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What Is Quebec's Bill 21 & Why Does It Keep Coming Up In The Election Debates?

The controversial bill has been a major talking point during the federal campaign.

Bill 21 has become a hot button issue during the federal election and even had quite a bit of time dedicated to it during the leaders' debate. So with all of this talk about the bill, people have questions. You might be wondering what is Canada's Bill 21 and why is it being talked about. We've got all the information you need. 

The controversial Bill 21 became law in Quebec in June 2019 after being introduced in March. This means that public workers in the province are banned from wearing religious symbols while on the job. So this impacts teachers, judges, police officers, and other public workers from showing their faith while they work. 

It also states that people have to "uncover their faces to receive a public service for identification or security purposes" according to the CBC

The bill is titled "An Act respecting the laicity of the State" and that means taking a neutral religious stance by keeping the state and religion separate. 

However, the bill has come under fire for being discriminatory especially to people who are in marginalized communities. 

It also keeps coming up on the campaign trail and in debates between leaders of the federal parties. 

During the federal leaders' debate on October 7, Justin Trudeau questioned Jagmeet Singh on why he wouldn't intervene with Bill 21. 

On the campaign trail the day after the debate Singh was once again asked about the bill and said that he has no plans to intervene unless it makes it to the Supreme Court.

During Monday night's debate, Trudeau also said that a federal government might have to intervene in a case like this. 

Andrew Scheer and Elizabeth May along with Trudeau and Singh have denounced the bill but none of the leaders have made concrete plans to challenge it. 

According to Global News, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet believes that Bill 21 is an important subject but shouldn't be talked about or an issue in the federal campaign. 

"There are plenty of things we should be talking about that we don’t talk much about, because this issue is eating up all the space," he said on October 8.

The bill is sure to come up a few more times before election day on October 21, especially with the French-language leader's debate happening on October 10. 

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