A Letter on Québec’s Bill 21

On 29 March 2019, Québec’s ruling party Coalition Avenir Québec introduced Bill 21, which would ban certain public workers from wearing religious symbols.

We have sent this letter to the Montréal Gazette and the Globe and Mail on the bill:

As Quakers, we know from our own history the fear and pain that can result from discrimination on religious grounds. The persecution suffered by early Quakers was based on our difference, including our religious dress. Our predecessors did nothing to harm others in the societies of which they were a part, yet they were often severely persecuted.

We are distressed to see that the government of Québec proposes to dictate how some of its citizens can or cannot practice their religion by forbidding the wearing of anything that the government considers a ‘symbol’ of a particular faith.  This is a retrograde and reprehensible step.

The wearing of a hijab, a crucifix, a yarmulke, a turban, or the plain-dress head covering still worn by some Quakers, does not pose harm to anyone, nor does it represent an attempt to proselytize.  There is no threat involved in these symbols.  To prohibit the wearing of them in the public sector means that people who quietly and faithfully express religious belief can be denied a job or denied a promotion, which is clearly discrimination on the basis of religion, even if the wearer has never made any mention of her or his faith.

We urge the Québec government to reconsider Bill 21 in a light of acceptance, tolerance, and compassion – and to reject discrimination of all kinds.

In the Light,
Beverly Shepard
Presiding Clerk
Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Opportunity for Youth to attend FGC Gathering

The 2019 gathering of Friends General Conference will be held June 30-July 6 in Grinnell, Iowa – and there are no program fees for children and youth! (They also get 50% off their meals and housing.)

Friends General Conference (FGC) is a North American association of Quaker Yearly Meetings, regional groups, and Monthly Meetings. It exists to increase communication among unprogrammed Friends – and the annual gathering is one important way FGC cultivates relationships among Quakers.

There are two programs for youth at FGC: Junior Gathering is open for children and youth ages 0-14, while and High School Gathering is for grades 10-12. Both have no fees, but please note that all youth must attend with a parent or sponsor. Adults unaffiliated with any youth are also welcome to come!

For more information and to register (by May 31 for children and June 10 for teens), visit the FGC Gathering page:

For a full schedule of fees for the gathering, please see:


New issue of The Canadian Friend & Submissions for the Next

Those who are subscribers to The Canadian Friend, our national journal, should have received a copy in the mail by now.

It is also available electronically:
The Canadian Friend – Spring 2019 (Print-friendly PDF)
The Canadian Friend – Spring 2019 (Screen-friendly PDF)
The Canadian Friend – Spring 2019 (Online Version)

This issue includes articles on early Quaker history, the poetry of prison visiting, news from around the Canadian Quaker family, and a lot more. You can see the full Table of Contents here.

Forms and information on Canadian Yearly Meeting 2019, our yearly gathering, also went out with the issue. This material is also available here:
CYM 2019 Brochure & Forms (Screen-friendly PDF)
CYM 2019 Brochure & Forms (Print-friendly PDF)

For even more information – a veritable cascade of it – on the Canadian Yearly Meeting 2019 gathering, you can visit its webpage:
Yearly Meeting in Session

Next Issue

The due date for the next issue is coming up soon! It is May 10, though extensions can occasionally be obtained by asking the editor nicely.   

Please submit articles between 500-1200 words long. Submissions on any topic of potential interest to Canadian Friends are welcome. (Unusual topics or word-lengths are possible, but best discussed with the editor before submitting).

Photos, artwork, and interesting quotations are also warmly welcomed as submissions.

Send submissions to The Canadian Friend‘s editor, Timothy Kitz, at or c/o CYM Office, 91A Fourth Ave., Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1S 2L1.

For inspiration, or to take a trip down memory lane, The Canadian Friend back issues are available online.  If your library is missing one, you can even download back issues and print them.


All members and regular attenders of the Monthly Meetings of CYM are entitled to receive a copy of The Canadian Friend. Donations to defray costs of producing the magazine are gratefully welcomed.

The annual individual subscription rate for Canada is $20, $30 for US addresses, and for all other countries $40.

To be added to the subscription list of The Canadian Friend, contact the ">CYM Office.


The Canadian Friend also accepts advertising! For rates and details, contact the editor (, again). Please note that and the committees and bodies of Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) do not pay for advertising in black and white.