Legault was quick to salute Justin Trudeau on his victory on Tuesday. The premier said. 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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.