The NCCM released its Quebec election policy guide this week, ahead of the Oct. 3 vote.
The guide lays out key issues and provides certain recommendations to political parties.
“For the past years, being a Muslim living in Quebec has been increasingly difficult,” said Lina El Bakir, the NCCM’s Quebec advocacy officer. “We’ve had state-sanctioned discrimination, such as Bill 21.”
Six key issues are highlighted in the election guide:
Bill 21, which bars several civil servants from wearing religious symbols at work
Code of conduct during elections
Community safety and protection against hate
Recognition of systemic racism
Systemic discrimination in employment
There are 13 recommendations in the guide, and the NCCM is asking all political parties to commit to them.
“Bill 21. It’s very straightforward. We recommend the abrogation of the bill,” said El Bakir. “It disproportionately affects Quebec’s religious minorities, especially, visibly Muslim women.”
Immigration is another key issue, said El Bakir.
“From the get-go, immigration was instrumentalized and it was even linked to violence and extremism,” she said. “And that just showed us essentially how it was never really a question of integration, but rather a question of xenophobia.
“For immigration, we want to make foreign qualification or credential recognition improvement as a central mandate requirement for the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration.”
Earlier this month, incumbent Premier François Legault apologized for comments he made citing the threat of “extremism” and “violence” as well as the need to preserve Quebec’s way of life as reasons to limit the number of immigrants to the province.
“When questions were asked about which values, I shouldn’t have answered that,” Legault said in his apology. “Because some people made a bad link between that and our immigrants in Quebec. Our challenge is really about the language, not about the values.”
The NCCM says the issues represent deeply concerning violations of human rights and threaten the civil liberties and security of all Quebecers.
“The sense of safety and the sense of belonging also needs to be reinstated for all Quebecers, and this is what we’re trying to do through this guide.”