Religious symbol ban: CAQ considering limiting to new hires
The Coalition Avenir Quebec government, already facing protest even though it has yet to table legislation about religious symbols, is considering limits to who will be denied permission to wear religious symbols at work.
On Tuesday Simon Jolin-Barrette, the MNA for Borduas and the former Justice Critic, said the government may allow existing civil servants to wear religious symbols -- while banning new hires from doing so.
"One thing is for sure: our government wants to work with all the opposition parties to find a solution. We want to talk with them, we want to find a solution, and I think all the Quebecers want to find a solution about the religious signs," said Jolin-Barrette.
The CAQ's platform includes preventing judges, police officers, teachers, and other civil servants in a position of authority from wearing religious symbols.
Last week premier-designate Francois Legault said he would even be willing to use the notwithstanding clause to enforce his promise.
Using the notwithstanding clause would be necessary because a ban on religious symbols would likely violate the Quebec Charter of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights regarding freedom of religion.
Since the CAQ was elected, the federal government warned Legault not to use the notwithstanding clause to violate "the fundamental rights of Canadians."
The CAQ''s stance against religious symbols will not apply to the crucifix in the National Assembly.
Jolin-Barrette reiterated Tuesday that the crucifix, given to then-Premier Maurice Duplessis in 1936, was "an accessory" and not directly relevant to the wearing of symbols.
Previous Liberal and PQ governments, as well as Legault, hold the position that the cross portraying the death of Jesus Christ is not actually a symbol of the religion claimed by almost 75 percent of Quebecers but is instead a historic artifact expressing Quebec's heritage.
The CAQ government has not even been sworn in, and has not tabled any legislation.
On Tuesday Legault and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are heading to Armenia for the Francophonie Summit.
Legault is expected to present his cabinet on Oct. 18.