If PQ proposed charter of values passes, nobody wins


(Graphic by Steph Truong)

The Parti Québécois (PQ) proposed charter of values has rightly stirred emotions in Québec and across Canada as supporters and opponents of the proposition debate its merits and intentions. While it is important to objectively look at current events, certain issues which are overwhelmingly counter-intuitive or offensive make it difficult to do so.

The PQ-proposed charter of values suggests that in order to preserve the culture and history of Québec, the government needs to impose on the religious freedoms of individuals who may very well be part of the culture PQ is trying to protect.

It aims to prevent public sector workers from wearing overtly religious garments including hijabs and turbans. Public sector workers may seem like a small group, but in fact includes teachers, most hospital staff and child care workers. Thus, the group impacted by such legislation would be quite large.

Stephen Harper said he believed the charter, in its current form, wouldn’t be approved by Québécers whose common sense would prevail in this debate over freedom of religion. Hopefully, he is right.

The charter of values directly violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is racist and fuels racism through its implementation and the types of assumptions it makes about individuals.  Moreover, it is bad for Québec in the long-term. It will not protect culture, but further segregate French and English Canada and even isolate francophones within Québec who support the legislation. It could also possibly fuel a brain drain that would send public sector workers to other provinces and negatively impact Québec.

Those behind the proposal need to understand these long-term impacts and come to terms with the fact that this charter will not protect Québec’s culture or ensure secularism, but will undermine both.

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