Montreal

Quebec towns reject Hérouxville immigrant code

Several Quebec communities are taking steps to distance themselves from a controversial immigrant code recently adopted in the Mauricie town of Hérouxville.

Several Quebec towns are taking steps to distance themselves from a controversial immigrant code recently adopted in the Mauricie town of Hérouxville.

The neighbouring community of Grandes-Piles launched a petition denouncing Hérouxville's code of conduct for immigrants, and Sainte-Thècle's mayor is speaking out against the list of rules.

Many are worried the Herouxville code — which forbids stoning and genital mutilation, among other directives — has tarnished Mauricie's reputation.

"We wanted to make a point so people know that it's not everyone in the region that's thinking the same as Hérouxville," said Pascal Gingras, a Grandes-Piles resident who created the petition.

"The mayors of the region that have [adopted] this motion … didn't consult the population, so this motion has no value," he said Tuesday.

Fifty people in the 450-resident town have signed the document, including Marcel Dussault, owner of the Copains D'Abord restaurant.

"I have the impression that someone created a scenario to make people believe there's some kind of threat. I've never felt threatened," he told CBC in a French interview.

Mayor raps code

Municipal leaders in Sainte-Thècle told the CBC the town has no intention of following in Herouxville's footsteps. "Municipalities have no right to dictate like that," said Sainte-Thècle Mayor André Veillette.

He believes Hérouxville is misrepresenting Quebecers in the Mauricie.

"The real Mauricie is welcoming," he said. "It's a region where quality of life is exceptional, and we have no reservations about accepting newcomers here."

Veillette said he met withHérouxville Coun. André Drouin in January, telling him his codewas a bad idea.

Towns weigh in on debate

In Huntingdon, southwest of Montreal, municipal councillors adopted a resolution Tuesday night supporting multiculturalism, and called forthe separation of religion and state.

Other towns in the Mauricie have already taken steps tosupport Hérouxville's code.

Saint-Adelphe and Trois-Rives adopted resolutions Feb. 5 thatdemand the Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms be modified to restrict reasonable accommodation for religious groups.

St-Roch-de-Mékinac also endorsed a separate motion recognizing Hérouxville's code.

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