Debate for the proposed Quebec Charter of Values is scheduled to start tomorrow, which marks the beginning of 200 hours of planned hearings. Parti Québécois officials are hopeful that the Charter, including its ban on religious symbols for individuals working in public service, would foster greater social cohesion.
Liberals say the Charter will breed intolerance, and that citizens of Quebec also appose its implementation.
“We believe that a majority of Quebecois would admit that a total ban [on wearing religious symbols] applied to all employees of the State, no matter the nature of their position, is abusive,” says Charles Taylor and Gérard Bouchard, who served as chairs of the Commission on Reasonable Accommodation in 2007.
However, according to a poll of 1,000 Quebecers, 48 percent support the plan. There was also a significant discrepancy in polling results between “mother tongue francophones” and non-native speakers — with the latter more likely to know impacted people. According to Jack Jedwab of the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration, “People know it is a source of division, and they are worried about its impact on the social fabric.”