Quebec's ongoing political fixation with secularism and religious symbols has jumped into the federal NDP leadership race, creating a new schism among candidates on the eve of the contest's only entirely French debate in Montreal on Sunday.

This week, Quebec MP Guy Caron resurrected the discussion at the federal level, prompting a rehash among contenders of the lingering question — playing out currently in Quebec City — of religious symbols such as the niqab and their place in the public service.

The only politician from the province in the race, Caron put out a "Québec 2019" platform. It included a section on secularism, which stated that a political consensus is emerging among leading right- and left-wing parties in the province to support a government bill that bans face coverings such as the niqab in the public service.

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