Grand Polemics Art of Mind Meeting #18

Bill 21 and Secularism in Québec

May 19, 2019 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Tristan Lauber Studio 4848A ave. du Parc, Montreal, qc H2V 4E6

Bill 21 and Secularism in Québec

Bill 21, "An Act respecting the laicity of the State", was tabled by the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) on March 29, 2019. If this bill is passed, it will ban certain public sector employees from wearing religious symbols and face coverings. Proponents of the bill say that Québec has a unique history of oppression under the Catholic Church, and of rejecting religion in favour of secular government. Freedom from religion was hard won, is highly valued, and must be preserved by measures such as this. Religious freedom is a right, but it is one that must be exercised privately and kept at arm's length from our government. Opponents of the bill say that there is a difference between wearing items that are strictly ornamental like a crucifix vs wearing functional items of clothing that are religiously mandated like a turban or hijab. The government is overreaching with this bill and is unfairly targeting religions like Islam and Sikhism that mandate particular clothing. Is Bill 21 a step forward or a step back? Does it draw the right balance between government regulation and individual expression of religion? Will it lead to positive or negative developments in the future?


5 min 6:00pm - 6:05pm
Business Session
5 min 6:05pm - 6:10pm
Bill 21 and Secularism in Québec
95 min 6:10pm - 7:45pm
10 min 7:45pm - 7:55pm
Closing Words
5 min 7:55pm - 8:00pm
Agenda PDF