The Interview: Philippe Couillard on Quebec’s future – And the Values Charter

Paul Wells ask Quebec Premier Couillard on the values charter:

Q: People have the impression that with the PQ’s election loss, the charter of values is a dead letter. But don’t you have your own plan to bring in something comparable?

A: A big mistake in politics is to think that because an issue appears to have been settled, it doesn’t exist anymore. You just sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist. Not only in Canada but in other countries where we have to rely on immigration for our growth, the question of coexistence of values in communities is important. It has to be dealt with.

The difference between our approach and the PQ’s is: our approach is not discriminatory. What we could not tolerate in their approach was job discrimination being introduced, and defining “neutrality” as forbidding any religious signs, which frankly is something we find totally unacceptable.

But we always said that certain principles have to be clarified. One is the question of the face. I think this is a line in the sand for many Quebecers and Canadians: That if you’re going to give services or receive services, your face should be uncovered. That’s about all we’re going to do, and frankly all that needs to be done.

The mistake of the PQ, and I think it was by design, was to go too far. Using this as a wedge issue, trying to revive a very ethnic brand of nationalism in Quebec. At the end of the day, it’s great news for Quebec that it didn’t work in their favour.

The Interview: Philippe Couillard on Quebecs future – Macleans.ca.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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