), article 84 states:

First, because of the duty of religious neutrality with which it is required to comply, the state may not profess, adopt or favour one belief to the exclusion of all others. Obviously, the state itself cannot engage in a religious practice, so the practice would be one engaged in by one or more state officials, who would have to be acting in the performance of their functions. Where state officials, in the performance of their functions, profess, adopt or favour one belief to the exclusion of all others, the first two criteria for discrimination mentioned above, namely that there be an exclusion, distinction or preference and that it be based on religion, are met.

The Rassemblement pour la laïcité considers that the Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan and The Honourable Navdeep Bains, each wearing a Sikh turban while performing his function as representative of the Canadian state, are, by so doing, favouring one religion in particular and, as a result, are not respecting their duty of religious neutrality as required by the Supreme Court of Canada.

We, the signatories of this petition, request that every representative of the state refrain from displaying any religious symbols whatsoever and thus respect religious neutrality as stipulated by the Supreme Court of Canada.

This petition is an initiative of Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL or Alliance for Secularism) with the support of :


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