Union group strongly backs PQ's values charter
The Parti Quebecois' controversial charter of values has received the staunch support of an influential backer: a union representing the province's civil servants.
The SFPQ union, which has 42,000 members, applauds the government for ensuring religious neutrality.
The PQ plan would forbid Quebec's public employees from wearing more visible religious symbols — including hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes and larger-than-average crucifixes.
It would be the only plan of its kind in North America and its critics call it a bureaucratic mess, unconstitutional or, even worse, xenophobic. Its supporters insist it can work, in law and in practice, and be fair to Quebecers.
Premier Pauline Marois, in her first public comments since the plan's release, says she's proud of it. She says she now welcomes the upcoming debate.
As it stands, the plan in its current form stands little chance of passing the legislature. That leaves open different possibilities: that it be watered down, or preserved for use in the next Parti Quebecois election platform.
Several different international news outlets, including the BBC and New York Times, have covered the release of the details of the plan.
The government says its so-called secularism charter will be the subject of public consultations, then presented as a bill to the legislature this fall.
Past polls have suggested that a majority of Quebecers support restricting minority accommodations. However, other polls suggest voters in the province place the issue relatively low on the list of political topics they care about.