Montreal

Parti Québécois wants to resurrect secular values charter

Parti Québécois MNAs are calling on Premier Philippe Couillard to table a secular charter or religious neutrality bill as soon as possible.

PQ leader Stéphane Bédard says premier's inaction on religious neutrality bill 'unacceptable'

Parti Québécois MNA and Leadership candidate Bernard Drainville explained his plan to reintroduce a charter of values last week in Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/CP)

Parti Québécois MNAs are calling on Premier Philippe Couillard to table a secular charter or religious neutrality bill as soon as possible.

Leader Stéphane Bédard called Couillard's "inaction is unacceptable."  

"We want a debate," he said Wednesday.

PQ MNAs are discussing the kind of position they will take behind closed doors at their two-day caucus meeting in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

PQ: Couillard needs to make good on promise

PQ House Leader Agnès Maltais said Couillard is breaking an election promise.

"Quebecers elected them on a promise that they would move quickly on this and they are once again renouncing that promise," she said.

The premier announced last week his government would deal with the issue before the end of its mandate, which is in 2018. 

That's a step away from his original position. On election night last April, he said his government would deal with the secular issue as soon as possible. 

Couillard said he wants emotions to cool after the Paris attacks before he deals with such a sensitive issue.

By hammering away at the secular issue now, the PQ is hoping to put it front and centre over the next couple of months.

PQ leadership candidate Bernard Drainville, also known as the father of the failed secular charter, said a secular charter is necessary to help fight Islamic fundamentalism.

"I'm saying secularism is a good means to put a wall in front of this radical current, because it says, 'Don't try to impose on our schools your religious agenda. We're telling you in advance our state is neutral here,'" Drainville said.

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