Montreal mayor, opposition leader unite to denounce Quebec secularism bill

The mayor of Montreal expects to explain the impact on Montreal of the provinces secularism bill when she presents to a committee studying it in the coming weeks.

On Monday, in a rare display of unity, Montreal city council unanimously passed a motion against the secularism bill known as Bill 21.

Mayor Valerie Plante and opposition leader Lionel Perez presented the bipartisan declaration stating that Montreal practises ``open secularism'' and its bylaws are neutral, regardless of the religious convictions of those who make them.

The mayor's primary political rival, Perez, was alongside her for the announcement and said he hopes the joint message will lead the provincial government to reconsider its plan.

Bill 21 would prohibit public servants in positions of authority, including teachers, police officers, Crown prosecutors and prison guards, from wearing religious symbols on the job.

Plante criticized the Coalition Avenir Quebec government's use of the notwithstanding clause to override potential charter challenges.