April 16, 2019 5:21 pm
Updated: April 16, 2019 7:13 pm

Montreal will not be exempt from Bill 21: Premier Legault

WATCH ABOVE: Quebec Premier François Legault is standing behind his government's religious symbols bill, despite the fact that Montreal city council has come out against Bill 21. As Global's Raquel Fletcher explains, Montreal's position is having little effect on the debate in Quebec City.


Quebec Premier François Legault repeated Monday that he’s trying to reach a consensus on religious symbols. He said this hasn’t changed now that Montreal city council has come out against Bill 21.

Municipal politicians say the partial ban on religious symbols jeopardizes values like diversity and inclusiveness.

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READ MORE: Montreal mayor, opposition leader team up to denounce Quebec’s secularism bill

Becoming emotional during an evening council meeting Monday night, Lionel Perez, the interim leader of opposition Ensemble Montréal, who also wears a kippa, said, “I’m a Quebecer as much as everyone else.”

He received applause.

Earlier Monday, Perez and Mayor Valérie Plante presented a bi-partisan declaration against the government’s proposed secularism bill, known as Bill 21. It would prohibit public servants in positions of authority, including teachers, from wearing religious symbols at work.

A grandfather clause protects people already hired as long as they never change jobs.

WATCH BELOW: Lionel Perez rejects Quebec’s religious symbols bill

On Tuesday at the National Assembly, Legault said he was hoping for more cooperation from the city.

“I would like to ask all mayors to try to find a compromise,” he said.

Legault also added that Montreal will not be exempt from this law.

“Montreal is the metropolis of all Quebecers, so we cannot have a different position in Montreal than the rest of Quebec,” Legault said.

READ MORE: ‘Absolutely unacceptable’: Protesters denounce Bill 21 at Montreal rallies

Opposition parties, however, say Montreal’s position should signal something to the government.

“Now, we are so many people who tell him that this project, this bill, it’s not good for Quebecers,” said Manon Massé, Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson.

However, the government does not appear to be moved by the fact that the province’s largest city is opposed to Bill 21.

“The elected people in Montreal decided to table that resolution and I respect that. I will invite them here to parliamentary committee,” said Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette.

Public hearings will begin next month.

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