Another values charter demo; somewhat disorganized
Despite starting late and some confusion on the location one estimate had 3,000 people protesting against the proposed Charter of Quebec Values this afternoon in downtown Montreal.
"The opposition to this proposal is not limited to religious or ethnic minorities, the opposition to this proposal goes across the spectrum of ethnicity and language in the city and the province, said Rabbi Reuban Poupko, who was at the protest with members of the Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation in Montreal.
"This is not a demonstration organized not by the Jewish community or the Islamic community, this is a demonstration organized by Quebecois," he added.
The demonstration against the proposed ban of religious symbols in public institutions was slated to start the Place des Festivals, but instead congregated further east on Bleury St. Supporters not even affiliated with the protest organization directed protesters to the new starting location from Ste. Catherine St.
Liberal MNA for the D'Arcy-McGee riding in Montreal and Côte-Saint-Luc Lawrence Bergman told CJAD News he believes the Charter, introduced by the Parti Quebecois, is par for the course when it comes to the minority government.
"This PQ government in all their policies but particularly this one, the proposed Charter, wants to bring about state-sanctioned discrimination and state-sanctioned intolerance," he said.
Michael Simkin, who is currently running for mayor of the Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough for Richard Bergeron's Projet Montreal municipal party, says, if ever ratified into law, the aspects of the Charter which restrict "ostentatious" religious symbols could challenge people to choose between faith and employment.
"The ostentatious symbols aspect of the Charter clearly gives people the choice between getting rid of their cultural or religious identity or working like anybody else for the public service. that seems to me to be a pretty stacked choice and hardly an integration strategy," he said.
Another anti-Charter protest is scheduled for Oct. 20.
Photo: Andrew Brennan