The Peel Regional Police has become the first and possibly the only one that has launched a recruiting campaign focussing on Quebec residents affected by the province’s new law on religious symbols.
This campaign is set to begin in Quebec following a motion that was passed unanimously by the region’s police services board last week.
The police force “believes in the values of diversity and inclusion, including the accommodation of religious symbols,” the motion states. It goes on to say that the police board “invites all affected individuals either pursuing or training for a career in policing in Quebec to apply for a career with the Peel Regional Police.”
The motion calls for the police force to place advertising “within Quebec.”
Quebec’s religious symbols law, which was passed last Sunday, will bar public school teachers, government lawyers, judges and police officers from wearing religious symbols while at work.
The Peel Regional Police have just over 2,000 uniformed officers and 800 civilian staff, said Const. Danny Marttini, a spokesperson for the force. They hire approximately 100 new recruits every year, she said.
The police board motion was seconded by Patrick Brown, Brampton’s mayor and the former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, who declared his opposition to Quebec’s law in a statement released last Friday.
“We need to send a strong message to proponents of [the secularism law] in Quebec,” the statement says. “This law is an affront to freedom of religion and an infringement of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
Brown has also introduced a similar motion with Brampton’s city council for recruiting for the city’s fire and emergency service.
In his motion advocating for Brampton to join the legal challenge, Brown writes that the city “is ground zero for diversity and Canadian multiculturalism, and [Brampton’s] Council bears a responsibility to stand up in defence of the Canadian multicultural mosaic.”
Brown’s statement says the law on religious symbols will prohibit Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and others who wear religious symbols from pursuing careers in many public sector jobs.
But while the effort to recruit individuals who are affected by the secularism laws in Quebec or those who intend joining the police force in Quebec is laudable, there is some worry and concern that hiring personnel will be too eager to recruit candidates from Quebec and that worries some who believe that recruitment will affect the chances of those already living in the Peel Region who aspire to join the force.
Furthermore, one also wonders about the optics of hiring individuals based on the fact that he or she belongs to a faith group. After all, if there are 100 new recruits each year, it is not a lot compared to the number of applicants who apply. This could lead to resentment over time. -CINEWS