Religious signs: Legault in search of a consensus

Signes religieux: Legault à la recherche d’un consensus

The government Legault seeks to forge a “consensus” as wide as possible around the controversial issue of the prohibition on certain employees of the State from wearing religious signs.

And prime minister François Legault said he was confident Wednesday that he was on the way to get it, even if his caucus has still not managed to adopt a position in favor or against the famous “grandfather clause” on the rights acquired.

The minister responsible for the file, Simon Jolin-Barrette, must file the draft law on State secularism and religious signs by mid-may, at the latest, to hope to see this piece of legislation adopted prior to the adjournment of the month of June.

During a brief media scrum, Wednesday, prime minister Francois Legault has shown to be confident of being able to adopt the bill without dividing the population.

“It begins to form a true consensus in Quebec”, he observed, around the idea to ban religious symbols for teachers and other employees of the State having a monopoly of coercive power (prison guards, judges, police officers).

In the short term, even if it is the majority, the government seeks allies in the political class to support his thesis of the “consensus” and relies primarily on the opposition pq to get there.

“If some political parties can be rallied to us, so much the better,” commented the minister Jolin-Barrette, in a scrum of press.

“On certain terms and conditions, we can negotiate, but on the bottom there will be a” firm, assured the government house leader, who is also minister of Immigration.

In discussion with the PQ

The interim leader of the Parti québécois (PQ), Pascal Bérubé did not hide that he was talking with the government to determine whether the education policy would give its support to the government project.

“I’m glad to see that the PQ seems to agree with us,” said Mr. Legault.

Mr. Bérubé has met with the minister Jolin-Barrette on Tuesday in this regard. The leader of the parti québecois agreed, also, Wednesday, in a press briefing, to “seek the widest possible consensus” of the political class when it wants to legislate “on a matter as sensitive”.

As the CAQ, the PQ wants to ban State employees are in a position of coercive authority to wear religious signs. But it also recommends a grandfather clause, which would ensure that the future law would only apply to new employees of the State, and thus not to those who are in office currently. It would help to avoid wearing the obnoxious having to lay off people.

Caucus caquiste divided

A few weeks of the filing of the bill, the caucus caquiste remains divided on this point. “We continue to walk” on the “grandfather clause” admitted the prime minister.

For its part, the liberal opposition maintains its position of free choice : no question of banning religious signs. A rumor suggested that the deputies Sébastien Proulx and Gaétan Barrette wished that the party will give a position closest to that of the government, but the two ex-ministers said on Wednesday they took in the traditional program of the party.

Québec solidaire continues his reflection on this issue and should publish its findings in march.

One thing is for certain, the crucifix that stands behind the armchair of the president of the national Assembly, the blue Room, the eternal subject of debate, is here to stay, stated the minister Jolin-Barrette.

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