Hélène David
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Press release
12 April 2019

Bill 21 on Secularism: A Debate on Rights That Deserves Our Time and Consideration

Hélène David

Yesterday, the MNA representing Marguerite-Bourgeoys and Official Opposition Critic for Secularism, Ms. Hélène David, presented a motion to ensure that the study of Bill 21 would not be done in haste.

In particular, the motion asked that the CAQ government allow parliamentarians to proceed with the study of Bill 21 without invoking closure- a legislative tool used to limit debate- at the end of the current parliamentary session. The government refused to support the motion on the pretext that there was some urgency to adopt the law, without providing any further justification.

Recall that Bill 21 as presented would have impacts on citizens’ fundamental rights; rights that are protected under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, which was unanimously adopted by the National Assembly in 1975. Given the circumstances, it is necessary to take the time to debate and allow affected groups to have their say.

The nature of this bill requires parliamentarians be able to listen to various points of view expressed in society, so that afterwards they may study and analyze the bill within a reasonable time frame. Convention dictates that changes to Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms are made with our Assembly’s unanimous assent. The CAQ needs to change its approach and take the time required to do things properly, especially in such a delicate matter.

– Hélène David, MNA representing Marguerite-Bourgeoys and Official Opposition Critic for Secularism, Social Services and the Status of Women