Crucifix in Montreal's city council chambers will be removed, executive committee says
The crucifix in Montreal's city council chambers will be removed for good.
The announcement was made during an executive committee meeting Wednesday morning.
Major renovations are about to get underway at City Hall. The crucifix is being removed for the work, but will not be put back up when work is complete in about three years, the executive committee says.
The administration says it is an opportunity to remove the crucifix, given that the city is secular.
Last October, Mayor Valérie Plante said she did not intend to take down the crucifix in city hall.
The decision reignited the debate on whether the crucifix at the National Assembly should be taken down.
The CAQ government has been adamant that it will not remove the cross, saying it is a historical symbol, not a religious one, even though it represents the Christian values of the province's two colonial ancestors.
'I accept the decision': Legault
Premier François Legault has said he wants to keep the crucifix in the legislature while moving forward with plans to ban certain civil servants from wearing religious symbols.
But when asked today about Montreal's decision, Legault seemed less firm on his decision to keep the crucifix.
"There are good arguments for and some arguments against, and right now we have a debate. We have to find a compromise," Legault said today. "I accept the decision of the City of Montreal."
Legault said the decision falls under Quebec's secularism file.
The crucifix was installed above the speaker's chair in the National Assembly in 1936. A government-commissioned report into secularism and identity issues recommended in 2008 that it be removed, but no government has done so.
Quebec's Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette said the National Assembly will make its own decision when it comes to its crucifix.
"For us it's always been a heritage symbol, a historical symbol like the other religious symbols in the Salon Bleu," Jolin-Barrette said.
Liberal MNA Hélène David took to Twitter, saying the National Assembly plans to discuss its crucifix in the coming days.
"We are open to discussion on this topic," David wrote.