SSMU votes to advocate non-compliance with Charter

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SSMU advocates for a stance of non-compliance with Bill 60

The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) will advocate that the university adopt a policy of non-compliance towards the Parti Québécois’ proposed Charter of Values, following a motion passed at the Dec. 5 Legislative Council meeting.

If implemented, the Charter would limit state personnel, including those working in state-funded education, from wearing conspicuous religious symbols. Both McGill’s Senate and the Board of Governors have passed motions condemning Bill 60 earlier this year, but neither motion mentions the possibility of non-compliance.

“There is a long step between saying that you are against something and taking action against it,” Councillor David Benrimoh said. “[Non-compliance] would be taking action against [the Charter] to make sure that our campus is safe for diversity.”

According to the motion, other Montreal institutions such as the Jewish General Hospital and the English Montreal School Board have adopted policies of non-compliance should the law pass.

Council’s motion also stipulates that university employees should have the right to wear full facial coverings as part of their freedom to wear religious symbols.

AELIÉS accuses SSMU of reneging on promised money

SSMU Vice-President External Samuel Harris spoke on a failed motion to censure SSMU at the Dec. 7 meeting of the Quebec Student Roundtable (TaCEQ).

The motion came from the graduate student association of Laval University (AELIÉS), which accused SSMU of not paying an allegedly promised share of $40,000 towards an ongoing court case. TaCEQ is participating as an intervener in the case, which involves a university student who is challenging the constitutionality of mandatory membership in student associations.

According to Harris, there is no documentation of such a promise.

“Unfortunately for AELIÉS, the minutes from this meeting in February are lost, so no proof in this respect exists,” Harris’ executive report reads. “SSMU has consistently said it will contribute $10,000 for the case, and TaCEQ board decisions have been passed many times reaffirming this.”

The motion at the TaCEQ meeting failed without support from TaCEQ’s other student associations.