Jean Chrétien wades into uproar over C-A-Q's religious symbols ban for public service

Former Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, says Quebec's political class is "trapped" in a pointless debate over what he calls a non-existent problem -- how to accommodate religious minorities. 

And the former prime minister predicts the uproar over whether public servants should be banned from wearing religious symbols will eventually fade away as common sense prevails.

Chretien says when you ask Quebecers whether they want people to lose their jobs over the issue, they say "Oh, no."

The issue has been simmering in the province for more than 10 years, but has come to a boil in the wake of last week's election that saw the upstart Coalition Avenir Quebec form a majority.

The C-A-Q promises to ban public servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols.

Premier-elect Francois Legault has threatened to use the Constitution's notwithstanding clause to enforce the ban.

Chretien says the debate reminds him of the political turmoil of the late 80s and early 90s over Quebec's demand for recognition as a distinct society. He compares it to getting stuck in the snow, saying you need to move "a little bit forward, a little bit backward, and eventually you're back on the road."