Montreal, November 7, 2013 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal reiterates its staunch opposition to the bill on the Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests tabled today by the Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship, Bernard Drainville.
“Clearly, the government has not listened to the voices of Montrealers, particularly those of the business community and elected officials,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “Everyone has firmly objected to the government’s proposed ban on government employees wearing conspicuous religious symbols. With this bill, the government has made clear its lack of regard and sensitivity for its largest city.”
“The bill does not reflect the reality of the Montréal job market, whether in the public service or in business,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Let’s not forget that welcoming and integrating immigrants to Quebec are a Montréal phenomenon. Over 87% of recent immigrants to Quebec settle here to try to build a successful life. This is where the vast majority of citizens who clearly show their religious affiliation live. It is unacceptable that the government has not shown Montréal more respect.”
“The bill was tabled following a debate that has divided Quebec and Montréal society and that has tarnished Montréal’s reputation as an open, tolerant city,” Michel Leblanc said. “It is Montréal that will suffer the repercussions of the Charter’s proposals.”
“In addition to damaging the Montréal area economy, this bill is distracting us from the economic development issues that should be central to our discussions,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Montréal is at a turning point in its history and does not need further discord. We are asking elected officials from the Montréal area who sit in the National Assembly to oppose the bill in its current form, out of respect for Montréal.”
About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.
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Michelle LLambias Meunier
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042
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