The Roman Catholic religion has played an important role in Quebec history and its imagery should remain in public institutions, said the mayor of Quebec’s sixth largest city at the reasonable accommodations hearings last week.
According to a report by The Canadian Press, Mayor Jean Tremblay told the hearings commission on Thursday that Catholicism still holds an important place for many. He pointed out that the majority of Quebecers refer to themselves as Catholic.
"The Catholic religion is one of the nicest values we have in Quebec," said Tremblay, who is among a handful of mayors in the province who still open town council meetings with prayer.
"When someone who represents three per cent of the population wants to do something, everyone bends,” he was quoted as saying. “But when the mayor wants to say his prayer, we tell him to respect secular principles."
He also criticized what he characterized as a lack of moral leadership among Quebec politicians.
"Things haven't been going well since we've lost our fundamental values," Tremblay reportedly said. "People aren't as happy."
The hearings will be held throughout Quebec until the end of November. Premier Jean Charest called the hearings last winter after a lengthy and bitter public debate about the integration of immigrants into Canada’s French-speaking province.