Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke for the first time about Quebec's controversial religious neutrality legislation today, saying it's not up to his government to challenge the law but that he would "always defend" people's rights under the charter.

Trudeau made the comments in Roberval, Que., where he was campaigning for Richard Hébert, the outgoing mayor of Dolbeau-Mistassini, who is running in Monday's byelection.

"It's not up to the federal government to challenge this, but we will certainly be looking at how this will unfold with full respect for the National Assembly," Trudeau said in French.

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