Statement from Mayor Christina M. Smith on Bill 21

We at Westmount strive towards an inclusive community where everyone is given equal opportunity regardless of race, religion.

Opportunity should be given based on your merits and competence and not based on what you wear.

We are aware of the challenges that could occur when living in a multicultural society.

However, I deeply feel that by going against freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, this law stigmatizes a group of people based on their religion and legitimizes discrimination. I have the full support of the City Council on this position.

I would like to add that, this law, if passed, will actually be counterproductive.

Where it looks to create inclusion, it will create division.

Where it looks to offer equal opportunity, it will create discrimination

Where it looks to bring people together, it will raise tensions between communities

Work is an integral part of participation in society. And this law could prevent part of the population from having fair access to the workforce.

What should we do when a law is unjust?

We are not alone in opposing this Bill. The Mayor of Montreal, the Mayors of the Association of Suburban Municipalities (ASM), and the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) have already expressed their opposition to the bill.

As Mayor Valérie Plante said during her address yesterday it’s indeed a dangerous “slippery slope” for our community.

I encourage everyone who shares the same concerns to voice their opinion and make sure that they are heard so we can have a real debate on the issue and find solutions and compromises that are fair, practical and true to our values.

Christina M. Smith
Mayor of Westmount