Liberal leadership candidate Dominique Anglade says if her party forms the next provincial government in 2022, she would not renew the use of the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to shield Quebec’s secularism law from the courts.
Anglade made the comment at her campaign launch in Montreal Friday in response to a question from a reporter.
In June the Coalition Avenir Québec government made use of the clause, which allows a government to override fundamental rights, as a way of protecting Bill 21 from challenges. It is valid for five years.
The bill bans public servants in positions of authority, such as judges, police officers and teachers, from wearing religious symbols.
“We are all in favour of secularism, but not the way it was done with Bill 21,” Anglade said. “The Liberal Party under my leadership will not go forward with the notwithstanding clause. … Quebec is way greater than that.”
“Building the Quebec of tomorrow goes way beyond that bill that was passed. It’s about how do we behave, how do we promote who we are in an inclusive way? How do we find a project that is really inspiring?”
The response immediately drew loud cheers from the 75 supporters gathered in Anglade’s home riding for what is her second leadership campaign launch. She is the only confirmed candidate so far, but Drummondville Mayor Alexandre Cusson is expected to launch his campaign Saturday in Sherbrooke at a Liberal general council.
Asked if not renewing the clause leaves the bill open to court challenges, Anglade was clear.
“That’s what democracy is all about.”