Ottawa (June 19, 2019): The World Sikh Organization of Canada is shocked by the silence of Canadian federal leaders over the passing of Bill 21- An Act respecting the laicity of the State by the Coalition Avenir Quebec government banning the wearing of religious symbols. Bill 21 restricts the wearing of ‘religious symbols’ by public servants in positions of authority such as police officers, judges, prosecutors and also school teachers and principals, among others. The Government of Quebec has also invoked the notwithstanding clause, allowing it to override freedom of religion protections enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms.Read more
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Montreal (June 17, 2019): The World Sikh Organization of Canada is deeply saddened by the passing of Bill 21- An Act respecting the laicity of the State by the Coalition Avenir Quebec government banning the wearing of religious symbols. The Bill was passed in a rare late-night vote on Sunday after the Government of Quebec invoked closure to prematurely end debate. The Government of Quebec has also invoked the notwithstanding clause, allowing it to override freedom of religion protections enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms.Read more
Ottawa (June 3, 2019): The World Sikh Organization of Canada welcomes the release of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The Report released today, entitled “Reclaiming Power and Place”, makes over 200 recommendations and calls the systemic violence against Indigenous Peoples a genocide and states that “Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people are particularly targeted”.Read more
Ottawa (May 21, 2019) WSO requests that the Pakistan Government preserve the 104 acres of fields surrounding Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara where Guru Nanak lived and farmed for 19 years. Since the announcement of the Kartarpur Corridor in November 2018, there has been substantial construction resulting in the stripping of land around the Kartarpur Gurdwara in the name of religious tourism. As of May 1, 2019, a construction work update shows the destruction of all fields and orchards and new construction for a water tank and residential buildings. Plans also include commercial buildings such as hotels and parking lots on the land where Guru Nanak’s fields existed.Read more
Montreal (May 16, 2019): The World Sikh Organization of Canada has submitted its legal brief on Quebec’s Bill 21, "An Act respecting the laicity of the State", to the Quebec National Assembly’s Committee of Institutions. The Bill would ban the wearing of “religious symbols” for government employees in positions of authority such as judges, police officers, jail guards, teachers, principals and others.
Earlier this week, WSO’s Vice President for Quebec, Amrit Kaur also testified before the Coalition Inclusion Québec’s ‘People’s Hearings’ for community groups who were excluded by the Quebec Government from hearings on Bill 21.Read more
Ottawa (May 3, 2019): World Sikh Organization of Canada President, Mukhbir Singh testified yesterday before the House of Commons Justice Committee on the issue of online hate. The WSO called on the government to play its role in countering the proliferation of online hate.
Following a sharp rise in police-reported hate crimes between 2016 and 2017 many organizations, including the World Sikh Organization of Canada had called on the Government of Canada to create a strategy to counter online hatred.
In his testimony on Thursday, Mukhbir Singh acknowledged that “unfortunately, instances of hatred and violence are not new for the Sikh community… minority status combined with an outward identity which is intended to stand out has often made Sikhs a target by those motivated by hate and intolerance.”Read more
Ottawa (April 30, 2019): The World Sikh Organization of Canada welcomes Royal Assent to Bill-376 “An Act to Designate April as Sikh Heritage Month”. The Bill is now law and henceforth, April will be recognized as Sikh Heritage Month in Canada.
Bill 376 was originally introduced by Surrey-Newton MP Sukh Dhaliwal in October 2017.
The Bill received unanimous support in a vote in the House of commons on November 7, 2018 and was passed in the Senate on April 11, 2019.Read more
Ottawa (April 23, 2019): The World Sikh Organization of Canada is deeply troubled by a report published today in the Globe & Mail that states Patrick Brown, the then leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, was “under ‘pressure’ from the Indian consulate” to reject a Sikh candidate during a nomination battle in May 2017.
According to the Globe Investigation, Patrick Brown was under “pressure” from the Indian consulate in Toronto to reject the candidacy of Vikram Singh because of the consulate’s allegations against his father.Read more
Ottawa (April 17, 2019): The World Sikh Organization of Canada has written to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale over concerns regarding the interference of Indian interests in Canada and within the Sikh community.
Last week, Germany laid charges against individuals for spying on the Sikh and Kashmiri communities and providing information to India’s foreign intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). This is the third-time German authorities have charged individuals for spying on behalf of India in the recent past. Charges had earlier been laid against a Ranjit Singh in March 2014 and one “T.S.P.” in September 2016. It also came to light that the same Ranjit Singh who was charged in 2014 for spying was named on April 1, 2019 as a facilitator and handler of a cell of “Babbar Khalsa” militants who were arrested in Mohali, Punjab. Those arrested are all below the age of 30 and were reportedly radicalized by Ranjit. It was alleged by the Punjab Police that “Ranjit Singh is the mastermind who was providing help to the accused and was motivating them to eliminate the targets.”Read more
Ottawa (April 12, 2019): The World Sikh Organization of Canada welcomes the changes to the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada. In an update this evening, the title “Sikh (Khalistani) Extremism” has been removed and replaced with “Extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India”.
In a statement issued on April 7, 2019, Minister Goodale had acknowledged that “the language used to describe some threats unintentionally maligned certain communities….and is not in line with the values of the Government of Canada”.Read more