February 10, 2019 12:43 pm
Updated: February 10, 2019 12:45 pm

This week on ‘Focus Montreal’: Feb. 9

The first week of February is suicide prevention week.

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Focus Montreal introduces Montrealers to the people who are shaping our community by bringing their stories into focus.

The program airs Saturday at 5:30 p.m., as well as Sunday at 7:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and midnight.

Take a look at who we’re meeting this week.

Is it time to tone down religious neutrality debate?

Three former MNAs are urging the Coaltion Avenir Québec (CAQ) government to tone down the debate over religious neutrality.

Geoff Kelley, Françoise David and Lisette Lapointe penned a letter to La Presse, a French-language daily online newspaper, earlier this week.

It asked that Quebec’s political class take a step back when it comes to the controversial subject of secularism.

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READ MORE: Quebec government to table ban on religious signs, mulls grandfather clause

The CAQ government, elected in October 2018, campaigned on a promise to ban certain public employees, including teachers, police officers and judges, from wearing religious symbols in the workplace.

The bill has yet to be tabled and at a pre-session caucus at the end of January, the CAQ said it was mulling whether or not to add a grandfather clause which would allow public employees who currently wear religious symbols to keep their jobs.

READ MORE: Quebec’s proposed religious symbol ban prompts concerns from EMSB community

A recent request by the government for school boards to count how many teachers and staff wear religious symbols at work is eliciting much concern.

Global’s Elysia Bryan-Baynes sat down with former Liberal MNA Geoff Kelley earlier this week to discuss the contents of the letter and what prompted him to speak out.

Suicide prevention: reaching out to Quebec Anglos

The first week of February marks suicide prevention week.

This year, the Quebec association for suicide prevention has launched an English website in an effort to connect with the English-speaking community.

READ MORE: Here are four simple steps you can take to help prevent suicide

The site is filled with resources available for those who need them.

The initiative is also about removing the stigma around talking about suicide.

Gabriel Marcotte from Suicide Action Montreal joined Bryan-Baynes to discuss the initiative.

Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month.

Countries across the world are marking the occasion through art, protests and celebrations.

Montrealers are also coming together with a number of events to be held over the next few weeks.

READ MORE: West Island Black Community Association kicks off Black History Month with milestone

For the Côte-des-Neiges Black Community Association, the work is year-round.

It’s had success with several programs that are dedicated to helping black, English-speaking families in Quebec.

Executive director Tiffany Callender joined Bryan-Baynes to talk about the organization’s many triumphs and its latest initiatives.

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