In the News: The Mouvement laïque québécois (MLQ) denounces Bill 59

Hearing, Mouvement laïque québécois (Quebec Secular Movement) (vidéo in French), represented by Lucie Jobin, Daniel Baril and Michel Lincourt, 2015-09-22, National Assembly, Quebec City

(2:00) We have serious misgivings about the raison d’être and the true scope of this draft bill.

(5:38) If the aim of the bill is not to target criticism of religions, then that should have been stated clearly from the beginning. We consider that any bill whose goal is to restrict hate speech must have a provision that specifies unambiguously that criticism of religions — even radical criticism — is not within the scope of the bill.

(6:35) The MLQ rejects part I of the bill because it violates fundamental freedoms protected by the Charter, notably freedom of conscience and freedom of expression […] because this bill sets up procedures of an inquisitorial nature. For the MLQ, the ultimate goal is secularism. But this bill goes in the opposite direction. It would institute an inquisition based on individuals informing on each other, and leading to censorship. A secular society is one which is free of censorship and other forms of control of opinion. It is theocracies and societies subjected to the control of religious dictates which infringe on freedom of conscience and freedom of expression and which implement censorship as Draft Bill 59 would do. Adoption of part I of Draft Bill 59 would lead to an unacceptable step backwards […] It is not by muzzling criticism of religions that we will succeed in fighting against indoctrination.

(8:30) We propose a series of measures — beyond any draft legislation — to counter terrorist indoctrination. Our first priority is to aim at the correct target. The current enemy is political Islam, not the citizen who fears it. The government must eliminate the ambiguity in what it says. What is the government’s goal? Does it plan to institute a theocracy? Or does it plan to institute secularism?

NOTE: Part I of Draft Bill 59 deals with « hate speech » and « speech inciting violence » while part II, whose goal is « to better protect individuals », deals with the issue of forced marriage, among other things.

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