On June 10th, the Quebec government tabled Bill 62: “An Act to foster adherence to state religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests in certain bodies” (commonly called the neutrality bill) and Bill 59: “An Act to enact the Act to prevent and combat hate speech and speech inciting violence and to amend various legislative provisions to better protect individuals.” One day later, Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL) reacted to both bills with a press release entitled “The Rassemblement pour la laïcité condemns the pretence of state secularism proposed by the Couillard government”:
Montréal, June 11, 2015 – The Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL, Alliance for Secularism) expresses its profound disagreement with the approach taken by the Couillard government to promote State neutrality and to counter the actions of jihadism in Quebec. The two draft bills (59 and 62) and the action plan presented by the government are clearly motivated by an avoidance of fundamental issues. They promote religiosity and censorship. They are completely at odds with the aspirations of the Quebec people for true secularism in the state and public institutions.
The RPL press release goes on to call draft Bill 62, “A Denial of Religious Neutrality of the State,” asks whether draft Bill 59 is “Combatting Hate Speech or Censoring Criticism of Religions?” and criticizes the Quebec government’s “Mediocre Plan to Prevent Radicalization.”