Ban overt religious signs in public service, PQ says

The Parti Québecois wants to introduce a secular charter and ban all civil servants from wearing or exposing overt religious symbols.

Parti Québecois wants to introduce secular charter

Pauline Marois said she wants to introduce a secular charter to Quebec's public system. (Radio-Canada)

The Parti Québécois wants to introduce a secular charter and ban all civil servants from wearing or exposing overt religious symbols.

This isn't the first time the Parti Québécois has mentioned the introduction of a secular charter aimed at making sure public and parapublic institutions are free of religious bias and symbols. 

At a news conference on Monday in Maskinongé, northeast of Montreal, leader Pauline Marois said freedom of religion would be integrated in the charter.

"Before having it contested, we will present it, debate it and adopt it. If it has to be contested, for now it's a hypothetical question. We will fight for what we need because we think this is essential for the public's well-being by taking its values and writing them in a charter," Marois said.

Under such a charter, civil servants would not be allowed to wear conspicuous religious symbols.

The crucifix at Quebec's national assembly, however, would remain untouched.

Marois also talked about the fact that many of Quebec's institutions used to be based on religion.

"It's part of our heritage, but taking a step to ensure the state's secularity is not to deny what we are, but that we are at a new moment in our lives and believe the state's neutrality and the fundamental values, equality between men and women must guide us toward a life together in Quebec," Marois said.

Some people have argued that the secular charter proposed by the PQ could hit a roadblock because it may go against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which entitles people to freedom of religion and promotes multiculturalism in the country.

Marois said her charter would not infringe on peoples' fundamental rights and would be put in place during her government's first mandate.

CAQ wants tax credit for new homeowners

A Coalition Avenir Québec government would make it easier for young families to buy homes, leader François Legault said today as the party continues to try and attract the votes of Quebec parents.

François Legault wants to give tax credits to new homeowners. (Radio-Canada)

The latest family-friendly announcement for the party targets the fees people pay when they purchase their home.

"In total, the fees linked to buying a house are between three and four per cent of the overall cost of the home," said Legault during a campaign stop in Lévis.

"We hope to introduce a measure that will allow young families… that already have at least one child to have a $1,000 tax credit to reimburse many of these fees."

This plan would cost $23 million.

The party has already said it would give a $1,000 tax credit to families making less than $100,000 a year, offer five paid leave days to parents taking care of sick family members and extend high school hours to 5 p.m. in order to offer more learning assistance to students.

"This morning, we are giving a boost to young families who want to buy a house," said Legault.

The CAQ said it will unveil its financial plan later this week.

Legault was asked about comments he made Monday about students "living the good life." His response, which touched on the work ethic of Asian students, set off yet more reaction on Tuesday.

Charest to build on Quebec City

Liberal leader Jean Charest steered clear from the education topic and announced plans to move ahead with some big building projects in Quebec City.

Liberal Leader Jean Charest wants to fund $95 million worth of infrastructure for Quebec City. (Radio-Canada)

On Tuesday, Charest said his government is committed to supporting the construction of a new multifunctional theatre, restoring the Nouvelles Casernes – one of the city's oldest historic sites – and developing the Samuel-De Champlain pathway that borders on the Saint-Lawrence River.

The cost for the development of the waterfront path is estimated at $200 million.

If the Liberals remain in government, Quebec City could benefit from $95 million to develop family-friendly infrastructure.  From this fund, $45 million would be used to create a covered ice-skating rink.