Advertisement

Quebec premier says Bill 21 ‘must be respected’ as Trudeau Liberals form minority

Click to play video: 'Quebec sends message to Federal Party Leaders' Quebec sends message to Federal Party Leaders
WATCH: Quebec Premier François Legault says he's satisfied with Monday's Federal election results. Addressing the media on Tuesday, Legault re-iterated that the Liberal Minority Government and the resurgence of the Bloc Québécois just goes to show that not supporting Quebec's banning of religious symbols bill doesn't result in votes in this province. As Global's Raquel Fletcher explains, the feeling at the National Assembly on Tuesday was that Quebecers have shown that they want their voices heard in Ottawa – Oct 22, 2019
Quebec Premier François Legault congratulated Justin Trudeau on his reelection. Yet bolstered by the Liberals’ drop to minority status and the electoral success of the nationalist Bloc Québécois, Legault cautioned the prime minister not to take any actions that go against the interests of the province.

Legault was quick to salute Justin Trudeau on his victory on Tuesday. The premier said he spoke with Trudeau and they agreed to continue to work in the interest of Quebecers. He also invited the Liberal leader to Quebec City in the coming weeks.

However, Legault also stood firm on Bill 21, the province’s contentious secularism law, which Trudeau hasn’t ruled out challenging. Legault said the federal government should not go against the wishes of the vast majority of Quebecers.

Click to play video: 'Federal Election 2019:  Who will hold the balance of power?' Federal Election 2019: Who will hold the balance of power?
Federal Election 2019: Who will hold the balance of power? – Oct 21, 2019

READ MORE: Trudeau takes selfies with commuters in Papineau after Liberal election victory

“I think Quebec was in the middle of a situation where we spoke a lot about Quebec. There was a message about Bill 21 — that it must be respected,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

The religious neutrality legislation bars public-sector employees in positions of authority — such as teachers, judges and police officers — from wearing religious garb while at work. In the province, it was met with both widespread criticism and praise before becoming a sleeper issue during the federal election campaign.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh of the New Democrats have said they don’t agree with Bill 21 but wouldn’t challenge it. Trudeau, however, was the only leader who didn’t rule out getting involved at some point.

READ MORE: Bloc Québécois rises to prominence as it more than doubles seats in Parliament

The Parti Québécois, for its part, commended the Bloc’s decisive sweep in Monday’s election. With Yves-François Blanchet at the helm, the Bloc tripled its seat count in Parliament after winning in 32 ridings.

The left-leaning party called it a win for the sovereignty movement and Quebec as a whole. Pascal Bérubé, interim leader of the PQ, said Legault and the Coalition Avenir Québec need to focus on working with the Bloc.

“This is good news for us because we need allies in Ottawa,” he said.

The presence of the Bloc also means Quebec’s interests will be defended, according to Blanchet. The new MPs will challenge Trudeau on issues such as Bill 21, immigration and the protection of the French language.

Story continues below advertisement

“It was a great evening yesterday because we feel our brothers-in-arms and sisters-in-arms are now elected in big numbers in Ottawa,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Federal Election 2019: Bloc Quebecois Leader celebrates strong showing' Federal Election 2019: Bloc Quebecois Leader celebrates strong showing
Federal Election 2019: Bloc Quebecois Leader celebrates strong showing – Oct 22, 2019

Sponsored content