Montreal-area mayor under fire for equating secularism bill to ethnic cleansing
|Toronto Star 09 Apr 2019 at 14:23|
QUEBECâThere are growing calls for a suburban Montreal mayor to apologize for comments last week equating the provinceâs proposed secularism legislation to âethnic cleansing.â
Premier Francois Legault and several other provincial and municipal politicians called on William Steinberg, the mayor of Hampstead, to apologize.
Speaking last Friday about Quebecâs Bill 21 prohibiting religious symbols for teachers and some other public servants, Steinberg accused the government of discriminating against religions whose adherents wear visible symbols.
He said the end result would be certain minority groups would be compelled to leave Quebec and he labelled Bill 21 a form of âethnic cleansing.â
Legault was among those seeking an apology today, while appealing for calm as the province debates a bill that would prohibit public servants in positions of authority â including teachers, police officers, Crown prosecutors and prison guards â from wearing religious symbols on the job.
Even Liberal David Birnbaum, who opposes the Coalition Avenir Quebec bill and sent a representative to the news conference at which Steinberg made the remarks, called for an apology.