Quebec's Premier-designate Francois Legault would override Charter on religious symbols

Law prohibiting public sector workers from wearing face coverings already faces legal challenge
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 10/05/2018
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A woman listens during the National Assembly committee hearings on Bill 94 in Quebec City in 2010, which would have predominantly affected women who wear the Islamic niqab or burka, and would require public employees, education and health workers to have their faces uncovered at all times. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

QUEBEC CITY (CP) — Quebec Premier-designate Francois Legault says he is prepared to invoke the notwithstanding clause to ensure public officials in positions of authority do not wear religious symbols.

The outgoing Couillard government's law prohibiting officials public-sector workers from wearing face-covering garments already faces a legal challenge. Legault says his proposed ban on religious symbols for teachers, judges and police officers is important enough to override protections in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

He says the ``vast majority'' of Quebecers agree with his planned policy.

Legault also told a news conference in Quebec City he will be speaking today with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland about the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

A discussion with the federal government about the new trade pact and its impact on local farmers is high on Legault's to-do list.

Legault says he has not been briefed about the deal but is not ruling out any options in response. The deal has been denounced by Quebec dairy farmers.

His Coalition Avenir Quebec romped to victory on Monday night, sweeping the Liberals out of office while securing a strong majority government, winning 74 of the province's 125 ridings.

Legault vowed to govern for all Quebecers and moved to reassure the rest of the country that he intends to build a stronger Quebec within Canada.

The Coalition's victory marks the first time a party other than the Liberals or the Parti Quebecois will govern the province in nearly half a century.

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