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Religious symbols ban for teachers would be cruel, absurd

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Last Friday, English Montreal School Board Director General Ann Marie Matheson received an odd request from Quebec’s education ministry. Did the EMSB keep statistics of just how many of its teachers and administration staff wore religious symbols? Matheson said the board doesn’t keep such statistics. The call lasted about 15 seconds.

Across town, a similar call was placed to the director general’s office of the CSDM, the largest French school board in the province. A similar answer was given: these statistics don’t exist.

These two calls are astonishing and troubling for a variety of reasons. François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec government is in the process of writing a proposed law that would ban the wearing of religious symbols for those government workers with “coercive power,” a category into which the CAQ has awkwardly shoehorned teachers.

We’re told this law, expected sometime this year, is needed to reinforce Quebec’s secularist reality from an allegedly creeping religiosity. And yet as these calls demonstrate, the government doesn’t have a blessed clue as to the........

© Montreal Gazette