Quebec has banned religious symbols for many categories of “officials in positions of authority. Teachers, judges, lawyers, prison guards, police – are no longer allowed to display religious symbols.
The Quebec National Assembly adopted Sunday, June 16, two controversial bills supported by the new centrist government. One on secularism, provides for the prohibition of religious symbols for some officials. The other commits an overhaul of the immigration system.
After a day of sometimes acrimonious debates, the deputies of the French-speaking province adopted, Sunday, June 16, a text on the secularity of the State. It plans to prohibit the wearing of religious symbols to several categories of officials in positions of authority, including police officers, judges, lawyers, prison guards and teachers. The new law will only apply to new recruits, with existing civil servants enjoying a vested right.
This project was the main campaign commitment of Prime Minister François Legault, whose party, Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ, center-right), has the majority in the provincial assembly. It is the antithesis of the multiculturalist positions championed by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We give rights to all Quebeckers to receive public services laity,” said the Quebec Minister of Immigration and Diversity, Simon Jolin-Barrette.
The interim leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec (Opposition), Pierre Arcand, for his part lamented “another sad day for Quebec. Quebec will be the only place in North America where people will be deprived of their rights.”
Quebec elected officials debated throughout the weekend in a special parliamentary procedure to limit the time spent debating a bill. The parliamentary session ended this week and the Legault government wanted to have its two flagship projects adopted under emergency procedures, which angered the opposition.
Sunday around 4:00, after a first marathon session of 19 hours, elected officials had also approved a draft law on immigration, which includes the abandonment of 18,000 currently pending applications .
The text provides for a reform of the candidate selection process, which will now be based on the matching of professional skills with the labor needs of Quebec.
This law will lead to the annulment of 18,000 applications, totaling some 50,000 people. These files had been filed under the old system, based on a first-come, first-served basis.
These immigration candidates will have to reapply under the new system. The provincial government promised that processing times for skilled workers would be reduced from 36 months to 6 months thanks to this reform.
The opposition has denounced to the end an inhuman bill, denouncing the “inability” of the government to justify the abandonment of these 18,000 outstanding files.
Legault’s party came to power in October with a promise to reduce by more than 20% the number of immigrants and refugees that Quebec hosts every year. “Take less, but take care,” he had repeated.