Montreal mayor Denis Coderre is categorical: the secularism charter will hurt Montreal's international reputation.
La Presse got a hold of the brief Coderre will be presenting before the parliamentary hearings on Bill 60.
The 20-plus page brief says that the proposed legislation will give a false perception of exclusion and undermine efforts to make Montreal more attractive to investors and future residents.
The brief goes on to say that Quebec is trying to solve problems that don't exist. Citing the controversial ban on religious symbols and clothing for public service workers, the brief says that the city of Montreal never had to put into doubt the capacity of its employees wearing such symbols to perform their duties, adding its's received no complaints from either residents or employees about the issue.
The city says applying such a ban would send an extremely negative message of exclusion and create a precedent that would stigmatize part of the population and restrict access to jobs in the municipal public service. The city adds that it would be in total contradiction to the city administration's message of being open and accessible.
In the brief, the city asks the Quebec government to test the constitutionality of its proposed legislation before the Quebec Court of Appeal, as well as to get an independent analysis to ensure the new charter doesn't create an imbalance between men and women.
Coderre reiterates in the brief that he would be asking that Montreal be granted an exemption.