Trudeau says he will fight to ensure 'all Quebecers have the same rights as everybody else across the country'

"I'm a Quebecer, and I am right to ensure that all Quebecers can have the same rights as everybody else across the country."

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

During question period in the House of Commons on June 1, things got heated between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Bloc Québécois MP Alain Therrien as they debated Quebec's Bill 21.

During the back and forth, Trudeau took aim at the idea that anyone who opposes the bill is somehow not a "real Quebecer," reminding everyone that he hails from la belle province.

"Yesterday the prime minister stated that he wants to challenge Quebec's legislation on the secular nature of the state," Therrien began, attacking the idea that it will have "broad implications for Canadians across this country."

"It only concerns Quebecers," Therrien continued. "The law on secularization is a request from Quebecers, a law that was voted on by the members of the National Assembly of Quebec."

"Canadians have nothing to do with it, and it's none of their business. What is so hard for the prime minister to understand about that?"

"I'm certain that I didn't hear properly," Trudeau responded. "I'm certain that the honourable member didn't wanna suggest that all those who disagree and who challenge this before the courts in Quebec are not real Quebecers."

"We will always be there with anyone across the country who wants to defend their fundamental rights, protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and if, in fact, it winds up in the Supreme Court, yes the federal government will be there to defend the rights of minorities."

Therrien reiterated that he believes the rest of Canada should leave Quebec to conduct itself as it sees fit.

"Why would Quebecers accept that Canadians force religion back into our state?"

"I must tell the honourable member," Trudeau replied, "that his home is also my home. I'm a Quebecer, and I am right to ensure that all Quebecers can have the same rights as everybody else across the country."

Quebec's Bill 21 effectively bans all religious symbols such as headscarves, kippas, or crosses for all those employed in the public sector.


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