Last night, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) passed the controversial Bill 21 at 10:30 PM after months of debate. During the marathon National Assembly session, Legault imposed a gag rule to force Quebec MNAs to vote on both Bill 21 and an immigration bill.
The bill passed 73 votes for to 35 against — the expected outcome as the CAQ has a majority government. Bill 21 will prevent many government and public sector employees from wearing religious symbols.
Opposition parties in the National Assembly are concerned over some key aspects of the bill — chiefly an amendment which threatens "corrective measures" for people who don't comply with the new law.
Quebeckers from all walks of life have swiftly reacted to the news of Bill 21's implementation. Though less than 24 hours old, protests and even legal action against the bill are already underway.
Many have negatively reacted to the news, some saying the bill is bigoted.
A shameful day for Quebec and a dagger to the Canadian values enshrined in the Charter. It is a huge blow to divers… https://t.co/hWVplCmP7h— Chirine Haddad (@Chirine Haddad) 1560802770.0
The new law will only require government and public "persons of authority" to remove their religious symbols. Quebec workers who have already worn their symbols before the bill became law are exempt from it.
“Quebec’s new law runs counter to the fundamental principles of equality, dignity and respect. There is no evidence… https://t.co/bg37y86BAx— Human Rights Canada (@Human Rights Canada) 1560798857.0
Groups such as the National Council of Canadian Muslims have partnered up with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, filing an injunction and asking the law be declared invalid.
Bill 21 is a contentious topic in Quebec and many are divided on the issue.
Bravo! #Quebec passes law banning public servants from wearing religious symbols like the #Hijab. At least there is… https://t.co/GPsqYFuv3P— Tarek Fatah (@Tarek Fatah) 1560744154.0
Expect the debate to continue in the coming months as both the Liberal and Québec Solidaire parties opposed the bill.
.@mukhbir_ : "@WorldSikhOrg will work with community partners in Quebec to oppose this legislation with every means… https://t.co/Ge0YIKhHUr— WSO (@WSO) 1560795708.0
Many are worried about the potential of a "secularism police" that will look for people who are opposing the law. The CAQ categorically denies this.
Failure to describe the context leading up to the shooting of two women during a Toronto parade today or the adopti… https://t.co/LYcpO9l2Eu— Devon Spier / חיה אריאל / Chaya Arielle / she/they (@Devon Spier / חיה אריאל / Chaya Arielle / she/they) 1560807661.0
Though many Quebeckers agree with Bill 21, opposition to it will continue to rage on.
To learn more about the secularism debate, please read this article from CBC News.
For more information on Quebec's new religious symbols law, check out MTLBlog's video below.