1708032093 Secularism of the state Quebec Solidaire is calling on

Secularism of the state | Québec Solidaire is calling on Quebec to allow challenges to its law

(Quebec) In an unexpected turn of events, Québec Solidaire (QS) announces to La Presse that it will not support the Legault government in renewing the exemption clause that protects the State Secularism Act from legal challenges under the Canadian Constitution , unless Minister Jean-François Roberge accepts a compromise.

Published at 2:40 p.m.


The party's parliamentary leader, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, reiterates that his group will only support the bill introduced by Mr. Roberge, the minister responsible for secularism, if he supports an amendment tabled by QS that would allow Quebecers who oppose the bill Bill 21 would allow it to be challenged under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

In an interview with the Journal de Québec last week, QS's parliamentary leader at Salon Bleu, MP Alexandre Leduc, nevertheless made his intentions clear.

Secularism of the state Quebec Solidaire is calling on


The parliamentary leader of Quebec Solidaire, Alexandre Leduc.

“We are convinced that there is an exception clause in the federal charter because we are independentists, because we are nationalists. […] It will depend on the content of the bill, but if it only affects the clause in the Federal Charter, we will vote for it because we want to keep the exception clause in the Federal Charter,” he said.

Bill 52, introduced by Mr Roberge, does exactly that, nothing more and nothing less. However, a week later, Mr Nadeau-Dubois declared that this was no longer enough to support the government.

“If the CAQ truly believes that its Bill 21 is consistent with Quebec values, [elle] should not be ashamed or afraid to subject this law to the scrutiny of the Quebec Charter [des droits et libertés de la personne] “, he told La Presse.

“In a constitutional state there is a balance of different powers. There is a legislative branch that makes laws and there are ways for citizens to defend their rights against a government,” he adds.

A question of principles

The party's co-spokesperson, Émilise Lessard-Therrien, reiterated last week that “we are fully in favor of the principle of renewing the derogation clause, since we have not signed the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” again clarifying his thoughts.

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Québec Solidaire's co-spokesperson, former MP Émilise Lessard-Therrien.

“This is truly an opportunity to reaffirm our allegiance to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. That is the question. Does the CAQ really want to protect federal interference in Quebec or does it want to protect its law from all challenges? » she asks now.

Mr. Nadeau-Dubois and Ms. Lessard-Therrien defend that with this new position, Québec Solidaire is not conducting a classic “backtrack” meeting, as we sometimes see in politics.

“We didn’t have time to meet in caucus. We have [depuis] “We have had discussions,” explains the group leader.

“I think our position has remained fundamentally constant since this debate began. We oppose Bill 21. We believe Quebec should be able to make its own laws. We are also democrats who believe in the rule of law, which means that Quebecers who want to defend their rights as Quebecers should be able to do so,” adds Mr. Nadeau-Dubois.

Protect “social peace”.

In a press briefing in Parliament last week, Minister Jean-François Roberge reiterated that, in his opinion, the law passed in 2019 in the first mandate of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) in government preserves social peace.

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The minister responsible for secularism, Jean-François Roberge.

“I think this is an extremely important achievement. It maintains social peace, it promotes coexistence,” he pleaded.

Law 21 prohibits public servants in positions of authority, including teachers, from wearing religious symbols such as the Muslim veil, Jewish yarmulke, Sikh turban and Christian crosses. It also contains provisions to protect against legal challenges under the Canadian and Quebec Charters of Human Rights and Freedoms. The government must renew this provision every five years with respect to the Canadian Charter, but such a procedure is not required for the Quebec version.

Last week, the Liberals announced they were against renewing the derogation clause, while the Parti Québécois supported the CAQ on the issue.