Commentary  The English Graduate Students Association statement regarding Quebec’s Bill 62

We, the English Graduate Student Association of McGill University, take notice of the fact that the government of Quebec adopted Bill 62 into law on October 18th, 2017. This law, titled “Loi favorisant le respect de la neutralité religieuse de l’État” (An Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for accommodations on religious grounds in certain bodies), forbids access to public services for anyone wearing a face covering, including access to University, public transportation and health services.

We oppose this law because it is inherently racist and unambiguously Islamophobic, operating under the guise of secularism. We oppose the law because it is indicative of a failure to address issues of systemic racism on part of the provincial and federal governments, and in fact constitutes an intensification. It serves neither to increase public security nor to promote a society in which all citizens are treated equally. The law discriminates against Muslim women who wear face veils in particular, putting them at risk for social exclusion and crucially, increased violence on the streets and on public transit. We, the English Graduate Student Association, officially condemn “Bill 62” and oppose it through such actions as making public statements and organizing and participating in actions that oppose it.

We are committed to providing reasonable support to any member of EGSA suffering consequences of disregarding this law, or the law being applied against them.


The English Graduate Student Association.