Quebec Justice Minister Sonia LeBel tables a document before question period Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at the legislature in Quebec City. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)

Justice minister troubled by calls for conscientious objection to religious symbols ban

Legislation would prohibit public servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols

Quebec’s justice minister says she finds it troubling that some opponents to the province’s proposed secularism law restricting the wearing of religious symbols are suggesting conscientious objection as an option.

Sonia LeBel was responding today to suggestions that people who object to the controversial Bill 21, which was tabled last week, could disobey it on principle.

READ MORE: Quebec status of women minister says Muslim women shouldn’t wear a hijab

LeBel says people have the right to comment on the bill in a democratic society, but they cross a line when they suggest openly flouting the law.

The justice minister called such a move troubling.

The legislation would prohibit public servants in positions of authority — including teachers, police officers, Crown prosecutors and prison guards — from wearing religious symbols.

Some municipal politicians and school boards in Montreal have come out against the law and suggested they won’t follow it if it is passed.

LeBel says calls for “civil disobedience” are irresponsible. While there are no sanctions provided for in the law, she says the province could seek injunctions to ensure the rules are followed.

She says the province doesn’t intend to go that route, but it would be available to them to ensure the law of the land is respected.

The Canadian Press

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