The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) has backtracked on its position to ban burkini bathing suits at its pre-session caucus in Saint-Jérôme.
Following the ban in France, which was recently overturned by the courts, CAQ immigration critic Nathalie Roy spoke out against the burkini, which covers the hair and body leaving just the face, hands and feet uncovered.
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Roy said she is against the burkini because it goes against the equality of men and women, but backtracked on the party position because banning the swimsuit would be unconstitutional and very hard to defend in the courts.
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“Women are beaten and killed around the world for not wanting to wear those symbols of oppression and submission and that’s extremely important,” said Roy, who admitted she’s still personally against it.
“I think that we have the right to question that without being accused of wanting to hurt anybody.”
The second opposition party is promising to introduce a secular Quebec, taking a page from the Parti Québécois (PQ) who tried to introduced the Quebec Charter of Values back in 2013.
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CAQ leader François Legault said he wants to prohibit people in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols. That would include teachers, judges, police officers and prison guards.
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“These people are in authority and I think they should be in a neutrality position. They should not wear religious signs,” he said.
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The debate has opened up the larger conversation about immigration within the CAQ caucus.
Legault stressed that he wants new immigrants to be tested on Quebec’s cultural values and follow a three-year probationary period.