West end politicians gather to denounce Bill 21

Politicians from the federal, provincial and municipal levels gathered at Cote St. Luc city hall Friday to denounce the Legault government's religious symbol ban.

Several west end mayors were there, including Cote St. Luc's Mitchell Brownstein, Hampstead's William Steinberg, and Montreal West's Beny Masella. Also on hand was Anthony Housefather, the former mayor of Cote St. Luc who's now the MP for Mount Royal; and the dean of Montreal's city council, Marvin Rotrand; as well as representatives from the English Montreal School Board and B'Nai Brith.

One by one, they each denounced Bill 21, saying it will create divisions, keep away potential job recruits of different religious and ethnic backgrounds, and prompt others to leave.

They say the CAQ government's argument that there's a social consensus for this law doesn't wash.

"The question is, this is an unjust law," Housefather said. "The real test of a politician is not whether you support a law because it's popular, it's when you support, or don't support something that is popular because what you're doing is the right thing. And we're all convinced that what we're doing by opposing this law, is the right thing."

Meanwhile, Hampstead mayor William Steinberg used stronger language in describing Bill 21.

"This is ethnic cleansing. Not with a gun, but with a law," he said. "Over time, the effect is the same. You end up with a much more homogeneous population in Quebec."

A rally is planned for Sunday, April 14 at 11:30 a.m. outside Cote St. Luc city hall. A similar rally in 2013 to protest the PQ's Charter of Values drew several hundred people.

CJAD 800's Shuyee Lee contributed to this report.