CSDM will apply Quebec’s religious symbols ban, plans to table report next week

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WATCH: Montreal’s biggest francophone school board now says it will apply Bill 21, the government’s religious symbols ban. Our National Assembly reporter Raquel Fletcher has the story – Aug 22, 2019

Montreal’s biggest francophone school board, Commission Scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) now says it will apply the government’s religious symbols ban, Bill 21.

Earlier this year, CSDM officials argued they would refuse to enforce the law before ‘proper consultation.’

READ MORE: Quebec’s largest school board refuses to apply Bill 21 before ‘proper consultation’

The school board’s chairperson, Catherine Harel-Bourdon, would not grant media interviews on Thursday, but a spokesperson confirmed that the board plans to table a report at a meeting next week on how the bill will be applied.

“I’m really pleased about that, but I’m not surprised because I met with Mrs. Harel-Bourdon in June. We did clarify our expectation as a government and I think it’s the expectation of the Quebec nation,” said Education Minister Jean-François Roberge.

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Opposition parties have also agreed that since the bill has been adopted, it must be respected.

READ MORE: New teacher leaves Quebec for British Columbia over Bill 21

“It doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy and it doesn’t mean that it was our position. I think our position was clear that we were in opposition to Bill 21, but the law is passed and there’s an expectation that they [the school boards] adhere to it,” said Liberal MNA Jennifer Maccarone.

During National Assembly hearings on Bill 21, the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) said it plans to take the government to court, arguing that the bill infringes on minority language rights.

READ MORE: Quebec religious symbols bill would affect students planning to be teachers, police officers

“It’s their right to use some legal leverage if they want to do so, but as organizations, school boards don’t have any choice,” Roberge said. “They should apply the law.”

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QESBA said it will discuss whether or not it will mount a legal case against Bill 21 at its next board meeting in September.

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