Montreal withdraws crucifix, Quebec keeps his

The City of Quebec will not imitate Montreal and will keep its crucifix in the city council.

“The mayor has said it many times. It is a heritage aspect in the council chamber and we do not intend to remove it. To date, no one speaks to us about it, “said Councilor Rémy Normand on Wednesday, in the absence of the Mayor at a meeting of the Urban Agglomeration Council.

“There is no issue in our opinion. The decision is made and we will comply unless we leave a big debate, “he added.

In Montreal, the religious symbol will be withdrawn as part of renovations that will last three years at City Hall, but will not be resettled later, was explained at a meeting of the executive committee.

Councilor Laurence Lavigne Lalonde recalled that the crucifix, installed in 1937 by the alderman Joseph-Émile Dubreuil, had been set up in a time very different from that of today.

The goal, she said, was then that elected officials remember the oath they had taken before God when they took office, so throughout their work.

“I think there is a consensus that the context has changed today. We now live in a society that has evolved enormously and is represented by institutions that are democratic, that must be secular, neutral and open to all citizens. It is for this reason that the crucifix will be removed and will not be reinstated in the council room when we return to City Hall, “she noted.

The crucifix will not disappear from City Hall. A museum space will be created to highlight the City’s collections, which include archives and formal gifts, for example. This is where visitors can observe the crucifix.

This is not the first time that the place of religion in institutions has been discussed in Montreal. In 1987, the administration of Mayor Jean Doré abolished the prayer at the opening of council meetings. There was also talk of removing the crucifix from the room in 1992, but it was finally in place.

Quebec is not alone in keeping its crucifix. Both the former government and the present have indicated that the one hanging on the National Assembly in 1936 will remain there.

Invited to comment on the Montreal decision on Wednesday, Prime Minister François Legault said the case of the crucifix was “on the record of secularism.” “Everyone has to make compromises. We will look at the positions of the various people in the caucus, we will come back to you, “he said.

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