Singh says Bill 21 is discriminatory but stops short of committing to court challenge

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Ottawa – NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says Quebec’s secularism law is undoubtedly discriminatory, but he will not commit to federal intervention if elected prime minister.

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In an interview with Granthshala National News on Thursday, Singh said he is waiting to see how the current court challenge to Bill 21 plays out before taking a decision.

“It’s being fought in court right now, and it’s important that it be fought in court. As a lawyer I know these decisions can be very complicated, and so before we know what happened, I will not assess anything,” he said.

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Singh says the law prohibiting public service employees such as teachers, judges and police officers from wearing religious symbols at work is discriminatory. But he said he is less concerned about “labels” than about the action.

“It is important to note that labeling things differently does not help the fight against systemic racism. What I want to do is make sure that people know that they should be valued and be there for who they are,” he said.

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Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, on the other hand, says he disagrees with the law but will not go as far as calling it discriminatory. However, he has said that he is keeping the door open for a court challenge at a later date, if necessary.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has said that as prime minister, she would never challenge a law passed by a provincial legislature.

In the same interview, Singh avoided the question of whether he would keep or sell the already purchased Trans Mountain pipeline, as he openly opposes it.

“I’ve always learned, my mom has always taught me, that we need to make sure we make good decisions, and that a good decision is only made when you know what you’re up against. We don’t know what What Mr. Trudeau has done, and we don’t know the situation. As long as we are in government, we will know it better,” he said.

He said an elected NDP government would end fossil fuel shortages and set more “realistic” emissions reduction targets.

He said an elected NDP government would end fossil fuel shortages and create more “realistic” emissions reduction targets – although at least one environmental economist has questioned the plan’s feasibility. In terms of its impact on Canada’s GDP.

The NDP has vowed that by 2030, Canada will have carbon dioxide emissions 50 percent below 2005 levels. By comparison, liberals are pledging to cut emissions 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade, while conservatives want to adhere to Canada’s reduction targets under the Paris Agreement – ​​far above the government’s current target. is less.

Here is the full text of Singh’s interview with Granthshala News national affairs correspondent Umar Sachdina.

Note: This transcript has been edited for length and grammar.

Soon: Your platform promises to spend more than $200 billion over the next five years and rely on new taxes on the so-called ultra-rich as well as corporations to generate more revenue. Don’t you risk killing innovation at a time when economic growth is so critical to Canada’s post-pandemic recovery?

Lion: No, not at all. What we are seeing is just fairness. It’s about making sure people who are using offshore tax havens, and loopholes that mean they aren’t paying their fair share, start paying their fair share, and so it really It is a question of fairness. When we look at the workers who have struggled in this pandemic, small businesses have closed their doors, but we see that the 44 billionaires in Canada have increased their wealth by $78 billion, and Continuing to not pay the fair share is something that Canadians say can’t sit well with them.

Soon: I’d now like to move on to the Trans Mountain Pipeline. You say you are against it, you have repeatedly said so. But you won’t say what you’ll do with it. Don’t voters deserve to know what your plan is?

Lion: Well the voters know where I stand and they know where I stand on the environment.

Soon: But they don’t know what you are going to do with it.

Lion: They know where I stand on the environment, and they know the things that I will do solidly right away. they know that

I would end fossil fuel shortages, while Trudeau raised them to the level of Mr. Harper.

Soon: Especially on the pipeline, which you know is now taxpayer-owned property: If you got selected, what would you do with it? Will you keep it or will you get rid of it?

Lion: I have always learned, my mother has always taught me that we need to make sure we make good decisions, and that a good decision is made only when you know what you are up against. We don’t know what Mr Trudeau has done, and we don’t know the situation. As long as we are in government, we will know this better.

Soon: You want to assess the decision to keep or sell it. What are the parameters there, what would you be looking for?

Lion: All the parameters involved in decision making, what is in the best interest of Canadians, what is the condition of the property, what is the best decision we can make?

Soon: I want to move to Bill 21, this is an issue where for you, the personal and the political really collide, right. If you were in Quebec, you would not be able to become a public prosecutor, even a teacher. Liberals are at least ready to intervene in the legal challenge, right?

Lion: What I have said about this bill is that it is currently being fought in court. This is a bill which is divisive and I do not support such bills.

Soon: The question was very simple, Mr. Singh: Will you intervene, are you at least ready to intervene?

Lion: My position is that this is being fought in court right now, and it is important that it be fought in court. As a lawyer, I know that these decisions can be very complex, and so I would not assess anything before finding out what happens.

Soon: Is this racist?

Lion: Calling people racist or labeling things as racist is less important to me than actually getting results, and to me the result will be a society where people are, where we police violence based on the color of one’s skin. Where people are not being treated differently because of who they are. This is what I want to achieve.

Soon: If you think it’s discriminatory –

Lion: I don’t think it is, it is.

Soon: Then why aren’t you at least open to the possibility of legally challenging it?

Lion: We’ll see what happens with that, you know I’ve seen a lot of court cases and the results are very complex and decisions can be very complicated so we want to know what the consequences are.

Soon: Now September 20 is just a few days away. If it’s a conservative minority, and you have a balance of power, would you work with that scenario?

Lion: I’m going to turn it around because I’m not going to accept defeat. I am fighting to become prime minister and my goal as prime minister is to tax the super rich, invest in people.

Soon: But the chances of that happening are not very good at the moment. There are two front-runners right now, if this is a conservative minority, would you be willing to work with that government?

Lion: It doesn’t change that I’m not going to accept that frame. I am running to be prime minister. As Prime Minister, I achieved what I promised to do, which is investing in our child care, investing in solving the housing crisis, investing in our health care, taxing the super rich . I want Canadians to know they have a choice, if they want these things to happen, you got Mr. Trudeau who is for show, shows a lot of great things, but it’s in the interests of the rich is to protect. . Or you have the new Democrats, who are going to fight for you, want to make sure the super-rich pay their fair share, and invest in the solutions people need.

With a file from the Canadian Press

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