Quebec Values Charter 2.0: Ban against crosses, hijabs would only apply to new public employees | National Post

English coverage of Bernard Drainville’s attempt to resuscitate the values charter (earlier post Charte de la laïcité: «une clause grand-père» prévaudra |Drainvilleand a useful comparison between the earlier and current versions:

Comparison of Drainville’s charter proposals

PQ’s original charter

• The ban on ostentatious religious symbols in the workspace was sweeping and applied to the entire public sector including justice, health and education. The bill defined the symbols as “overt and conspicuous,” which meant a tiny crucifix or small ring with the Star of David or earring was fine, but anything big was not.

• The bill provided for a five-year exemption from the ban for CEGEPs, universities, health care and municipalities. In the uproar, many institutions said they would use the exemption.

• Private schools and non-subsidized daycare centres were not covered.

• It would be mandatory to have one’s face uncovered while providing or receiving a state service.

• In the name of religious heritage, the giant crucifix on Mont Royal and other religious symbols in the public space — such as the crucifix over

the speaker’s chair in the blue room of the National Assembly — would remain. Employees would still be allowed office Christmas trees.

• Amend the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms to entrench religious neutrality of the state and the secular nature of institutions.

Drainville charter

• The big change in the proposal is the so-called grandfather clause. That means that while the plan is still to ban conspicuous religious symbols in the whole public sector, existing workers would have acquired rights and not have to respect the rules.

• Implicit in the new package is that no employee thus could be fired for refusing to comply, which emerged as the real stumbling block for the short-lived PQ government.

• The new ban would thus only apply to new hires. As Drainville stated, working for the government carries with it responsibilities and one of them is to not express, or display, one’s personal convictions.

• Respecting their independence, Drainville said the new ban would not apply to CEGEPs, universities and municipalities. They would, however, be required to adopt their own internal religious neutrality policies.

• Added to the charter would be the creation of an observatory on religious fundamentalism and a 1-800 phone line where people could report honour crimes.

• The National Assembly crucifix could be moved elsewhere in the legislature if MNAs vote to do so.

Quebec Values Charter 2.0: Ban against crosses, hijabs would only apply to new public employees | National Post.

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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