Pallister to raise concerns about religious symbols law with Quebec premier

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says he will raise concerns about Quebec’s religious symbols law directly with the province’s premier.

The two premiers are attending an annual meeting of provincial and territorial leaders in Saskatoon.

Pallister has called Quebec’s legislation “dangerous” and “un-Canadian” and says he believes it has the potential to be oppressive.

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The Quebec law bans teachers, police and other public servants in positions of power from wearing religious symbols, and critics say it unfairly targets Muslims, Sikhs and other religious minorities.

Pallister said he has spoken to other premiers about his concerns with the law and he will personally talk with Quebec Premier Francois Legault about them before the meeting wraps up Thursday.

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Speaking out is the right thing to do, he said. Pallister added that he believes the Quebec law singles people out based on appearance, and he knows what that feels like.

“I was six-foot-three in Grade 7 in a small school so you could guess about how that worked in the schoolyard,” Pallister said.

“I know how it feels like to be picked on because you are different. I don’t like that. I didn’t like it then. Why would I like it as an adult?”

Legault said the subject hasn’t been raised at the meeting so far and that he believes the law is a matter that should be left to Quebec’s residents and its premier.

He said Pallister is entitled to his opinion, adding: “I agree to disagree.”

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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