CJAD Montreal: Sikhs seeking to overturn National Assembly kirpan ban

Two Sikhs who filed a court challenge to the ban on wearing kirpans in the National Assembly, say they are hoping that negotiations with the new Liberal government will allow them to drop the case.

Posted on 4/16/2014 6:18:00 AM by Andrew Peplowski

Two Sikhs who filed a court challenge to the ban on wearing kirpans in the National Assembly, say they are hoping that negotiations with the new Liberal government will allow them to drop the case.

Haminder Kaur of Dollard-des-Ormeaux and Balpreet Singh of Toronto launched the suit in 2011.

They argue the ban on the ceremonial dagger violates constitutional rights to free speech and religion by banning Sikhs from the National Assembly and discouraging them from seeking higher office.

Le Devoir this morning says the decision to file suit came about because of an incident four years ago when security guards prevented World Sikh Organization of Canada represent from entering the National Assembly to attend a public hearing. 

Three weeks after the incident , the National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion supporting the decision.

Government lawyers argue the ban is a security measure and the suit amounts to a challenge of the Assembly's right to free speech and the privilege of controlling access to the legislature.

The case is scheduled to be heard next year.


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