What Is the True Purpose of Quebec's Bill 21?

(2020) 9:3 Directions 1

11 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2020 Last revised: 13 Jul 2020

See all articles by Phil Lord

Phil Lord

Université de Moncton - Faculty of Law; McGill University - Faculty of Law; York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: March 1, 2020


This paper explores two contrasting perspectives on Bill 21, Quebec’s secularism law: the first, which has dominated the public debate, analyses whether Bill 21 is a suitable method to achieve its main stated aim of promoting the equality of men and women, while the second analyses the social and historical context which likely caused Quebecers to afford great importance to state secularism. The second perspective helps recast the debate regarding Bill 21. This paper concludes that the second perspective suggests that Bill 21 may be a symbolic act, a way for Quebecers to further break free from an oppressive legacy and constitutively assert their identity. To the extent that one accepts this claim, the issue of whether Bill 21 achieves its main stated aim is of little importance.

Keywords: Quebec, Bill 21, secularism, state secularism, discrimination, Islam, religion, law and religion, hijab, legal realism

Suggested Citation

Lord, Phil, What Is the True Purpose of Quebec's Bill 21? (March 1, 2020). (2020) 9:3 Directions 1 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3516964

Phil Lord (Contact Author)

Université de Moncton - Faculty of Law ( email )

18 Antonine-Maillet Ave
Moncton, NB E1A 3E9

HOME PAGE: http://www.mylawyer.ca

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal, QC H3A 1W9

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

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