Quebec’s government passed Bill 21 this week. It’s a law that bans certain public employees from wearing religious symbols. Under Bill 21, public servants in positions of authority including teachers and police officers would not be able to wear any religious symbols. The only exception are public employees hired before the law took effect, but the law still applies if they are promoted.
Context looked at the power of religious symbols when Bill 21 was first introduced.
Peter Stockland, publisher of Convivium, says, “it’s a division of people of faith from the rest of the population; and we are part of the population, we are part of society, and that needs to be, not only respected, but also as the Supreme Court said, it’s the job of government to foster that diversity not extinguish it.”
National Post columnist Barbara Kay disagrees, she said, “I think that we believe here in the separation of church and state. The state has certain functions, and when it discharges those functions with taxpayer money, it seems to me perfectly reasonable for the state to say, ‘we want the state represented with complete neutrality,’ and by the way, all Quebecers feel that way. They want neutrality, they want people to be free from religious display, as well as free to display. And you can display at every other facet of your life, just not working for the government.”
WATCH their full interviews and comment below.