Motion against proposed ban on religious symbols presented to Montreal City Council
A motion was filed at City Council on Monday in opposition of the CAQ’s proposed religious symbol ban.
The motion was filed as a symbolic gesture and spearheaded by councillor Marvin Rotrand.
The new rules wouldn’t apply to elected officials, but the councillors say they want to support those it does affect, including police officers, teachers and civil servants in positions of authority.
Rotrand said he wants to show support now, before any official legislation is passed at the provincial level.
“If Montreal speaks in a united voice, it will have a big impact in Quebec,” he explained.
Mayor Valerie Plante supports the motion, reitering on Monday her position that she’s very open to police officers wearing religious symbols.
“We already have elected officials who wear religious signs, and to me it has no impact on their judgment or how professional you are,” she said.
Lionel Perez of opposition party Ensemble Montreal wears a yarmulke as a symbol of his faith.
He said, though, that he doesn’t feel the vote is necessary.
“What this motion does is create confusion on the issue – on a very sensitive matter – and we don't think that's productive,” he said.
Days after the Quebec election, thousands of Montrealers marched against the CAQ’s immigration and identity politics, signalling a divide between the city and the province.
“We saw with the protest there's a lot of backlash and that speaks volumes about how Quebecers truly think,” said Amrit Kaur of the World Sikh Organization of Canada.
Rotrand said he has the support of many different community and religious groups, but that the motion is indicative of a growing rift between Montreal City Council and the provincial government.
It is especially important to speak up now, he says, because there are two municipal by-elections coming up. More visible minorities may be encouraged to run for office and taking up residence in Quebec, he said.
“It could be a damper. It could have a chilling effect on minorities who want to run,” he said.
Rotrand expects the motion to pass unanimously.
“It will signal to Quebec where the City of Montreal elected officials – regardless of our petty differences, we don’t agree on a lot here at City Council – but if we agree on this, I think the message will speak volumes,” he said.