Bill 21, free trade deal top agenda as Trudeau, Legault meet in Montreal

Quebec Premier François Legault says he asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a meeting today to stay out of the contentious debate over the province’s secularism law.

Legault said the law prohibiting some public-sector employees from wearing religious symbols, known as Bill 21, is supported by a majority of Quebecers and Trudeau should respect their wishes.

Trudeau was not the only federal leader for whom Legault had advice.

The premier voiced his support for the new North American free trade deal announced this week and called on Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet to help speed its passage through Parliament.

Blanchet has threatened to vote against implementing the deal over concerns about damage to Quebec’s aluminum industry, but Legault said the agreement contains important gains for the aluminum sector.

Trudeau did not speak to reporters after the meeting.