In multicultural Canada, Quebec becomes a secular nation


The days of the representation of Christ crucified, installed above the president of the National Assembly of Quebec, are now counted. Members of the Parliament of the French-speaking province of Canada adopted secularism on Sunday, June 16, by voting 73 votes to 35, and Bill 21, which has been the subject of heated debate for months. This new legislation brings into force in Quebec the principle of neutrality of the representatives of the State: many categories ofofficials in positions of authority"- teachers, judges, lawyers, prison guards, police officers – are no longer allowed to wear religious symbols.It should be noted that the measure will apply only to new officials, those already in place will retain their finery. but symbolic: the crucifix that stands in the National Assembly will be removed from the Blue Salon to show the "sincerityof the Quebec state, the administrations will have the choice to remove or not the representations of Christ installed on their walls

The adoption of secularism in Quebec is the culmination of a long debate, which exposed the sharpness of the divisions in the Belle province. This law is a campaign promise by François Legault, the Quebec premier who is a member of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ, center-right for the autonomy of Quebec). It is supported, according to various surveys, by a very large majority of the population of the province. But the opponents of laïcité formed a heterogeneous and very determined coalition, composed of radical leftists converted to multiculturalism, religious fundamentalists, and especially, as far as the National Assembly, members of the Quebec Liberal Party ( PLQ), advocates of multiculturalism advocated by Justin Trudeau. The confrontation was all the more passionate because it also highlighted the importance of the place of Quebec, a province with a strong identity influenced by France, in an Anglo-Saxon Canada of which Justin Trudeau claimed he was "the first postnational state", a country "without a deep identity, without a majority traditionIn this perspective, the adoption of secularism is seen by many as a reaffirmation of Quebec's specificity.

Strong opposition between laymen and multiculturalists

The reactions to the adoption of Bill 21 have logically been very mixed. Minister of Immigration and Diversity, Simon Jolin-Barrette, welcomed a "great moment for the Quebec nation", and François Legault welcomed that"Quebeckers finally have what they ask for a decadeOn the PLQ side, we did not hesitate to consider June 16 as "a very dark day for QuebecAccording to Pierre Arcand, interim leader of the party, "Quebec will be the only place in North America where people will be deprived of rights."Shortly before the vote on the bill, Hélène David, a prominent member of the PLQ, had published a twilight video in which she reiterated her opposition to a bill accused of"deny the most democratic rightsWhile the Liberals denounce the violation of the rights to exhibit his religion made to future civil servants, the supporters of the CAQ respond by highlighting the right of Quebecers to "receive lay public services".

This Sunday, June 16, the tension focused on the vote of several amendments intended to give means of application to the new law. The members of the CAQ, supported by members of the Parti Québécois (PQ), adopted texts allowing ministers to verify the respect of secularism in the administrations and to require corrective measures or monitoring in case of sprain. An employee who refuses not to wear a religious sign would be subject to disciplinary sanctions. What the Liberals have denounced as a "police of secularismHélène David, of the PLQ, "worried about the consequences that the Minority Bill 21"judge as well as he"will have disastrous consequences for the place our society places on women."Before the vote on the law, the debates were particularly marked by the opposition between Muslim women who demanded the establishment of secularism to fight against fundamentalism, and others who categorically refused to remove their religion. Sailing for work and threatening to do civil disobedience.All these protests will not have been enough: in the land of multiculturalism, Quebec is now a secular nation.

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