Secularism debate continues to follow Premier

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is touring the province to discuss the history of the Liberal party, but continues to face questions on secularism.

Critics of Bill 62 say the government's proposed legislation contradicts itself with a provision that would ban face coverings worn by public service employees. At a symposium in Longueuil, Couillard tells CTV the provision is not about religion. He feels public service should be given with "an open face" not because of religion but because of issues related to communication, safety, and identification. 

The Premier also notes the bill has not been adopted and that he's open to discussion on the matter. He stressed that what people want to wear on their head and around their neck is fine as long as the employee is involved in Quebec and does a good job.

Couillard says he's pleased with Charles Taylor's change of heart over a 2008 report on reasonable accomodation in Quebec. Taylor and Gerard Bouchard's original report outlines why the government should ban figures of authority such as Crown prosecutors, judges and police officers from wearing religious clothing or symbols at work. But Taylor wrote an open letter last week urging the government to avoid tabling legislation that could fuel any further division within the province.

Bouchard however still stands by the original report, and Couillard says he respects Bouchard too much to get into a feud with him over the issue. But the Premier maintains the government will not barter with the freedoms and values of Quebecers.