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Quebecers support religious symbols ban, but are divided on how to enforce it

With public hearings underway in Québec’s National Assembly on Bill 21 – the proposed law that would ban public employees in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols while on the job – Quebecers remain supportive of the proposed law but are largely unsure how such legislation could or should be enforced.

This, according to a new, national public opinion poll from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute, which finds nearly two-thirds of Quebecers (64%) supporting the bill overall, though certain symbols are still considered more acceptable for public employees to wear than others.

Despite significant support for the proposed law, there is less consensus over how to enforce it. Equal numbers in Québec say firing public employees for failing to obey the law would be appropriate (43%) and inappropriate (43%).

Further, a small majority of Quebecers say fining violators of the proposed law would be appropriate (54% say it would be), but a wide majority (86%) agree that jail time would be an inappropriate punishment for a public employee who disobeys Bill 21.

More Key Findings:

  • As was the case when ARI asked last October, slightly more than half of Quebecers view wearing a crucifix (57%) or a Star of David (51%) as acceptable for public employees. Seven other symbols are more likely to be seen as unacceptable than acceptable, with burkas, niqabs, and kirpans drawing the most opposition
  • While nearly two-in-three Quebecers (64%) support Bill 21, those living elsewhere in Canada are more likely to oppose such a law in their own provinces (52% do) than to support it (37%)
  • Almost half of Quebecers (48%) say Bill 21, if passed, would have a negative impact on relations between ethnic groups in the province. Roughly half that many (25%) say it would have a positive impact in this arena

Read the rest of the story here: www.angusreid.org/quebec-bill-21-religious-symbols

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