MONTREAL — The City of Montreal says it will take down the crucifix that has hung in its council chamber for more than 80 years and move it to a museum space.
Coun. Laurence Lavigne Lalonde told the city’s executive committee meeting today that the crucifix, on display since 1937, will be removed ahead of three years of scheduled renovation work at city hall.
She says it won’t be returned to the chamber when city hall reopens in roughly three years.
Lavigne Lalonde says the crucifix was installed in a different era to remind councillors of the oath before God that they took. She says society is now represented by democratic institutions that are secular, neutral and open.
But the councillor says the symbol is an important piece of Montreal’s heritage, and a place will be found for it in a museum space in the renovated city hall.
The issue of crucifixes in legislative chambers across Quebec — in particular the one in the provincial legislature in Quebec City — has been central to the province’s debate over secularism.
The crucifix was installed above the Speaker’s chair in the national assembly in 1936, and successive provincial governments have rejected requests to remove the symbol.
The Canadian Press