Montreal mayor says secularism bill targets minorities and violates freedoms

The mayor of Quebec's largest city says the provincial government's secularism bill is causing tension in society.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante told a legislature committee today that the city supports the government's desire to enshrine into law the secular nature of the state. But she says Montreal has many problems with the government's approach.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec government's Bill 21 would prohibit public sector workers in positions of authority, including teachers and police officers, from wearing religious symbols on the job.

Plante says the law targets minorities and affects women more than it does men.

She adds that citizens feel powerless, because the government is invoking a clause in the Constitution that would block people from challenging the law the over rights violations.

Earlier today representatives from Quebec's English-language education sector told reporters Bill 21 is divisive, unnecessary and a violation of the Constitution.