No exceptions for Montreal on Bill 21, says Legault government
Published Tuesday, April 16, 2019 7:32PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 17, 2019 7:03PM EDT
There will be no exceptions for Montreal when it comes to applying Bill 21, according to the Legault government.
On Monday, Mayor Valerie Plante and the opposition leader Lionel Perez teamed up to condemn the bill on religious symbols – but the CAQ says Quebec's largest city will have to obey.
“There will not be a special status for Montreal. Montreal is part of the province of Quebec, and all the laws apply to all the territories of Quebec, so it will be that for Bill 21,” said Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness, Simon Jolin-Barrette.
There's no consensus among opposition parties on the bill itself, but they do agree Montreal cannot be treated differently.
“If you ask me, we're not going to cut Quebec in two: Montreal and the rest of Quebec. When you vote laws, it applies all over Quebec so it's not a good idea,” said Pascal Berube, interim leader of the Parti Quebecois.
The Liberals say opposition to Bill 21 goes far beyond Montreal and will affect every region in the province.
“It’s true that there are a lot of people, citizens living in Montreal that will be affected by this bill, but there will be other citizens also all across Quebec who will be affected by this bill,” said Liberal secularism critic Helene David.
While the CAQ seems determined to forge ahead with a ban on religious symbols for certain public employees, Quebec solidaire is holding out hope, said MNA Manon Masse, that “the minister will backtrack on this project, because now there are so many people who are telling him that this project, this bill is not good for Quebecers.”
Legault, however, insists he has the backing of a majority of Quebecers.
“I think it's fair. I think it's reasonable and I would like to ask all mayors to try to find a compromise. We don't have to divide Quebecers on this issue,” he said.
Hearings on the bill begin next month.