Early Sunday morning, the Coalition Avenir Quebec government forced through one of two contentious bills it promised to pass into law this weekend, in a 62 to 42 vote on legislation that reforms the province's immigration system.
About five hours later, members were back in the legislature at 9 a.m. for debate on the second bill, which seeks to prohibit many public sector workers from wearing religious symbols on the job.
The government is applying the legislative mechanism of closure, allowing it to end debate and use its majority to force a vote.
Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette's Bill 9 gives the province more authority over who receives permanent residency in the province. The government says the new selection criteria will permit it to fast-track newcomers who better meet the needs of employers. Applicants in the old system were selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
The bill is controversial because it creates a legal framework that allows the government to force newly arrived immigrants to pass a French-language and so-called values test before becoming eligible for permanent residency.