Montreal teen who dreams of joining police vows to fight religious-symbols ban

City's police force is trying to get more diverse, but Bill 21 could stand in the way

When Sukhman Singh Shergill was a little boy, police cars would make him turn his head in excitement.

He collected police badges and notebooks, watched cop shows and told anyone and everyone around him: "I'm going to be a police officer one day."

Shergill is now 15, and his dream remains the same.

"I love the [idea of] helping the community," Shergill said. "It's out of love for people. I love people. I want to make them comfortable."...


Ready to fight Bill 21

Shergill has long envisioned carving out his own place in Montreal history by becoming the first officer to wear a turban in the city's police force, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM).

"Since he was born, he's always wanted to be different, to do something to be remembered," said his mother, Manpreet Shergill.

The Quebec government's proposed Bill 21, which would ban public workers in positions of authority, including teachers, lawyers and police officers, from wearing religious symbols, has only strengthened her son's resolve.

"I'm going to fight it," said Sherghill, a Grade 9 student at a high school in Montreal's Pierrefonds neighbourhood...

...If Bill 21 becomes law, Shergill said he won't move away to pursue his dream. He's determined to make Montreal police reflect the city's diversity by joining the force himself.

"I want to show people that this is our religion," Shergill said. "We would like to be a part of the Quebec society, and be more comfortable."

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