Crucifix removed from National Assembly’s Blue Room after years of debate

The crucifix hanging on the speaker's throne, Thursday, March 28, 2019 at the legislature in Quebec City. Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

The controversial crucifix that hangs above the speaker’s chair in Quebec’s legislature has been removed after years of debate over secularism in the province.

The religious symbol which successive provincial governments have repeatedly rejected requests to remove ⁠— came down on Tuesday morning.

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Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette proposed a motion in March to separate the crucifix from the National Assembly’s Blue Room.

The measure was proposed as the Coalition Avenir Québec government put forth its secularism legislation. Bill 21 forbids civil servants in positions of authority — such as teachers, police officers and judges — from wearing religious symbols while at work.

The crucifix, which was installed in 1982, replaced another that was hung in the same place in 1936 by then-premier Maurice Duplessis.

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READ MORE: National Assembly crucifix representing Quebec ‘heritage’ only 36 years old

Over the past decade, Quebec politicians have fought to keep the crucifix, arguing it is a longstanding part of the province’s heritage. While in the midst of debate over the CAQ’s secularism bill, Premier François Legault pledged to leave the crucifix where it is before changing his tune.

Others, however, claimed the religious symbol flies in the face of secularism.

In March, the City of Montreal announced its plan to take down the crucifix that hung in its council chamber for more than 80 years and move it to a new home in a museum.

WATCH: Quebec activists protest CAQ’s new secularism law

Click to play video: 'Quebec activists protest CAQ’s new secularism law'
Quebec activists protest CAQ’s new secularism law

⁠— With files from Global News’ Raquel Fletcher and The Canadian Press


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