The government of Quebec has passed a ruling that bars peace officers, educators, judges, and a host of many more public employees from wearing or displaying any kind of recognized religious symbol during working hours or when at work. This in turn has prompted outcries from provincial civil liberty groups about freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
The conservative premier of Quebec, Francois Legault, calls the bill a vital measure to help ensure that religion and state are completely separated. The province is known throughout Canada as the most aggressively secular region in the country. Items prohibited at work include Sikh turbans, Christian crosses, Jewish skullcaps, and many other religious pieces of clothing and ornamentation.
While the bill passed with a large majority, the minority opposition has become extremely loud in recent weeks, claiming that the bill will in reality exclude practicing Muslims, Jews, and Sikhs from government and judicial positions, as well as many educational positions in the province. Law enforcement officials have yet to make known how they will enforce the new law among peace officers who have grown accustomed to wearing skullcaps and turbans while on duty.
Provincial police inspectors now have the authority to verify the law is being obeyed in government offices and public schools. The law will have no effect in private schools, shops, or offices.