Legault to pass Marois's Charter of Quebec values

Marois's plan to remove religious symbols in the public sector and force minorities into the closet will be backed by the CAQ, Legault announced today.

Just like controversial French language Bill 14 before it, Legault plans to pass Marois's new charter of Quebec values.

However, like with Bill 14, Legault wants to see some changes and is ready to work with the government to see them. While the CAQ thinks judges, police officers and elementary- and secondary-school teachers should be restricted from wearing religious symbols, they think medical professionals and daycare teachers should be exempt.

The likely reason why these fields would be exempt is the long wait times in hospitals and desperate doctor shortage, and the lack of staff in day-cares. However, cut through the clutter and it appears Legault would only exempt them because minorities in these fields are responding, threatening to pack up and leave. Therefore, Legault is playing favorites on who complies to this restrictive charter and who doesn't.

However, Legault's support is unwavering. He said that if a court strikes it down, he'll move to use the Constitution's notwithstanding clause - the way every PQ government has passed their legislation since the days of Bill 101.

"What we say also is that we should exclude religious signs for employees being in authority, like judges, policemen -- and teachers because we think that teachers, they have in front of them children in a vulnerable position. But, that's it," Legault said.

"We don't think, like the Parti Quebecois, that we should extend this exclusion to doctors, nurses, all civil servants. We think that they should have the right to continue to wear a religious sign because they are not in an authority position.

"So we think it's a balanced position, it's a responsible position and we hope that the Parti Quebecois turns the page as soon as possible because we know that this debate will divide Quebec."

The PQ won a slim minority government in the last election and recent polls show the opposition Liberals flirting with the prospect of a majority government if the government were to be defeated. 

While the PQ and CAQ would back the bill, the Liberals are firmly opposed to it - the same set up as with Bill 14.

A Leger Marketing poll released today suggests 65% of francophones and 55% of Quebecers agree with the plan. Meanwhile, only 25% of anglophones would support it.

Despite broad public support among francophones for the charter, many minority groups have been hit hard by this plan.

For instance, the Sikh community, already targeted on the soccer field, is "hurt" by the proposed plan.

“The sad thing is I don’t know if I’d be able to stay here in Quebec,” said Saluja, an emergency-room doctor with the McGill University Health Centre.

“Even though I love my practice here in Quebec, my faith is something that’s important to me and I don’t feel comfortable giving up that part of my persona and I don’t think a lot of people would be willing to, either.”

Saluja also said “One of the reasons why we are able to sort of diminish these wait times is because we have these residents who come in and take on patient loads,” which in other words means Quebec would face further healthcare shortages by the minority communities that pack up and leave. 

Federal politicians weighed in, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau defended Quebec minorities while NDP leader Thomas Mulcair dodged the issue.

“It worries me because our institutions, our state, must be neutral,” Trudeau said.

“Individuals have the right to their religion and to their freedom of expression. It worries me.”

Mulcair, meanwhile, dodged it. “I’m not going to respond to trial balloons,” said Mulcair.

“When there is something concrete on the table, I’ll have no hesitation to respond to it.”

What could possibly be more concrete than a bill that will define who Quebecers are and limit the rights of minorities in the process?

In terms of the federal spectrum, the current Liberals are building on a basis of renewal while the NDP surge in 2011 in the province was built from soft nationalists who ditched the Bloc Quebecois in protest.

What do you think of Marois's proposed Charter of Quebec Values? Is it discriminatory? Should any governing body or government be allowed to determine what Quebec's values and culture is? Share this article, join the discussion and let us know what you think: Facebook, Twitter, Google+