Time to remove crucifix in National Assembly, NadeauDubois says

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QUEBEC — If politicians really believe in state neutrality, the crucifix in the National Assembly would be removed, says Québec solidaire MNA Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

“To quote someone famous, I would say because it’s 2017,” Nadeau Dubois said at a news conference where he repeated his pitch for removing the crucifix, which hangs over the speaker’s chair in the blue room.

“We’ve been talking about secularism for 10 years now in Quebec. In those years, we talked a lot about items of clothing that a woman is wearing. But during all those debates, there’s one issue we didn’t address; the fact today, in 2017, there is still a huge crucifix in the middle of the National Assembly, which is a place that should be secular.”

The crucifix was installed there in 1936 by former premier Maurice Duplessis, which means it’s not some kind of historic relic dating back hundreds of years, Nadeau-Dubois noted.

Nadeau-Dubois suggests the crucifix be removed and set up in a display box in the area between the blue and red rooms.

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Before anything can happen, however, the politicians who sit under the crucifix have to decide to act. In the past, a case was made for leaving it there because it is part of Quebec’s religious and cultural heritage.

Nadeau-Dubois will try to reignite the debate Tuesday by tabling a motion that — if adopted — would refer the question of the crucifix to the legislature’s administrative branch for review.

The Parti Québécois, Coalition Avenir Québec and QS agree with the motion, but the governing Liberals have yet to take a stand on the issue. Nadeau-Dubois said if the Liberals want to be coherent with Bill 62 on state neutrality passed last week, they should allow the debate to go ahead.

pauthier@postmedia.com

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