Press Conference RPL, 2019-05-06

Press Conference


Seven Organizations in Support of Draft Bill 21 on Secularism


Date of publication: 2019-05-16

Below is the video of the press conference held by the Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL) or Alliance for Secularism on May 6th 2019. A press release was issued by the RPL at this event.

Videographer: Jean-Paul Lahaie

If the video does not display correctly above, you can view it on the Youtube website.

Contents of the Video

The video is in French except where indicated.

  • 00m15s : Introductory remarks by Diane Guilbault, presenter of the press conference and president of PDF-Q
  • 01m30s : Michèle Sirois, joint coordinator of RPL
  • 09m15s : Claude Kamal Codsi, joint coordinator of RPL
  • 17m55s : Ferid Chikhi, Association québécoise des Nord-Africains pour la laïcité (AQNAL)
  • 20m00s : Étienne Alexis-Boucher, Mouvement national des Québécoises et des Québécois (MNQ)
  • 22m25s : Lucie Jobin, Mouvement laïque québécois (MLQ)
  • 24m40s : Reading of declaration by Laïcité capitale nationale (LCN)
  • 27m55s : David Rand, Libres penseurs athées–Atheist Freethinkers (LPA–AFT) — See translated transcript below.
  • 29m40s : Marc Laviolette, Syndicalistes et progressistes pour un Québec libre (SPQ libre)
  • 31m40s : Diane Guilbault, Pour les droits des femmes du Québec (PDF Québec)
  • 32m15s : Nadia El-Mabrouk, AQNAL et PDF Québec
  • 35m40s : Questions in French by journalists and replies by RPL spokespersons
  • 45m00s : Questions in English by Sarah Leavitt of CBC and replies by RPL spokespersons
  • 50m50s : Continuing discussion in French

Translation of Remarks by David Rand, LPA–AFT representative

We, Atheist Freethinkers, support Draft Bill 21, although we consider it to be very incomplete. We would prefer that the ban on wearing religious symbols apply to everyone, without exception, working in the public service, not just to workers in positions of authority. Nevertheless the Bill is an important step forward.

A key aspect of the draft bill is that it contains a rather comprehensive definition of secularism and that it also stipulates that a declaration of State secularism be inscribed into the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. This excellent provision will make it possible in future to continue the process of secularization, thus filling gaps in the current legislation.

Given the crucial importance of the definition of secularism, we would like to suggest an improvement to its fourth principle, “freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.” This statement should also include freedom from religion and freedom of apostasy. These latter two freedoms are as relevant as freedom of religion, and indeed even moreso, given the extreme persecution suffered by apostates in several countries.

In conclusion, we consider that Quebec, by proposing this important legislation, is positioning itself in the avant-garde of the Americas and we urge the government to pursue this goal with determination.

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