Canada: Quebec government aims to define religious symbols in amendment to secularism bill - - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaQuebec government aims to define religious symbols in amendment to secularism bill

07:30  12 june  2019
07:30  12 june  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Legault government trying to adopt secularism bill ahead of summer break

Legault government trying to adopt secularism bill ahead of summer break MONTREAL — The Coalition Avenir Quebec government is running out of time and into a battle over what constitutes a religious symbol as it pushes to adopt the secularism bill promised in last fall's election campaign. Premier Francois Legault and his cabinet have stated they want the bill banning many public sector workers from wearing religious symbols passed before the legislature's scheduled summer break this Friday. But the premier Wednesday

Quebec government aims to define religious symbols in amendment to secularism bill© Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette is the architect behind Quebec's secularism bill.

The Quebec government is offering a first concession to critics of its proposed law restricting religious symbols worn by some civil servants.

Tuesday afternoon, Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette tabled the amendment which would define what a religious symbol is.

The amendment seeks to define a religious symbol as "any article of clothing, accessory, headgear or jewelry that is worn as a show of faith or religious conviction" and "is reasonably considered as referring to a religious affiliation."

Quebec government to sit through weekend to ram through immigration, religious symbols bills

Quebec government to sit through weekend to ram through immigration, religious symbols bills Premier François Legault plans to delay legislators' summer break to force the passage of two controversial pieces of legislation — one that reforms the province's immigration system and another that bars some civil servants from wearing religious symbols. © Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette sponsored both Bill 9 and Bill 21. The centre-right party will use its majority to shut down debate and call a vote on the religious symbols bill Saturday morning, Radio-Canada is reporting.

The bill has been criticized for banning symbols without defining them, making enforcement complicated.

Despite tabling of the amendment, Jolin-Barrette said he doesn't think it's necessary to define what a religious symbol is.

However, groups such as unions and school board representatives called for one.

In May, three UN legal experts joined them by sending a letter to the Canadian mission in Geneva which said that the bill threatens freedoms protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The letter said that the bill doesn't define what a religious symbol is, adding that it would be "extremely inappropriate" for a government to decide whether a symbol is religious or not.

"I'm listening," Jolin-Barrette said Tuesday evening.

"I take a step in their direction — I hope they will take a step in my direction," he said.

The government wants the bill passed by Friday, when the legislature is scheduled to break for the summer.

However, Premier François Legault said that it might be possible to recall MNAs for an extraordinary summer session in order to get the religious symbols bill passed.

Read more

Ottawa ‘reviewing’ Quebec law that bans the wearing of religious symbols.
OTTAWA—The federal Liberals say they will defend Quebecers’ Charter rights after the provincial government passed a controversial law banning public servants from wearing religious symbols. 

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