Justice Minister in the Parti Québécois government of Quebec, Bertrand St-Arnaud, mentioned in a statement issued on Wednesday that he truly believes in the “legality” of the proposed Charter of Quebec Values, which is controversially aimed at banning public-sector employees from wearing religious symbols. St-Arnaud elucidated his stance, alleging that his department was asked to look at the proposed charter, which should be presented as a bill in the Quebec National Assembly this fall.
St-Arnaud explained that “the justice department was consulted during preparation of the document, whose content I totally agree with.” He added that “I would add that we are very confident of the legality underlying this document.” Meanwhile in an RDI interview, a former Liberal minister and a constitutional law professor, Benoît Pelletier, alleged that the Supreme Court of Canada usually favors “very few restrictions on freedom of religion.” Pelletier pointed out that separation of religion and the state exists, while alleging that Quebec could argue that the limits proposed in the charter are “reasonable and justifiable” under Section 1 on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
On the other hand, PQ minister responsible for women’s affairs, Agnès Maltais, has informed reporters that the charter “is a healthy choice for society and a very healthy choice for Quebec women.” Inquired regarding the stance of Quebec’s Conseil du statut de la femme, which is opposed to banning the hijab, Maltais alleged that the Conseil supports the neutrality of the state. The minister stated that “the Conseil du statu de la femme is in full agreement with what we are doing.”
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