Quebec presents motion on secularism and extremism

Quebec's Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée has presented a motion in the National Assembly outlining, in broad strokes, the Liberal government's position on secularism and extremism.

Motion comes after opposition parties petition Liberal government for stance on secularism

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard at the National Assembly earlier this week. His government on Thursday presented a motion on secularism and extremism. (Jacques Boissinot/CP)

Quebec Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée has presented a motion in the National Assembly outlining, in broad strokes, the Liberal government's position on secularism and extremism. 

The motion introduced Thursday aims to foster inclusion in Quebec, establish new measures to investigate discrimination and come up with more severe punishments.

It will be brought forward at the National Assembly again next week after the government consults with the opposition.

The declaration comes after more than a month of criticism from opposition members who argued Premier Philippe Couillard was soft on secularism and fighting extremism in the province.

Although the government is working on an action plan to fight extremism and plans on releasing it in the summer, the Parti Québécois and Coalition Avenir Québec have been pressuring the premier to do more, faster. 

Quebec's two main opposition parties also criticized the Liberals for backing away from an election-night promise to proceed with religious neutrality legislation as soon as possible. 

The premier said last month he would table that law before the end of his mandate in 2018.

Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum, said he's concerned the issue is being used to score political points. 

While Majzoub said fighting extremism is necessary, he said turning it into a political issue is a "dangerous game."


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