Maria Mourani: «Je ne suis plus indépendantiste»

Nice to have some recognition of the value of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Quebec from the former Bloc québécois MP Maria Mourani, who quit the Bloc over their support for the proposed Quebec Charter of Values:

« J’en suis arrivée à la conclusion que mon appartenance au Canada, avec notamment la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés, protège mieux l’identité québécoise de toutes les citoyennes et de tous les citoyens du Québec, écrit-elle dans une lettre. Je ne suis plus indépendantiste. »

Maria Mourani: «Je ne suis plus indépendantiste» | MARTIN CROTEAU | Politique canadienne.

Ex-Bloc MP Maria Mourani says she is no longer a sovereigntist – Politics – CBC News

Mourani: adopter la Charte à la majorité simple, un acte «immoral»

Interesting points from former Bloc MP Maria Mourani. But given that the proposed Charter affects human rights, setting a higher bar than a simple majority makes sense. Unanimity may be too high a bar, even if on policy grounds I would prefer the threshold for such legislation to be as high as possible.

Mourani: adopter la Charte à la majorité simple, un acte «immoral» | Lia Lévesque | Politique.

Charte des valeurs québécoises – Round-up

Starting with some political analysis on how this is playing out on the national and provincial stage. Some good insights on the leadership styles – strengths and weakness – of both federal leaders in Quebec. My own take is that while both ended up in the same place, first mover advantage Trudeau.

On PQ charter, Trudeau and Mulcair take different paths to condemnation – The Globe and Mail.

John Ibbitson of The Globe notes the political challenges and calculations for the government, and why they have hewed to a more cautious approach while being clear on their fundamental opposition:

Can Tories put the heat on Quebec over its secular charter without getting burned?

Andrew Coyne argues that the PQ may have over-reached, and may have as much support in the end as it counted on. And bang on implications and implementation:

But not to worry, the minister responsible, Bernard Drainville, assures us: “It will be done humanely.” But of course. They will not be told to get out in a cruel way, but with care, compassion, or what the minister calls “good old common sense.” It will simply be made clear to these people, as kindly as the occasion permits, that, notwithstanding their years of blameless service, their continued employment is incompatible with Quebec’s common values — that their insistence on wearing the yarmulke or the turban, in accordance with the deepest teachings of their faith, has become a source of “tension” and “division,” and that for that reason they will have to find other work.

Far from certain Quebecers will side with PQ on values charter

Tabatha Southey does a funny yet serious take on the approach, citing her mother, following hair loss due to chemo, reached out to the Muslim Canadian community for help in wearing a scarf elegantly.

The Quebec charter: Maman, qu’est-ce qu’un turban?

 And Maria Mourani, former Bloc MP, who left the party and questions her faith in sovereignty given the divisiveness of the Charte and the implications for her vision of an open, inclusive and independent Quebec. Her action, and criticism of other indépendentistes like her of the Charte, may help Quebec get past the identity politics. One can aim for rural Quebec; one can’t ignore Montréal.

Mourani remet en question sa foi en la souveraineté

And a good summary in The Globe about Quebec’s francophone press reaction, largely negative:

What Quebec’s francophone media thinks of the secular charter 

Lastly, some general opinion pieces. Starting with Conrad Black reminding us of the role the Catholic Church played for most of Quebec’s history in preserving Quebec’s francophone culture and society (he glosses over the less savoury aspects):

Spurning Quebec’s proud Catholic roots

And a couple of opinion pieces (Brian Lee Crowley, André Schutten) that blur the lines between what people wear and performing their job. It is one thing to express one’s faith; it is another thing to expect that one’s duties on the job should accommodate those beliefs.

As public servants, we have an obligation to serve all citizens, and provide the required services of the government. We cannot pick and choose; we can likely however find alternative work within government without such matter of conscience issues. And if we can’t, we should work elsewhere.

Quebec charter wrong in execution, not principle

Who is calling the kettle black over Quebec values?

Charte des valeurs québécoises – Round-up

ON recruitmentThe big news is the division among the sovereigntists. The Bloc has lost its one woman member, Maria Mourani with a strong position in favour of gender and religious rights. And her riding is very multicultural. Good for the Quebec debate.

Charte des valeurs québécoises – L’inconfort des forces souverainistes explose | Le Devoir.

And some articles about the impact of Quebec’s international reputation (let alone within Canada). Couillard is particularly eloquent describing his experience as a doctor in Saudi Arabia (I lived in Saudi 1986-88):

« J’ai connu, moi, c’est quoi, un régime autoritaire. J’ai connu, moi, c’est quoi, un régime qui exclut », a-t-il dit. « Je sais c’est quoi, être l’étranger qui n’a pas la religion de la majorité. Je sais c’est quoi, être celui qui n’a pas la même couleur de peau que les autres. Je sais c’est quoi, être celui qui se fait arracher ses lumières de Noël devant chez eux. C’est arrivé chez nous quand j’étais là-bas. »

Charte des valeurs québécoises – Le Québec pourrait en payer le prix, dit Couillard

The contrary view is expressed by Lise Payette, former PQ Cabinet Minister, in the 70s, who puts the proposed Charter in a liberation context – but liberation from what and from who:

Le pas que nous désirons faire aujourd’hui est la suite logique de notre libération. Nous souhaitons de tout coeur que vous en fassiez partie.

Le Québec qui renaît de ses cendres

Premier Marois continues to praise the French model of integration. France has a terrible record here with its Muslim population – just take a tour of the suburbs if you dare – and look at employment and other statistics. Me thinks broader life experience would have been helpful for her and other members of her Cabinet:

Charte des valeurs québécoises: Marois vante l’intégration à la française

And a nice reminder that Ontario hospital recruiters are looking forward to hiring new talent:

Un hôpital ontarien en recrutement

‘We don’t care what’s on your head ’: Ontario hospital launches ad aimed at Quebec medical students, values charter

Some general analysis on Quebec dynamics and “chronic anxiety”, understandable given Quebec’s history and identity, but by no means justifying the proposed Charter, as well as the possible longer-term political impact:

PQ’s controversial new secular values charter preys on Quebec’s chronic ‘identity-related anxiety’

Quebec values charter: Is it a political game changer for the PQ? 

As always, some general commentary. Again, part of the uniqueness of Canada is that even many commentators on the right strongly oppose such bans and approaches, as individual rights, including religious, are paramount. Ironic that those who once condemned the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are now among its strongest defenders:

Freedom under fire: Parti Quebecois values charter an outright attack on indidual rights

And in closing, a good opinion piece by Christian Rioux of Le Devoir contrasting the Anglo-Saxon approach, based more on inclusion and ensuring different faith groups are treated equally, and the French and Latin approach, which tends towards banning religion in the public sphere.

The reality is more complex; in practice French and Latin countries provide lots of public support to religion, whether school, maintenance of cathedrals and the like, but nevertheless a good piece to reflect upon.

He misses that the Canadian and Anglo-Saxon approach is based on individual rights, not community rights, unlike some European countries where communitarianism is more common, reflecting their history of managing Protestant and Catholic communities:

Laïcité ou communautarisme