Gerard Bouchard declares opposition to Quebec's 'radical' secularism bill

A second prominent intellectual has told the Quebec government it is going down the wrong path with its secularism bill.

Historian Gerard Bouchard says there is no compelling reason to lump teachers among the public servants who'd be prevented from displaying their religious beliefs at work.

Bouchard told lawmakers on Wednesday that no scientific evidence exists to show that teachers wearing religious symbols would indoctrinate or traumatize students.

The CAQ government has said its proposed legislation is inspired by a 2008 report written by Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor.

That report recommended that public sector employees wielding coercive authority be prohibited from wearing religious symbols on the job.

Bouchard said that if the government limited its restrictions to coercive state representatives such as police officers and prison guards, it would solve part of the problem.

But he said Bill 21 is also problematic because it doesn't clearly state who will enforce the rules or what the sanctions will be.