The Politics of Quebec's Charter of Values


Quebec Premier Pauline Marois' Charter of Values may center on secularism but some think the real point is the politics that she's creating a wedge issue to benefit the PQ's future. Today we discuss the politics behind Quebec's Charter of Values.


Translation: (Headline) A neutral state in service to all: Examples of non-ostentatious that will be
permitted for public sector workers. Link: Quebec Govt Proposal (French)

Is the Quebec Charter of Values just about secularism?

If the few leaks involving Quebec's proposed Charter of Values were intended to be trial balloons, they were almost as volatile as the Hindenberg. The idea of restricting people from wearing religious clothing and symbols set off heated debate throughout Canada.

"It's important to make precise the rules for living together in Quebec. And I think we will not divide the population".

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois


Translation: Examples of ostentatious symbols that will not be permitted to be worn by public sector.

Today, the provincial government has released, in broad strokes, what it intends... a ban on public sector employees from wearing overt religious symbols. That would include the hijab, the kippah, the some cases, the crucifix as well.

"Quebec is a nation, a multi-ethnic but not multicultural nation".

Former PQ Premier Bernard Landry

One of the big supporters of a more secular civil service is former Parti Parti Québécois Premier Bernard Landry. Our Montreal producer Susan McKenzie met him at the University of Quebec at Montreal, where he teaches. He says that while he doesn't support the idea of a police officer or person in authority wearing a turban, for example, he has no problem with a woman wearing a hijab at the Automobile Insurance Offices.

Listen to the full interview with former Parti Québécois Premier Bernard Landry

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To discuss the politics of Quebec's Charter of Values, we were joined by three guests:

  • Lise Ravary is an author and columnist for Le Journal de Montreal. She feels Quebec is as secular as it needs to be.

  • Jocelyn Maclure has a book on secularism in Quebec, and is a professor of philosophy at Laval University in Quebec City. He believes a charter is not needed and feels Quebec's current system to protect rights is effective.

  • Daniel Turp is a former PQ MNA and Bloc Quebecois MP, and he is a professor of Constitutional and International Law at the Université de Montreal. Daniel Turp says he supports wholeheartedly the idea of making all civil service jobs visually secular and wants Quebec to be a secular society.

Have your say. What are your thought on the Quebec Charter of Values?

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This segment was produced by Montreal Network Producer Susan McKenzie.

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