C.A.Q. faces criticism for maintaining crucifix in Quebec legislature

The incoming Coalition Avenir Quebec government is facing criticism for saying it has no intention of removing the crucifix from the legislature.

Some say that's a double standard as it plans to crack down on some civil servants who wear religious symbols.

Simon Jolin-Barrette, a spokesman for the Coalition transition team, says there is no contradiction between the new government's plan to impose strict religious-neutrality rules and its desire to maintain the crucifix.

He says the crucifix, which has hung behind the Speaker's chair since the 1930s, is part of Quebec's heritage.

But Patrick Taillon, a professor in Universite Laval's faculty of law, disagrees.

He says, ``the government can't talk out of both sides of its mouth.''

Last week, a Coalition official said teachers who refuse to accept a different job or to remove religious symbols would be dismissed.

Yesterday a spokesman took a slightly softer line, saying the Coalition is prepared to work with opposition parties to find common ground.