The former head of the Bloc Québécois says that while he agrees with a lot of what’s in Bill 60   Quebec’s secular charter some measures go too far.

In a one-on-one interview with Andrew Chang at the CBC Montreal studios, Gilles Duceppe said he doesn’t think public employees such as teachers or daycare workers should be forbidden from wearing an overt religious symbol.

“The only ones who shouldn’t have those kinds of signs are those in authority and representing the state,” Duceppe said, citing judges and police officers as examples.

“A teacher has an authority, but he or she is not representing the state.”

Duceppe said that some workers should be banned from wearing a religious symbol if it compromises their safety  such as a construction worker wearing a turban instead of a hard hat.

hi-gilles-duceppe

Gilles Duceppe says Bill 60 is not discriminatory. (CBC)

He also said that a discussion on religious neutrality in the province is long overdue.

Duceppe said that talks should have been held after the Bouchard-Taylor commission in 2008, and he applauded the Parti Québécois for opening up the debate.

“The main culture is named Quebec culture like you have Italian culture, or Swedish culture. That exists. We have to recognize that. This is not discrimination. This is how every country is proceeding,” Duceppe said.

The Quebec government will hold public hearings on Bill 60 starting Jan.14, 2014.