Toronto (Canada), .- The Government of Quebec (Canada) today presented a bill that will prohibit all public workers from displaying religious symbols, including Islamic veils or the Jewish kippah, which has been described as unconstitutional.
The bill has also been criticized for apparently being directed mainly against Muslims. Since 2010, several Québec governments have promoted legislative projects to specifically prohibit Islamic veils.
In 2017, the Québec parliament, the National Assembly, passed Law 62, which prohibits people who offer or receive public services from covering their faces “for security reasons”.
However, the courts of Quebec suspended in December 2017 the provisions of the law that prohibited the use of Islamic veils.
The coming to power after the elections of October 2018 of the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), which considered the law of 2017 too permissive, meant the abandonment of Law 62 in favor of the new bill called “law for the respect of the secularity of the State “.
Today, the provincial prime minister, Francois Legault, rejected that the bill is directed against the Muslims and affirmed that if his proposal is approved he will remove the crucifix presiding over the National Assembly since 1936.
Although the crucifix had to be removed in 2008 for violating the laicity of the Québec parliament, no government has proceeded to its elimination.
“I would like it to be arranged for the summer with the support of as many Quebecers as possible and that is why I have agreed to make commitments,” said Legault, referring to the crucifix of the National Assembly.
Legault has also denied that the bill discriminates against religious minorities and has said that his intention is to “unify” the province.
The bill was one of the electoral promises of CAQ, which last year broke the traditional bipartisanship between the sovereignist Quebecois Party (PQ) and the federalist Liberal Party (PL) and is the first time that governs the French-speaking province of Canada.
Although legal experts have pointed out that the bill is unconstitutional, the bill invokes section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the Canadian Constitution and that allows provincial legislatures to ignore part of the Magna Carta.
CAQ has 74 of the 125 seats in the National Assembly, so the approval of the bill is guaranteed.