Lewis calls Bill 21 ‘religious discrimination,’ Poilievre hopes Quebec repeals law


Published March 14, 2022 at 4:43 pm

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate and rookie MP Leslyn Lewis says a Quebec law restricting public servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols at work is “explicit religious discrimination.”  

Lewis, who is running for the leadership a second time, says the party must make decisions “based on principle” and not how it will be viewed by a particular demographic.

The Haldimand-Norfolk MP’s statement on Quebec’s controversial secularism law, know by its legislative title of Bill 21, comes as other candidates have staked out their positions on the matter.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has made a point of saying he’s forcefully stood against the law and believes the party can win while doing so. 

Some Conservative MPs have called for the party to take a stronger stance on Bill 21 and criticized former leader Erin O’Toole for saying that while he personally opposes the law, it’s an issue best left up to Quebecers to decide. 

Lewis vowed that if elected as party leader she would condemn religious discrimination regardless of “who it is against or where it is happening.”

Fellow leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre, a longtime Ottawa-area MP, also says he opposes the law. 

“It is wrong. If anyone proposed it federally, my government would not allow it to pass. I respect Quebec’s right to make its own laws, but hope the province repeals the bill,” he said in a statement. 

Former Quebec premier and leadership candidate Jean Charest has also said he opposes the law.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2022.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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