In the News:
The RPL Questions Federal Political Parties

Federal Leaders

The Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL or Alliance for Secularism) Questions the Parties

Quels engagements en matière de laïcité ? (What Commitments Will You Make for Secularism?), Claude Kamal Codsi for the RPL, La Presse, 2021-08-24.

In preparation for the upcoming federal election of 20th September 2021, the RPL put six important questions (abbreviated here) to the political parties:

  1. What will you do to recognize Quebec’s fundamental right to follow its own way of managing religion-State relations, as implemented in Bill 21?
  2. Will you commit to not intervening in the court challenge to Bill 21? In particular, will you promise not to support or finance in any way, directly or indirectly, the opponents of Bill 21?
  3. Will you commit to defending Quebec against the false, gratuitous and odious accusations of racism, discrimination, etc. coming from the rest of Canada, given that Bill 21 is not in any was discriminatory as it applies to all citizens and all religions?
  4. Will you commit to repealing advancement of religion as a criterion for charitable status?
  5. Will you commit to repealing article 319(3)b) of the Criminal Code of Canada which grants a religious exception to the hate propaganda law, thus allowing religious believers to incite hatred publicly with impunity?
  6. What do you propose to do so that legitimate criticism of religion will not be confused with hate speech?

Answers as of 7th September 2021

Political Party Responses (abbreviated) to the RPL’s Questions
Liberal Party of Canada NO RESPONSE
New Democratic Party NO RESPONSE
Green Party NO RESPONSE
Conservative
Party
Conservatives will respect the decision of the Quebec National Assembly and not intervene in nor provide federal financing for court challenges to Bill 21.
Bloc
québécois
Replies to each of the six questions :

  1. The Bloc fully supports Bill 21 and denounces the campaign of anti-Quebec hatred by opponents of the Bill.
  2. Yes. Furthermore, the Bloc denounces the role of the University of Ottawa in the court challenge, an institution which has shown contempt for the Quebec nation.
  3. Yes. We will continue to defend Quebec against such unscrupulous attacks.
  4. The Bloc strongly supports secularism and opposes the use of public funds to promote religious interests. We are open to studying this issue of charitable status, although we have other priorities at the current time.
  5. The Bloc strongly supports freedom of expression, but not including hate speech. We consider religious privilege to be illogical. We support repealing 319(3)b) if indeed it can be shown that it does permit public incitement of hatred.
  6. We consider contructive criticism of religion to be healthy, as long as it does not degenerate into racism. We denounced Justin Trudeau’s failure to defend freedom of expression in the wake of the assassination, by an Islamist, of a teacher in France who had merely shown cartoons to his students. Legitimate criticism of religion has nothing to do with hate speech.

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