Quebec municipalities call religious neutrality law "untenable"
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, October 21, 2017 1:31PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 21, 2017 9:07PM EDT
The Union of Quebec Municipalities came out against the controversial Bill 62 on religious neutrality on Friday, saying it will be impossible to implement in municipal services.
“The Union believes that, given the nature and the great diversity of municipal services, the implementation of this will create many discomforts and problems instead of fostering living together,” the union said in a statement.
President Bernard Sevigny said better solutions must be found for integrating immigrants and for managing diversity.
He noted municipalities provide many public services for those purposes, including recreational, cultural and sporting activities. He added that municipal employees will be placed in an “untenable” position by the law.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has said he will not enforce Bill 62 in the city. His opponent in the upcoming election, Projet Montreal mayoralty candidate Valerie Plante agrees.
“We cannot apply this law as it is right now,” she said. “It is just totally disconnected from the realities of Montrealers, it goes against their rights. So I will fight to change this. It has to be modified it has to be changed, it’s not going to function in Montreal, that’s for sure.”
Prime Minister Trudeau has said it’s not up to governments to legislate what woman can or cannot wear, but he stopped short of saying whether Ottawa would legally challenge the ban.
“According to the Angus Reid survey that was conducted last month, 87 per cent of Quebecers said they support the law,” said sociologist Efe Peker.
In fact, the PQ and CAQ voted against Bill 62 because they say the law doesn’t go far enough.
“Instead of solving the issue of reasonable accommodation, it's going to lead to even more heated debates on Quebec identity as we're approaching the elections next year,” Peker said.