Skip to main content

The threats against Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante, including some of physical violence, are in messages posted online or sent directly to her social-media accounts.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante spoke out Thursday about threats directed against her over her stance on the province’s secularism bill.

Ms. Plante told reporters Thursday the online attacks have intensified, and she is taking them seriously.

“I’m always open for debate, but I will not accept that,” Ms. Plante said. “This is not the kind of society we want. This is not what we want to encourage.”

Story continues below advertisement

The threats, including some of physical violence, are in messages posted online or sent directly to her social-media accounts. “Freedom of speech is important, but we need to realize we’re also talking to human beings,” Ms. Plante said.

A senior aide to the mayor told The Canadian Press that messages deemed to have crossed a line have been flagged and sent to Montreal police.

Quebec’s Bill 21 would prohibit public servants in positions of authority – including teachers, police officers, Crown prosecutors and prison guards – from wearing religious symbols on the job. A grandfather clause would protect people already hired in those positions.

The debate surrounding the proposed legislation has been divisive since the bill was tabled last month. On Monday, Ms. Plante and Lionel Perez, the opposition leader at Montreal city hall, issued a joint motion denouncing Bill 21.

On Wednesday, Toronto city council passed a resolution supporting Montreal and declaring its opposition to any legislation restricting freedom of religion.

Quebec Premier François Legault called the attacks on Ms. Plante unacceptable and urged calmer debate.

Mr. Legault also played down a recent article in the Chinese daily Global Times, praising the proposed legislation and comparing it to China’s own policy of repression of the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority group often sent to re-education camps.

Story continues below advertisement

The Premier said Thursday he couldn’t stop the Chinese daily from applauding his government’s legislation. The April 2 dispatch called the Quebec’s proposed legislation a good way of ensuring separation of church and state.

Mr. Legault said neither the Chinese nor Toronto would ultimately have an impact on the debate in Quebec.

“I don’t think so, when you compare what’s happening in large countries like France, Germany, Belgium, they took decisions to forbid some religious signs,” Mr. Legault said in Quebec City. “So we’re doing that with the support of the majority of Quebecers, and it’s not up to Ontario people to decide what’s happening in Quebec.”

Follow related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies