The CAQ Is Backing Off Its Religious Symbol Ban In Quebec After Public Outrage
On October 1st, the Coaltion Avenir Québec (CAQ) defied expectations to win a majority government in the National Assembly.
The centre-right party promises to usher in a wave of change, which will include an overhaul of the provincial bureaucracy, reform of the provincial government, and an agenda focusing on cultural preservation.
TL;DR CAQ leader François Legault now says current public servants who wear religious garments will be allowed to keep their positions. He had previously stated that they would have to find another jobs.
Among such measures is a promise to invoke the notwithstanding clause to enforce a ban on religious symbols for public servants. The Liberal government passed a similar measure that was struck down by the courts as a violation of those servants' rights.
The announcement by CAQ leader François Legault sent a shockwave across Canada. Justin Trudeau even chided Legault for the sexist implications of the ban, which would have a disproportionate effect on Muslim women, for whom demonstrations of faith through religious garments can be necessary.
The massive backlash seems to have made an impression on Legault, who today announced that he would rollback some of the ban's strictest measures.
According to the Journal de Montréal, Legault now promises that current public servants who wear religious garments will be allowed to keep their jobs. Only new hires will be subject to the ban.
Previously, the CAQ promised a "transitional period" that would allow affected public servants to find a new job before they left their government positions.
Now it seems the CAQ has opted for a more gradual transition toward its brand of "secularism."
Of course, Chrisitian religious symbols still persist in public in Quebec. Critics of the ban have pointed to the cross in the National Assembly Chamber and the monument atop Mount Royal as evidence that officials are interested only in oppressing religious minorities.
According to the Journal, the cross in the Assembly will keep its position for the duration of the CAQ government.