The Premier’s Unfounded Arguments

Pierre Chénier —

Two days after having formed a « majority » government with 37.4 per cent of the votes cast, which represents less than 25 per cent of registered electors, the Legault government declared that it had the mandate to ban the wearing of religious symbols by persons in a position of authority. What it is referring to by « persons in a position of authority » are the police, crown prosecutors, judges, security guards and teachers.

Not only is the Premier declaring that he has been given the mandate to proceed in such a manner, he is also saying it that corresponds to a « consensus » that supposedly exists amongst Quebeckers to bring an end to the wearing of religious symbols that are said to cause unease during the delivery of public services.

According to the Premier, these government employees will be moved into back office jobs if they refuse to remove what the government refers to as their religious symbols. Furthermore, were they to refuse such a move, they would be dismissed. The Premier added that he is ready to invoke the notwithstanding clause, Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is part of the Canadian Constitution, to protect his forthcoming legislation from future legal disputes.

The Premier ignores and rejects the great examples of social solidarity expressed by all Quebeckers towards religious minorities and others. One eloquent example of this took place after people were killed and injured during the massacre at the mosque in Quebec City on January 29, 2017. Quebeckers of all backgrounds massively expressed their support to the community that had come under attack through large gatherings Quebec-wide opposing all violence and discrimination against them.

To say that the Legault government knows what Quebeckers are thinking is unfounded. Resorting to the policy of divide and rule of the British and of any opportunist thug, to divert the attention of the people from the real challenges facing the society, will not succeed.

The Legault government does not represent Quebeckers when it commits to its ignorant bill to sow divisions and divert from the real problems facing the society. It has neither the mandate nor any grounds to do so.