Marois Vows to Support Quebec’s Controversial Secular Charter

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has mentioned in a recent statement that the Parti Québécois’s proposed secular charter is aimed to unify Quebeckers just as the province’s language laws have. She stated on Sunday, while addressing young PQ militants who met in Quebec City, that “The Charter of Quebec Values will become a strong unifying factor for Quebeckers, as is the case for Bill 101 today.”

It was the first time that Ms. Marois directly spoke of the charter, as it was previously only reported in the Journal de Montréal on last Tuesday, asserting that the provincial government is planning to ban religious headgear and other visible symbols from a wide range of work sites including day-care centres and hospitals to government offices. Bill 101 is now effective from almost every store sign to the language in which children are taught. The bill, adopted 36 years ago, had shocked the English speaking community, which complained that it had sharply divided Quebec. At a time when Bill 101’s application is still debated, especially after the Pastagate incident this spring, the law’s imposing objective of protecting and promoting French is widely shared by Quebeckers.

Adding her point of view to the heated debate in the province, Montreal human-rights lawyer, Julius Grey, stated that “Bill 101 was needed because, without it, Montreal would have ceased to be French. Whereas I am at a loss to see what harm there is in having a bus driver wearing a turban or a lawyer wearing a kipa. The analogy doesn’t hold.”

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