No backing down on charter, Drainville says as hearings open

Minister Bernard Drainville opens charter hearings.
Angelica Montgomery/CJAD

The minister responsible for Quebec's controversial secularism charter says the government will not back down on the proposed bill.

Bernard Drainville says the government will proceed with legislation aimed at cracking down on state employees who wear religious symbols.

Drainville made the comments in Quebec City this morning as public hearings began on Bill 60.

"The charter's detractors will say that banning ostentatious religious symbols in public institutions goes too far; that the ban is not necessary," Drainville said in a speech to open the hearings. "On the other hand, this is an essential and unavoidable part of this bill. Why? Because we have to establish the principle of secularism, and that secularism comes with responsibilities."

The legislation would force public-sector employees to take off their headscarves, kippas, turbans and larger-than-average crucifixes if they want to keep their jobs.

The hearings are scheduled to last anywhere from two to three months, with 250 speakers and groups scheduled to present briefs.

The first one to appear was Réjean Parent, the former head of the CSQ teachers' union, who says the charter is a step in the right direction. He says if half or three-quarters of the staff in a school wear religious symbols, it will be hard to argue that the school is neutral.

"If they don't want to follow the rules, at a certain point, they're the ones who are firing or excluding themselves," Parent told the hearings.

Many of those appearing on this first day of the hearings are pro-charter.

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
Comment Like
  • 16
  1. CJ posted on 01/14/2014 11:29 AM
    So what is the point of having these hearings...Sounds and smells like a dictatorship...
  2. more BS posted on 01/14/2014 12:17 PM
    Want to bet. This party is known for flip flopping.
  3. deb posted on 01/14/2014 12:27 PM
    I'm sorry, but anyone who argues that the wearing of religious symbols is contrary to the notion of separation of church and state misunderstands entirely the concept of separation of church and state. There are many of you all arguing the same points but you are just plain misinterpreting and you are wrong. Do a little research. It is abundantly clear if you bother to read about it a little.
    1. Alex posted on 01/14/2014 03:18 PM
      @deb I agree with you completely. The 'separation of church and state' argument is just a sham. The real reason, as I see it, is to keep Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and others out of the civil service, where the jobs are fairly well paying, thereby leaving these jobs primarily for Francophones, and to make living in this province so unpalatable for these religious minorities, who normally vote against separation, that they will move out of the province. Pretty despicable in my opinion.
  4. peter posted on 01/14/2014 12:30 PM
    I weep for my beautiful province, my has been tainted by not-so-covert racism, hatred and exclusion. It's no longer mine.
  5. Joe posted on 01/14/2014 12:33 PM
    Then why are we wasting time and money if they are not listening. Lets have the election and move along.
  6. I Speak E.F. posted on 01/14/2014 02:17 PM
    Drainville makes me ashamed, the province is going down the drain.
    1. jonico posted on 01/14/2014 02:39 PM
      @I Speak E.F. Afraid it's down the drain, into the sewer. They're fast workers these separatists. Managed to destroy a beautiful province into the slum of Canada
  7. Murray posted on 01/14/2014 02:43 PM
    The time has come to have some fun with the Gouvernement du Quebec.

    The best way to accomplish that is to read "Rules for Radicals" and learn and appreciate activist tactics that work.
  8. H W G A posted on 01/14/2014 03:16 PM
    They are wasting a few million dollars and 250 hours of highly paid people's time so that they can get input on this? But DRAINville says hew ill not change anything. Why not just have a cash burning bonfire.
    It will however be entertaining to see the racists slither out and release their one hour of of hate-mongering diatribe aimed at anything that is not pur laine.
    Let them rant! And if the PQ does ever get elected with a majority and really tries to enforce this type of racist garbage, I hope they will have a way to replace the funds from the tax base erosion that will set in - not to mention the even lower investment level that will follow as companies are unable to draw from a good labor force!
  9. joeN posted on 01/14/2014 03:44 PM
    PQ democracy, my way or the highway! Does everyone remember Marois's english words on election night? Don't worry! Yes, don't worry because their going to run every non franco out of this province. The houses will be dirt cheap as the values will go down and people will be desperate to leave.
  10. Fred posted on 01/14/2014 08:08 PM
    Those so called hearings are just a ruse,,,the government can not back down now,,they have painted themselves into a corner and are just using the hearings as a publicity stunt to say they listen to every one, knowing full well it is all a great big sham. They will just go ahead and do what they want regardless........An exercise in futility and wasting money which they are experts at. Just hoping all that oppose them will just get up and move...And they can get the vote o seperate,,,and then raise the income and other taxes thru the roof to pay all the welfare people who don't pay taxes,,,,then complain the federal government is not giving them enough money,,,They want to run their own taxation system, unemployment system, plus all other,,but want the Feds to pay for them, hey feel so omnipotent that all will fall down to support them. 4th world province coming up real fast
  11. sam posted on 01/14/2014 08:50 PM
    Not that it matters because the regime has made it clear that the hearings will not change the restrictions on minorities , but, it must be stated again and again: The Kippa, the Turban, the Hijab, Kosher and Halal foods etc are NOT Religious SYMBOLS, they are , for many, essential parts of their faith. The cross on Mt. Royal is a religious symbol, the beard is not.
  12. Eric posted on 01/14/2014 09:53 PM
    Reviews I have read about this PQ Government have compared it to Monty Python, skits such as Ministry of Funny walks. Pointing out how silly and stupid these politicians running our province are.

    I tend to compare them more to Woody Allens Banana's. The scene where the Latin American Country's Dictator is basically "nuts"! He states: The official language of this Country will now be "Swedish" instead of "Spanish" Anyone who is under the age of 16 will now be 16 years old, Underwear must be changed 4 times a day and in order to verify this underwear will be worn on the outside.

    Yes, I think these Government leaders and bureaucrats have really lost it. What will be next? Imagine them in a majority government! God help us all!!!!!

    All site of what is really important such as infrastructure, health care, education etc.... has gone out the window.

    I feel the need to cry but I laugh at this stupidity. We could be a great province but we are as bad if not worse off than a third world country.

    I could go on and on but what is the point. I believe things will never change here and will end up following the last 29,000 people who have left here.

    We have a Federal Government not getting involved at all, not stepping in to correct these ridiculous actions of the PQ Government. They seem to have Carte Blanche to do as they wish, step on whoever they wish even though Quebec is still a part of Canada and we are Canadian Citizens!
  13. David posted on 01/15/2014 01:37 PM
    What an unmitigated disaster these people are, even with a minority look at the damage they are doing. I hope all Quebecers are savvy enough to realize all that is going on and why, and that we are rid of them once and for all this spring. If not..........
  14. Joe posted on 01/15/2014 01:56 PM
    Best idea, now that the time slots are given out, the groups opposing should not even bother showing up, instead state their case to the press as organized groups, and meanwhile at the hearing, they will have about 15 minutes of work from those who are for this racist law so that way groups against will get their message in there and we still save a bucket full of money because if these sham artists are getting paid by the hour it will be quick and painless. Again why bother they are not listening and have said there will be no bending on the core of the issue.
showing all comments

Share this article: